to Improve Students’ English Writing Skills at the Secondary Level

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English Language Education Section Curriculum Development Institute Education Bureau

Mini-Project 2013/14

Promoting Assessment as Learning

to Improve Students’ English Writing Skills at the Secondary Level

“Seed” Project (2015/16) on

“The Power of Digital Texts in Promoting Literacies across the Curriculum in the

Junior Secondary English Classroom”

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School Background

The school is supportive in the implementation of e- learning and hopes to enhance students’ learning motivation through the use of IT. The MOI is Chinese except English.

The English teachers hope to explore effective strategies in the use of IT to raise students’

motivation towards English learning & promote reading and writing across the curriculum.

The students’ English ability varies. There are Students with Special Educational Needs (SEN), Non-Chinese Speaking students (NCS) and Newly-arrived Children (NAC).

School

Teachers

Students

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Aim of the ‘Seed’ project

To enhance English teachers’ knowledge and competence in developing students’ literacy skills across the curriculum by:

examining the connection between English for general purposes and English for academic purposes including identifying rhetorical functions commonly found in non-language subjects (e.g. defining, comparing and contrasting) to raise students’ academic content and language awareness

selecting appropriate digital texts and exploring the effective use of digital features and tools

designing suitable learning, teaching and assessment activities for digital texts

To investigate how digital texts with interactive features and tools (e.g.

images, videos, glossary, note-taking) can be effectively used to support junior secondary students in reading and writing across the curriculum

Objectives of the ‘Seed’ project

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Making effective use of IT in the English classroom

Developing students’ reading / writing skills & strategies

Promoting Assessment for / as Learning in the English classroom

Other Focusses of the “Seed” Project

“Seed”

Project 2015/16

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Planning & Implementation of the “Seed” Project

Level: S.1

No. of Students: 21

Development

Tryout I Tryout II

Implementation Development Implementation

End-of-the- year Evaluation

Oct 15

Nov Dec Jun

Co-planning

Tryout

Apr May

Co-planning

Tryout

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Connecting students’ learning experience

between English Language & Integrated Science

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Integrating the Use of the Digital Version of

Information Texts into the School-based Curriculum

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Integrated Science English

Language

Topic Dream School

Content

• Theme: Natural Selection

Reading-related strategies

• Supported by the use of e-features

Language features

• Relative clause (“which” / “who”)

Designing a Cross-curricular Task (Tryout 1)

Topic Living Things

Integrating the Use of the Digital Version of

Information Texts into the School-based Curriculum

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Integrated Science English

Language

Topic Sweet Friends

Content

• Topic: Praying Mantis

Reading-related strategies

• Supported by the use of e-features

Language features

• simile (“as…as” /

“…like…”)

Designing a Cross-curricular Task (Tryout 2)

Topic Living Things

Integrating the Use of the Digital Version of

Information Texts into the School-based Curriculum

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Making Use of Graphic Organisers to

Deconstruct Content & Language of the Texts

Natural Selection (Tryout 1)

Big Bugs, Bad Bugs (Tryout 2)

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Making Use of Interactive Features that

Facilitate Understanding of the Reading Texts

Hyperlinks for explanation of unfamiliar words and concepts

Reading aloud function to help students work out pronunciation of

unfamiliar words

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Making Use of Interactive Features that

Facilitate Understanding of the Reading Texts

Word explanation (with pictorial clues) Video clips (for difficult concepts)

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facilities

activities

To describe the facilities and school activities of your dream school

(Content)

Promoting Assessment for / as Learning through Process Writing

• Identifying strengths

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(Organisation)

Promoting Assessment for / as Learning

through Process Writing

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(Language)

(by Chen Yun Cheng)

• To use the “Simple Present Tense” to talk about

 Things that are always true / that are true now

 Feelings, opinions &

preferences

To make descriptions by using

“There is / There are” to talk about someone / something

Promoting Assessment for / as Learning

through Process Writing

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• Identifying areas for improvement

Promoting Assessment for / as Learning through Process Writing

(which / who-clause)

• Form 

• Function 

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(Language)

(by Yu Zhi Kwan)

The Cosswroth is as cute as a dog.

