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Weekly update 21st september, 2015: Improving writing, feedback codes and the impact of praise

Hi everyone,

     Not much on the listserve this week but some interesting thoughts from other communities that will resonate with our community.

On Secondary Literacy Online Alana alerted us to some research on the impact of different types of praise. Watch the clip.  


I wondered if this would make a good listening task for EL standards - it would link with Carol Dwerk's TED talk The power of believing you can improve.


Alana also discussed helping her son improve his writing. As a mother of a teenage boy - now in year 13, this really resonated with me. Alana recommended the Book Write that essay: high school edition by Ian Hunter. 


These two conversations led me to thinking about how to support students to notice text structure and language features and how to improve the amount of feedback and feedforward we need to provide to our students.


Just as I was musing on this David Schaumann, English Online, shared an updated version of their feedback codes. David noted that these are a great way to give three or four meaningful ‘next steps’ per standard, without spending ridiculous amounts of time getting through those piles. 


What would feedback codes for our area look like beyond the simplistic sp (spelling) ww (wrong word) type feedback.


On other communities


On Primary ESOL Online Janet wrote about supporting refugee students. Janet provided many good links to key resources that will be useful to all teachers including links to:

  • The Ministry of Education’s Refugee Handbook for Schools [PDF, 851 KB] has detailed information to help schools support students from a refugee background.
  • details for Refugee education coordinators who liaise between refugee communities, agencies and schools to help with education and resettlement. This page also has advice about the Ministry Refugee Flexible Funding Pool which offers schools additional resources to address broader issues that may prevent refugee background students from participating and achieving in mainstream schooling.

English Online posted an important update for those marking English 1.10 from NZQA, passed on by Nigel Mitchell, the National Coordinator for Secondary English. This will be of interest to teacher multi-levelling classes and using English language standards 28058 with some students and English AS 1.10 with others.



Teachers must be confident that the student has independently read all 6 texts. Students must form personal responses to all 6 texts. Teachers must be confident that there is sufficient evidence across all responses that the grade is met. The majority of responses must be at the grade, and the other/s close to that grade boundary.

Similarly English language unit standard 28058, Read and demonstrate understanding of a range of written texts independently states that 
The assessor must be satisfied that the candidate has independently read the texts. Evidence of reading having taken place must be verified for a sample of texts chosen from the candidates log by the assessor by oral report, summary, discussion, or other appropriate method. (Explanatory note 8)


Reminder AKTESOL meeting tonight WORDS, WORDS WORDS at Diosecan School for Girls, Centennial Bldg, Margot /Clyde St, Newmarket. For parking use undercover staff parking first entry from Clyde Street

 (RSVP to Maree by emailing m.jeurissenauckland.ac.nz)

Christchurch event -Intergenerational transmission of minority languages Symposium:  Migrant language(s) in the home: practices and policies. Click here for further details . 

English Online - free webinar 'Don't Forget the Little Questions' exploring ways that NCEA Assessments can be broken down into the 'secret questions' and how these can then be used to explode the possibilities of assessment products. Sept 23rd (3:45 - 4:30) pm facilitated by David Schaumann. Register here.

Secondary Literacy Online free webinar Improving writing in the content areas: An interactive and collaborative online discussion about how to improve writing in your classroom or across content areas. Sept 24th 3:30 - 4:30 pm facilitated by Alana Madgwick.  Register here.


Literacy and Numeracy Best Practice Workshops.

New Zealand Literacy Association Conference - Words on Wellington 30th September - 2nd October has  day tickets available.


Have a great week.




Breda Matthews

Facilitator: Secondary ESOL community 


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