Creating and Using Corpora …

… and how to move them on-stage in your classroom!

 

The experience

I’ve just completed the best free MOOC there is out there and my feelings are mixed: sad for all beautiful things that come to an end; excited to try and test all the things I’ve learned. The course I’m raving about is Teaching LSPs by The CATAPULT Project, a CPD course for language teachers. It ran for 2 months starting last October the 12th. Season 3 of the course is expected to start February 2021 – don’t miss it!

Among the many things I studied (LSP key concepts, needs analysis, course and lesson design, successful communication, student engagement and participation, ePortfolios, ICT tools for collaboration), I learned not only how to use corpora to inform my teaching choices, but also how to create my own corpus for English for Hospitality, using Voyant Tools and BootCaT. And it was easier than I had thought!

Discover more about tools to create corpus-based materials and activities by checking out this exhaustive collection in Padlet, curated by Ton Koenraad. For a smaller scale, single-text analysis, I highly recommend VersaText by James Thomas.

The inspiration

So, during Module 2 in the LSP course, I was introduced to Ken Lackman’s ‘Classroom Games from Corpora’, which I found absolutely brilliant! If you check my other blog posts, you’ll see how much I love ELT games. But bringing corpora in the classroom? What are the benefits, I wondered. So, I read the journal articles provided by the course, researched some more, and tracked down the connection to DDL (data-driven learning). Evan Frendo gave a talk at the 33rd IATEFL BEsig Annual Conference on DDL, and you can access his slides here to get an overview.

The game

From all the games and activities in Ken Lackman’s book, I chose his ‘Word Form Family Feud’ and adapted it for the virtual classroom with the help of Genially. All the instructions you need (plus the game itself) are on the presentation and even 2 mini-tutorials on how to play it with Genially and how to mine data to prepare for the game, using the British National Corpus.

Click on the 3 dots at the bottom of the image to open the Genially board in full-screen mode. For optimal experience, use your desktop or laptop.

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