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Teaching methods and writing

Moderator: Tempo Gain

Re: Teaching methods and writing

Postby lostinasia » 25 May 2015, 21:47

Ducked wrote:... and they can forget that "you don't fail seniors" crap.

Oh man, that assumption drives me nuts ... I've got three students currently badly failing my third-year composition course (failing because they're never there and never handing in assignments), and guess what? They're all seniors. As happens every year. And I just know they're going to appeal the grades and cause paperwork headaches for me in summer vacation.

I do make very specific warnings at the start of the second semester, and give them numbers of how many seniors I've failed in previous years, but I guess that's not particularly helpful since the students who tempt that fate aren't actually there to hear the warnings.
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Re: Teaching methods and writing

Postby Ducked » 25 May 2015, 22:22

lostinasia wrote:
Ducked wrote:... and they can forget that "you don't fail seniors" crap.

Oh man, that assumption drives me nuts ... I've got three students currently badly failing my third-year composition course (failing because they're never there and never handing in assignments), and guess what? They're all seniors. As happens every year. And I just know they're going to appeal the grades and cause paperwork headaches for me in summer vacation.

I do make very specific warnings at the start of the second semester, and give them numbers of how many seniors I've failed in previous years, but I guess that's not particularly helpful since the students who tempt that fate aren't actually there to hear the warnings.


Actually, I meant the school could forget it, since it was the lead instructor who articulated this "principle" it to me during a discussion, (but I'd guess if staff have that attitude the students won't be unaware of it.)

"How many do you expect to fail?" ses I
"Oh, you don't fail seniors" ses she
"Watch me" ses I

But actually, that was just empty attitude, since its her course so she can adjust my grades once I submit them, if she wants to.

That won't apply next year, though.

I don't in any case particularly want to fail people on this course, since IELTS is unrealistically tough for them, and they did initially put in quite a bit of effort, until reality (and/or my teaching) intervened. Attendance slipped badly once we started the writing stuff.

My "trick" for the final test is I've told them I'll give them one Reading Question and one writing Task 1 Question, selected randomly from the first 6 sample tests in the text book.

This is not at all a measure of ability to pass an IELTS test, but it is (sort of) a measure of their IELTS preparation effort, which is (sort of) appropriate.

Could still be a bloodbath, though. Maybe I'll just select randomly from the first 3 sample tests. :ponder:
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Re: Teaching methods and writing

Postby Ducked » 23 Jun 2015, 17:30

In practice I dumbed it down further still.

I selected randomly from the first 3 sample papers, dropped the essay question entirely, took the specimen Task 1 (graph description) answer and converted to a cloze, apart from the first overall description paragraph, which they had to write in full themselves.

Not much like a "real" IELTS writing paper, IOW, but closer to their capabilities.

That gave me about a 40% pass rate. This test was 50% of my overall grade. There wasn't much evidence they had reviewed the sample papers.

Combined scores (mine and the lead instructors) gave about an 80% pass rate, which she then "adjusted" to around 90%.

Ultimately perhaps a bit of a waste of time, but maybe I'm forgetting that's par for the course?
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Re: Funny things your students say

Postby Vay » 29 Apr 2016, 22:59

ironlady wrote:So, quick question: how many essays of the type they are being asked to write have they been asked to read? How many of those (if any) were at their actual reading level?

You can't expect anything to come out that wasn't put in in the first place. Even native speaking children have issues with organization of pieces of writing, and criticizing run-on sentences (typical and correct in Chinese)...? This all sounds to me like kids who have been forced to interact with texts that were beyond their level, so they couldn't spare any effort from decoding (more likely, frantically writing notes right over the text) to think about anything else, like, I don't know, the meaning of the whole thing.


Great post! Do you have any reading/writing texts to recommend for a writing class for local jhs and hs students?
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Re: Teaching methods and writing

Postby ironlady » 30 Apr 2016, 04:44

No. But if we're talking about a native speaking teacher, it's not rocket science to write up five or six good samples. There are probably some books with this kind of thing ready-made but I'm not really familiar with what's out there in EFL for Taiwan at the moment.
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