Cristina Pennarola

      Hello everybody and thank you for your ideas and comments!

      Taking advantage of the fact that many of my students are online on the Teams platform and there are enough computers in our laboratoryfor those who attend in person , I was able to adapt some Webcorp activities with two groups of students, intermediate and advanced, with very different results.

      a) With the group of undergrads, after a brief introduction to Webcorp and corpus tools, I asked them to go to Webcorp and check the word ‘climate’ on the Guardian platform. Many articles were retrieved and we were able to identify some recurrent patterns such as climate change, protest, anxiety, crisis, disaster, fight, etc. etc.( This activity was also a warm up to more work on COP 26). Then I asked them to use LexTutor Concordancer with the BNC Spoken and Written and we noticed the  different  patterns and meanings,  related to sociopolitical or economic climate…). They participated a lot and wrote many comments in the chat :yahoo:

      b) As the postgrads had been working on English as a lingua franca, and had read an article by Jennifer Jenkins “ELF at the Gate”, I asked them to copy and paste this article and then use the search tool in Webcorp with two words, ‘English’ and ‘varieties’. The point of this activitiy was to help them focus on the wide array of labels in English language teaching and discuss how useful (or useless) they can be for learners of English. I was surprised at how unenthusiastic they were: true, the computers and the connection were very slow and a lot of time was wasted trying to fix technical problems, but the activity itself I think left them rather cold. When I asked them to check the word ‘English’ on the Guardian platform, they seemed again rather uninterested in the different patterns and  meanings associated with English across news articles.

      David’s remark about students’ lack of interest in corpora seems very true in this second case. :-(   I am also aware that they may just have been fed up with the ELF topic though it is very relevant to all of them as they are studying International Relations in English  in an Italian University and communicating with their classmates from other countries (France, Hungary, Turkey, Ghana etc.) in English… The very positive response of the first group felt in comparison an absolute boost :yahoo:

      2) Watching the lesson, are there any tips or ideas you’ve learnt that you feel you could use in your own classroom? 

      I think that Flax and Wordcloud are very interesting tools with lots of potential especially for the students who need to polish their writing for their written assignments. I’d like to have more insights into Wordcloud if possible :mail: