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An n a G r igo r y an an d Joh n M a rk Ki ng—Tu   r k Ey   and   uni   TEd   sT   a T E s   —                            ...
to combine it with a university level writ-                •	 introduces	 students	 to	 codes	 and	 con-ing lesson based o...
outward appearance, but rather as connected            Adbusters that showed the potentially danger-    to one’s overall h...
magazine. Teachers may also allow students to              In this step, the teacher also introducesbring magazines that t...
rettes draws a connection between “freedom”                  •	 The	wide	open	horizon	in	front	of	the	    or “independence...
To take this further, the teacher can              tions in the ad, or the use of the actual prod-encourage students to an...
worksheet should contain several open-ended               classmates on the final day of the lesson. The    questions	 abo...
Finally, the teacher can post the groups’          tion that shapes their values, assumptions,work on the classroom walls ...
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Tarn 3


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Tarn 3

  1. 1. An n a G r igo r y an an d Joh n M a rk Ki ng—Tu r k Ey and uni TEd sT a T E s — Adbusting: Critical Media Literacy in a Multi-Skills Academic Writing Lesson — media literacy is a field often used to describe a more rigor- that began as a grassroots ous evaluation of the mass media’s movement among educa- relationship to democracy, power, and tors concerned with the growing gap social justice. As a classroom topic, between popular culture, produced critical media literacy encourages dis- by corporations, and the literacy con- cussions about how the media con- tent in today’s schools (Flores-Koulish ceptualize race, class, and gender, and 2005). Today, many educators rec- how it promotes certain social values ognize the pedagogical importance through its definitions of such con- of training students to develop an cepts as beauty, prestige, family, love, awareness of how and why adver- success, sex, freedom, and consumer- tisements and other media messages ism, among others. Critical media often misrepresent and manipulate the analysis allows students to access, facts. Consequently, teachers can find analyze, and evaluate popular texts many resources on how to develop and in terms of their cultural, political, implement a media literacy curricu- ideological, and socioeconomic rami- lum (Schwarz and Brown 2005). — fications. Because these are impor- According to Aufderheide (1993, tant and relevant issues for students 1), a media literate individual “can and teachers, incorporating critical decode, evaluate, analyze and produce media analysis into the second lan- both print and electronic media.” Nev- guage classroom is an excellent way to ertheless, there are different degrees engage students’ skills in communica- of media literacy. Many analyses are tion and higher-level thinking. — merely descriptive and do not exam- This article will discuss the ratio- ine with any depth how various media nale for incorporating critical media affect society and individuals; there- analysis into the second language fore, the term critical media literacy is classroom and will describe a method 2 2008 N u m b e r 4 | E n g l i s h T E a c h i n g F o r u m
  2. 2. to combine it with a university level writ- • introduces students to codes and con-ing lesson based on the process-centered ventions of the target culture and acti-approach in which students plan, revise, and vates their background knowledge; —produce a written text with a special focus on • offers the possibility for portfolios and the intended audience. In this writing lesson other forms of alternative assessment. —students will also produce an Adbuster, which These aspects of communicative languageis a parody of a commercial message. The pri- teaching are evident in the following ten-stepmary goals of the lesson are to promote critical lesson plan. —thinking and to develop formal and informallanguage skills through a variety of individual An integrated media literacy lesson plan —and group-based, task-oriented activities. — This lesson plan is designed for a col-Why integrate media literacy and lege or university setting and is based on theacademic writing? — process genre approach in which students not only plan and revise two texts, but also meet There are many theoretical and practical certain rhetorical and structural requirements reasons to combine critical media literacy with based on the texts’ audience (Badger anda modern academic writing lesson. Advertise- White 2000). In addition, this lesson willments and other media messages are available require students to plan and revise a piece of virtually everywhere, and giving language Adbuster art that will accompany the writtenlearners the opportunity to evaluate them and texts. As students become more keenly awarecreate their own written texts allows students of the role of their target audience, they learnto develop their critical thinking and commu- how to modify language to communicatenication skills. Because of the interesting and through various media and to establish arelevant nature of the subject matter, this type continuity of ideas between two very differentof task-based lesson creates a student-centered types of expression—formal writing and art. —environment that is the foundation of com-municative language teaching. For example, a What is an Adbuster? —media literacy academic writing project: — To begin, it is important for teachers and • uses authentic materials to contextual- students to be familiar with an Adbuster, which ize language, appeal to student inter- is a form of media that looks like an