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    • #36000
      Anastasios Asimakopoulos
      Keymaster
        @anastasios

        Please share your thoughts on the questions below:

        1. Which word pairing did you choose and what activities to accompany them?
        2. How easy/difficult did students find navigating sketch engine? What did you do to help them?
        3. How engaged were students with the content? Is there anything you would change for a future lesson if you did it again?
      • #37126
        Rhian Webb
        Participant
          @rmwebb

          Hi everyone!

          This week, I have been fortunate enough to finish off a language course I was delivering to my advanced-level Chinese students by introducing them to some corpus-based language activities. It went surprisingly well and they seemed to adapt quite quickly to the corpus-based approach. I set them some concordancing tasks to do in class and we went through the tasks using a hands off approach.  Then, I set them a self-study activity using Word Sketch Difference to search and query for themselves. See below.

          The pairing I chose was [personal and individual] and the activities I created were a combination of identifying parts of speech, introducing them to basic features of WSD, counting the frequency of word collocations, asking them which collocation is more or less frequent, matching definitions to [personal and individual], then filling out some gap fill sentences based on the information in the WSD list, and concluding with general statements about collocations with the words (gap fill). The worksheet finishes with a prompt for students to select the TOP 5 word collocations they wish to recall so they can recycle them when speaking or writing in English.

          I don’t know yet how my students found this learning activity but the proof will be in the pudding when they submit their answers to me.

          I can’t really comment about engagement levels with this particular activity yet,  but I would say from my experience of teaching using concordance lines and FLAX, that on the whole, students did struggle with concordance lines and I realise that I need to reduce the number of lines to a more reasonable number. Perhaps a max. of 10 to start off with!

          Another dawning realisation I had when introducing the worksheet, which investigated collocations with words such as [considering +], [+ scientific+] and [first of all +] was that my students’ knowledge of the terminology for the parts of speech in English was pretty hazy. So next time, I will run a mini-review over the key terms for parts of speech and ensure they have a rudimentary grasp of this before progressing onto the analysis of concordance lines. In fact, it wouldn’t hurt for me to brush up on these terms myself! :yes: :good:

          One last thing, I heard myself telling my Chinese students that parts of speech are like symbols – where I made an analogy of parts of speech to the symbols used in mathematical equations – they love maths as a subject, so I thought that might help them to look for patterns in the symbols rather than get bogged down in the meaning of the words in the concordance lines. I hope that didn’t confuse them!  I will see…… :yahoo:

        • #37251
          Anastasios Asimakopoulos
          Keymaster
            @anastasios

            Hello @rmwebb thank you for sharing your experience and reflection with us. I think it’s great to ask students for a bit of post-lesson feedback as well; I tend to do mini-evaluations of new materials or tasks I introduce every now and then, because the end-of-term feedback tends to be holistic and a little too general. I also tend to ask students to select the collocates that they think are useful to know and use in their writing, then give them my own list of 7-8 collocates based on how I perceive their needs; this can be really insightful for both teachers and students. So, for example, I would choose personal + information, opinion, communication, development, data and individual + difference, right, member, behaviour, component. So, you might want to compare their answers with what you would have picked for them, as it might help you reflect further on the use of the tool and how students understood it. Regarding the number of concordance lines, I would say 20-30 lines is fine as long as you introduce the idea of how we read them i.e. looking at the left side of the KWIC, 1-2 words  before it, and reading them vertically, perhaps using a pen to help, to identify patterns, that is repetition of words or patterns of speech.

          • #37341
            Judith Gorham
            Participant
              @judith-gorham

              Thanks for sharing this Rhian. What led you to ‘personal’ and ‘individual’? I wonder if concordancing is usually better with advanced students because of the amount of processing, even if they only look at one side of the KWIC? :scratch:

              I’m a bit behind with this work as it’s assessment time – I suppose most people are dealing with that. I’m going to look again at some assessment to gauge which pairs of words would be useful for the next time I teach the course I’ve just finished.

              • #37349
                Anastasios Asimakopoulos
                Keymaster
                  @anastasios

                  That’s okay @judith-gorham. We understand that it’s a very busy time for teachers, so you can post your reflections if you didn’t have the chance to do something in class.

              • #37481
                Rhian Webb
                Participant
                  @rmwebb

                  @judith-gorham. Thanks for you post. I had noticed that my Chinese students often hesitate when choosing either [personal] or [individual] and when we talked about it, there is not such a clear cut distinction in Chinese (their L1) and from this language prompt, I realize that the difference is really quite subtle but still enough to draw some rudimentary distinctions. Mine were the following distinction between the two words:

                  Fill in the gaps with either [personal] / [individual]

                  _______________ can be used to collocate with animate objects, such as, member, customer, employee, citizen etc. and inanimate objects like molecule and galaxy.

                  whereas

                  _________________ can be used to collocate with inanimate objects, like computer, and also with abstract concepts, such as, prejudice and fulfilment.

                  What do you think? I’d love to see if you agree or not….!

                • #37482
                  Judith Gorham
                  Participant
                    @judith-gorham

                    @Rhian I like your summary sentences. These are not easy to write but you guide the students to a useful distinction between animate and inanimate :)

                    I’m struggling to come up with useful summaries because I’d like to use the Word Difference tool to contrast verbs in Physical Sciences and Social Sciences. I found that ‘show‘ gives a LOT of results both for Subject and Object. However, beyond saying that SS collocations are more probably abstract nouns (show commitment, interest, support) and PS collocations more probably concrete nouns (show a circuit, system, line) they are difficult to summarise meaningfully. Maybe the collocations in common for both SS and PS are interesting. Students could choose examples of those used in both discipline areas (such as show a pattern, correlation, trend) and present them to the others(?)

