The main purpose of this blog is to fill my Educ 504 Teaching with Technology requirement. However, I have been interested in the idea of blogging ever since my Dad told me I should start one about two years ago. This class has finally "jump-started" my blogging career. (Sorry Dad!)

Friday, October 5, 2012

My 1st Webinar

They're = "They are"
Their = plural possessive
There = a place

As in, "They're going there to get their grammar book!"  As a future English Teacher, I consider grammar to be a very important component of English/ELA.  This is one of the main reasons I made the decision to watch Jeff Scheur's webinar entitled "Got Good Grammar? - Using to help students improve their grammar/writing skills while saving red ink!"

 -->Since this was my first webinar experience I was pretty excited to see what all the commotion was about.  At first, I didn't realize how many cool "tools" webinars use to teach their lessons.  I also thought it was pretty cool how Jeff spent some time to get to know about the people participating in the webinar (how long they've been teaching, where they are from, what position they hold ex. administrator).  And the attendees communicated to Jeff's prompts in so many ways!  Through typing text in the chat box, clicking on certain icons indicating different answer selections (with a corresponding bell chime), and by actually writing on Jeff's presentation slides using the text option.  Very cool.  The entire webinar experience is so interactive!  There are so many components that Jeff must be constantly aware of and responsive too (especially if he expects attendees to continue participating in that fashion).  Overall, I think Jeff is a fantastic webinar leader since he successfully engaged with the webinar attendees, addressing their questions while providing a comfortable experience and environment for them to feel safe enough to share personal information.

Overall, I had mixed feelings in terms of the actual content of Jeff's webinar.  On the one hand, I can  definitely see the merit in Jeff's ideas about grammar correction in the classroom.  It makes sense that students who receive poor "red marks" over and over again will eventually become discouraged and will ultimately give up any future attempts at using grammar correctly.  (And who can blame them! There are SO many rules...)  Jeff provided an incentive based method of grading student papers as a way to reignite the pursuit of correct grammar usage within our students.  Instead of explaining the same grammar issue to one or more students, over and over again, teachers can utilize writing manuals - teacher-created packet numbering a list of common grammar mistakes and explicit reasons for its "incorrectness", including ways to correct the grammar mistake (where the writing manual would be thoroughly explained to students during their first writing assignment).  This would allow teachers to be more efficient and attentive graders, but Jeff even admitted in the webinar that this still may not be a great time-saver.  Jeff explained how there is currently more emphasis on teachers doing the majority of the work in revising papers, and that we need to give students a reason to read our feedback, yet both options are still very time consuming efforts on the part of the teachers.  The incentive based method I indicated to earlier in this paragraph is to provide students opportunities to do revisions on their papers for credit.  This allows students to increase their grade while simultaneously establishing an expectation that improvement can be attained.  Students create document that includes the number corresponding to their grammar mistake, the grammar rule itself in the student's own words, and the grammar correction from their paper.

In theory, Jeff's suggestion makes sense.  Teachers should employ the use of a system, and a possible time-saver in terms of the constant battle for work/life balance, where students have an entire list of grammar rules at their disposal.  But, really?  From my personal experience as a student I hated when teachers used writing manuals - I wanted their comments and thrived for their personal feedback on my papers, even the "bad" comments.  In addition, what kind of teacher believes they have the authority to create the end-all list of grammar rules?  A pompous one.  At least, that is how it came off to me when I was a young student.  Metacognitively though, I was a decent writer throughout my younger years as a student and this may not have been the teaching strategy tailored for me, but for those who needed a lower level of ZPD with highly scaffolded and explicit instruction of grammar rules.  I look forward to my future years in the field of teaching English/ELA and possibly researching which method is/is not "worth" it - to me and my students.

1 comment:

  1. I appreciate the thoughtful review and your keen differentiation between the tools of the webinar and its content.