adver- ests, and increase their motivation; — tisement but actually opposes the values and • requires real language for meaningful assumptions presented by a corporation through communication, which develops stu- its advertising campaigns (examples of Adbuster dents’ cognitive and academic strategies ads can be found at the following website: in multiple skills;— — • inspires small groups to create mean- Advertisements sell not only products, but ingful written drafts and quality peer also ideas. For instance, an advertisement for review and revision; — a diet pill is not only selling the actual pill, • creates a positive social and affective but also the idea that being thin is important, working environment; — perhaps more important than being healthy. • permits teachers to include various Advertisements for diet products often target activities that appeal to virtually any women by showing a young, attractive woman kind of learning style; — smiling and happy because she has lost weight. • provides a large amount of language An Adbuster for such an advertisement could input and output so students learn to visually oppose the message of taking the use effective communication strategies; actual pill by showing the potentially nega- • helps student evaluate and respond to tive side effects, such as osteoporosis, depres- arguments, which develops their ana- sion, or organ damage. The Adbuster could lytical skills; — also oppose the ideas or assumptions in the • allows for the integration of skills advertisement by challenging the definition through a variety of linguistic situations of beauty or success as being extremely thin. that require the use of both formal and The Adbuster could also offer a definition of informal English; — beauty, happiness, and success not in terms ofE n g l i s h TE a c h i n g F o r u m | Number 4 2008 3
  3. 3. outward appearance, but rather as connected Adbusters that showed the potentially danger- to one’s overall health and well-being. — ous effects of dieting. Many also redefined the Most advertisements have a central mes- notion of beauty offered by popular women’s sage: If you buy this product, then you will magazines as inner beauty, health, and overall be “thin,” “rich,” “successful,” or “fit,” and well-being rather than looking “perfect” or therefore “happy” and “fulfilled.” Usually, the extremely thin. Hence, the assignment allows central message can be ascertained by reading students to critically understand the very the slogan and understanding the story being forces that shape their values, attitudes, and told through the visual image. However, in assumptions—their identities. — addition to the central message tied to the product, advertisers also create and reinforce Ten steps of the media literacy lesson plan — The primary goals of the lesson are to pro- our assumptions of what it means to be a mote critical thinking and to develop formal beautiful, rich, successful man or woman. and informal language skills through a variety Advertisers also offer us definitions of sexual- of individual and group-based, task-oriented ity, happiness, family, love, health, freedom, activities. In these activities, students will col- and other values that guide our behavior. We laborate with their groupmates to prepare a may not buy a diet pill or a luxury car, but project that they will present to their peers. we may nevertheless absorb the idea that “you Unlike products of the average academic writ- can never be too rich or too thin.” Because ing lesson, the texts produced here will be done we are surrounded by advertisements, which as a group, not individually. This can at first are an integral part of our culture, we are like create some difficulty for the teacher who is fish in an aquarium, unaware that we live in trying to maintain order in the class and ensure water because we consider it a natural part of that all students contribute equally to the our existence. In requiring students to create assignment. However, providing varied options Adbusters, we are not teaching them simply to to students for the creation of meaningful lan- resist advertisements. We are enhancing their guage at different stages of the lesson appeals to critical thinking skills by making them aware many different learning styles. As a result, such of how culture is created through a set of a lesson may not be best used to determine a assumptions or stories told over and again. — student’s placement or readiness to advance to An Adbuster can be made for virtually the next level, but it is, nonetheless, designed to any advertisement. For this lesson students improve a student’s overall proficiency in Eng- must choose an advertisement, and they may lish. This is, of course, our ultimate goal. — initially seem frustrated or confused about First, students will create one paragraph that which advertisement to choose so that making examines the assumptions and hidden mes- an Adbuster will be easy. However, we tell our sages in a particular magazine advertisement. students to choose advertisements from maga- A second paragraph will critically evaluate zines that they read or that appeal to their those assumptions. In addition to these para- interests. Thus, one group of male students graphs, each group will produce an Adbuster made an Adbuster for videogames in which as a visual companion to their writing. The they explored the effects of violent video ten steps detailed in the following lesson are games on children. Their Adbuster contained merely suggestions. Throughout the lesson, pictures of children holding video game guns, the teacher must help his or her students to of children spending hours in front of televi- practice the writing process used by successful sion, and scenes of blood and violence from students and professionals in the real world. video games that were very realistic. Stu- Before beginning these steps, teachers should dents discussed the effects of video games on divide students into groups of three or four. children’s identity formation and the effects of television violence on society in general. Step 1: Focused freewriting — Another student who practices weightlifting To begin, the teacher tells the students and was interested in bodybuilding as a hobby they are going to look at an advertisement completed an Adbuster about the negative for a commercial product out of a popular effects of using steroids to build muscles. American magazine. The teacher then gives Many girls who read fashion magazines did each group a different advertisement from a4 2008 Number 4 | E n g l i s h TE a c h i n g F o r u m