                    I’d really appreciate some advice here @Anastasios.

                    • #37544
                      Anastasios Asimakopoulos
                      Keymaster
                        @anastasios

                        Hi @judith-gorham thank you for the question. You don’t necessarily have to summarise all the data; a couple of observations based on a few collocates would be enough. If you want to go beyond the abstract/concrete distinction, you can focus on the various meanings of the verb show. The examples you mentioned indicate that show has a different meaning in these concordance lines, so a closer examination of concordance lines (a set from SS and a set from PS) would be a great task for students. You could ask them to check the definition entries for show in a dictionary (Oxford Learner’s Dictionaries has 15 definitions for the verb show) and examine how many different definitions they can identify in each set. Or, perhaps form a hypothesis before they examine the concordances e.g. SS tend to use definitions __, __ and __, while PS tend to use definitions __ and __, where each gap responds to the number of the definition entry in the dictionary. They can then check and test their hypothesis, but also acknowledge the limitation of the tasks i.e. looking at 10 concordance lines only. I hope this suggestion helps.

                    • #37488
                      Ana Vucicevic
                      Participant
                        @ana93

                        Hello everyone!

                        First of all, I have to say that I find this forum extremely useful, surpassing my expectations. I am learning a lot from your practice and different teaching contexts! @rmwebb I find your comments really insightful, it is nice to see that you are full of enthusiasm for work!

                        As for the questions: I am not a teacher, but I am currently trying to help one my colleagues to innovate her classes of general academic writing, so I am going to share this experience. Our multi-year project encompasses evaluation of certain elements of written language output of university students majoring in English. One of the problems that keeps repeating is with a trio happenoccurarise. Now, my colleague seems to be quite willing to try out some corpus tools, so I would suggest introducing WSD (some basic concepts), then working on the specific word pairs. That work would imply (just a suggestion, it doesn’t have to be limited to a single class):

                        1) organising the students into smaller groups; each group should discuss potential noun+ respective verb collocations and make some small intuition-based word charts;

                        2) checking their suggestions in WSD (basic search, subject column) and discussing the potential disagreements using the option of concordance to provide some examples;

                        3) introducing more subject plus verb collocations through collocation sort exercise (here they may partly rely on the impressions they got from the previous assignment);

                        4) checking the exercise in WSD (accompanied with some examples from concordance);

                        5)  doing some summary gap-filling in order for them to get to know some general tendencies;

                        6) asking them to pick several collocations they might find useful;

                        7) giving them an assignment to write a rather brief comment/paragraph on some topic in which they will meaningfully use some of the collocations they previously chose;

                        8) peer-checking this assignment (importance of feedback and peer learning).

                        I would cover only pairs of verbs (happen-arise, arise-occur and happen-occur).

                        I was also thinking about some backward learning from the visualisation tool (they would interpret and use the data directly from the visual) and about making some larger wordbanks they could use for their final exam (perhaps a suggestion of some tool for this @anastasios?) :scratch:

                        :bye:

                         

                         

                         

                        • #37546
                          Anastasios Asimakopoulos
                          Keymaster
                            @anastasios

                            Hi @ana93 glad to hear we are surpassing your expectations ;) yeah it’s great having all of you on the course, sharing your knowledge and experience. I like your sequence of activities, but the only thing I would suggest is to follow the test-teach-test model, where students start with writing three sentences (one for arise, one for occur and one for happen). This would be also helpful because they can compare their sentences to see what nouns they used for subjects, as opposed to brainstorming for subjects that collocate with these three verbs. Then, there is the teach stage where they are introduced to WSD and do tasks you described. Finally, in the test stage they can go back to their sentences and correct/revise them themselves or do peer correction/feedback. This leaves the teachers with a set of sentences before and after being introduced to the tool and the opportunity to evaluate how effectively students have edited their sentences. By the way, if your colleague is going to use WSD without any prior exposure to SE or corpus tools in general, they might need some scaffolding or guidance from you ;)

                            By the way, you could tell me a little more about what kind of word bank for exams you are looking?

                          • #38023
                            Ana Vucicevic
                            Participant
                              @ana93

                              Hi @anastasios, got it, the teaching sequence you suggested seems balanced, perhaps less strenuous.

                              The word banks I am looking for are the ones  related to academic language in general with some subsets (for instance, hedging devices, comparing and contrasting devices or language related to specific genres like data commentary or argumentative essay).

                            • #38046
                              Anastasios Asimakopoulos
                              Keymaster
                                @anastasios

                                Hi @ana93 You might want to check the following resources:

                                I think these three would be a good start for students to explore.

                              • #38095
                                Ana Vucicevic
                                Participant
                                  @ana93

                                  Thanks @anastasios, I am sure these will be quite helpful!

                              • #37490
                                Vera Duncanson
                                Participant
                                  @vera-t

                                  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.

                                   

                                  • #37557
                                    Anastasios Asimakopoulos
                                    Keymaster
                                      @anastasios

                                      Hi @vera-t. Thank you for sharing your ideas. You made some good points and I am sure a lot of us can relate with the one regarding contextual/institutional limitations impacting on the choices we make as teachers i.e. teaching the exam prep vs. training students to become autonomous learners. I am also very happy to see that you gave it a go, and not just any tool! It was WSD, so well done for trying out in class. It’s very important to remember that the course is relatively short (6 weeks) compared to the amount of time that would take someone to feel that they can use SE comfortably. So, take your time to experiment with these tools, understand the data, and develop classroom or self-study tasks.

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