Searching for a platform to host my blog

Reflective diary – 19 July 2014

Today I signed up to Goodreads – trying to expand my access to resources.

I also started searching platforms for a blog with which to type up the Action Research Project journal diary.  I started reviewing:

  1. Blogger.com (Blogger and Google+ profile options)
  2. WordPress.com
  3. A number of other options ie. Tumblr, Typepad and Weebly.  These and others were reviewed in comparison sites, then rejected as unsuitable.

Continue reading “Searching for a platform to host my blog”

Seeking advice from a former peer…

Reflective diary: 26 and 28 June 2014

Today I sent a Skype message to a former peer on the Effective Online Tutoring course that I took through the University of Oxford, Department of Continuing Education, back in 2012.  I was hoping to get her advice regarding which platform she thought would be good to use with ESOL learners who have little or no experience with ICT (Information and Communications Technology).  This person has a wide range of experience over a number of years teaching online and using a variety of platforms.  She lives in India, where there is a four and a half hour time difference between her home and mine in Bristol.   Her advice would be invaluable if I can get it.

A further attempt to speak on Skype was made on 28 June.  I have so far been unable to link up.  Our diaries don’t seem to coincide at all.  I have to try to move forward with planning…

The reflective journal process resumes in earnest

Reflective diary – 22 June 2014

Today I’ve been writing up research diary entries and documenting the process undertaken so far, especially since formulating the precise nature of the topic as this had been done primarily, verbally with my tutor.  I documented these in chronological order from 27 January to the present day, whilst away in Perugia, Italy, post-conference.  Additional reflections already documented will be edited in during the typing up process.

Since going through the process of documenting thoughts, ideas, concerns and decisions following conversations with peers and my tutor, I must admit that the action research project is starting to make much more sense to me than it did in the beginning when it was first discussed.  At that time I had absolutely no idea what I could improve on, make more effective, or what gap there was in ESOL provision or how I could improve the learner experience.  It is only after going through a long process of having interactions with my learners, peers and my tutor and discussing what problems I had in my lessons that barriers to learning and the fluctuating nature of access to English lessons and retention really seemed to be a possible area in which to focus for my research project.  Barriers to learning is a particular problem for some learners especially after school, in the evenings, weekends and during vacation time if learners have family to care for and they have no access to reliable support and/or affordable child care provision.  Continue reading “The reflective journal process resumes in earnest”

Some background information and feedback from learners to my initial action research project idea

Reflective diary – 16 June 2014

During our Monday evening DTLLS class we went through the ‘Writing your Research Report’ again in the lesson and took further notes on points for inclusion and guidance for each section of the research project report.  Our tutor needs to see a typed copy of the research planner before the end of the summer term (27 June 2014), but ideally during the last lesson on 23 June, so that she can check each stage is planned correctly.  The research planner is to be included in the project as Appendix I.

A literature review is to be written over the summer with a research timetable being included in the research project report as Appendix II.  A reflective journal or diary of 1,000 words is to be included as Appendix III.  I have decided to write my reflections on an ongoing basis and compile them in this blog, with a condensed version meeting the 1,000 word limit appearing in the appendix, as required.  I will also be including templates of forms and documents in this blog which should be quite informative by the time the action research project is concluded.  Continue reading “Some background information and feedback from learners to my initial action research project idea”

Getting feedback from my peers, tutor and learners

Reflective diary – later in the day on 9 June 2014

I discussed my planned research topic with my peers in the college lesson this evening, in two groups of 4/5 teachers.  In discussion with my group I mentioned helping a learner with an interview on Skype and the fact that I hoped to teach online in the future, having undertaken a course (Effective Online Tutoring) with Oxford University, Department of Continuing Education.

I mentioned the frustrating problem of retention and the drop in nature of ESOL lessons and the fact that it is very unpredictable if learners turn up; the last lesson of the course could be a ‘no show’ due to it being held in the first week of the summer vacation. Continue reading “Getting feedback from my peers, tutor and learners”

Looking for ideas

Reflective diary – 8-9 June 2014 

Late on Sunday and well in to Monday morning I undertook numerous searches online ie. Tom Walton’s blog (teacher trainer and webmaster at International House (IH), Barcelona), looking for ideas for my Action Research Project.  I came across Edmodo , an online platform that enables learners to take part in a blended learning course provided by a teacher.  It is also possible to share resources and learn in a global community.  I particularly like the fact that it enables documents to be uploaded and for learners to keep track of their work.  I read the Terms and Conditions but decided against signing up immediately until I had taken advice and formulated my final plan for the project.  I would also need to seek permission from my work place mentor’s organization to use this platform in my teaching with learners.

After some searching I came across a very good video by Russell Stannard (Teacher Training Videos.com) on how to use it, entitled A Full Introduction to Edmodo , accessible on his website and on YouTube.  Continue reading “Looking for ideas”

The fog begins to clear…

Reflective diary – 02 June 2014

Monday evening DTLLS course at college:  Invited speakers attended.  There was more discussion of the Action Research project process, with input from one past PGCert (Postgraduate Certificate) student and one current DTLLS student. Past completed DTLLS and PGCert projects were available to view in class.

When discussing my plans for my Action Research Project with my peers at the end of the lesson today I made a number of comments re issues that I’d been struggling with.  I mentioned that from my learners’ perspective their lives were very often in transition and yet I felt pretty helpless in not being able to offer the help I would like due to not having been taught how to assess learners’ levels correctly using established procedures.  Namely, the technology or software required with which to do it.  In my voluntary work capacity I don’t have access to this.  Or so I’ve been told.  Requests for help with initial assessment has unfortunately not materialized as yet, but is something I still need to address.  I assess learner’s levels throughout the first lesson, or at a prior meeting if there is one.  The drop-in nature of the course and the changing circumstances that learners find themselves in also has repercussions on uptake of courses and retention.     Continue reading “The fog begins to clear…”