To kick off the new year, we’ll be sharing what we’ve learned from students recently, say over the last year.
What have you learned? How did this come about? What impact did this have? Did you share it with anyone else? What’s the best way to record such experiences? How do we keep building on these insights?
How can we open up more opportunities to learn from our students?
A simple topic, but powerful.
Please join us Sunday 3rd Feb 2019 8.30pm-9.30pm AEDT (eg in Sydney and Canberra). You can check your local time here.
New to #AusELT? New to Twitter? If you’re not sure what to do, get in touch with any of the #AusELT admin team on Facebook or Twitter (eg @SophiaKhan4) or by leaving a comment below. Here are some posts that should also help you get started:
Image courtesy of http://kausarbilal.com/book-club-launch-at-south-asian-study-group/
UPDATE: The voting has ended and the favoured article for discussion is The vexed issue of written corrective feedback: English language teachers using theory to improve practice. You can read the article online here and download the pdf here. This week is reading and thinking time, and next week, the discussion begins.
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: October 22-28 is reading time; October 29 to November 4 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 the English Australia/Cambridge Assessment English action research project. Another is an action research project focused on improving students’ confidence in interacting in their local communities. The third looks at how teachers engage with research to improve the way they give feedback on student writing. 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.
In order to assist those who are new to reading research articles, the moderator will orient you by providing a summary of the research design 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.
Embracing action research: Current tensions and possible directions
University of Technology, Sydney
This article reports on findings from a qualitative study in the English Language Intensive Courses for Overseas Students (ELICOS) context which explored teachers’ experiences and their managers’ perceptions of teacher participation in the Cambridge Assessment English/English Australia Action Research in ELICOS program. Despite previously reported benefits for teachers’ professional development as a result of action research participation, the study found that some current tensions may be limiting the potential and sustainability of the English Australia Action Research program for the development of teachers, ELICOS centres and the sector as a whole. This article explores four key tensions and offers some possible ways in which the tensions can be addressed within ELICOS centres and more broadly. These tensions and directions are also likely to be relevant to other ELT contexts in which teachers are conducting action research.
The Rejection Project: An action research project encouraging student interaction outside the classroom
Monash University English Language Centre
International students are increasingly isolated and disconnected when they attend university and may fear talking to the English- speaking public. The Rejection Project is an action research project that examines a new classroom method for university EAP [English for Academic Purposes] teachers to actively encourage students to overcome their fears and speak to local English speakers. This may increase their interactions with the Australian public and give them a better student experience.
The vexed issue of written corrective feedback: English language teachers using theory to improve practice
Margaret Kettle Queensland University Of Technology
Bronwyn Watson Daniel Murphy
This paper focuses on written corrective feedback and its challenges for teachers working with adult learners in the English language classroom. The teachers introduced in this paper teach in dedicated language centres, specifically a private college specialising in journalism courses and a university English language centre. Both teachers teach academic preparation courses with a particular focus on writing. They each recognise that academic writing in a second language is new for their students and that the students value feedback on their written drafts. However, for the two teachers, written corrective feedback remains a vexed issue because of their own acknowledged unfamiliarity with the principles of best practice. This paper highlights their concerns and presents points from the field of second language written corrective feedback that have helped inform and improve their feedback. It is envisaged that sharing the teachers’ experiences and the relationship between theory and practice can assist other English language teachers seeking to improve their feedback on students’ second language (L2) writing.
So, without any more fanfare, please cast your vote! Closes Sunday October 21, 2018 at 5 pm DST
Your moderator, Phil Chappell (@TESOLatMQ, (Outgoing) Executive Editor of the English Australia Journal)
Our #AusELT Twitter chat on Sunday September 9th will be in the ‘slowburn’ format This means instead of the usual 1-hour format, we are spreading out over a whole 12 hours, starting at 10am Sydney time and ‘officially’ closing at 10pm. During that time, we will be posting discussion questions on the hour so feel free to come and join the discussion. If you are new to using Twitter or have a Twitter account but find regular chats a bit intimidating because of their pace, this is an ideal way to get involved without the usual time pressure.
For this chat, we will be heading into the area of educational futurism and looking at the notion of AI (artificial intelligence) in the classroom. We will springboard off the article that was posted in the Facebook group last week about AI replacing teachers (and that has been reposted below along with links to a couple of other recent articles on the topic). For years, people have been predicting a time when the presence of a human teacher will become unnecessary in our classrooms. In the chat we will look at the current developments in and use of AI in education and consider just how long it might be before our jobs are genuinely at risk.
For any help with Twitter, please visit the dedicated page on this blog.
An #AusELT and Cambridge University Press video competition
To usher in the New Year, #AusELT and Cambridge University Press are running a video competition open to all #AusELT members.