  4. 4. magazine. Teachers may also allow students to In this step, the teacher also introducesbring magazines that they read at home and students to a variety of sample Adbustershave each group select one advertisement to produced by previous classes to provide themanalyze in the classroom. — with clear examples of the designs they will be Then, the teacher tells the students to get expected to complete. If teachers do not haveout a sheet of paper and a pen or pencil and sample Adbusters or paragraphs from previousto begin freewriting, which is a pre-writing classes, they may choose to create their own toexercise in which students write for a speci- use until quality student-produced materials fied time on a specific topic without stopping are available. Sample Adbusters, however, mayand without making corrections. Typically, be found at the aforementioned website. —students keep their freewriting assignments Step 3: Understand, analyze, andand refer to them during later stages of the evaluate—find the hidden messages —writing process in order to build on and fur-ther refine their ideas. In this lesson students The teacher should explain that manyare encouraged to write nonstop about their advertisements sell not only products, butadvertisement for five to ten minutes without also ideas, by promoting certain values, ste-making corrections or using a dictionary. reotypes, and assumptions. The students willThey are free to write whatever they want, as explore these “hidden messages” using a work-long as it is in response to whatever they see sheet entitled Deconstructing an Advertisementin the ad. If they do not know what to write, that can be found online from the Mediathe teacher should tell them to write “I don’t Education Foundation (2005). Using thisknow what to write.” During this exercise, the worksheet, the students will complete the fol-teacher should monitor the students closely to lowing tasks: —ensure that they follow the directions. — 1. Describe the codes and conventions in When time is up, the teacher tells the their advertisement —groups to share what they have written with 2. Determine the purpose of their adver-other members of their groups. They do not tisement —need to read their freewriting aloud; they only 3. Determine the assumptions their adver-need to summarize their reaction to the adver- tisement makes —tisement. This should take no more than ten 4. Determine possible consequences of minutes, and while the students are talking, their advertisement —the teacher should walk around the room to The students work together to completemonitor their progress. — these four tasks, and each member in the group will be responsible for writing downStep 2: Sample paragraphs and and reporting one of them to the rest ofAdbusters — the class. Thus, each member completes a The teacher can now help students to bet- writing and speaking task as a part of thister understand the genre within which they portion of the activity. If members withinwill be working to create their two paragraphs, a group disagree with one another on theirwhich can be done by showing students one evaluation of the advertisement, the teacheror more examples of successful writing by can remind them that it is a good exercise instudents in previous classes. Showing sample critical thinking to argue a point of view thatparagraphs is useful because the academic you do not necessarily agree with. Also, if twowriting style, which uses one controlling idea members disagree, they can both share theirfor a paragraph and a topic sentence at or near different views with the class, thus setting upthe beginning, is a genre whose mastery will the opportunity for conversation, debate, andcertainly help students to succeed in school. — multiple interpretations. — Together with the teacher, students analyze As each group shares their advertisementssample paragraphs that are very similar to and reports their four-point analysis, the otherwhat they will be asked to produce and dis- students listen and express their agreement orcover the paragraphs’ structure on their own. disagreement with the reporting group’s inter-The teacher can help, of course, and answer pretations. For example, a group may reportany questions that come up. — that they found that an advertisement for ciga-E n g l i s h TE a c h i n g F o r u m | Number 4 2008 5
