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Keith Folse University of Central Florida

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1 Keith Folse University of Central Florida keith.folse@gmail.com
Practical Ideas for Teaching Writing: Is Vocab the Writing Teacher’s Job? Keith Folse University of Central Florida

2 Thank You HEINLE CENGAGE

3 HELP: a new book for new (and not so new) teachers
HOT SEAT QUESTIONS

4 HOT SEAT QUESTION _____ Monday _____ June _____ noon
_____ December 25th _____ spring _____ my birthday _____ the 1980s

5 I N O N AT ANSWER at 6 pm, at noon, at this moment
on Monday, on Dec. 5th, on my birthday _ in June, in spring, in 1990, in the 80s, in the 20th century

6 E-MAIL: mygrammarquestion@gmail.com
We need your questions!!!! Book of HOT SEAT QUESTIONS for teachers Royalties go to a TESOL scholarship fund Your name and school will appear with your question Help your fellow teachers and also TESOL students

7 Teaching writing = QUESTIONS
 Why are students in this course?  What should I do (in class)? What should they write about? (My decision?)  What should we do about errors?  How should I mark student writing?  Wait…. Should I even mark student writing? Should students write in a journal? And then? So what about grammar? Vocabulary? Spelling? Punctuation? etc….,etc….,etc…. What to do???

8 YOU must work on vocabulary! Importance of Vocab for ELLs
3 pieces of evidence

9 Importance of Vocab for ELLs
#1: Student Voices In exit surveys, secondary ELLs now in college complain their ESL courses needed (1) more opportunities to speak English in class (2) more teaching of vocabulary

10 Importance of Vocab for ELLs
#2: Reading Knowledge of isolated vocabulary correlates VERY highly with reading proficiency (1) The best readers know how to use context clues to read, but (2) The best readers rely on context clues the least because they know the most words

11 Importance of Vocab for ELLs
#3: Writing Vocabulary usage impacts writing scores by natives In experimental conditions, the best papers: (1) are longer (2) have the highest number of unique words (which means they use a lot of synonyms, which means they know more vocab)

12 Teaching writing = QUESTIONS
 Why are students in this course?  What should I do (in class)? What should they write about? (My decision?)  What should we do about errors?  How should I mark student writing?  Wait…. Should I even mark student writing? Should students write in a journal? And then? So what about grammar? Vocabulary? Spelling? Punctuation? etc….,etc….,etc…. WHAT TO DO?????

13 The Serenity Prayer

14 OUR (= teacher AND student) PROBLEM:
So what are things we can control? And what are things we cannot control? Coming up with the items in the correct category is not as easy as it might appear… OUR (= teacher AND student) PROBLEM: What is obvious to you and me is not always so obvious to people not of our culture or not of our language background -- especially when it comes to WRITING REVOLUTIONARY IDEA: I asked some advanced ESL students about WRITING and what was surprising here in the US (great DVD – see BIBLIOGRAPHY !!!) _ _ _

15 Japanese observation about a dry cleaning garment bag…
"Warning: To avoid danger of suffocation, keep this plastic bag away from babies and children. Do not use this bag in cribs, beds, carriages or playpens. The plastic bag could block nose and mouth and prevent breathing. This bag is not a toy.” Do we NEED to say this???

16 Argentinean reaction: on an Airbus 320 recently…
"Warning: This door must be closed during take-off and landing.” Do we NEED to say this???

17 Turkish student: “American writing repeats too much… it’s redundant”
P 1: This ___ will discuss XYZ by analyzing A, B, and C P 2: support #1 (about A) P 3: support #2 (about B) P 4: support #3 (about C; strongest) P 5: This ___ discussed XYZ by analyzing A, B, and C Do we NEED to say this???

18 Serenity Prayer: What we CANNOT control
students’ expectations / goals / needs time required to grade 100 essays students’ ability to correct all of their own grammar errors instantly or independently (in x wks.) students’ English proficiency (in x wks.) students’ composition ability in L1

19 Serenity Prayer: What we CAN control
1. the topics and therefore S’s & T’s interest 2. writing tasks (what? #? # of rewrites?) 3. the scoring procedures (YOUR TIME!) (no research to show that your grading = better student writing) 4. what we do (and don’t) teach: 4a. teach (selected) grammar only as needed 4b. teach vocabulary at the adv. level

20 What we CAN control 1. the topics and therefore our interest
BOOK 2: GREAT PARAGRAPHS: Each chapter ends with 5 writing prompts for that rhetorical mode. BOOK 5: GREATER ESSAYS: ditto but the prompts are divided by subject (Humanities, Sciences, Business, Personal) [plus 10 “additional” topics per chapter] TOP 20: one large writing prompt for the grammar point

21 What we CAN control 2. writing tasks (what? #? # of rewrites?)
a. shorter, specific writing tasks (e.g., providing and following a model) b. numerous writing tasks (avoid the “I assign, you write, I grade” syndrome) c. limit number of rewrites d. more “all-class” tasks (Greater Essays: 3 versions of the same essay) (Great Paragraphs: all s’s work on same topic sent) (various books: Building Better Sentences TASK)

22 Tasks that ALL students can do together and then check together
Teach a CLASS: You don’t get paid enough or have enough time to teach 20 / 15 / 32 individual writing classes for the whole semester Teach a CLASS: Limit your grading time Teach a CLASS: Concrete activities that students can complete and check in pairs/groups Practice building better sentences, which are the foundation for paragraphs, essays, and all types of writing.

