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EBL for grammar The PAGeS project. P eer- A ssisted G rammar-revision ( e bl) S essions annie.l.morton@manchester.ac.uk. Enquiry-Based learning in Language Teaching LLAS workshops-to-go Durham, 26 th June 2009. The Manchester context Our first project in grammar and phonetics

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ebl for grammar the pages project
EBL for grammarThe PAGeS project

Peer-Assisted Grammar-revision (ebl) Sessions


enquiry based learning in language teaching llas workshops to go durham 26 th june 2009
Enquiry-Based learning in Language TeachingLLAS workshops-to-goDurham, 26th June 2009

The Manchester context

Our first project in grammar and phonetics

Product versus process


Finding your trigger and creating your scenario

organisation of first year core language module
Organisation of first year core language module

220 post - A level students

10-16 in a class

3 x 1 compulsory hours – 20 credits

Team of 7 qualified language tutors

our first project the context
Our first project – the context

Learning language rules perceived as dull, students not engaging…

but expecting us to fill them with knowledge…

“There has long been concern that traditional curricula, delivered and assessed in traditional ways, promote a surface approach to learning rather that a deep or even strategic one” Entwistle (1995)

the eblometer ebl or tbl
The EBLometerEBL or TBL?



  • EBL not yet explicitly applied to grammar or phonetics
  • EBL/PBL ill-structured problems, open-ended enquiry
  • Emphasis on process
  • TBL emphasis on product – only 1 right answer!
  • Focus on problems whose answers known to teacher
  • Task as carrier for language item
  • Problem-solving element with controlled knowledge
ebl in phonetics
EBL in phonetics

The oral programme

Listening exercises

Debates and presentations

Phonetics and pronunciation

project format
Project format

Sem 1 preparation

Sem 2 - groups of 3 or 4 students (elect team leader)

Discover the scenario

2 weeks research period

Consult with SLT

Present findings to class (in French!)

Produce exercises for peers

Produce of a dossier (exercises, self reflection sheets and annotated bibliography)

Receive feedback from tutor and peers

Phonetics lessons put on Blackboard

Now fully embedded

ebl in grammar
EBL in grammar

Initial project proved ‘challenging!’

Reticence of some staff and students

“We pay fees for quality teaching, which we get, however we wouldn’t if taught by other students”

A Facilitator (2008)

Way forward came from students themselves…

pages peer assisted grammar revision ebl sessions
PAGeS - Peer Assisted Grammar revision (ebl) Sessions

Voluntary ‘bolt-on’ sessions;

Final and second year pairing;

Facilitate small group of first years;

Using scenarios created by SLTs based on first year grammar programme;

Solving the problem through discussion and informal presentation;

Evaluated at end of year and when someone drops out;

In 2nd year now with 130 students

what s in it for me
What’s in it for me?

‘Peer learning’ Ashwin (2003)

“This definition assumes that peer learning involves two groups of students, those whose learning is facilitated and those who facilitate…both groups of students should benefit from the interaction in some way”.

pages what s in it for me first years
PAGeS – what’s in it for me?(first years)

Extra grammar – Fren10210 AGT1 PAGerS 6% better!

100% of first years said they had a better understanding of grammar points covered

Top reason: “Because we had to explain the rules to others”

Innovative resources

Fun and motivating

Relaxed, collaborative small group environment

All thought had learnt things not related to grammar: presentation and communication skills, working methodically and not giving up, confronting weaknesses, learning how yourself and others learn

“It has taught me to work in a group productively and that other people’s knowledge can help me.”

what s in it for me facilitators
What’s in it for me?(Facilitators)


Ceebl facilitation training (they are not there to teach)

Organisational skills - setting up meetings, negotiation, listening, asking questions, stepping back, encouraging, giving positive feedback, patience

“This is the only way to put any joy into grammar…to make people aware that they do not have to suffer alone”

(a facilitator, 2008)

creating your language item trigger 1 correction based real life
Creating your language item trigger:1) Correction-Based ‘real life’
  • You are a team-leader in an export company and you notice your team (English speakers selling to France) are making [specified language point] errors so put together a short presentation explaining the rules to them...
  • You work for a …. and your team have been provided with the first draft of a document [containing specified language point problems] and must discuss and researchthe [problem] before making improvements and justifying decisions.
  • You are helping a neighbours son with his AS level coursework;
  • You are helping a fellow student do their language homework corrections, revision etc;
2 production based real life and less real life
2) Production-based ‘real-life’ and less ‘real life!’

You and a friend are writing a piece for the French Society newsletter welcoming new French Erasmus students into the department. It is a do’s and don’ts of life at Uni so you and your friend need to check on the use and formation of the imperative…

You work for a translation company and your team is working on [a piece containing examples of the specified language point] and have to research /discuss the language point in question…

You are writing a news bulletin…

Relaying events to the Suspicious Inspector Poireau

You are filling in a survey [and the answers you must provide will contain elements of the specified language point]

3 simple explanation based
3) Simple ‘explanation based’…

The following text contains several uses of [specified grammar point], discuss them with your group, research the rules and explain them;

Compare/Juxtapose sentences and explain differences;

Fill-in gaps and explain choice of tense;

Re-write in past and explain use of agreements;

French Grammar by Chocolate