Posts tagged ‘writing’

May 3, 2008

More on Contributing

My students have finished their second wiki assignment.

They had to write application letters -something I hate teaching, and students hate writing. They are 16 and 17 years old, all of them university bound, and consequently applying for a job is not among their needs. I asked them to move to the future (not all them have tagged their pages), imagine themselves in 2014 and search for a job that person they imagined they were would be qualified for.

It’s difficult for teenagers to know what they would like to do the rest of their lives. It was difficult for my students to imagine themselves in the future, this is the reason why some enjoyed doing the exercise and others didn’t like it. I loved what they wrote, I had fun reading about their lives in 2014 (I still don’t know why I chose that year). However, it was a bit worring to see that most of them were living in Europe, as if there were no chances for their professional development here (perhaps I should erase the “as if).

Enough. Let’s concentrate on my job.

They had to collaborate correcting language mistakes, writing suggestions in the discussion pages. This didn’t result in good quality writings, I think they didn’t take this task seriously. It was just an experiment and I have to admit that our common errors collection (don’t follow this link) grew up more than expected. When they had finished I copied the mistakes and they corrected them in class. They were able to correct most of them. So why didn’t they see them before? All of them visited their classmates pages, wrote something about language mistakes; they participated, but didn’t contribute.

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March 13, 2008


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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