Check out our award-winning Actively Engaged series of textbooks for CEGEP ESL from BokomaruPublications.com. On June 8th, 2017, Nicholas Walker, the creator of the Virtual Writing Tutor, was awarded the TESL Canada Innovation Award in Niagara, Canada for his Actively Engaged series of books. On June 6th, 2019, he received the AQPC Mention d’Honneur for teaching excellence at Ahuntsic College. On November 21, 2019, Professor Walker received the Keith Boeckner Award in recognition of his outstanding contribution to ESL in Quebec, Canada.
Actively Engaged Together
Actively Engaged Together is designed for the students with low-proficiency, anxiety, and a limited repertoire of practice strategies. A such, it focuses on basic interpersonal communication skills through storytelling and an automatically scored 8-topic pen pal writing project using the Virtual Writing Tutor grammar checker. Students at this level enjoy exchanging messages each week with peers at the same college or at other schools.
Instead of giving these at-risk students more of what did not work for them in their high school English classes, grammar and vocabulary practice is story-based. Grammar and vocabulary are embedded in short narratives with illustrations, with a variety of oral practice strategy drills in each lesson to make new structures stick. Rather than try to memorize decontextualized rules and verb paradigms, students acquire the language directly as formulaic chunks in obligatory contexts.
Actively Engaged on the Job
Actively Engaged on the Job is designed primarily for B-block beginners who need lots of fluency practice, On the Job has proven to be a versatile course book for multi-level groups. It’s packed with interactive activities that keep absenteeism prone students coming week after week.
The book is structured around a series of grammar lessons laid out in the usual order, starting with prepositions and the present tenses, moving through past tenses to conditionals, and ending with modals and future tenses.
The big difference is the way this book contextualizes the grammar practice through weekly writing assignments. Students work in groups to imagine a fictional company. Each student is responsible for writing about the goings on at the company from the perspective of one of the employees there. Each week, they write a section of the story incorporating the grammar and the vocabulary from the lesson. They submit their writing on Labodanglais.com and anonymously peer review two classmates’ stories.
In this way, grammar practice is communicative and contextualized. Additional vocabulary and grammar practice activities are available on Labodanglais.com in the form of fill-in the blank and error-find-and-correct exercises. Again, the emphasis is on meaningful context that lead to productive use.
Find out how you can use Actively Engaged on the Job with your students by contacting bokomaruPublications@gmail.com. For an example of how to use this textbook for multi-level business English courses, have a look here at an integrated flyer and sales pitch evaluation.
Actively Engaged at College
Actively Engaged at College is for students looking to build the fluency essential to engage with others in English. Learners develop the linguistic tools needed to build engaging conversations and friendships through first person narratives.
Rather than give these students the all-too-common (midterm and then final) hamburger opinion essay writing tasks, this college-level ESL textbook puts fluency building first. Let’s face it. You won’t make many friends in your second language if all you know how to do is give your opinions on controversies.
Try this experiment: express a strong opinion and notice how people lean back to plan their rebuttal. Tell a dramatic story and people lean in to hear more.
Over the course of 11 weeks, students learn to master first-narratives, building a collaborative story with their groups using the just-in-time grammar and vocabulary lessons. Students peer-review each other’s stories and provide each other feedback on content, while the Virtual Writing Tutor grammar checker provides feedback on target structure use and grammar accuracy.
This innovative book contextualizes the grammar practice through weekly writing assignments. Students work in groups to imagine a fictional house. Each student is responsible for writing about the goings on at the house from the perspective of one of the roommates there. Using a series of play-by-post collaborative writing tasks, students write one section of the story each week incorporating the grammar and the vocabulary from the lesson.
The story begins with a description of the house, a description of their character’s routine, a party for the new roommate that goes wrong, a dream that reveals a desire or fear, an influx of pets and people making the house overcrowded, a bad day, and a final conflict in which one of the roommates moves out. They submit their writing on Labodanglais.com each week and anonymously peer review two classmates’ submissions. The final oral and writing tasks involve retelling the story. In this way, fluency, grammar and vocabulary can be evaluated together in an engaging and meaningful context that is immune to all forms of plagiarism.
It just works so well. This course book captures and focuses students’ attention in the most engaging way possible. Students love it. Teachers trust the pedagogy.
Actively Engaged Online
A blog post and YouTube video can reach thousands of people. For this reason, many scholars and professionals communicate online these days, but students toil away at their desks writing essays in longhand. Are we preparing students for time travel back to the 1990s or are we preparing them for the future?
Many ESL teachers want to teach their students digital literacy, but the tools have not been available until now.
Actively Engaged Online teaches students (and teachers) how to create a blog step by step. Students learn how to introduce their program, create an online glossary, write a listicle (list-article), describe a day-in-the-life of a career, a hypertext narrative, and a screencast describing a website that solves a problem linked to their field of study. Everything is ready to start teaching blogging tomorrow: PowerPoints, quizzes, readings, listenings, and writing assignments with easy to score peer-review evaluations on Labodanglais.com.
Get a sample copy of Actively Engaged Online by contacting me by email here: BokomaruPublications@gmail.com.
Actively Engaged in Academic Writing
Teach academic writing?
Do you want step-by-step explainer videos and dynamic classroom activities to help you reach underperforming students?
Do you want to try integrating automatically scored academic essay writing tasks into your course?
If you teach ESL in Quebec, Canada, you can get a sample copy of Actively Engaged in Academic Writing by contacting me by email here: BokomaruPublications@gmail.com.
Actively Engaged in Persuasion
Conceived for teaching ESL at a distance during the pandemic, this course leverages the Virtual Writing Tutor’s AI scoring system to automatically evaluate argument essays.
This course is for students who can speak English easily but still make errors when they speak and write. They may seem to know a lot of English at first because of their fluency but they don’t always know the correct expression to use to express complex ideas. Moreover, students at this level can talk at length about a subject in an unfocussed and rambling way, but they would benefit from developing a more purposeful and strategic approach in order to charm and persuade their audience.
In this course, students learn how to discuss complex moral questions. They learn how to structure an argument using their own and other people’s ideas. Students learn to improve their pronunciation and sentence structure. They also learn how to use insights from social psychology to connect with their audience to make them more receptive to facts and logic.
Praise for Persuasion
Here is what one teacher said on Facebook about using the book and the automated essay scoring system.
Here are some comments about the automated essay scoring system from students who responded to the anonymous end of semester course evaluation.
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