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Part 4 Teaching Material

4.3. Reflection on Teaching Artifact #2: Materials of Comparison for ESL Writers
Creating an instructional unit for AL 6725 Second Language Writing was a good
experience for me. I learned how to promote and improve creative writing ability in my students
according to specific genres. I created eight activities based on the first four stages of Feezs
teaching and learning cycle (1998, p.28.) These stages are: building the context, modeling and
deconstructing, joint construction, and independent construction, respectively. This cycle is
designed to show how students can learn, assess, and build their confidence and abilities through
writing. It also suggests how a writing teacher can sequence tasks to achieve particular purposes
at different stages of learning.
For this project, I imagined my target students to be at an ESL language school in Hawaii.
The class consisted of 15 students who had intermediate English proficiency level. Most students
came from Asia and their ages ranged from teenagers to fifty years old. They also had diverse
backgrounds of studying English and different motivations. Their only similarity was that among
four skills of English, they were not good at writing.
There are some strengths in my lesson plans. First, I integrated the English skills
throughout the teaching and learning cycle even though the main goal was teaching writing
skills. For example, I asked students to watch and discuss video clips about Coke and Pepsi in
preparation for a writing activity. Thus, they used at least two English skills, listening and
speaking, to build context for their writing. Another example of integrating skills was that
students had opportunities to see and compare different types of writing and discuss them in a
group. Using YouTube, video clips, and pictures would help students understand the content and
enhance their motivation. One other strength is that I tried to incorporate group work in every

lesson. Some students might think it better to work by themselves, but I believe that they will be
able to learn something from other students and use English more actively when they discuss,
compare ideas, and do peer feedback together.
There are also some points that I needed to improve in my lessons. One is that I needed to
make student-friendly headings and titles for the student work pages. When the format is
attractive and clear, students will be able to understand the task and activities and be more
motivated to read them. For example, I had an activity where students were supposed to read and
compare essays about mountain and beach vacations. I retitled the activity, Do you want to
vacation at the Beach or in the Mountains? instead of my original Read two essays and do some
tasks. Similarly, I should think about my students when I write or give instructions. I sometimes
need to make simpler questions or add more examples depending on the situation. Adding
scaffolding questions, showing some model examples, and giving a clear rubric will help
students know what is expected of them. My materials tended to just give some tasks and
instructions without showing examples or giving clues to help students do the activities. I might
be able to show some good example essays to help students understand the concepts or writing
approaches. They would also know how they should write the essays from the examples.
Showing students the rubrics will help them know what is important and how they are going to
be evaluated. If I can prepare supportive papers, such as scaffolding and rubrics, my future
classes will probably be better than before. Further, students will be able to maintain their
motivation because they will understand the class objective and aims of the lessons exactly. One
other improvement I could make is to examine carefully Internet sources that I incorporate into
my teaching. I used several internet reading sources to make materials, but they sometimes did
not fit the class objectives. For example, I used a source about the differences between the beach

and the mountains but starts with Im going to discuss It sounded like spoken discourse but I
presented it as an example of writing. I should revise, add, delete, or adapt more natural ways to
develop the materials when I have the time. One additional improvement needed in my materials
is attention to the teaching and learning cycle. I confused joint construction of the text with
independent construction. Joint construction means the teacher prepares pre-writing activities
so individual students can think about their topic and understand how to organize the final essay.
However, I originally understood that in the last stage students would start to write on new
original topics. I revised the materials after I received some feedback about this point from my
mentor teacher.
From taking this class and working on this collection, I learned how to develop materials
to help students understand and use a specific genre. It was difficult to make materials by myself
using Feezs teaching and learning cycle, but this experience taught me how to make quality
materials that other teachers may be able to use. I would like to create and develop more
materials for my writing classes in the future.

Reference
Feez, S. (1998). Text-based syllabus design. Sydney: McQuarie University/AMES.