Feedback was the underlying theme to the six weeks of our intensive Module Two for me. There seem to be parallels across the different layers.

Continue reading Feedback


Writing an LSA background assignment

When people start Module Two they want to see examples of background assignments and lessons. It is hard to explain why lots of examples is not a good idea, but writing a background that can serve as a sample has helped me begin to understand why in ways I hadn’t envisaged. Only begin though. I need to read more about genres and communities and social processes. It has also made me see other areas I should focus on soon in terms of reading / research.

Writing the background
I liked …
I liked reading to write, haven’t had to do that in ages. Kept reading things that I wanted to pursue, but were slightly off the topic, the two most persistent of which were ..

  • Feedback – feedback is fundamental to Delta and though some of what I read was specifically about feedback on language and language development, some was on students in general or in higher education (note to self: start in Hyland 2003 for this) and would apply to teachers doing any Module. Whether they read it at all, whether they can react to it / understand it / know what to do next even if they do understand it. How we can make it so that there is a chance of all of / any of those things happening. Can I find research / ideas to help me work out how we should be doing it or how it is most effective ? Much of what we are doing now has evolved in the face of demand / practical contexts / experience and it works, but if I looked at it more systematically could it work better ?  add some science to our craft ? Continue reading Writing an LSA background assignment

Why write ?

Early in 2012 there was a call on the Delta lists for trainers who would like to take part in a research study for Cambridge. The study was designed to find out what trainers did in input sessions and why and the last line was interesting.
Trainers will be encouraged to adopt a participatory role in the project (rather than to feel they are simply being studied); in this way, the study will provide them with the opportunity to talk about and reflect on their own practices and may thus contribute to their professional development as trainers. 
And it turned out to be true.  It felt like free therapy for trainers. A series of phone calls where I was asked questions about why I did things and that made me think hard about what I did, especially when the transcripts turned up a few weeks later in my mail and I’d read it back, frustrated at how I had failed to articulate some ideas in the way I thought I had.
Those conversations made me realise that my reading had become mostly reactive (reading specifically to solve problems that arose in the short term, so I could deal with sessions or assignments) since I finished my Masters.

While I do reflect and tinker (does that lesson / session / worksheet / group project / course work ?  or does it need tweaking / changing / completely rewriting ?) the phone calls made me think I didn’t question fundamentals enough … e. g. I take (with a pinch of sense / balance) learning by doing / learning through experience as automatically desirable (as opposed to being told things). Why ? Where did I get that from ? Is it actually even true ? Has it been researched ? Can I validate it ? In fact that has been worrying me for ages now, but the day to day gets dealt with first because some of it is urgent and because often reactive things are easier to deal with.
So I am constantly reflecting on and tinkering with an educational house built on sand. Continue reading Why write ?