It is very important not to overload students as @judith-gorham mentioned. This can be done by focussing on a few lexical items as opposed to long vocabulary lists as well as aspects that address the intended learning objectives e.g. collocation and corpus skills. It is an inevitable choice we have to make as teachers; we can’t cover every possible aspect in one lesson. For example, I tend to do pronunciation demonstration and drilling as a pre-listening activity to help students identify keywords when listening to a lecture later. But, you are right Judith – this activity would need to be adapted for an online environment, that is students going through a self-study guide with a few tasks and preparing notes to compare and discuss when they meet their classmates and the teachers online.
Regarding, learner autonomy as @karl-hannay and @manu mentioned, I would probably have to say that an initial demonstration of the tool in class might be a good idea. It would help contextualise their use, deal with technical questions and even motivate learners. We do talk about learner autonomy a lot these days, but it’s worth remembering that autonomy is a construct that comes in various degrees, can take place inside our classrooms too, and it’s not just a matter of putting learners in a context that requires them to be autonomous. What are your thoughts on this? Or, perhaps thinking about our own learner autonomy too e.g. when we are involved in continuous professional development opportunities.
@ziyinini that’s true – teachers can do their own research too. Not with Flax perhaps, but Sketch Engine, the corpus tool we will focus on from next week, has been used by many researchers in corpus linguistics. For example, Baker, Gabrielatos and McEnery (2013) used Sketch Engine (Word Sketch) to examine collocations of the word Muslim in a 143 million word corpus of British newspaper articles, as part of their critical discourse analysis study. So, yeah the potential is there for those teachers who are interested in applying these skills to other fields outside teaching.
By the way, feel free to comment on each other’s posts too. It is not compulsory but if you do have some time, I’m sure you will end up having lovely conversations.
Baker, P., Gabrielatos, C. and McEnery, T. (2013) ‘Sketching Muslims: A corpus driven analysis of representations around the word ‘Muslim’ in the British press 1998-2009’, Applied Linguistics, 34(3), pp. 255–278.