I am pretty sure most people have been through that phase when you write so much for an extended period of time that you can’t stand the thought of ever writing again. That’s exactly where I have been. I have abandoned this blog for months because I could not make myself to contribute with a single extra sentence to the world of ELT – which is perhaps a good thing after all! Nonetheless, here I am again to justify my absence from this blog and tell my readers that I have not forgotten you.
I have finally submitted my thesis on 30th October and I hope next year I will be able to share some of my research in a couple of articles and let you all know what I have found out. Meanwhile, there is a book chapter out now which I have also written in this period in collaboration with one of my supervisors. It looks at the data of my research from a different angle considering the one I was mainly interested in exploring in my study. Click here for more information on the publication.
I have also penned a short article for the ELTJ that should be out soon and reports on the discussion fielded by Ben Crystal which we had at the LMCS on Shakespeare in the 21st century. I am now working on another article on teaching Shakespeare for the LMCS newsletter that I hope it will be out in the next edition. These are all short pieces but they do require attention, care, and lots of editing work that can be quite time and energy consuming.
Anyway, I am back. I promised myself that I would rest the pen for months – or the keyboard for that it matters – but it doesn’t really work for me. The good thing is that at least here I can indulge myself and write without having to provide references at every single line… Oh the sweet freedom of non-academic writing!
My answer for this question is on the link below. Just click on the image to read the article.
The ELT Online Reading Group was a brand new website. The Group grew so much in the last couple of years that we needed to create a new website that could accommodate all the online traffic and avoid the jam on TeachingEnglish. Besides that, as our Group approaches its 6thanniversary this August 2013, we thought of giving it a more interactive, more visually attractive and more user-friendly website.
These are some of the new features you will find on the new site:
- An easily accessible Welcome page where you can register as a member and post your welcome message
- Distinct discussion threads for short stories, poems and novel extracts
- New works uploaded every month
- Selected web links that bring you more information on particular works and authors
- A collection of downloadable lesson plans based on literary works and the opportunity to share your own lesson plans and materials
- The ELT Online Reading Group own publications that you can read on screen as e-books or download as pdf documents
- The Small Groups area where you can have your own closed online reading group for your own students or institution using our online platform
- A direct link to the ELT Online Reading Group YouTube channel
- Direct links to the ELT Online Reading Group Facebook and Twitter pages
Join the Group at http://eltreadinggroup.weebly.com
I would like to thank the British Council for all the support, especially Paul Braddock for the tips and help to create the new site. Cheers!
I hope you enjoy the new website and enjoy reading the texts available there.
It is perhaps fair to say that paraphrasing is one of the most complex and difficult skills to master when it comes to academic writing. Writing for academic purposes necessarily involves reading extensively, engaging in a dialogue with other writers, and reporting this dialogue to your readers. As a writer and as someone who teachers academic writing, I am painfully aware of the difficulties paraphrasing poses to everyone, regardless your level of language proficiency and reading experience. Yet, it cannot be denied that most international students starting their courses at higher education institutions in the UK find paraphrasing particularly taxing.
Paraphrasing is often defined as putting a passage from an author into’ your own words’. But what are your own words? How different must your paraphrase be from the original? Besides that, we must remind ourselves that our students’ ‘own words’ are not necessarily the ‘words’ that are conventionally accepted as good academic English when it comes to register and style.
Some people argue that paraphrasing is a skill that develops naturally as students progress in their studies and I do believe this is just right for most of us. Not because it happens magically, but because the ability to rewrite ideas in a clear and concise way depends on how much reading you have done in your life. The more you read, the better reader you become. The better reader you are, the better writer you become. Reading extensively helps you develop the ability to process and connect ideas in a quicker and more efficient way and gives you writing patterns to follow. Our brains seem to learn these patterns even if we are not aware of the cognitive process going on.
The problem with students is that most of the time they need these paraphrasing skills now – for the next assignment! They do not have time enough to develop their paraphrasing abilities only through reading. The EAP tutors’ jobs is to provide a sort of short-cut, crash course on paraphrasing that will help learners to deal with the immediacy of the task.
Simplistic as guided step-by-step approach to paraphrasing may be, it is a tangible beginning. It is something students can hold on to until they have time to read more and start improving their reading and writing skills though practice. Tutors faced with the task of teaching paraphrasing tend to fall into two extremes: some seem to believe that strictly following these guided steps is enough to help students to paraphrase properly whereas others just disregard them believing that all students have to do is to ‘write using their own words’. Neither of these approaches will do. Following guided steps by the letter is not enough to produce good paraphrasing; it is just a kick start. Writing without thinking about the process you are going through is something that only more proficient readers and writers can do, and this is not usually the case with most of our students. Students need guidance at the beginning until they can slowly develop their reading and writing skills to the point they can paraphrase ‘naturally’ and properly.
Here there are some web sources that may be helpful to both students in need of paraphrasing guidance and tutors in need of understanding the process a bit further to be able to be of any service to their learners.
Paraphrase – Purdue OWL
Paraphrasing – OpenLearn – Open University