The resource was used as a warmer to introduce a ‘hard’ topic, which was writing reports, this being taught online. It was used right at the beginning of the lesson, with plenty of animation on the video, but most importantly with serious content. Therefore, by resorting to language play, the teacher was able to capture students’ attention and trigger their motivation for a difficult topic, which is writing a formal report. The target students were attending Year 1 of the Degree in Languages for International Relations.
This was followed by a more serious powerpoint presentation on formal vs informal reports (enclosed). Then the Coursebook (First Expert) was used, where there was a sample report, which was analyzed jointly with the students, with the main aim of students producing a similar piece of writing (formal report). Student numbers were around 120.
The video can be divided into different sections, even though they are all related, with the teacher pausing at each step. This resource can be used as a warmer/ice-breaker for introducing the topic (03.00 minutes). Then the lecturer can move on to a more extensive ‘animated’ powerpoint (enclosed).
Duration of the video: 03 minutes
Following a task-based approach, some guidelines are provided:
1. (warmer) The Lecturer explains that students are going wo watch an animated video which contains a brief introduction to reports.
2. In order to prepare students for watching the video, L. asks the students whether they have written reports for other curricular units before.
3. Then, after watching the video, L. asks students if they are clear about the structure and objectives writing a report
4. Afterwards the L. starts a powerpoint (also a digital resource) explaining the structure and differences between formal and informal reports (enclosed).
5. Students are then invited to write a report, as per the example in their textbooks (commenting on charts, graphs and figures).
Possible follow-up exercises
Students write a formal report according to the instructions in their Textbooks.
Capacity to match the needs of lecturers and students
The provided tangible improvements
The capacity to motivate students to improve their language skills
Effectiveness in introducing innovative, creative and previously unknown approaches to LSP learning
Measurement of the transferable potential and possibility to be a source of further capitalisation/application for other language projects in different countries
Skills assessment and validation
Availability of appropriate tools for lecturers to monitor students’ progress and for students to assess own progress and to reflect on learning
Flexibility of the contents and possibilities for the LSP lecturers to adapt the contents to their and to students’ need
Assess the technical usability from the point of view of the lecturer and the student
Assess the accessibility from the point of view of the lecturer and the student
As mentioned previously, this online resource boosts students’ motivation and engages them into the formalities of academic writing. Moreover, the interactive nature of the ‘powtoon’ video is also useful to keep students paying attention to the lesson and it is certainly helpful in avoiding student’s distraction, such as checking their mobile phones and accessing the Internet for other purposes.
At present Higher Education Lecturers deal with an ‘online generation’ in their classrooms (on-site, online and blended learning paradigms), therefore we are all challenged to counteract students’ distractions and keep them engaged in lessons to ensure academic achievement in order to better prepare them to life in society. As such, in my own view, online resources, if properly and carefully selected, should be a key part of our HE daily teaching practice.
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