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Teaching English using e-Forum

October 07, 2010 By: supyan Category: K. Current practices

Online Forum or e-Forum is a platform which allows language teachers to promote continuous learning in their courses. Learning is not bound by the four walls but can be extended outside classroom. In other words, the learning process is not limited by time and space.

Through e-forum, students can engage in structured and unstructured discussions.  They can practice their language skills through writing in e-forum. However, teachers should remind their students that language accuracy, although important, is not the main focus in their writing in the e-forum. What is more prominent is students’ active engagement in the e-forum. The more students practice to write, the better their writings will be.

Teachers will benefit a lot too if they know how to exploit the e-forum. Teachers can reinforce what has been learned in the classrooom  in the e-forum. Using Bloom’s Taxonomy, teachers could guide students to learn and acquire better thinkings skills (including creative and critical thinking) throughout the discussions in the e-forum, in addition to enhancing their writing skills.

I have been conducting e-forums in my English courses since 2003 and MA courses since 2005. As I become familiar with the e-forum, I carried out series of research from 2005-2008 to find best practices in e-forum. Read some of conclusions that I’ve made in one of my writings:

http://www.cluteinstitute-onlinejournals.com/Programs/Disney_2008/Article%20241.pdf

I have also written chapters in books on how to integrate e-forum in the teaching of English (and perhaps can be used to teach other subjects as well). Teachers can create e-forums using facilities at yahoogroups, nicenet, and now Facebook. I have been using yahoogroups as my main e-forum for my courses, and now am using e-forum in Facebook. I will do a small scale study on this new approach and share with you the findings later.

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