TESOL 2001






Teresa Almeida d'Eça (Portugal)

Internet Fair - 1 March 2001








Integrating Email Exchanges in EFL



· Serious reflection Ş Big decision

· green light or yellow light: go ahead or postpone the idea?

· do you have the necessary hardware and software? interested students? on and off class time availability?

· feel the need for change and innovation? to meet students needs, interests and expectations?

· do you have spirit of adventure? do you think positive? are you persistent?


· Planning

· theme and title: student or teacher decision? curricular or current topic?

· number of students: small group or whole class?

· form of communication: one-to-one basis? pairs? small groups?

· when: in or after class: curricular or extracurricular?

· duration: how long?

· frequency of message flow (by each partner-group): weekly? every two weeks?

· outline: lay out a detailed plan including objectives, duration and deadlines, assessment, and activities to be carried out

· online/offline tasks: do on line only what is absolutely necessary

· students' approval: present the project to the class and let the students know you're counting on them

· how to find a partner: post a call for collaboration in a mailing list/newsgroup or contact a colleague?

· deadlines: agree on beginning and end dates (allow flexibility for the end date if necessary)

· kickoff: which partner begins the exchange?


· Implementing

· kick-off time!

· help/orient students along the way, session-by-session, but give them as much autonomy as possible: be 'the guide on the side'

· suggest working strategies and research resources when students are/seem to be lost

· stick to the pace of message flow: contact your colleague(s) regularly

· keep a record/log of everything going on in each session: lets you know what has been done and should follow, so facilitates guidance as well as assessment

· make back-ups of every message sent/received: will allow you to make it known to the school community and parents, as well as to post it/have students post it on a school/teacher Web page

· try to solve any problems directly with your peer: keep students out of it

· have an alternative plan for technology-centered lessons: technologies do have their 'tantrums'!


· Closing

· wrap up ideas/draw conclusions, write them out and send them to partners

· compare conclusions if necessary

· send a 'thank you and goodbye' message to everybody involved

· reward your students for their commitment and good work

· let the school community know about it

· post it on the school Web page or your home page


You can also read my Experience-based notes on email and email exchanges at http://www.digibridge.net/teresadeca/email/notesonexchanges.htm

There's additional material on email in my home page at http://www.digibridge.net/teresadeca/ . Click on Email exchanges and on Papers.