Whether or not you’re taking an organized language course, self-study is a very important part of your English journey.
Today we’re joined by our good friend and colleague Anna Wright who has some great advice on learner diaries and other ways to organize your studies and document your progress.
Voice message from Vicente from La Morada, Alicante.
XexceptingX – Apart from yours (is the best in the world)
timeX – tense
“It seems to me it won’t be the last”
Tools, tips and X
advicesX – advice
1. Learner diaries
2. Vocabulary notebooks
3. Songs and videos
4. Speaking online
5. Mobile Apps
8. Online forums
1. Learner Diaries
What are learner diaries and how can they help students improve their English?
Writing what you did every day OR charting your progress.
· Points of reflection at the end of class or maybe at the beginning
· Especially useful if you are abroad and culturally immersed
· Picture diaries
· Students can ask questions via the diary
· The teacher is constantly getting feedback from the student on what they like/ don´t like, what they are learning and how they are feeling
· The student is recording their learning progress – they can look back and see how their English has changed from previous entries
. A good place to record useful sources and resources
. A tangible record of genuine improvement/progress helps motivation.
What are the benefits/drawbacks?
Benefits – students get a closer relationship with their teacher
· Helps them express things they couldn´t say face-face. Makes a very close bond with the teacher – creates a one-one relationship
· Helps students and teachers mark progress
. Helps students focus on realistic, achievable objectives and goals
. Making it part of a routine can have a stabilising effect
Not everyone wants to keep a diary. It might not be ‘your thing’
Should teachers correct every mistake?
Negotiate with students – do they want to be corrected?
I tend to put comments
You can reformulate errors in reply
Using an error correction code to assist self-correction. The teacher indicates the error, but the student has to work out what the actual error is and self-correct. (eg. G = grammar error; V= vocabulary error, etc.) This way students are obliged to confront/address their own specific issues. Particularly effective at higher levels.
I used Lingt and audioboom to do these BUT in these cases, I set them questions – it can be good for students whose speaking is weak or who are preparing for exams
The teacher can record a message back and correct the pronunciation errors
Do you create interaction with your students when you mark written work?
Yes – I frequently write comments back and students can comment on your comments
They can write you questions and you can reply! This also avoids possibly embarrassing the more timid students in front of the class.
It’s a very personal interaction – teachers get to know each individual student’s problems and strengths and can readily see if the student is progressing in very specific areas.
Most students value and appreciate the time and effort that goes into a teacher’s correction notes. It reassures them that they are being properly monitored.
Learner Diary (Analogue versus digital)
I prefer analogue – physically easier
Extensive research has proven that physically writing on paper by hand reinforces long-term information retention and is better than typing for processing the information:
WhatsApp can be used as an effective learner diary?
2. Vocabulary Notebooks
Analogue versus digital
Anki and quizlet – good feedback on anki – students can share with their class mates
Use cards – one box – I know it/ the other I don´t
Word bags or boxes – very good for testing yourself
Put words on pieces of paper in your pocket and change words to a different pocket when you’ve learned them.
Mind Maps vs. lists
Mind maps more visual
(words we like)
By part of speech/categories (eg. nouns, verbs, phrasal verbs, adjectives, prepositions, prepositional phrases, noun phrases, collocations, idioms, etc.)
By date you learnt the vocabulary
3. Songs and videos
YouTube – https://www.youtube.com/
Ted Talks – https://www.ted.com/talks
Radio Garden – http://radio.garden/live/
Tunein radio – https://tunein.com/
Spotify – https://www.spotify.com/es/
Depeche Mode – People Are People
4. Speaking online (or even in real life, face-to-face, if possible) with a language exchange partner
Tandem – https://www.tandem.net/
Hello Talk – https://www.hellotalk.com/
italki – https://www.italki.com/
9 websites and apps to practise your English
5. Mobile Apps
Duolingo – https://www.duolingo.com/
Memrise – https://www.memrise.com/
Busuu – https://www.busuu.com
Learn English Grammar – British Council – https://learnenglish.britishcouncil.org/en/english-grammar
Ielts word power – https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.ubl.ielts&hl=en
6. Books and Blogs
Hobby blogs and magazines
Stitcher (Android) – search for your hobby or ‘learn English’: https://www.stitcher.com/
8. Online Forums
Facebook (FCE (First Certificate in English) – Preparing the B2 exam – (17,000 members)
Contact Anna: email@example.com
Send us an email with a comment or question to firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com.
…and now it’s your turn to practise your English. Do you have a favourite app, podcast or website that you use for self-study? Do you keep a learner diary?
Send us a voice message and tell us what you think. https://www.speakpipe.com/inglespodcast
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Many thanks to Patricia from Madrid who has translated episodes 8 and 9. Thanks to her and Arminda from Madrid, Alberto from Granada and Angélica Bello from Madrid, we now have full transcriptions for episodes 131 to 142, and episodes 1 to 10.
On next week’s episode: Winter Weather
The music in this podcast is by Pitx. The track is called ‘See You Later’
Photo by Lacie Slezak on Unsplash