Friday, April 1, 2011

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Spring 2011 - Making the Transition to Mainstream Classes

I just wanted to share some of my recent and ongoing efforts to help students prepare for mainstream classes after the ELP. Two activities that I am spearheading this semester are:

Class Visits - Three times during the semester, my students find a regular university class they want to observe, take notes, fill out an observation report, and then report back to the class. The assignment consists of:
  • Navigating the online course schedule and evaluating possible options. I require students to get my approval signature before moving forward with this. I want to make sure that all my students aren't bombarding the same professor, as well as ensure that the class is an is appropriate for them to observe.
  • Contacting the professor via email to request permission. Composing emails is always a challenge for ESL students. To help them with this stage, I give them a template they can copy. If the professors have any questions, they can email me. Occasionally, some do, but for the most part, professors at my university do not seem to mind.
  • Visiting the class and completing an observation report. What I want them to look for is phrases and key language the professor uses in the lecture to introduce topics, give examples, definitions, signal topic changes, and so forth.
  • Writing a reflection.
  • Presentation to the Class. Occasionally, I like to have students report back to the class in the form of a mini-presentation, although this depends on time constraints.
Click here to see the observation report and material.

Level 3 Panel Discussion - This is something I am in the process of organizing at the moment. I have invited former ELP students, now in their mainstream undergraduate programs in the university, to come to a panel discussion for all our advanced ELP students. In my listening/speaking classes, we are compiling questions about how to succeed in academic courses outside the ELP. This is set for April 25, if all goes well.