Making descriptions by using

 “…like…”

 “as…as”

 “which / who”

The Cosswroth which has strong hands can help me.

The Cosswroth is like my brother who always helps me.

Promoting Assessment for / as Learning

through Process Writing

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Impact on Teachers & Students

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Making use of the Learning Progression Framework (LPF) for Reading in the design of post- reading activities to help students develop reading skills and strategies that support their understanding of the reading texts

Impact on Teachers

• Explicit teaching of reading strategies

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cat future total

me correction dictation

• Learning and teaching strategies (Phonics skills)

Impact on Teachers

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What is a predator?

• Learning and teaching strategies (Making use of contextual clues)

(Refer students to the picture & the caption)

• “What is this little animal here?” (fly )

• “What is the praying mantis trying to do with the fly?” (eat the fly)

(e-feature: word explanation)

something that catches and eats other things

Impact on Teachers

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• Making effective use of IT in the English classroom

The production of digital texts provides the context for the

development/practice of creativity, speaking and writing skills & self- directed learning skills.

Impact on Teachers

The use of grammar games can engage students in the grammar

practice activities in a fun manner while helping them consolidate the grammar knowledge.

The use of the polling app can enhance participation and interaction among the students.

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With the use of the book creator app, some students were

willing to spend extra time on improving their own work, which in turn promoted assessment for/ as learning With the use of the polling

e-platform, students were motivated to express

themselves and provide feedback on their peers’

work; the instant feedback generated on the screen could enhance

participation and

interaction among the students.

The use of apps for developing grammar practice activities was effective in supporting students’ understanding of the grammar items.

Students were interested in playing the grammar games.

Impact on Teachers

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Explicit teaching of reading skills and strategies, e.g.

phonics skills and making use of contextual clues, can enhance the learning and teaching effectiveness of the reading lessons.

Data Collected from the Post-Tryout Teacher Interview

The “Seed” project can provide exposure for

students to learn English with topics and language features related to Science.

It was impressive to see that students, whose English

ability was comparatively low, were able to manage texts of comparatively higher

complexity with support from the e-features of the e-books together with the explicit

teaching of reading strategies.

Impact on Teachers

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Data Collected from the Post-Tryout Student Interview

The topics help me learn more about science.

I find it fun to read digital texts. It is more interactive.

I particularly like the grammar /vocabulary games. They help me remember the language items more easily.

I use the Internetfor entertainment. It is part of my daily life. I’m excited to use it in the English lessons. I’m more willing to do the English activities which involve the use of the Internet.

I like the voting game.

I’m more willing to

participate in the lessons.

I prefer using e-books to printed texts.

The audio clips, word explanations, video clips and pictures can help me understand the reading texts more easily.

The app can help me practice my speaking skills.

Impact on Students

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Future Plan of the “Seed” School

Staff development

• Demonstration and sharing on the “Seed” project experience with other teachers by the project teachers; and

• Incorporating IT into the English classrooms through co-planning and co-teaching.

Curriculum planning and development

• Making adaptation to the existing school-based English curriculum with reference to the “Seed” project experience;

• Extending the learning and teaching experience related to reading, e-learning and cross-curricular learning in planning the school- based English Language curriculum across levels;

• Introducing the use of digital texts in the school-based extensive reading programme (providing opportunities for students to produce their digital texts); and

• Explicit teaching of reading skills & strategies.

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Staff development (During the tryouts)

Observation by other teachers during the tryouts

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Staff development (Post-exam activities 2015/16)

Demonstrating the use of IT and digital texts through co-teaching Cross-curricular topic: Living Things

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Staff development (Post-exam activities 2015/16)

Introducing the grammar item “relative clause (which-clause)” to make descriptions

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Staff development (Post-exam activities 2015/16)

Students who have participated in the “Seed” project were identified as student-teacher to support students of other classes in using the app to create a digital text

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Future Plan of the “Seed” school

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Introducing the use of digital texts in the school-based English Language curriculum

• Making adaptation to the junior secondary school-based English Language curriculum

• Introducing the use of digital texts in holiday assignments and the extensive reading programme

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Explicit teaching of reading skills & strategies

 Focusing on the part that students may find particularly difficult

 Engaging students to read some of the parts silently

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Questions and answers

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Thank you

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