For this first period of ALMS course I have chosen three support groups to attend. All of these three groups are largely related to those themes I mentioned in my first blog text, reading, academic writing and grammar. I’m really hoping these groups would help me on those matters, to get some ideas and counsel. Next I will talk about all of these groups, my goals and what I have planned to do to achieve them.
This book club is the group I am looking forward the most. I have never read a whole book in English before. Even though I have tried, I always gave up pretty soon. I am a quite slow reader anyway but reading English takes me even twice as much time. I often find myself reading the dictionary even more than the actual book I am supposed to read. I easily get stuck with single words trying to find out their meanings. Or I might get so confused if I can’t understand all the sentences, that I lose the big picture, get frustrated and give up. What I am hoping for this support group is to get some counselling about reading methods and tips to improve my reading. I want to light a spark that would feed my interest of reading yet in the future.
At the first group session, we were supposed to discuss about which book we would like to read. I searched some book recommendations and listings from the internet hoping to get some ideas and I stumbled on this website. It had a list of the most popular classic books and one of them was ”To kill a mockingbird”. I suggested that one to the group and the others found it also interesting, so we picked that. The plan now is that we read the book about 50-100 pages a week and then discuss about it in our weekly sessions. The discuss might be for example about characters, scene, book’s themes and message or even what kind of vocabulary is used in it. After I have finished reading the book, I will write a new blog post about how did I like it. An overall review which conducts to my personal opinions and thoughts about the reading experience, but also those things we discussed in the book club sessions.
This support group is the one I think will be the most beneficial for me considering my studies. Even though the most of my studies are in Finnish, I will need academic English almost as much. After all a great part of my own field’s studies are in English and I think that writing academic texts will help me a lot also reading them. Moreover I am also planning to write my bachelor’s and master’s theses in English. For that I will have to practice academic writing as much as possible because it won’t definitely be easy. I want to learn those little nuances that makes academic text sound academic. Vocabulary that is commonly used in these types of text, different forms of sentences, how to make references, et cetera.
In academic writing support group I will write an academic text about a topic I haven’t yet chosen. After the first version is ready I will get feedback to improve my text and then write the final draft. That will also practice process writing skills when I have to evolve my text further. After that I will post the text for you to read.
Grammar for writing:
This support group I hope will be the one that helps me with both of those previous ones. To write a fluent text you have to manage grammar. Even though grammar has been taught quite a bit during school there are always those little nuances to learn that brings the text to the next level, which word to use, the order of the words or ways to use commas. During this period in the support group we will be doing some exercises and writing short texts about various topics. In the support group sessions we will analyze those texts especially from the grammars point of view and give each other feedback.
These support groups are great guidance as we students navigate in this autonomous learning thing. They give structure to this independent work and helps you to achieve your goals. And what’s the most important thing, you don’t actually always have to work just by yourself. In these small groups you can lean on each other. You won’t be alone and help is provided if you need it.
ALMS hours spent: First support groups sessions 3×1,5h and blog post writing 3h = 7,5h
ALMS hours remaining: 86,5