  5. 5. rettes draws a connection between “freedom” • The wide open horizon in front of the or “independence” and smoking by pointing yacht suggests that the people portrayed out that the advertisement shows an image of are “free.” — young men and women sailing on a yacht while • The fact that the people are dressed smoking cigarettes. Then, the group can evalu- nicely, are attractive, and are on a yacht ate the validity of this connection: Is smoking rather than a small boat suggests that at all connected to a lifestyle of the rich and they are rich and financially indepen- does it really increase your enjoyment of life? dent, so their freedom is also financial Finally, the group will determine the possible freedom. — long- and short-term consequences of believing • The social atmosphere on the yacht the messages presented in the advertisement. suggests that cigarettes are a good addi- Is the advertisement effective? Will the target tion to “happy” social occasions when audience be persuaded to buy the product? — you are having a good time with friends If a group decides that their advertisement and enjoying a sense of freedom. — has no hidden messages, the teacher can ask Then, students brainstorm for their second them additional guided questions about the paragraph, which will critique the central advertisement based on the teacher’s own message as well as the hidden messages of analysis. In addition, if students offer an their advertisement. To have the critical skills interpretation that is not obvious or may not necessary to develop this second paragraph, it be justifiable, the teacher should not be afraid is important that students have understood to ask them why they made their decision and and completed the Deconstructing an Adver- how they came to it. For instance, if a student tisement worksheet so they can determine the says a woman in the picture looks “healthy,” advertisement’s assumptions and its possible and the connection to health is not obvious, consequences. As a result, students may write the teacher can say: “What is it in the picture the following: — that makes you think of health?” or “What is it about her that makes her look healthy?” — • The ad falsely connects enjoying time with your friends to smoking. — Step 4: Brainstorming — • Showing attractive, young people hides Working together, each group member the fact that smoking causes the yel- writes the central message of the advertise- lowing of teeth, poor skin health, and ment they analyzed in step three. Usually, the smoking-related diseases such as lung central message insinuates something like: cancer and emphysema. — “If you buy this product, then you will be • The ad falsely connects smoking with more ‘attractive,’ or ‘slim,’ or ‘free,’ and, as a personal and financial freedom— result, happier.” This central message is usu- smoking cannot make you richer or ally found in the slogan or in the dominant more free. — images and texts within the ad. — • The ad does not show that because Next, students locate their advertisement’s smoking cigarettes creates a physical hidden messages or assumptions and conduct addiction to nicotine, it actually makes a group brainstorming exercise about them. you less free. — Students can refer to answers they came up • The ad does not show that rather than with when completing the four tasks from the leading to freedom and enjoyment of Deconstructing an Advertisement worksheet in life, smoking can often lead to death. — Step 3. A graphic organizer word map would It is important for the teacher to be aware work well here, with both the central and hid- that many of the advertisements available den messages forming the center and all the evi- worldwide come from Western cultures, in dence students find for the existence of hidden many cases the United States. This creates messages displayed in word bubbles around the an opportunity for students to explore the center. For example, if the group believes that ways in which culture of origin is portrayed their advertisement promotes smoking as a way in advertising. Analyzing the assumptions a to achieve freedom and independence, they culture makes can create a great deal of mean- would list the following evidence: — ingful discussion in the classroom.6 2008 Number 4 | E n g l i s h TE a c h i n g F o r u m
  6. 6. To take this further, the teacher can tions in the ad, or the use of the actual prod-encourage students to analyze their adver- uct. Then, they can determine the kinds oftisements based on the assumptions of their images they will use to express their ideas.native culture. Students may find that this The teacher may want to provide a worksheetcan lead either to a deeper understanding the students can use to record these ideas.of an advertisement’s hidden messages or, The worksheet should require the students more likely, gross misinterpretation because to (1) write down the central messages of theof cultural differences. This can initiate a class advertisement, (2) make a list of assumptionsdiscussion about the importance of knowing made by the advertisement, and (3) analyzeone’s audience and of being aware that people the possible effects of using the product thatof different backgrounds can interpret an are not revealed in the advertisement (e.g.,individual message in many different ways. What is there about this product that theThis knowledge and awareness is crucial to company selling it to you may not want youthe development of academic writing skills. — to know? How does the main message com- Finally, the students decide on the theme pare to reality?). —of the Adbuster they will create. Using the The Deconstructing an Advertisement work-content of their paragraphs, they will design sheet (Media Education Foundation 2005)a visual representation of their academic writ- should have given the students the analyticaling. The teacher may remind the students that tools necessary to complete this stage of thean Adbuster may oppose either the purchase of activity. Once the students have made a list ofthe actual product, or the assumptions that the the central message, the assumptions, and theadvertisement makes, or both. For instance, untold effects of using the product, they canstudents may make an Adbuster opposing begin considering which messages they willthe purchase of a