ERIC Number: ED395513
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1996
Basing Discussion Classes on Learners' Questions: An Experiment in (Non-)Course Design.
Edinburgh Working Papers in Applied Linguistics, n7 p72-84 1996
This paper presentes a case study of an innovative class at the University of Edinburgh (Scotland) in an English for Academic purposes context in which spontaneous topics raised by the learners took the place of a pre-planned syllabus. The target students were late-matriculating research students and those with particularly weak spoken English. The class, which varied in size each week, met for 1.5 hours, once a week, for 10 weeks. Questions were gathered during the beginning of the class. The resultant discussion group framework consisted of the individual's question, a small-group discussion, peer and teacher answers, and teacher feedback that involved the individual, a small group, the teacher, and the class. A mid-course student evaluation was conducted to judge the usefulness of the discussion framework to student needs. With minor changes, such as student-centered grouping versus teacher-mandated grouping and more intensive correction requested by some students, the same format was continued for the remaining class weeks. Written student evaluations at mid- and end-term suggest that the format had met most students' needs, especially for the targeted groups. It is noted that the student-centered design allowed for a diverse topic range according to the needs and preferences of the participating students. (Contains 13 references.) (NAV)
Descriptors: Active Learning, Class Activities, Cooperative Learning, Curriculum Development, Discussion (Teaching Technique), English for Academic Purposes, Experiential Learning, Foreign Countries, Graduate Students, Higher Education, Learner Controlled Instruction, Learning Strategies, Relevance (Education), Second Language Learning, Student Participation, Student Role
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A
Note: For complete volume, see FL 023 856.