International Education

by Margaret Godwin / Feb 26, 2012 / 5 comments

Doctoral Studies - Higher Education Blogs

I am pretty new at blogging and I have been very unsuccessful so far in finding suitable blogs, in getting replies to my comments.  So I have decided to start my own.

I know that this site is called WANDERING EDUCATORS so I think it is a suitable one for me as I have been wandering among different countries for many years, teaching my way through.  At present I am on the faculty of an international hospitality college in Switzerland and am doing an Ed.D in Higher Education and Adult Learning.  I have become a global citizen over the years and my professional life is surrounded by people from all over the world.

Is there anyone else out there interested in improving written English skills for students in the last semesters of international colleges?


Comments (5)

  • erinsinger

    12 years 3 months ago

    Erin A. Singer, M.Ed.

    Where in Switzerland are you? 

  • Margaret Godwin

    12 years 3 months ago

    Hi Erin,

    I teach in a hospitality college above Montreux on Lake Geneva (the opposite end from Geneva itself)

    And what about you?  Where are you teaching?  And I presume you do know the origin of your first name - Erín go breath!!   Guess which country I come from?


    Looking forward to chatting some more





  • gina willard

    12 years 3 months ago

    Hi Margaret,

    I have been a member of this blog since the beginning of our assignment but had some issues with logging in to comment.  All is fixed now.  I commend you for starting your own blog.  This blog site is very interesting and certainly suitable for you as an international educator.  With regard to improving writing skills, I am sure you are referring to ESL students.  However, I am teaching undergraduate nursing students here in the U.S. in a writing-intensive course and I have to tell you I am appalled by their writing skills.  I don't expect perfection, but certainly they should know how to construct a paragraph and how to use commas.  It has been an eye-opening experience for me and quite a struggle to grade 36 students x 8 assignments.  Good luck with your blog!  See you in Module 6 DB.


  • Margaret Godwin

    12 years 3 months ago

    Hi Regina,

    I decided I would reply to you as I know it is so hard to get replies at all!  And at last we seem to have got going!

    My students' written English skills are often bad, not just when they start in 1st semester but all the way up the college.  For most of them English is not their first language, but occasionally I get some mother-tongue students, and I am often horrified at how bad their spelling and writing is!  It is embarrassing as the rest of the class look up to them as the "real" English speakers, and they usually are very verbal and communicative in class, so I have to be very discreet when giving them marks, comments and feedback.

    But of course, what I can gather from reading your postings in our discussions, many of your students are first and second generation immigrants so they have a good excuse for being weak in English.

    I have just completed my D1 posting - I must say I quite like Program Evaluation and Action Research and I can see that it is most suitable to research in education.  What do you think?

    See you soon (virtually, of course!) 

    Margaret Godwin

  • pjamesbridge

    12 years 1 month ago

    Hi Margaret and everyone,

    Glad to see your post and comments as this topic is of interest to me recently.  During the past two years as I worked through an M.S.Ed program at Penn's Graduate School of Education in Philadelphia, I also served as one of four Academic Writing Coaches for international students there.  It was a great experience that connected me with a lot of brilliant people and forced me to view literacy practices with fresh eyes.  While all writing services certainly vary, one principal that guided our work was that we should avoid correcting what we view as bad writing habits and instead try to teach good editing habits.  Editing skills are often left out of writing pedagogy, which is a shame because for many people editing can be even more fun than the writing itself!

    One of the most interesting things that recurred during this work was when, just by asking a student to return to a sentence in order to locate the basic components--subject, verb and object--the student would notice other aspects that could be modified, concision or tense for instance.  Clarifying subject and verb suddenly brought other aspects of the sentence into relief.  We all tried to facilitate these kinds of realizations at the paragraph and paper level as well.   I believe much of what I was able to accomplish was simply making students more mindful editors.

    I guess that's not any kind of groundbreaking discovery but it was definitely a good piece of advice from my supervisor, who worked hard to advocate for a writing service specific to our school.  And perhaps that was the most crucial piece: advocating for the resources to hire a few native-speaking graduate assistants to do this work. That being said I wonder if there is any chance for such a program in your school, or alternatively maybe one or two enterprising grad students willing to volunteer a few blocks of time for half-hour appointments.  

    Anyhow this comment is getting way too long, but it's nice to have a forum to process such a great experience.   I wish you all the best.


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