diet pill because it is unsafe. oppose in their Adbuster, or whether they willHowever, they may also simply make an choose to explore the negative side effects ofAdbuster that defines beauty in terms of health using a product, such as the negative effects ofrather than thinness. The choice is theirs. — smoking on health or the use of cars on the environment. —Step 5: Outlining and Adbuster design — In this step the students write detailed out- Step 6: First drafts and peer review —lines of their two paragraphs and then begin Once the outlines and basic Adbusterwork on the Adbuster itself. Two students design are completed, the groups begin thefrom a group of four use their work from more detailed work of drafting their projects’both the freewriting and brainstorming steps final appearance. The length required for each to work on the first paragraph describing the paragraph is up to the teacher, but it may behidden messages, and the other two students anywhere from five to fifteen sentences. Stu-do the same with the second paragraph cri- dent subgroups may work on their paragraphstiquing the hidden messages. Then all four and the Adbuster simultaneously, or they maymembers of the group work together to out- choose to work on the Adbuster after theyline the Adbuster. — complete the paragraphs. When they write To assist, the teacher can give each sub- the paragraphs, the students should use all thegroup an outline worksheet for an academic work they have done up to this point (freewrit-paragraph. Outline worksheets are easy to ing, brainstorming, and outlining) to helpcreate and only require spaces for the topic them to create their first draft. This first draftsentence, supporting details, and the conclud- can either be handwritten or typed, but it musting sentence in its simplest form. The teacher be neat so that they will be able to use it duringcan create a worksheet that is laid out in the the upcoming peer review activity. Since thesame format as the target writing, but with Adbuster may take a while to put together, theyheadings denoting each important section and may be given time to finish it outside of class. —a certain amount of space below each one for When the subgroups finish the first draft,the students to fill in their ideas. — they can begin the peer review process by For the Adbuster, the students can first exchanging paragraphs within their groupsdecide whether they will “bust” the assump- and completing a peer review worksheet. ThisE n g l i s h TE a c h i n g F o r u m | Number 4 2008 7
  7. 7. worksheet should contain several open-ended classmates on the final day of the lesson. The questions about their groupmates’ paragraph teacher should tell the groups what will be that require them to read it closely and think expected of them. — critically about both its structure and content. Example questions might be: — Step 8: Class presentation and final draft — • How well do the paragraph’s support- When students get back their second ing details follow the topic established drafts, time should be spent during class to by the first sentence? — allow the groups to look over the teacher’s • Are there any details that do not belong? comments and ask questions about them. If so, what are they? Why don’t they Then, students can create their final drafts. — belong? — On the final day of the lesson, groups will give a 10- to 15-minute presentation of their Students should then write comments that work to their classmates and the teacher. In they believe will help their groupmates write a this presentation, they will (1) briefly share better second draft. It is always best for a teach- and describe their original advertisement, er to prepare worksheets designed for his or her (2) share the ideas in their paragraphs with the specific group of students, and various examples class, (3) share and describe their Adbuster, can be found on the Internet. Since the ideas in and (4) field questions from their classmates. — the second paragraph must “complement” or We suggest that the teacher require all respond to the ideas in the first, it is expected group members to speak. When they finish, that the subgroups will speak to one another they will turn in not only the most recent and exchange ideas to agree on the main ideas versions of their work, but also every previ- of each of their respective paragraphs. For more ous draft. The paragraphs’ final drafts must information on the techniques and effective- be typed and must conform to the standards ness of peer assessment, see Mendonça and Johnson (1994) and Bartels (2003). — of style the students will be expected to use A variation of this activity can involve in their later studies. In addition to class pre- groups sharing their first drafts with other sentations, students can share their work with groups, rather than simply exchanging within other classes at their school through exhibits or their own groups. This may give students school-wide presentations and at gatherings of more ideas on ways they can improve their parents or other members of the community. — writing and also provide a fresh perspective on Step 9: Teacher assessment — their own work. — Because this is a writing lesson, the teacher Step 7: Second draft and final Adbuster — will evaluate the groups primarily on their Students write a second draft of the two work in the paragraphs’ final drafts. But the paragraphs and make improvements based teacher may also assess students’ progression on comments they received from their group through the various drafts, their class presen- members. Upon completion of this step, the tation, and the clarity of ideas represented in teacher should collect all the work done up to the Adbuster. After delivering the final assess- this point