Classes have started once more. I always have the feeling that the very first class is crucial. It’s the moment in which you build the foundations for a whole working year. The very first thing I want my students to know about my classes is that I need them, that they are expected to contribute to the class. Although I’m always ready to negotiate with them, contributing is not negotiable. This year I want to emphasize that they need each other.

All of my students are going to use a wiki for their written work. The first assignment for my upper-intermediate groups is to write an article about one of their classmates. The rubrics are similar to FCE standards, but I’ve added some items.
I’ve organized my students in a sort of chain. A writes about B, B about C, C about D… It’s not strictly pair work, each student is related to two other classmates in a different way; collecting information about one of them and providing information to the other.

My expectations:

  • As they have to write about personal facts, safety and privacy issues are sure to show up. I think it is better to deal with those topics from the very start.
  • The contributions will be written in the discussion page. I intend to discuss the difference between participation and contribution. Two terms usually considered as synonyms by students.
  • The topic is a common one, even a beginner can write about someone else. I will have the chance of stating what level of written work I expect from upper-intermediate students.

I’ll welcome your contributions.

Photo by otherthings

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3 Comments to “Contributing”

  1. Gabriella, this looks like ti will be great! I look forward to following the student work on the wiki.

  2. Great assignment to start off the year – student-focussed, with the potential to be customized to student needs and interests, and collaborative in nature!

    I’d be interested in knowing more about the distinctions you say you make with your students between “participation” and “contribution”.

  3. Diane, I was writing a post on my students’ second assignment when I got your comment. I was fighting to round up an idea and your comment was a great help.
    I’ve always asked my students to participate (not only online), I’ve changed the word participating for contributing lately. They tend to regard participation as just “saying” or “doing” something, the question is whether that participation contributes to the class or not, if they are adding value or not.
    Thanks a lot for passing by and leaving such rewarding comments.

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