Tag Archives: engaging students

• LINCS Topic 4: What are some ways that we can include interactive activities in ESOL Writing class?  

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 (This posting includes a links handouts which you are welcome to use with your students.) 

This posting is a more detailed response to my interview question on Day 4 LINCS Discussion: Student-Centered Approach to Teaching Writing Skills. .

Below in blue, you’ll find the details that I’ve added to the Day 4 LINCS’ posting.

I have some interactive activities that I include during each writing unit.

They do give variety to a writing class, but more importantly, they are effective in helping students develop their writing and editing skills.

1) Writer-in-control peer editing. Type 1: Writers prepare questions.

In traditional peer-editing activities, the students read a classmate’s essay and give feedback by filling out a teacher-provided questionnaire, rubric or checklist. (For example, “Is the topic sentence clear?” “Are the verb tenses correct?”)

For this non-traditional approach below, the writers have control over the type of feedback they want. Here are the steps:

Step 1: (A model) Sample essay and peer editing questions. In order to demonstrate to students how they will peer-edit with a classmate and the type of questions that they can ask, they work with a model essay with peer editing questions that the “writer” has asked.
(See link to a model exercise below.) After working with a sample, they then apply this technique to their own essays, starting with the Preparation Step.

Step 2: Preparing for Peer Editor. After students have written their essays, they identify specific parts of it in which they’d like a peer’s advice.  These could be about the grammar in some sentences, clarification of an example, a need to add details etc. On a separate piece of paper, they write questions about these parts that they will ask a peer-editor. For example, “Look where I wrote #1. Is my example clear?” “Look where I have #4. Is there a problem with this sentence?” “Look at #8. How can I improve my conclusion?”

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• LINCS Topic 2 What instructional strategies have you found to be motivating for English learners? 

Cover Day 2 Motivating shot

(This posting includes a handout which you are welcome to use with your students.) 

This posting is a more detailed response to my interview question on Day 2 .LINCS Discussion: Student-Centered Approach to Teaching Writing Skills. .

Below in blue, you’ll find the details that I’ve added to the Day 2 LINCS’ posting.

I have found six ways to motivate students.

1) Give Students Autonomy

According to psychologist Edward Deci, the most important ingredient for motivating students is autonomy. 1

Having autonomy doesn’t mean that students decide what is taught in a lesson.  Instead, students can experience autonomy if the lesson is set up so that they can individually choose which exercise to do first, second etc., how fast to work, when to ask the teacher a question or for help and even when to take a break.

A writing-workshop approach is an excellent way to give students autonomy. Here is how it can be done:

Step 1) The teacher briefly explains the assignments that student will be working on during the class.

Step 2) S/he returns any homework assignment that students had turned in and which the teacher had marked. They will correct these and show the teacher, but they DO NOT start writing yet.

Step 3) If there is a group-activity, the students do that.  As each group finishes, they don’t have to wait for the others to finish.  Instead, they start the assignments from Steps 1 and 2 individually.

Step 4) AUTONOMY!  Students start the assignments by individually choosing which one they want to do first, second, third.   At any time, they can ask the teacher any questions they might have and show him/her corrections from the returned assignment.

Some of the benefits of the Workshop

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• The Writing Workshop: Countless Benefits for ESL Students and Teachers

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This posting includes sample lessons of a Writing Workshop that give students a lot of autonomy.*

This posting is an update of my February 1, 2019 post:  Most Important Motivator of Students: How You Can Do It

Since posting this back in 2019, I’ve heard from teachers who decided to try out a Writing Workshop with their ESL Writing classes even though they were skeptical at first. Their hesitation seemed to be doubtful that their students would actually be productive without more direct teacher control. However, they reported that their initial skepticism was quickly dispelled after seeing the same great benefits that I had described in the post below. Almost all of them stated that they couldn’t imagine teaching a Writing class in any other way in the future.

Here is that posting.

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• Meeting A Conversation Course Challenge: Three Levels of Students, One Classroom, One Teacher

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Having three levels of students in one classroom can be overwhelming. But for a reading-skills or writing-skills course, it seems relatively do-able because students can work individually on the reading or writing tasks.

However, for a conversation course in which students need to be interacting with classmates, it’s impossible right? No, it’s definitely possible.

Here is how it has been done successfully with a user-friendly approach for the teacher and with students developing their skills as they would in a single-level class.

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