by all groups and provide specific ment, the teacher can also schedule individual feedback to help students create better final group conferences to discuss the assessment drafts. This work includes all drafts of para- in more detail and to answer any questions graphs, worksheets, and the advertisement. students may have. — Since it has been suggested that written feed- In a conference setting, the teacher can pro- back in the form of explicit language error cor- vide suggestions for further improvement and rection may not be effective and, in fact, may also discuss the effectiveness of formative feed- have a negative effect on a student’s accuracy back provided both by the teacher and by their (Truscott 2007), it may be most helpful to sup- peers while students were working on their ply most comments on structure and content. — project. How can students better take advan- While the groups wait for the teacher to tage of this kind of feedback? What strategies return their drafts, they can finish working can students employ to correct mistakes made on the Adbuster and begin drafting an out- in planning and implementation while they are line of the presentation they will give to their still in the process of creating their work?8 2008 Number 4 | E n g l i s h TE a c h i n g F o r u m
  8. 8. Finally, the teacher can post the groups’ tion that shapes their values, assumptions,work on the classroom walls and later publish and attitudes. In addition, many studentsit in a class binder that can be used to inspire need instruction in university-level academicand inform future students. — writing, which requires analytical thinking skills. Since advertisements are of interestStep 10: Peer and self assessment — to college-age students, and since research In addition to assessment from the teacher, has consistently shown that meaningful task-the groups can also receive feedback from based instruction is one of the best methodstheir peers. This can be done in the form of for improving students’ language proficiency,anonymous peer assessment worksheets that the use of advertisements and Adbusters in atheir classmates fill out during and after each process-centered writing lesson is a worthwhilepresentation and give to the groups once endeavor. Such an approach provides studentsall presentations are completed. The teacher not only with greater motivation to write andmay determine the exact nature of this assess- to engage their creativity, but it also leads themment, but it would work best if students toward a higher awareness of contemporaryare asked to comment on their classmates’ social, global, and cultural movements. —clarity of ideas and creativity and diligenceof approach in relation to the description of References —their advertisement’s hidden message and the Aufderheide, P., ed. 1993. Media literacy: A reportextent to which they expose their advertise- of the national leadership conference on mediament’s untruths and unspoken realities in literacy. Washington, DC: Aspen Institute. — Badger, R., and G. White. 2000. A process genretheir second paragraph and Adbuster. Like approach to teaching writing. ELT Journal 54the peer reviews of the paragraphs’ first drafts, (2): 153–60. —this assessment should include open-ended Bartels, N. 2003. Written peer response in L2 writ-questions that either allow for or require more ing. English Teaching Forum 41 (1): 34–37. —than a few words from the evaluator. — Flores-Koulish, S. A. 2005. Teacher education for The teacher may also provide the students critical consumption of mass media and popular culture. New York: RoutledgeFalmer. —with self-assessment worksheets. These work- Mendonça, C. O., and K. E. Johnson. 1994. Peersheets can include questions about how well review negotiations: Revision activities in ESLthe students feel they completed each step writing instruction. TESOL Quarterly 28 (4):of the process, how they felt about working 745–69. —on their particular portion of the project, Media Education Foundation. 2005. Deconstructing an advertisement. if they would choose a different role if pdfs/DeconstructinganAd.pdf. —or when they complete a similar project. The Schwarz, G., and Brown, P. U., eds. 2005. Mediaworksheet can also ask students to comment literacy: Transforming curriculum and teaching.on which steps and segments of the project Yearbook of the National Society for the Study ofthey found most difficult or easy and why, and Education 104 (1), vi–294. —how they felt about working in their group Truscott, J. 2007. The effect of error correction on learners’ ability to write accurately. Journal ofand subgroup. And, of course, the worksheet Second Language Writing 16 (4): 255–72. —can ask students to provide an honest overallassessment of their group’s final product. The AnnA GriGoryAn holds a Masters in TESOLpeer and self assessments should not affect from Azusa Pacific University in California.students’ formal grades. — From 2006 to 2008, she served as an English Language Fellow in Shymkent,Conclusion — Kazakhstan. She currently works at Because of the nature of our ever-changing Özyegin University in Istanbul. — ˘and ever-shrinking world and the increasing John MArk kinG is an instructor in thereach of American popular culture across the English as a Second Language programglobe, students of English as a foreign language at Northern Virginia Community College inneed more than simple language instruction. Alexandria, Virginia. In 2005 and 2006, heIndeed, these students need the critical think- was an English Language Fellow ining skills necessary to process and evaluate Ashgabat, Turkmenistan, where he was ana constant barrage of multimedia informa- EFL teacher and teacher trainer.E n g l i s h TE a c h i n g F o r u m | Number 4 2008 9