Actively Engaged in Communication, by Frank Bonkowski
How do you reach language learners who feel they know enough English to get by and are not motivated to take another English course?
First, put them at the centre of their learning. Second, give them field-related reading and listening materials that catch their interest. Third, encourage them to do interesting real-world, communicative tasks and projects. Fourth, give them corrective feedback showing ways to improve their speaking and writing. Finally, use Actively Engaged in Communication, a classroom-tested multimedia online course that helps learners improve the four language skills.
Learner-centered approach: the course challenges learners to do their best. It engages students by having them do a short talk, a short audio-visual presentation to classmates related to their field of study. The course also encourages students to be creative in designing and contributing regularly to their own blog, which serves as a personal archive of all their course work.
Field-related materials: the course focuses on eight field-related subjects which may be part of students’ technical or pre-university program: education, film studies, psychology, sociology, music, anthropology, health and food as well as business. Most students actually relish the opportunity to talk about a specific topic – in a short talk – related to their field of study.
Communicative tasks and projects: Actively Engaged in Communication gives learners the opportunity to express themselves in three stimulating classroom-tested projects. First, the film project is a highly successful activity that puts learners in the shoes of a film reviewer. In a mini-job search project, building on the film project, students write a CV as well as cover letter for a job in the film industry related in some way to their field of study. In the debate project, students prepare a debate leading to summative speaking and writing evaluations.
Opportunities to practice and to receive corrective feedback: The course provides self-correcting online formative quizzes and automated writing assessments. With other helpful resources – a writing workshop for example, extra writing activities, and model essays, students know just what to do.
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Actively Engaged in Communication (102B – focusing on field-related materials, project-based learning, automated corrective feedback on writing)