Dissertation Diary 6

I’ve decided to use my blog as a reflective tool while doing my dissertation project – the final component of my M.A. in ELT –  hypothesising that this will make it an even more effective learning experience for me, by mapping it, enabling me to look back on my thought processes and decisions and see what effect these have on the project development. (Other posts in this series can be found here) Once I get to the end (13th September is D-Day!), as well as looking back over the experience of doing the project, I plan to try and evaluate the effect of these reflective blog posts on it.

The homework I left myself with at the end of the last post in this series was:

  • Address the culture issue
  • Continue mapping my skeleton back to the theory/principles and fleshing it out/pinning it down
  • Once vertical sequences all mapped out, combine that with the diagram, thereby producing a framework for my materials.
  • Write rationale.

Progress report:

As far as the issue of culture is concerned, I’ve found a theoretical anchor for what I’m doing with culture within my materials: Corbett (2003) An Intercultural Approach to English Language Teaching. Multilingual Matters. More specifically so far, chapter 6: Exploring Culture Through Interviews. This is essentially what my learners will be guided through doing in the course of the macro-task cycle. What I need to do is link this anchor to my stance on culture, which should be backed up by further related theory (this should not be difficult, having spent a semester doing a module on “Methodology in Context”, in which culture featured prominently…) This is something I need to include in my rationale.

As to mapping the skeleton out properly and justifying each step of it, that I have finally done. It’s taken 48 power point slides. The first 27 consist of theory and notes to myself of the links I need to make in relation to my materials. This, I think, is another step towards being able to produce the rationale. The last 22 slides are the map of my materials, consisting of a series of diagram (but in the end not filled in because there isn’t enough space, so the content is on subsequent slides), task description slide and task justification slide. Each vertical task in the horizontal macro-cycle  represents a 2.5hr lesson, and 8 of these bring me to the required 20hrs of materials, if my maths hasn’t failed me.

Materials Framework Draft 2

I might possibly now need another interim stage, between this Materials Framework Draft 2 and writing a draft of my rationale, where I explicitly link the first 27 slides (+other associated theory I’ve read) with the last 22 slides… The justification slides were made with the first 27 slides etc in mind, but it might be useful to go through them and cross-reference. I think it would be as simple as putting a (see slide x) or a (see [e.g.] Ellis 2003:xx) in brackets after elements in the justification. That should make it easier for H to negotiate the document when I send it in advance of our next meeting, and to see more clearly why I’m doing what I’m doing (hopefully…), and, for me, it should also make writing my rationale that much more straight-forward. Again, hopefully… It will also make me double check everything I’ve done so far in terms of the framework, which means if there are any anomalies I can also hopefully spot them and eliminate them. This is still very much a work in progress.

I haven’t started writing my rationale yet. Not formally, anyway. (Another way to look at it would be to say that everything I have done so far is rooted in writing the rationale. Maybe this is a process approach.. :-p)

So, next lot of homework:

  • Cross-reference justification to theory (either slides or texts)
  • Synthesise my approach to culture
  • Write a draft rationale

I have 11 days before my next meeting (it’s on the 27th June), although several of those will be taken up conferencing (Warwick PG Conference of Applied Linguistics) and some time will need to be dedicated to preparing for further conferencing (MATSDA). It should be perfectly feasible, even with everything else I have planned between now and then. As Sandy said, if you need something doing: ask a busy person…

Meanwhile, thoughts/criticisms/suggestions/comments etc are welcome. 🙂

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One thought on “Dissertation Diary 6

  1. Pingback: Dissertation Diary 7 | Reflections of an English Language Teacher

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