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Raising awareness of academic expectations:
collaborative work in the EAP classroom
by Scott J. Shelton-Strong
- 7

Appendix 2 - Class 1: Group Project "Preparing for University study".

Introduction

In this class you are going to work together in small groups. You will be using your ideas, reading on the Internet, selecting information and presenting it to the class.

This information will provide you with opportunities to develop and exercise several key skills crucial for your success in your upcoming group project for this course (starting next class), and which will also be important for your future university study.

Today as you work collaboratively in your groups you will be thinking, talking, listening, planning and presenting a brief summary of your own 'speciality' area.

Task 1 – pre-reading

1. To form the groups, you will each be given a number from 1 to 4. When you have been given your number, find your classmates with the same number and form a group of 3.

• Elect a group scribe – someone who will note your ideas but participate too!

2. When you turn the page over you find your group's speciality area. Later you will be reading and watching a short presentation discussing your area on the Internet. For now, you will be allowed 5 minutes to brainstorm and predict what you will read about.

• What ideas do you think will be mentioned about your topic?

• Share your ideas (when brainstorming ALL ideas are good ones).

• Discuss and select the 3 most likely to be mentioned in the presentation.

Group 1 – speciality area: Plagiarism and how to avoid it

Group 2 – speciality area: Evaluating the web with a critical eye

Group 3 – speciality area: Tips on searching the web

Group 4 – speciality area: Tips on conducting research

In the computer room

Task 2 - While-reading

You will all be going to work on a separate computer. The three people in each group will be watching and reading the same interactive presentation on your specialty area.

1. Reading: while you watch and read the whole presentation take the note-taking handout and make notes of important points as you listen. Also check if any of your predictions were right!

o You may pause the presentation to write or go back to a frame. Don't write long sentences, but simply make clear, legible notes.

o Remember you have 20 minutes for this, so don't get stuck on opening tabs (new windows). Read enough to answer the questions and move on.

o Some of the information is specific to Acadia University and their library, but all of the main points made are relevant to all students.

2. When the time is over, re-join your group of 3 and compare your notes together. Negotiate any final changes you want to make and decide on a final version of the main points, examples, reasons, and a group evaluation of what you have understood, i.e. your opinion on why different points are important.

Task 3 – Post-reading

Collaborate together and prepare a short group presentation of your findings. You will need to share and discuss your ideas.

1. Consider what you think will be important, interesting and informative to the rest of the larger class. Use your notes.

2. Consider the best way to organize what you are going to share. Discuss this carefully and make an outline.

For example, what are the most important points, examples and reasons involved, and what will be your evaluation of these, i.e. What do you think about them, and why they are important, in your opinion.

3. Consider the phrases you want to use to introduce your ideas and to link them together.

For example:

• There are several important points to remember when…
• First of all…
• To start with…
• One of the most important points in our view…
• This is because…
• Another reason for this might be…
• And this links to…
• And this leads us to…
• However, (add a contrasting idea)
• Furthermore, (add an additional idea)
• Another point worth making…
• Something else to look out for…
• Something else you might not know/be aware of…
• To end with…
• To wrap up…

4. Make notes on the note cards you have been given, and be sure to use your own words as much as possible. Write in BIG letters and only what you need to remember.

5. Share the presentation time between the others in your group – break it into different parts. You have a total time limit of 6 minutes to share with the rest of the class. Practice together at least once!

6. As you listen to the others, think of a question or two (or write it down) and ask them when they have finished.

Task 4 - Self-assessment

Find a new partner from one of the other groups.

Ask (each other) and answer the questions below related to the work you have done in class today.

1. How effective was your contribution to the group work? Was anything especially difficult to manage? Was there anything you really enjoyed?

2. Did you learn anything new? Did anything you read or hear from your classmates make you think differently?

3. Did you feel comfortable listening, and speaking to others? Were you able to help your classmates?

4. Did you enjoy working from the computer instead of a book? Were there any personal advantages or disadvantages?

5. What was more memorable for you, the process of working together or the final presentation (and why)?


Task 5 - Homework

1. Watch the other three presentations on the web and take notes.

2. Turn off your computer.

3. Prepare to write a short paper for a student website summarizing and synthesising the main points of the 4 topics.

(See the homework hand out)

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