Constructive content-based feedback in EAP contexts: lessons from a cross-border engineering-related pre-sessional course

Bill Guariento, Anna Rolinska, Nazmi Al Masri

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Abstract

This paper investigates a small-scale project concerned with establishing and sustaining an e-partnership between international students in the UK and engineering students in Palestine. It focuses on the value of peer teaching and learning as an attempt to ensure a greater balance between knowledge and language on a UK pre-sessional English language course, by involving more able peers from a Gazan student body. At the same time, it was hoped that such an arrangement would enable the Gazan students to develop a range of transferable skills, of use in accessing employment at a distance. The article initially outlines the wider context to the Project, discussing the issues related to instituting peer learning/teaching schemes in an HE setting. At its centre though is the presentation and evaluation of a constructive feedback course, whose design and delivery aimed at facilitating the development of skills needed to perform as a peer mentor. It demonstrates students’ attitudes towards feedback and the strategies they use when asked to provide their peers with content feedback in an e-partnership. In this way, it provides food for thought to educators interested in developing similar cross-border schemes. Though the potential issues that emerge in terms of First World/Global South imbalance are very considerable, the paper suggests that telecollaboration projects of this nature may help overseas students start interrogating discipline-specific literacies, thus preventing the decontextualisation of the learner, including those unable to pay to study at a prestigious HE institution.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)514-532
Number of pages19
JournalHigher Education Research and Development
Volume37
Issue number3
Early online date6 Feb 2018
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 16 Apr 2018
Externally publishedYes

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