Vera Duncanson

    Hello everyone!

    As Judith  said it’s assessment time so I was struggling to find time to try the World Sketch Difference tool with my students. I had prepared a collocation sort activity to focus on the nouns that collocate with the adjectives important and significant and was waiting for the right moment to use it. I chose important and significant because I thought students would  appreciate ready-made chunks to take away and use in the final reading-into-writing exam.

    The right moment came today when we were revising cause-effect language and the difference in meaning between the words result and consequence came into question, so I jumped at the opportunity and decided to demonstrate how to use the Word Sketch Difference tool but had to act on the spot to come up with questions to focus the students on the positive/negative verbs and adjectives that collocate with result/consequence. To finish, I shared the prepared in advance activity, based on the difference between important/significant, that contained screenshots of the steps to follow if the students ever wanted to use this tool autonomously.

    There are a couple of things I’ve been reflecting on. First, I didn’t want to force the use of this tool but wanted a situation to arise that would make its use necessary and natural. From this point, I think I managed to demonstrate the usefulness of this tool, but I also realised that I needed to become a more confident user if I wanted to do it spontaneously.

    The drawback was that it took me a while to guide the students through the steps and I was thinking whether I should be focusing more on preparation for the exams instead. What I would like to do next time is introduce the Sketch Engine tool from the very beginning and use it when necessary so we (my students and myself) become more familiar with it, which will hopefully encourage students to use the tool independently.