Systematic motivation work: it’s all about overcoming obstacles

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IsakDue to lack of motivation and high drop-out rates in upper secondary schools in Norway, we have developed an action research project called “Systematic work with motivation in upper secondary school”. The essence of the project is that the students are to reveal themselves what they want, how to get there, and what stops them from getting there. They are to find SOLUTIONS to possible obstacles THEMSELVES. Lector Gerd Martina Langeland at Møglestu upper secondary school initiated this project, and inspired by a motivation tool developed by the Norwegian psychologist John Petter Fagerhaug, we have applied an approach we call “the five-step motivation model” in several classes in upper secondary schools in the southern region of Norway. Website: https://samm.uia.no/ Continue reading

Comparing language learning contexts – different routes to the same top

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DSC_0107In this study, we are investigating different English teaching contexts, and how these differ in spite of a common goal: to learn to communicate well in English. We compare a Norwegian and Polish context, and investigate how curriculum, textbooks, examination and assessment differ. Our findings show that there are some differences in the two context, even though both focus on developing communicative competence in English. Continue reading

Doctoral defense, autumn 2016, Scaffolding Writing Instruction recommended in English teacher training

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053After three years as a PhD. student, I defended my doctoral dissertation this autumn, 2016, first at the University of Agder in Kristiansand, Norway, and second at the Adam Mickiewicz University in Poznań, Poland. In the picture here, I stand next to the committee that approved my dissertation, from the left: Krystyna Droździał-Szelest,  Ingrid Kristine Hasund and Gustaf B. Skar. The title of the dissertation was: “English writing instruction in Norwegian upper secondary school – a linguistic and genre-pedagogical perspective”

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Scaffolding writing instruction – Teaching material and literature recommendations

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OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERADuring my time as a researcher and teacher, I have developed various teaching material both in English and Norwegian concerning how to teach argumentative writing and adjust language and structure to a formal context. Below, you will find the teaching material used in English in my research in upper secondary school, as well as some extra material developed in other contexts. The extra material in both English and Norwegian has been used also in lower secondary school. Following this is a recommendation of various literature related to teaching writing, in line with the scaffolding writing instruction approach that I apply in my work.

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Research visit to Sydney University

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OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThis is the place where the Australian genre-pedagogy started, a scaffolding writing instruction approach originally developed to empower marginalized groups of pupils and to help them mastering genres that dominate discourses in society. This is the theory I have focused on in my phd. research on how linguistic theory may be applied in writing instruction in the classroom, and travelling to Sydney to meet the people behind this theory and observe the application of it in different classrooms has been really interesting and inspiring for me. Continue reading

Scaffolding writing instruction – a genre-pedagogical approach that takes students’ needs seriously

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Essay-vidoeTo learn to write well-structured and coherent texts may be a challenge in both English, which is focused on in this study, and in other subjects. A particularly challenging genre is argumentative writing, and this study shows how scaffolding writing instruction based on Australian genre-pedagogy may contribute to students mastering this better. Continue reading

“Use only English in English teaching” – do students of different language backgrounds agree with this?

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Bilde, Role of L1In English-teacher training in Norway as in other parts of Western Europe and the USA, there has been a focus on using English as much as possible in the classroom. A mono-linguistic approach to language teaching is often promoted, based on theories that we learn best through natural input of the language being learnt. Even though this dominates in literature concerning English teaching, this is not necessarily how practice is in real life, and a pure mono-linguistic approach is not necessarily the best approach for the students. Continue reading

A need to focus on writing skills in higher education

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Bilde, skriving BLUIn higher education, there are many studies where knowledge is tested by making the students hand in written exams. This implies that they have to master both the subject they study, and to present central topics well in writing. This can be a challenge for some students, as not everybody masters writing well. This study investigates what a selection of students taking preschool-teacher-education think about their own writing skills concerning writing argumentative texts in social sciences, and what challenges they have with this type of written presentation. Continue reading

Students in upper secondary school – confident in their own English writing skills?

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DSC_0085This is a national survey which investigates what students in upper secondary schools in Norway think about the writing instruction they get in English, what feedback practices are applied, and to what degree they master writing texts in English. The study is a follow-up of an interview-study that examined what teachers think about their own writing practices, and the questionnaire used in this survey is developed on the basis of the findings of this interview-study. Continue reading

Writing instruction and evaluation in upper secondary school – different practices and attitudes among teachers

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DSC_0091This study investigates how English teachers in upper secondary school teach writing, and whether they use assessment as a strategy to support students in developing their writing skills. The findings of the study show that there is a main focus on teaching argumentative writing, but there are different attitudes to how detailed the instruction should be and to what degree to which evaluation situations are used as part of the writing process varies. Continue reading