Tuesday, 22 July 2014

Project 'Write' for General English Intermediate

The role of writing in our life has changed over the centuries and the digital era has seen an increase in writing thanks to the popularity of e-mails, web forums, social networks and so on. However, these texts tend to be really short, and long, formal writing seems to be less necessary in this era. But still, a number of reasons push us to promote writing in the classroom:

  • First, many students have the need to develop their writing skills because of their work or because they need to write academic documents, or simply because their area require lots of writing.
  • Second, the mental process when we write involves more time to think, giving time for the student to reflect on the language, to rehearse it, to make mistakes and find alternatives and solutions to any problem they might face during the process.

Most learners nowadays live in a world of electronic text, spending most of their time reading and writing on computers, thus, Wikis are valuable tools for teachers to promote collaborative learning in a stress-free, learner-centred environment, where teachers-learners, as well as learners-learners can keep constant communication. Also, this is the proper space for the students to store their written work, since they can keep track of their work, revise and edit as many times as they please, allowing self-reflection.

According to the needs analyses that have been applied to many courses of General English at The British Council Venezuela, most of those who have steady jobs would like to improve their English either to get a promotion, to be able to speak fluently with their English-native peers or to get a position in another country. Most students who take these courses are looking forward to improving their English either to study abroad or to take the IELTS exam. Also, it’s more common that they express interest in improving their productive skills, in other words, writing and speaking skills.

To sum up, I have these punctual objectives:

  1. Provide the students of general English courses with a learner-centred environment to develop their writing skills.
  2. Foster collaborative learning, as well as the development of my learners’ digital competences.
  3. Raise learners’ awareness of the importance of storing, keeping track and revising their written work.
  4. Collect information about how practical the tool is for the students and whether they consider that it can help them to improve their writing skills.
  5. Gather the students’ opinion regarding collaborative writing, teacher/peer feedback and teacher/peer assessment.

I’m going to work with an intermediate level catalogued as 5B in the British Council’s system, in which we are supposed to cover modules 4-6 of the New Cutting Edge Intermediate students’ book, which cover these three topics: life events, success (the world of work) and in the media.

The participant learners will have to follow the steps below:
  • Access the weekly pages and complete the tasks.
  • Learners have to give peer feedback to their classmates’ writings and comments and encourage more writing.
  • Peer correction guided by the teacher is mandatory and preferibly on time. Consider that, if this is not done, your partner will not be aware of things to improve.
  • Deadlines will be given for weekly tasks. This will be considered in the evaluation.
  • The learners will work on an essay as their final project, strictly following the steps recommended by the instructor
  • At the end of the course, the learners will complete a survey regarding their experience using Wikis and all its implications (e.g.collaborative writing, peer feedback)

The weekly tasks can be seen in detail by visiting the correspondent Wiki here:


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