In the Classroom with Benjamin L. Stewart

Making teaching and learning more transparent.

    In the Classroom with Benjamin L. Stewart
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Mar 6th, 2019 by bnleez at 3:00 pm

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In this episode I share a recent discussion I had with my Thesis Seminar group as they transition from developing a literature review to collecting data for their own research.

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Avoid

  1. Passive voice with non-referential “it”: it has been found, etc.
  2. Overuse of the passive voice - active voice is preferred.
  3. Overuse of pronouns
  4. Overuse of capitalization (e.g., to emphasize or when abbreviations are used, etc.)
  5. Overuse of There is/are - In most cases, avoiding it will produce a better sentence - subject first, then a verb.
  6. There is/are in a topic sentence.
  7. Verb to be in a topic sentence.
  8. Overusing the same verbs: to be and to have are oftentimes overused.
  9. Overusing the semicolon
  10. Comma splice
  11. Sentence fragment
  12. Runon sentence
  13. A transition (see below) that begins a topic sentence (body paragraph)
  14. Bold text except for headings
  15. Bold, italics, and capitalization to emphasize words
  16. Obviously…, Clearly…,
  17. Absolutes: Always, never, everyone, etc.
  18. It is important, it is necessary, etc.
  19. Rhetorical questions

Include

  1. Serial comma
  2. Dynamic (action) verbs
  3. Be consistent with key words or specific words that have certain meanings in education: activity, materials, techniques, methods, approaches, strategies, etc.
  4. A combination of sentence types: simple, compound, complex, and compound-complex sentences
  5. A cohesive text includes a transition, using any combination of the following:
    1. Rheme and theme to connect (bridge) ideas from one sentence to the next.
    2. Sentence connectors
    3. Introductory phrases
    4. Subordinating conjunction that begins a sentence (followed by a comma)
  6. MEAL plan for developing each body paragraph
    1. Citations serve as evidence
    2. Evidence precedes analysis sentence(s)
    3. Main idea (topic sentence) begins each body paragraph
    4. Final sentence serves as either a linking sentence or a summarizing sentence.
    5. Linking sentence links current main idea of the paragraph to the next main idea (topic sentence) of the following paragraph.
  7. Italicize foreign (non-English) words and when naming a term (e.g., “The word foreign is hard to spell.).
  8. Approximately five to eight sentences per paragraph
Feb 19th, 2019 by bnleez at 6:38 am

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The Thesis Seminar (open courseware) website is still very much in progress at the time of this recording, so expect many changes over the course of the next few months.  If you wish to know more, contact me via Twitter (@bnleez).

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In this episode, we discuss Ken Robinson and the notion of creativity in the classroom.

Nov 30th, 2018 by bnleez at 4:00 pm

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In this episode, we discuss a recent performance conducted by our English language learners - pre-service English language teachers at an A2 proficiency level.  

Nov 22nd, 2018 by bnleez at 4:00 pm

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Context

This group is a first-semester writing I class for pre-service English language teachers who are Spanish-speaking English language learners at an approximate A2 level of English proficiency. The excerpt found in this episode was from taken from week 14 of a 16-week course.  Each week learners address one essential question that usually relates to some content-based objective.  This week's essential question was more reflective in nature, and was designed to introduce a capstone project that provided an opportunity for learners to demonstrate knowledge and skills learned in each of the different subjects from the current semester: listening and speaking, reading, writing, grammar, and learning strategies.

The term PROPE refers to courses that make up a propaedeutic year of courses designed to help learners gain a B1 level required to begin a four-year bachelor's degree program in English language teaching.

All lessons from each week are posted to Google Classroom which loosely serves as a content management system where learners can freely access course content both during and outside of class.

Lesson

Essential Question: How do I express what I have learned so far this semester in PROPE?

Instructions: This week we work in our PROPE project teams - event scheduled for November 23, 2018 (10:00 AM - 12:00 PM).

Overview: Form into your PROPE project groups and determine who will write each paragraph:1) describe your country by including at least three key question words: who, why, how, when, where, etc., 2) describe how you worked together this week to create all non-writing I outcomes for your PROPE project, 3) explain any team challenges that you overcame this semester in any of your PROPE classes, and 4) present two to four key successes that you achieved as a team this semester.

Details: Each of the four points listed above should be developed as one unified, coherent, and cohesive paragraph with five to eight sentences.  A combination of the three different transitions discussed in class also should be included: sentence connectors, introductory phrases, and subordinating clauses. Each team member is responsible for one paragraph - if more than four members make up a team, then an additional topic should be developed as determined by team consensus and prior approval with your instructor.  Each team member is responsible for developing and analyzing their respective paragraph.