Participants make a video that we will post on our new #AusELT YouTube channel. The video needs to be focused on How to engage learners online. There are three ‘strands’ that can be covered:
In the class (Activities that can be done inside the class)
Outside of the class (Activities learners can do outside of the class but which are set up by the teacher)
Learner autonomy (Activities that learners are in complete control of)
The video needs to show the activity and briefly discuss the rationale behind it. Materials can be shown in the video, but cannot be copyrighted materials; only self-designed materials. Website links can be given (for example Kahoot, Textivate etc.)
The video should be a narrative of the activity with instructions to set it up in class and how to manage it.
3 copies of Interaction Online will be awarded by Cambridge University Press at the end of the competition.
Interaction Online by Lindsay Clandfield and Jill Hadfield is a valuable resource for anyone who wants to incorporate an aspect of online interaction in their language teaching.
Entries will be judged on the following criteria:
Usefulness to the target audience
Creativity and originality
Practical applications for teachers
Ease of preparation
Entrants must be members of the #AusELT community, demonstrated through joining the #AusELT group on Facebook, contributions to #AusELT on Twitter, or otherwise demonstrating meeting the community membership guidelines.
Send videos to #AusELT at firstname.lastname@example.org. Videos will be distributed to committee to ensure rules have been followed and then uploaded to YouTube.
The videos will then be judged according to the judging criteria (See above).
There will be no correspondence after winners have been announced.
Activities must be the participant’s own work. A copy of a published activity will be immediately disqualified.
Participants may reproduce the activity elsewhere, but should credit #AusELT if the video is published or shared elsewhere.
No students can be present in the video for privacy issues and we are too small to deal with consent forms.
The video cannot exceed 5 minutes.
Videos must be clearly labeled using the following naming convention: participantname_monthofsubmission for example gerharderasmus_January2018
Quality should be sufficient to be viewed on YouTube. Submissions which are of poor quality will be returned. If you use a mobile, please turn the phone on its side when recording to avoid black stripes along the side of the video.
No mention of any promotional materials.
No textbooks or other published materials may be used or referenced.
Activities that require printed material or is a novel way of working with a textbook should be highlighted with self-designed materials and the textbook cannot be mentioned.
There is no limit on the number of submissions. Participants can submit as many videos as they are comfortable with.
#AusELT is the host of the competition and Cambridge University Press is the sponsor. All intellectual property remains with the person who produced the video and will not be published by any party without consent. We do, however, ask that should you publish elsewhere, that it is mentioned that the activity first appeared in the #AusELT and Cambridge University Press YouTube competition.
Please follow the YouTube channel as we will be posting more ELT related videos in months to come and might run another competition in the future if this one proves to be useful and fun for #AusELT members.
This is a hard topic to write about but the reality is some of us will face major events which affect our students and colleagues and ourselves, from extreme weather and natural disasters to traumatic injury and tragic accidents. So this chat is devoted to discussing how we might be prepared to respond and to cope, and what we can put in place ‘in case’.
Please join us on Twitter this Sunday to share your experience and questions and strategies. As suits a topic that requires reflection, this is a ‘slow burn’ from 10am to 10pm. It will be good to connect with you over this, for the last #AusELT Twitter chat of 2017.
The article is available to read online here, or a pdf here (scroll to page 28).
The two cultures in Australian ELICOS: Industry managers respond to English language school teachers
The paper is about what Phiona Stanley calls the ‘two cultures problem’, in which the ELICOS industry, she argues, is culturally divided between the ‘teachers’ and ‘higher ups’. The paper argues that this cultural ‘wall’ is talked into being, and that it divides the sector as follows:
“Teachers and some DOSes perceive that ‘the board’ and ‘the management’ and ‘the industry’ are all about profit and not students … [teachers cite] students’ keenness to learn as their motivation. This is very different from the talk of ‘profit’ that they perceive dominates the culture on the other side of the wall. Together, these distinct narratives construct an industry that is riven by a professional identity wall between ‘them’ and ‘us’. This is the two cultures problem”. (page 38)
A note on the methodology used in the study. Phiona interviewed 15 experienced management, marketing and sales people from colleges, both university and private. These 15 people held the following roles: school directors, managers, marketing managers, sales managers, business consultants, directors of studies, and a CELTA trainer.
You’ll see on page 32 that the following prompts were used in the interviews:
How do you feel about the following: Teachers’ salary step system and salaries more generally; casual teacher contracts and seasonality; agent discounting and the role of agents more generally; some teachers’ feeling that goodwill is being exploited; teacher attrition from ELICOS; teachers’ professional self-esteem and the image of the sector more generally.
Phiona analysed the interviews in three ways: analysing the content of what was said, assigning themes to the content, and also conducting a linguistic analysis of what was said. This was all aimed at uncovering how the group of ‘ELICOS higher ups’ that Phiona interviewed construct the identities of ELICOS teachers.
Perhaps we can start the discussion by considering our own responses to the prompts in the second box above, and how we each feel that the findings in the article align with our own feelings.