by Julie Gyftoula, English teacher, MEd in TEFL and Educational Management
Have you ever been in need of a tool which could help you organize your work in manageable and meaningful units? Would you fancy a space where all members of the group you work with could contribute to? How does the idea of a quick feedback procedure sound to you?
A wiki can provide an answer to all the above and many more! To start with, being an English teacher, teacher educator and mentor for many years I have often found myself in search of a space which would look less chaotic and more professional than my desktop. Secondly, the perspective of offering the chance for more participatory learning experiences to my students and mentees matches my personal teaching model.
“This is how wikis were added to my teaching quiver.”
However, wikis are not new in the teaching world. They are here for quite some time, they are easy to create and their use can be easily adapted to one’s own specific needs. If you need more information on how to make your own wiki click HERE.
I used a wiki for the purpose of evaluation of a training unit I was asked to design and pilot with a group of trainees following my participation in a European trainers training course.
My unit consisted of a series of activities aiming at the development of attitudes, skills and knowledge which could promote the principles of democracy, tolerance and acceptance of the other. After piloting these activities with two groups, I wanted their feedback, preferably right after their participation in the sessions. At the same time, I was looking for a way to share my work in an organized and stylish manner.
The wiki was prepared well before the implementation of the piloting and participants were invited to join in. After the completion of a session, I pointed participants to pages – offering information, pictures, graphs, widgets of various types and links to other sources of information – relevant to what they had experienced in class. A page can also end in a discussion area where one or more questions posed by the creator or the members can be discussed in detail.
Hopefully, my trainees found it easier to follow the flow from one session to the other, to find a clear description of the content and thus face no problem to recall what they had experienced themselves and write their comments at the bottom of each page. It is up to the creator of a wiki to extend or limit the degree of involvement of participants, and whether they may add content to the page or not.
“It was a very interesting ice-breaking activity that I think most students would like. Listening to the others’ stories and sharing my own made me feel more comfortable within the group and maybe this way we got to know each other better.”
“It certainly favours interaction and can teach students that in spite of being different, we all share similar feelings in similar situations. Also, it helps us view each situation from each other’s perspective.”
“The rules are simple and, therefore, it can be easily applied in the EFL classroom including both young learners and other age groups.”
Further ideas and suggestions for the development of a wiki use
To conclude, I am absolutely certain that readers of this post will come up with much more ideas regarding the way educators and learners can benefit from the use of wikis.