Analyzing a paragraph: Analyzing a paragraph should include the following:

  • All team members should follow the same system for analyzing their respective paragraphs: color-coding, annotations, footnotes, etc.
  • Indicate different sentence types: simple, complex, compound, and complex-compound.
  • Indicate different clauses types: main clauses, subordinating clauses, and relative clauses.
  • Indicate different phrase types: noun, verb, prepositional, and participial.
  • Indicate all parts of speech.

When analyzing your paragraph, do not analyze every word.  Only analyze one-three examples of each of the grammatical structures listed in the above section, Analyzing a paragraph.  In other words, you need a paragraph that exemplifies at least one of the grammatical structures above in order to identify it.

Team communication: This week requires good communication between each team member.  A successful week will include a team who maintains good communication in determining who is to do what.  At times this week you may work together as a team while other times you might need to work in pairs or individually - decide which works best for you individually and as a team.  Regardless how you work, make sure you communicate with your team members throughout this week so that everyone is on the same page throughout the entire process.

Team Leaders: Team leaders have been sent an email invitation to their respective team’s country (Google) document.  Please share this document with the rest of your team members using their respective gmail address.

 

 

Nov 12th, 2018 by bnleez at 6:00 pm

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    1. Problem: Learners resist giving presentations and many other aspects of school-related activities, tasks, and performances.

 

  • According to a recent survey by the Association of American Colleges and Universities, oral communication is one of the most sought-after skills in the workplace, with over 90 percent of hiring managers saying it’s important.
  • a tweet posted by a 15-year-old high-school student declaring “Stop forcing students to present in front of the class and give them a choice not to” garnered more than 130,000 retweets and nearly half a million likes. A similar sentiment tweeted in January also racked up thousands of likes and retweets. And teachers are listening.
  • “Nobody should be forced to do something that makes them uncomfortable,” says Ula, a 14-year-old in eighth grade, who, like all students quoted, asked to be referred to only by her first name. “Even though speaking in front of class is supposed to build your confidence and it’s part of your schoolwork, I think if a student is really unsettled and anxious because of it you should probably make it something less stressful. School isn’t something a student should fear.”
  • It feels like presentations are often more graded on delivery when some people can’t help not being able to deliver it well, even if the content is the best presentation ever,” says Bennett, a 15-year-old in Massachusetts who strongly agrees with the idea that teachers should offer alternative options for students.

 

  1. Students are resisting in-class presentations… by Annabelle Timsit

    1. According to the American Psychological Association, “When people are fearful of something, they tend to avoid the feared objects, activities or situations. Although this avoidance might help reduce feelings of fear in the short term, over the long term it can make the fear become even worse.”
    2. In her piece, Lorenz quotes a 14-year-old student named Ula, who says that “Nobody should be forced to do something that makes them uncomfortable.” But the best available science tells us that, if they want to be successful in life, maybe they should.

Participatory Call to Action: How do you encourage learners who resist participating in your class?

Nov 9th, 2018 by bnleez at 7:04 pm

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  1. Problem: Working in isolation - teacher burnout...
  2. Personal learning network: How do you engage in your own personal learning network?
    1. Define PLN: collection of social, material, and ideational connections or nodes designed for a specific (professional) purpose that has both historical (over time) and specific value.
    2. Twitter (@bnleez)
      1. Bidirectional/unidirectional communication
    3. Feedly/Buffer/Pocket
    4. Facebook Groups: In the Classroom |
  3. Workflow
    1. Ferrite for audio
    2. Lumafusion for video
    3. Google Docs: Show notes
    4. iPad Pro 10.5/Android smartphone
  4. Participatory Call to Action:  As an instructional leader, how you work against isolation?
Nov 2nd, 2018 by bnleez at 4:17 pm

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  1. Problem: backwash effect: how assessment can influence instruction

    1. Readings in Methodology: A collection of articles on the teaching of English as a foreign language (2006) (pp. .
  2. What is portfolio writing assessement
  3. Self-regulation through portfolio assessment in writing classrooms
    1. Relationship between PA and the four phases of self-regulation (Figure 1, p. 5).
    2. Phase I: instruction and scaffolding
    3. Phase II: self-assessment, peer assessment, teacher feedback (first draft)
    4. Phase III: Teacher feedback (second-final draft) - cycles back to phase I
    5. Phase IV: error log and reflection; publish to eportfolio (decision-making process)

     4. Participatory Call to Action: How do you incorporate portfolio assessment in your current teaching practice?