This week’s InternationalEyes focus has been on writing for various purposes, sharing experience, information and opinion amongst the international education community.
At the weekend, I discovered that the UK government’s Turing Scheme for international student mobility had just been launched. Having previously posted an article on LinkedIn about the Erasmus+ programme and commenting on the UK proposals, I felt it was important to follow up now that more detail was in the public domain.
So that was a couple of previously unplanned hours on Sunday evening putting together my thoughts about what’s on offer post-Erasmus. The new scheme has potential if well promoted, widely adopted and both institutions and government make Turing mobility an attractive proposition. You can check out the article here.
Then on Monday a request to write about the forthcoming EN3S General Assembly to be hosted by Université de Caen, Normandie in May of this year. It’s an important one, an event that will shape the future of an international network closer to my heart and important to student opportunity in studying sport abroad. So again on Monday evening I found myself writing copy for a leaflet and event overview promoting the European Network for Studies in Sports Sciences.
On Tuesday another opportunity to write for public consumption arise through the EAIE (European Association for International Education) with a deadline a few weeks from now. Nothing like a short deadline to focus the mind. This is a good opportunity to raise the profiles of both of my own business activities and EN3S as an international education network. Having reflected on the Need for Networks that support a truly international education, such as EAIE and EN3S, I now have a deadline and a plan for an article for submission, so let’s hope the words flow. And now I have a title.
Other forms of writing filled a good few hours this week, as I settled into moderating and giving feedback on assessments written by international students, and spent time preparing classes for undergraduates here in Gloucestershire. It’s always interesting looking at work in English by degree students using English as a second (or often third or fourth) language. The writing style frequently reveals the differences in structure and grammar between English and their native language, but also some hints at the learning culture that exists in another institution. Studying and being assessed in a language that’s not your own has to be one of the greatest challenges for international students, so both support and empathy are essential to make sure their work shows their true capability.
Later in the week I turned to researching and preparing TEFL teaching materials to discuss written communication in the form of letters and emails in English for non-native speakers. The conventions aren’t always so straightforward to remember, differing between even English-speaking cultures, and they’re still evolving as the current generation of students increasingly communicate through social media. But preparing materials that I can adapt for different purposes, and put to practical use, is always time well-spent.
In fact, any time spent writing is well-spent. The very act of writing, including writing this blog post as the week draws to an end, helps bring thoughts into focus. It can crystallise links between ideas that I’m not conscious of, bring deeper insights to the surface, and motivate me to look for new connections and inspirations. So with my article deadline approaching, and a new-found focus, I’ll be starting next week probably the way I started this one. Looking for the right stuff to write about.