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Exploratory Practice and the EAP Practitioner

Exploratory Practice and the EAP Practitioner.

Video: Exploratory Practice in Academic Writing classes 

Video: Exploratory Practice in Academic Writing classes .

‘Teachers Research!’ IATEFL ReSIG Annual International Conference & 5th Gediz University Annual Teacher Research Conference, in Izmir, Turkey, 18-19 June 2015

I went this conference and I especially liked the fact that it was for teachers by teachers. The idea was for teachers to share their classroom research and to reflect on the outcomes from a personal and professional point of view with support and comments from the plenary speakers Anne Burns, Judith Hanks, Mark Wyatt. I presented my classroom research which was based on the principles of Exploratory Practice but there were teachers who had used action research and lesson study. It was good to see the range of classroom research tools that had been used by teachers in their contexts. Wasyl Cajkler and Julie Norton from the University of Leicester were also invited speakers who commented particularly on lesson study classroom research. The research topics ranged from investigating problems and issues that either needed practical solutions or better understandings.

Here is the link

An interview with Dick Allwright, Judith Hanks, Ines Miller and Assia Slimani-Rolls.

I was fortunate enough to have the opportunity to carry out an informal interview / discussion with Dick Allwright, Judith Hanks, Ines Miller and Assia Slimani-Rolls altogther in one room at the Harrogate Conference Centre, 31st March 2014.

Question 1 and 2 reflect what I was interested in when I first started my background research into Exploratory Practice (EP) in 2008. I wanted to have an audio recording of how EP started and why puzzles shouldn’t be called problems. The remaining questions (3-5) are things that I am currently interested in.

1. How did EP start?
2. What is a puzzle and why should it not be called a problem?
3. Is EP being practised in the UK? If so, where?
4. In the UK context, is there evidence of students working together with practitioners to carry out classroom research since publishing your book ‘Developing the language learner’ (Allwright and Hanks, 2009)?
5. Most of the time, in my experience, people tend to associate EP and AR as similar types of classroom research carried out by teachers. What is the underlying difference between EP and AR?
6. What are the criticisms of EP?
7. How do classroom practitioners learn about EP and where can they go for help?

(The first 10 minutes of the recording has the venue’s background music that might be a little distracting)

Teachers Research! 1st April 2014, Harrogate, UK (Pre-conference Event)

The theme of the IATEFL Research SIG was ‘Teachers Research!’ which was a day dedicated to research by teachers for teachers, with supportive insights from Dick Allwright, Anne Burns and Donald Freeman.

I talked about my experience of involving a group of learners that I taught at the ELTU, University of Leicester, who not only carried out an Exploratory Practice (EP) classroom research project, but also reported their findings at the Exploratory Practice workshop for teachers and students (07/07/12) at the University of Leicester. I spoke about the brief steps that I took in setting up my learners’ classroom research project despite facing the challenges of working within the constraints of an EAP course syllabus on a 10 week upper intermediate pre-sessional course (April -June 2012). I found that the underlying notions that support the principles of EP were difficult for teachers to grasp, especially for those who were hardwired into the traditional way of carrying out classroom research where you follow prescribed steps and cycles in order to start and stop your research project. So, next in the pipeline is to prepare some EP workshops with Judith Hanks and others to support teachers who are interested in carrying out sustainable classroom research which prioritises learners as equal participants instead of research that is ‘parasitic’.

The structure of the day was stimulating in the sense that we did not sit and listen to one presentation after another. Instead, they were grouped into ‘rounds’, where each presenter was given 3mins to do a poster presentation followed by a 40min slot for the audience to wonder around the room after each round (two in the morning and one in the afternoon) and ask specific follow up questions to presenters. This meant that everyone could stand up and walk around and there were also more opportunities to network around the room if you wanted to. Dick, Ann and Donald also wondered around the room to talk to individual presenters before offering a summary of their insights to the whole group before lunch and again in the afternoon.

Useful follow up link:

The use of Exploratory Practice as a form of collaborative practitioner research by Yasmin Dar and Simon Gieve University of Leicester, UK

ISEJ, Volume 1(1), Spring 2013
The use of Exploratory Practice as a form of collaborative practitioner research
Yasmin Dar and Simon Gieve
University of Leicester, UK
In this paper, we will briefly outline an approach to practitioner research known as Exploratory Practice (henceforth EP), and will then present an EP study undertaken by one of the authors (Yasmin Dar) as part of her work as a pre-sessional EAP teacher at the University of Leicester when she became puzzled by the question ‘Why don’t my students take responsibility for their learning outside class?’

click on link to view full paper


ELT Research Issue 28 (Spring 2013)

‘Exploratory Practice: using class time to help learners develop as practitioners of learning’

ELT Research Spring 2012 Issue 26

A report on my classroom research project at the ELTU with a group of my learners (2011)

My learners feedback on the EP workshop held at the University of Leicester on 7th July 2012

The EP event on Saturday which was organised by the IATEFL Research SIG, Warwick University and the School of Education (University of Leicester) went really well and one of the highlights was that Hero and Susan from course C had been invited (by me) to present and talk about their learning experience as researchers of their language classroom and to generally socialise with other teachers. There was a camera crew there and when the excerpts become available on the IATEFL Research SIG website, I’ll let you know.

Hero and Susan have typed a letter with their feedback on the event which they would like to share with people who read this blog:

(One of the nicest days in our life)

On 07th Jul 2012 we participated in a workshop with Yasmin in the Museum Studies Hall.

The role of us in this workshop was that we talked about an activity which we did in one of the writing classes with Yasmin for writing this essay that suggested by the students. The title of this essay was ‘Why do international students find it difficult to write academic essay? ‘.

During this activity we used an approach to analyse the problems which is `Exploratory practice’.

During the workshop, all the participants were very happy about our active role and they liked surprisingly our participation and they found us very confident and brave we participated in such an activity and they really encouraged us to take part in such more activities in the future for the purpose of progression.

In the end of the workshop they asked a lot of questions such as:

1. Do international students have an opportunity to speak with native speakers in the ELTU?

We answered Yes of course the important thing we had in course C was `Language Cafe’ which the course director (Phil) organised and it was an interesting point for all of them and they noted down.

2. Does ELTU have EXAM during each course?

We answered Yes we have two exams during each course which are mid and final exams.

Also during break and lunch time we spoke a lot with native speakers and that was the most important opportunity for us that we have ever had to speak with the native speakers so much and we would like to say that many thanks for Yasmin because she gave us opportunity to participate in such an activity.

We suggest that if you can organise such activities for all students to have more chance to speak with native speakers during the courses.

Thank you.

Hero Sulaiman & Susan Nanakali.

Want to share your teaching and learning experience? I did and so can you.

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