You have decided to start the module 3 assignment. Congratulations! It’s a big step for your professional development. Though, as it is always so difficult to make first steps I’d like to offer you some tips that can make the writing of your first two pages easier.
- First thing first – read the Cambridge handbook to get the general picture of the expectations.
- Choose your specialism. It’s the one you are going to have on the title page and the whole section 1 is devoted to that very specialism. How to choose? Keep in mind your future group. If it has some striking features (they are kids, it’s a business environment, exam preparation etc.) you can go with this straightforward way. If you are not eager to deal with teaching young learners (as I didn’t), there are more general options which may suit practically any group: multi- / monolingual classes and teaching in (non-)English-speaking environment. To make the final decision you should look through the suggested reading lists. Just the titles will clearly give you a hint if this is something you want to read about, say, for a month.
- Once you’ve made up your mind, dig into reading. Choose one or two general books, something “best of the best”, “must read”. It will allow you to get a general idea of the topic and issues. In section 1 you will need to outline the main issues and their effects on classrooms in general + the implications which you will need to address throughout the whole work. When you get the gist, switch to the articles on narrower issues, in most cases, they will show current trends, not those from the late 80s.
- Time to start a new word file. It will later save lots of time if from the very start you choose a certain style and will form the document with the full structure: the title list, the content page, sections, bibliography. Those components will work nicely for a start. With this, you will easily update the content with a single click and will see the whole picture.
- There is no proper introduction but still, you should give some reason for choosing the specialism. In a couple of lines, but make this work personal from the beginning. Yes, the style and content are academic, but there author’s personality, choices should be seen throughout the whole work. Then introduce your specialism and explain what is so special about it.
- Don’t waste words, jump straight into the specialism depth with its issues. You can organise and call it any way you can think of, as long as it is easy to follow and with a clear purpose. There is no clear answer about the number of points to highlight, but in my personal guess, four or five should be enough. Remember, the whole section id just 900 words long and it’s a sparse number when you try to squeeze huge issues into it.
- Do not mention your group or any specific students you will deal with in the following sections. A few comments from your experience – it’s ok, but don’t try to narrow things down just because it will better suit your group. In section 1 there is no group whatsoever.
But here is a trick! Later in your work, you need to make connections with the first section. Somewhere by the end of section 3, it may turn out that one or two points are not mentioned anymore in the work, but you do address something else you have skipped at earlier stages. It’s totally normal to get back to section 1 and rearrange it so that all sections get into the same flow, not a single piece falling out of it.
- Once you mention a name or, especially, add a quotation, immediately add that eminent person with their work into your bibliography list with all the publishing details, pages, probably links and, even, commas, parenthesis and full stops in the way that Cambridge mentioned in the Handbook. Don’t let yourself postpone this little annoying detail. It may be a trap if you lose the source or just forget about the man. By the way, don’t trust everything you can find online. A few times I came across some lines that would perfectly fit into my assignment, but alas! their bibliography details were fake. I could never find those words on the mentioned page or, even. in the book.
- When you finish writing about the issues, you will need another hundred of words to make a little conclusion for the section – how these issues affect the course in general. You will need this points later.
- Proofread. Use a couple of different spellcheckers. Give yourself a couple of days for a break and read again, you may be surprised.
Ask your friend or a family member to read your writing (at least now it’s very short). Remember, that even if your writing is super academic in style, it still should be eligible for any educated person. If you use terms and your friend has no idea about them – you’d better add definitions with names. If it’s difficult to follow your ideas – check the logic, add subheadings and get read of fancy words and structures.
Once you have a tutor who sends the feedback, don’t rush into reshaping the section once you get more ideas “You can think about adding …”. You certainly can, but if your feedback is positive in general, let it stay with you for a while and see what you will really need later. The chances are, you’ll be back to this opening section time and again.
To finish this post, here is a checklist for you from Cambridge for Section 1:
• Why did you choose this specialism?
• What theories and principles in the academic and professional literature have you found relevant, useful or challenging?
• What ideas from observation and experience have you drawn on?
• What have you found out from your research which is important for the design of your course?
Successful candidates can:
1.1 Present an informed discussion of the context and needs of learners in their selected specialism.
1.2 Summarise the principles and theories of teaching which are specific to the selected specialism.
1.3 Apply knowledge and understanding of the selected specialist area to plan for and assess learners in the chosen specialism.