23 Sentence Combining in Small Groups
Students work in 3s. There are 3 problems. Each student becomes A, B, or C. After Problem A, then student A will put that on the board. (All A students go to the board at the same time. Check all answers as a class.

24 EXAMPLE for whole class
The flag is Mexican. The flag is green. The flag is white. The flag is red. you: _________________________________ _________________________________

25 from Great Paragraphs, p. 244 School uniforms should be mandatory.
Problem A from Great Paragraphs, p. 244 School uniforms should be mandatory. This should be for all students. The students are in the United States. This is for a number of reasons. you: _________________________________ _________________________________

26 Matt plays tennis every Monday. Matt plays tennis at night.
Problem B Matt plays tennis every Monday. Matt plays tennis at night. Matt enjoys this. Laura also enjoys this. you: _________________________________ _________________________________

27 Karla is extremely happy. Karla got a car. Her car is new.
Problem C Karla is extremely happy. Karla got a car. Her car is new. Karla’s car was a gift. The purpose of the gift was for her birthday. On this birthday, she turned 30. you: _________________________________ _________________________________

28 What we CAN control 3. the scoring procedure (YOUR TIME!)
(no research to show that your grading = better student writing) a. Mrs. Cameron b. specific feedback , not overkill (e.g., vocabulary: GIVE the word!)

29 What we CAN control 4. What we do (and don’t) teach
4a. teach (selected) grammar ONLY AS NEEDED  GRAM CLASS (no future perfect!)  WRITING CLASS  TEACH, not TEST, SPECIFIC EDITING (from Top 20 & others) “This paragraph contains 7 errors: spelling (1), word choice (2), s-v agr (3), topic sentence (1).” 4b. TEACH VOCABULARY at the adv. Level  Keep a vocabulary notebook… (Vocabulary Myths)

30 Grammar Example #1 VERB TENSES? Yes, but which ones? By the year 2020, perhaps the US population will have grown to almost 500 million. Future Perfect Tense???

31 Grammar Example #1 VERB TENSES: present tense past tense
present perfect tense present & perfect modal + verb past perfect passive voice of 1-5

32 Grammar Example #2 ADJECTIVES BEFORE NOUNS?
Opinion: an interesting book Dimension: a big apple Age: a new car Shape: an oval mask Color: a black coat Origin: a Canadian product Material: a plastic toy a big round Malaysian opal friendship ring a delicious aged Dutch cheese snack

33 Grammar Example #2 ADJECTIVES BEFORE NOUNS?
Make your students use ONE adjective Make sure the adjective is BEFORE the noun it modifies

34 A non-ESL-tainted co-author… from Greater Essays, Essay 4c, p. 102
Modern Music Technology: Downloading or Stealing? The recording industry is in a slump. Albums and CDs are not selling as much as they were several years ago, and this trend shows no sign of reversing. For the industry as a whole, profits are down ten percent within the last three years. What has caused this downward spiral for the music industry? The answer is the same piece of equipment with which I am writing this essay: the personal computer. There are three reasons that the computer has had this deleterious effect on the recording industry.

35 Evidence that Vocabulary is Critical in ESL Writing
1st SOURCE: Research studies Santos (1988) Ferris (1994) Biber (1986) Engber (1995) Dordick (1996) 2nd SOURCE: ESL Composition Rubrics Teacher-generated ESL Profile (Jacobs et al. 1981) TOEFL ®

36 Tips for Teaching / Inspiring Better Writing
Remember students’ REAL objectives Respect student time / money investment (don’t have students write only 3 or 4 assignments in a semester) Don’t teach a grammar course, teach a WRITING course (which means teaching grammar as actually needed, not as dictated from the “this-is-good-for-you” mentality) Collect many assignments, allow the papers to “die” in memory, mark many lightly/specifically, focus on a few in depth and through drafts

37 Tips for Teaching / Inspiring Better Writing
Concentrate on editing skills -- both surface language AND composition/meaning Let students work together, but don’t go crazy with peer editing (AKA: peer-editing is not THE solution) Work on sentence-level tasks (even at advanced!!) Encourage/Push vocabulary usage/growth When in doubt, go back to ………. 37

38 The Serenity Prayer

39 Questions?


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