Wednesday, 22 April 2015

BALEAP - Saturday

Here are my notes/observations/impressions from day 2 of BALEAP. Again, please let me know if I get anything wrong or if I miss the point. I only slept 5 hours the Friday night so the quality of my notes deteriorated as the day went on. 

BALEAP breakfast
  • All you can eat buffet including both vegetarian and vegan sausages! As I was sitting with the Sheffield crew, I wanted to make a good impression so showed some restraint
    • muesli
    • 2 vegan sausages
    • scrambled eggs
    • 1 hash brown (afraid to ask for 2)
    • 2 pieces of toast
    • orange juice
    • croissant
    • coffee
    • yoghurt
  • Don't feel I made the most of that buffet
Listening and Reading in L2 academic contexts - Dr Catherine Walter
  • 4/3/2 idea. Read as much as you can in 4 minutes. Then try again in 3. Then try again in 2. 
  • This will help to build more fluent reading.
  • Translation and back translation - translate from English to your language and then back again. (remember doing something like this in class with the Vincent Price part of Thriller)
  • Dispelled myths about "good readers"
    • good readers guess meaning from context
      • no, good readers know lots of vocab
        • implication - teach vocab and vocabulary systems, not how to guess from context
  • Talked about pronunciation. Often, if we mispronounce, we have a chance to correct. But if we don't hear/understand, we might not get a second chance (esp in lecture). So makes more sense to teach received pronunciation (i.e. to teach pronunciation in terms of listening to it, rather than devoting all the time to making sure Ss get the pronunciation spot on)
    • Implication - do more dictation work in class. 
  • Ss much less likely to abandon initial hypothesis when listening. So for example, if they hear "way" first, they are more likely to stick to that, even if later evidence suggests it was actually "weigh". 
  • Ss much more likely to replace unknown words with known words.
  • Paul Nation got mentioned a lot
Capitalizing on technology to promote learner autonomy in a writing course - Prof. Esther Boucher-Yip
  • Blended learning model. 
  • Used Blackboard to take grammar out of the classroom
  • Students had access to grammar exercise/practice online.
  • Used free stuff for these grammar resources
  • Advocates looking at your class and thinking, what can you get out of the class and have them doing at home
  • Online work supports classroom work
Delivering the discipline-specific pre-sessional that you are responsible for - Karen Nicholls and John Wrigglesworth
  • Make the course as ESAP as possible. 
  • Graduateness - boil down topics - filter out stuff that at least one student in the class wouldn't need as a graduate. So you are left with stuff that will be applicable to all in the class (e.g. stuff about research)
  • They all have a book that they bring to their class - a book that is relevant to the genre that they wish to write in. This is their resource in the class relevant to their area. This is the meat for the skills that they work on, individual to each.
  • Record your own lectures. The speaker talked about how he creates lectures himself so that they can be more tailored to Ss needs.
Teacher anxiety and content involved EAP - Dr Justin Alam
  • 3 types of ESAP teacher
    • 1 - avoids the content. Literary type. Instead of content, teaches skills (e.g. note taking, writing). Avoids anxiety by not dealing with content, bouncing questions back to students when they come up.
    • 2 - regrets they can't always expand on answers. Would like to know more content.
    • 3 - the model student. Tries to know as much as possible about the topic. Behaves like the model student, helping the students in this way. Sits in on content classes. Sometimes explains things that are not covered by lecturer. 
Exploiting corpora to address the vocabulary needs of Business Students - Andrew Preshous
  • Students know "customer" but not the many collocations that go with it (e.g. "customer base")
  • Mentioned BAWE and Sketch Engine
  • Good for targeting subject specific vocabulary to teach Ss
  • Outlined many guided discovery tasks (here, here and here) that can be used with words from BAWE
  • All you can eat platters. Sat with very nice and knowledgeable people from University of Liverpool and Essex. Contributed very little to the conversation due to the following:
    • cheese salad sandwich (2 quarters)
    • egg salad sandwich (1 quarter)
    • tuna salad sandwich (1 quarter)
    • 2 mini vegetarian quiches
    • 2 vegetarian samosas
    • 2 vegetarian bahjis 
    • 2 cream cakes
    • water (important)
    • coffee
Improving tutor feedback on online academic writing courses for postgraduates - Jill Northcott and Pauline Gillies
  • Feedback is a social act
  • Therefore, feedback to students on their writing should be social. Not a clinical identification of their errors - instead try to engage with what they have written.
    • Engagement can be motivating for both teacher and student
  • Talked about grounded theory - I know very little about that so if anyone could suggest further reading or expert grounded theory bloggers/tweeters to follow, that would be great.
  • Scaffold writing assignments by giving 3 sources for an initial writing assignment
An integrated approach to EAP administrative support - Mark Ingarfield
  • Behind the scenes at University of Liverpool
  • Talked about points of pressure in the year - important that these are highlighted and prepared for so that staff on both sides (academic and administrative) are aware of each other's burdens and are kind to one another.
  • Talked about integrating the EAP centre into the systems of the university. 
  • The EAP centre and pre-sessional students are income generating. 
  • Lot for Irish universities to take from this talk. A vision of how things are done in the UK and perhaps, how things could be done in Ireland.
Gala Dinner (preceded by power nap)
  • Slap up meal in a suitably glamorous location
    • (additional mash potatoes requested and received)
  • Table quiz (did not win)
    • Table quiz quibble - the question "What speed does the DeLorean need to reach to travel through time?" should not be multiple choice. 
  • Dance floor annihilated - did not see that coming

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