Dr Anna Zimdars relates how a chance meeting led to a research opportunity. Dr Sam Cartwright-Hatton explains how networking has helped her career. Further reading Finding jobs Networking Everyone knows that networking is important and yet it can be very daunting. Walking into a room full of strangers and being social, approaching an eminent researcher at a conference, or initiating a correspondence with someone you have never met may feel awkward and uncomfortable.
I was a student teacher in a Massachusetts elementary school, and it took me awhile to figure out the correlation between the pencil and hallway behavior. If I replied, "Yes, you should bring a pencil," the walk to my classroom took 15 minutes and involved a lot of disruptions, student squabbles, drifting students and other various misbehaviors.
As a student teacher, I was very focused on keeping order and creating a challenging learning environment. If I replied, "No, you don't need a pencil today," the walk to my classroom took about five minutes, even with a stop at the drinking fountain.
So, what was the correlation? The students knew that if they had to bring a pencil they would have to do writing in the class, and they dreaded it. If they didn't need a pencil, we would be working on projects or doing more verbal work, and they liked that. What they weren't expecting was that half-way through my student teaching, I bought 10 boxes of pencils and kept them in my classroom, so they never had to bring a pencil to class — I had academic writing and presentation skills to go around.
This improved the hallway behavior, but still left me with the question of how to improve ESL student writing when they were frustrated by the practice and went to great lengths to avoid it.
I have been teaching ESL for many years and there is no perfect solution to this problem; however, I do believe I have added quite a few writing activities to my bag of tricks and improved my ability to differentiate writing tasks based on student ability.
As I improved my ability to ensure that each student would be successful in the writing activity, their confidence increased, and they were less likely to engage in disruptive behavior. I hope some of the writing activities I share with you will help you to reduce anxiety in your ESL students and increase their language and writing skills.
There is a very important correlation between writing and language development. Why is writing often the last skill to emerge?
It almost seems that reading would be more difficult because the student needs to sound out words and understand the author's message.
It would seem writing might be easier because students are sharing their own ideas already in their heads and simply putting them on paper. However, writing requires a lot more processing of language in order to produce a message. First the student must have an idea, then think of the appropriate way to say it, then start to write it and spell it correctly, and then create another sentence to continue to communicate the idea.
If we add the students' worry that they are making huge, embarrassing errors or that their ideas aren't very good in the first place, then we begin to understand the complexity involved in writing in a second language.
In fact, the way we communicate, or the way students put their ideas on paper, is largely influenced by their culture. In some of my classes, my Asian students were very confused when I told them to revise their writing because this was a "first draft.
The idea that they had to write it over again didn't make sense to them. Students from other cultures may have developed a storytelling style that involves laying out a lot of background information and detail and takes quite a while to get to the point.
In most western writing, we expect a topic sentence or a lead paragraph that will tell us what the point is, and then everything written after that leads to a direct conclusion.
Many of my students had great difficulty connecting their ideas this way. With that said, teachers have a big task in improving ESL student writing skills, but the payoff for instructional dedication can be great.
A researcher on adolescent literacy at the University of Minnesota, David O'Brien, did a study on improving the reading skills of adolescent students.
All of the students were involved in a six week study and during that time they were responsible for creating brochures and other types of communication on computers.
They had criteria to input a certain amount of text and graphics to create a final project. This required lots of thought and revisions to achieve the final result. At the end of the six weeks the students took a reading test and the majority of them had improved their reading skills significantly.
This was a very interesting result, considering that the teachers had not focused on teaching reading skills. The conclusion was that students used meta-cognition to process language and work with it in a more meaningful way, so that consequently their reading skills improved even though they were mostly working on writing.
Additional positive academic results have been seen in the "90 90 90 Schools. This is a most remarkable combination in the educational world.
The researchers examined these schools and found one common denominator among them — they all focused on developing writing skills. Each school had an agreed upon writing curriculum and methodology that was used at all grade levels, and student writing was prominently displayed throughout the building and in classrooms.
Students used writing in all content areas to demonstrate academic concepts learned. Now that I have hopefully convinced you that all your hard work will pay off, I would like to introduce some effective writing activities.
For the purpose of this article, I will focus on a few writing activities that I think are particularly useful when working with students with a wide-range of English language skills.Academic writing skills are important to be learned and developed due to their on-going need in an academic environment.
Regardless of your study discipline and the field of subjects, you will get to complete the assignments and the final reports as a course requirement. This guide provides general advice on the presentation of academic work at Federation University Australia, focusing on the key areas of: assessment format and appearance; writing skills; academic language and culture; managing your study; and citation.
The General Guide to Writing and Study Skills was produced with support from the Dual. Academic skills.
[email protected] supports taught students to develop academic skills, within the curriculum and through online resources, workshops, consultations and drop-in sessions.
Good writing and structure can make an excellent and effective presentation. Tips for reviewing and editing your presentation. These ten tips will help you enhance and polish your academic writing so that you can impress your peers, professors and even feelthefish.com to the level of the intended feelthefish.com on the feelthefish.com to the feelthefish.com a feelthefish.come supporting evidence.
(4 more items). Presentation skills are essential both for teaching and for presenting at conferences. It is no longer acceptable to mumble through a conference paper, but rather you need to present your work in a confident manner, making strong eye contact and articulating with a strong voice.