Monthly Archives: June 2013

Writing

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Photo courtesy of kristja

In her article What research on second language writing tells us and what it doesn’t, Eli Hinkel (2011) synthesizes the current research on L1 versus L2 writing differences and discusses the next step for research in this area. Teaching writing to students from various backgrounds and cultures can be a difficult task for English language teachers. As an English for Academic Purposes(EAP) instructor, this challenge is heightened by pressure to get students prepared for the different education streams they are pursuing.

While the list from Hinkel isn’t that long, a total of 22 items, I have decided to focus on 5 major areas that most of those points would fall into: audience factors; text organization; language usage; text components; and content.
 
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Evaluating

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Image courtesy of Anne Hornyak

I swore I was never going to be a teacher. Really. I am not really sure why I was so adamant about it. My parents were both teachers and were quite passionate about their craft. I had them both as teachers at some point in my life and I actually thought they were two of the best teachers I had ever had. Well, thankfully, I had a moment of clarity in my second year of college as I was ‘persuaded’ (i.e. was forced) to take a TESL class of even though I had NO idea of what that entailed or meant. My intention was to drop the class about two weeks in and take something that was of more interest to me. Only thing is, that was the class that was of interest to me. It was at that moment that I knew I wanted to be an English language instructor. It wasn’t for the pay (I never even asked how much they get paid. Silly me) because I didn’t care. This was where I was supposed to be.

Fast forward a number of years and here I am still working in the language classroom, but now I am also training those who, like me, see themselves working as English language teachers. There are a number of people who have had an influence on my teaching; some famous, others probably never will be. One writer who has had a good deal of influence, especially lately, has been Earl Stevick. For many ELT professionals, Dr. Stevick is known for his passion on viewing language instruction as a “total human experience”. His book Memory, Meaning, and Method was fundamental in helping understand the role that memory plays in language acquisition. Dr. Stevick has spent most of his life helping people make the connection between language instruction and language learning.

For myself, I have been spending a good deal of time lately re-examing his writings through the lens of a teacher who is passionate about the role that technology can play in helping students take ownership of their learning. I have always enjoyed technology, especially the use of computers, and I see the value in their use in the language classroom. For me, I have spent most of my time attempting to apply technology to good pedagogy. I started to see technology as playing the same role as the materials in the classroom where the goals and objectives are met through their usage.

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