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Saturday, November 20, 2010

Peer-to-Peer Encouragement and Support

My First Certificate Level Students are sitting their Cambridge FCE in the next two weeks and they are studying harder.

When the course started back in March I did my best to make them
aware of the fact that their success depended on them and on their
commitment. I created a wiki space where I've been uploading lots
of material for them to practise in class and at home. from

It proved really helpful as a kind of "virtual library" and also as a means of communication. My students have made comments, solved doubts and kept in touch with me throughout the whole year.

Yesterday I felt a sense of achievement when a student of mine sent me a list of queries and he told me that it would be a great idea if I uploaded those queries with the replies for his classmates to have the opportunity to read. I thought it was highly thoughtful of him and I felt that was peer-to-peer collaboration. This student was concerned his classmates would have the same doubts he had. I felt proud of him and totally rewarded as to one of my aims was to encourage collaboration and support in the classroom.

After I uploaded this material, that same student wrote a very considerate message for his classmates. It was in Spanish but it made me feel a higher sense of satisfaction. His message was:

"Chicos: tengan en cuenta que las dudas que le envié a Marisa y ella completó son sólo una parte de todo el vocabulario para el speaking, si se fijan al comienzo del libro hay una tabla donde en una columna llamada speaking justamente están todas las pags. y temas del libro para no andar buscando, yo hice una fotocopia de eso y subraye vocabulario en la fotocopia, seran unas 20 pags. de speaking."

The translation of the message is: "Boys and girls: please consider that the doubts I sent to Marisa and which she replied are only a part of all the vocabulary for the speaking paper. If you check at the beginning of the book, you'll find a table which includes a column called speaking and you'll find all the pages and topics of the book. So as not to look up those topics, I made a copy of those pages and underlined the key vocabulary. They must be around 20 pages of speaking."

I'm not sure my students will pass Cambridge First Certificate Exam but I have managed to foster a sense of collaboration and support within the classroom. And that is highly rewarding.

How do you encourage collaboration and support within the classroom? I'd like to know about it.