Article Discussion Group: June 2019

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Image courtesy of http://kausarbilal.com/book-club-launch-at-south-asian-study-group/

Discussion of the article: From feedback to backfeed: Increasing student engagement with feedback. Bianka Malecka, UNSW Global

Bianka writes:

While the value of timely feedback, whether formative, summative, corrective, confirming, written or oral is no longer contested, there seems to be insufficient focus on what happens after students receive feedback. After all, feedback needs to demonstrate effects and its utility ultimately depends on whether students engage with it. This is not often the case, however.

This sets the scene for her article on making feedback useful and engaging for her students. She approached this problem through an action research (AR) project, noting that a as a UEEC (University English Entry Course) writing teacher she is responsible for 8 hours of weekly writing lessons including Writing Skills, Writing Practice, Writing Workshops and Consultations. She also notes that on average, a writing teacher provides 216 feedback reports in 10 weeks!

In the AR project, Bianka surveyed all her students about their experiences with written feedback. She also interviewed her colleagues to find out what they did. This resulted in 77 student responses and 6 teacher interviews.

Bianka writes:

As for suggested improvements to feedback, seven students suggested marking strengths as well as weaknesses while 10 students mentioned providing increased opportunities for one-on-one oral feedback.
In terms of students’ perception of the most valuable essay feedback, 34% of respondents wanted teachers to correct their errors, 24% would like to have their errors underlined, 16% valued teacher’s use of error correction code (intended to identify the type of error, without correcting it) and only 5% viewed evaluation sheets as helpful in their progress.

Interestingly, correction codes, which many teachers seem to favour, were not preferred by students.

Some questions to get us started:

  • How do you think your students would compare to these findings?
  • What do you think of the examples of feedback tasks the author outlines?
  • Do you practice any other kinds of feedback/backfeed?

Welcome to the voting page of the Article Discussion Group. The idea is for us all to vote for our preferred article from the latest English Australia Journal, read it, and then join in a moderated discussion of the article. Authors will either join in on the discussion, or respond offline to points raised and questions asked, facilitated by the moderator. The discussion will take place on the #AusELT Facebook page and is scheduled as such: June 17-23 is reading time; June 24-30 is discussion time.

The articles are all relevant to many of the contexts in which members of AusELT practice. One is a research article focused on technology-enhanced academic language support for EAP-type programs. Another is an investigation of teachers’, students’ and administrators’ beliefs about an English-only college policy. The third introduces strategies for increasing student engagement with feedback. Each article has been peer-reviewed, meaning that the editor has invited leading TESOL scholars to review and offer suggestions for improving earlier drafts. We have some excellent reviewers who, together with the authors, have ensured you receive the best quality research reports upon which you can make some decisions about your own teaching.

The discussion moderator will orient you by providing a summary of the research design (where applicable) and the overall purpose of the research. The discussion will not only focus on how the article can inform your own teaching, but also on opportunities for further research in any form. It will hopefully spark ideas for improving the quality of life in many classrooms! Each article has an abstract for you to read; after all, just as you can’t judge a book by its cover, you can’t judge a research article by its title. The complete articles are all open access, freely available online here and downloadable in pdf here. The chosen article will be made available as a pdf and available for download on this page.

Abstracts


A developmental framework for technology-enhanced academic language support (TALS)

John Smith

Griffith English Language Institute, Griffith University

 

Technology-enhanced academic language support (TALS) refers to any adjunctive learning and teaching program that utilises digitally based technologies to support and develop academic English language and skills. Despite its prevalence, TALS has been largely ignored in the literature. This lack of research and exploration is concerning, not only because such a widespread learning and teaching practice has been so neglected, but also because there is real need for good guidance. With the increasing rapidity of change in technology-enhanced education, there is a correspondingly increased need for TALS programs to have a solid grounding in theory, educational design and quality assurance. This paper will therefore briefly present a framework for TALS development that can be utilised across a variety of contexts and settings. It is expected that this framework will be of most use to teachers and developers interested in online academic language learning and teaching.


English-only policy in an ELICOS setting: Perspectives of teachers and students

Yulia Kharchenko and Phil Chappell

Macquarie University

Contrary to growing multilingual theories of language learning, beliefs in the advantages of monolingual instruction in English teaching are widespread and often result in an English-only approach that rarely takes into account the perspectives of the parties involved. This article reports on a study that explored perceptions of a strict English-only policy and its impact on students and teachers in an Australian English Language Intensive Courses for Overseas Students (ELICOS) setting. In a mixed-methods approach, data from a student survey and group interviews with teachers revealed a discrepancy between generally positive beliefs about the policy and a mixed impact of its implementation in practice. The study also highlighted the limitations of framing a linguistic strategy as an official policy, including the potential for conflict between the teaching staff and the students. The findings have implications for language policy decisions in the wider ELICOS sector and support research on multilingual pedagogy and first language use in English teaching and learning.


From feedback to backfeed: Increasing student engagement with feedback

Bianka Malecka
UNSW Global

Developing strategies to encourage students to backfeed, i.e., engage in the process of mindful reflection and analysis of the meaning of feedback seems to be a genuine need to fast-track their learning. Technology has a vital role to play in this process as it makes backfeed accessible to staff and students so that a longer-term picture of learning can emerge. Using Learning Management Systems (LMS), online platforms and collaborative technologies to provide feedback and backfeed makes it more dialogic and gives students a voice in the process of feedback communication, a voice that they may be deprived of when not given an opportunity to interact with feedback. This paper explains the concept of backfeed and provides examples of strategies to integrate it in the classroom.

Voting


So, without any more fanfare, please cast your vote! Closes Sunday June 16, 2019 at 5 pm EST

Poll closed: winning article: From feedback to backfeed: Increasing student engagement with feedback: Bianka Malecka UNSW Global

Your moderator, Phil Chappell (@TESOLatMQ)

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