Super Strategies for Teaching Paraphrasing and Summarizing! Cristin A. Boyd Studies in American Language, San Jose State University, San Jose/Silicon Valley California USA [email protected]
SOME ‘SLIGHTLY RANDOM’ THOUGHTS Little to no research about teaching paraphrasing Limited resources for actual “how to” (most grammar focused) Activities based on 17+ years of teaching reading & writing (and a search for resources) Not an exhaustive collection (share ideas) How-to/what of citation is not black & white Accessible readings = soft sources (popular magazines)
Justification: build skills & confidence
Today’s Outline Challenges, activity, practice, variations, repeat End: more Q & A and create resources
TERMS & MEANING FOR THIS PRESENTATION
Paraphrase: A restatement of an author’s idea.
Usually a shorter piece of text -- sentence or two.
Length of restatement can be as long as or longer than original. Attribution is required for every paraphrase. Paraphrasing is a fundamental part of writing a summary.
Summary: A series of restatements about an article, essay, etc. Restatements work together as a whole. Summary is much shorter than original. Generally requires one attribution.
CHALLENGES FOR ESL/EFL STUDENTS
Ownership of ideas varies between cultures. Memorized sections of Confucianism Mother: Person I admire (Yongfang 2003)
Paraphrasing may be interpreted differently. Restating words of scholars = bad news Common knowledge in collectivist cultures
Some cultures are reader (vs. writer) responsible.
Assumptions re: reader knowledge
Reading skills Ss misunderstand original Ss depend on lower-level reading skills (decoding) Ss lack vocabulary
Ss are preoccupied with grammar/sentence structure. Teacher feedback/learning focus on grammar/ sentence structure Grammar = mastery of language
Textbooks don’t explain “how” to paraphrase. Teachers don’t explain “how” either.
THE MOST PRESSING CHALLENGE (IN MY EXPERIENCE/OPINION). . .
a misplaced focus on the word
WHY IS THIS A MISPLACED FOCUS?
Meaning in English is not character/word-level
Cited source info used to support paragraph-level ideas
Sentences and paragraphs carry meaning
1 paragraph = 1 idea (topic sentence, supporting, conclusion)
Paraphrase = restatement of an idea (that is used to support another idea)
WHY DO SOME STUDENTS FOCUS ON WORDS? Desire to understand everything Low-level reading/learning skills Words are tangible; ideas often elusive Native country learning (lang = math) Grammar-based paraphrase activities
Heavy reliance on bottom-up processing Memorization-focused learning Word-focused L1
L1 INFLUENCE ON WORD FOCUS mu ('tree') shows a trunk and two leafless branches of a tree. The bottom half of the character may be hanging branches or the roots of a tree .… the character doubles to represent "forest" and triples to represent "dense forest." It joins with the character for "person" to represent "rest,” . . .
mo ('last' or 'top') shows a tree in which the top is marked with a horizontal stroke, while
ben ('source' or 'origin') shows a tree in which the root is marked with a horizontal stroke. Relationships between characters complex also From: http://www.mmtaylor.net/Literacy_Book/DOCS/pt1.html
WHERE IS MEANING? In English . . . -- a collection of words (groups of sentences and
paragraphs) -- “discourse blocks” (Christensen 1963, Pitkin 1969) - paragraphs (Kaplan 1972)
By focusing on Words, Ss = Miss & Misunderstand main ideas when reading Worry too much about individual words, grammar & sentence structure Paraphrase slowly & laboriously End up with stilted, awkward, incorrect paraphrases (plagiarized content?) http://boydsteachingresources.pbworks.com/
PROBLEMS WITH GRAMMAR-BASED PARAPHRASE ACTIVITIES Examples
Some combination of changes to original: compliment and subject positions verb from positive to negative verb from active to passive
Focuses too much on words Result:
Missed/misunderstood idea Poor/Jumbled/Stilted Restatement
To overcome these challenges & resulting TO TO OVERCOM problems:
all paraphrase work in my classes is based on . . .
First understanding an idea then restating it.
WHERE TO BEGIN: GOOD READING SKILLS (UNDERSTANDING IDEAS) Pre-read to get overall gist of article/section Read fast, multiple times Focus on IDEA/s Focus on content words (vs. function) Scan for main ideas In paragraphs and sentences Avoid getting side tracked on individual words
READING SKILLS (CONTINUED) R Mmy ading Skills
Work through ambiguity. Avoid translation. Use dictionaries very rarely
Use context for meaning
Look up: important & repeated keys words only when main idea truly can’t be deciphered.
Embrace a new style of reading!
Resource: What good readers do handout
#1 PARAPHRASING RESOURCE! STEPS FOR PARAPHRASING WELL Introduced and regularly practiced & reviewed. . . on board, in quizzes & front page of class wiki Resource: “Paraphrase Well” handout
STEPS FOR PARAPHRASING WELL 1) Read the section repeatedly to understand the main idea.
2) List important key words. 3) Cover original & restate the main idea in your different words.
4) Don’t worry about grammar! Restate idea first! 5) Check restatement for clarity of original idea (& original structure) 6) Check grammar & edit as needed. 7) Check attribution.
AS THE TEACHER… I CONSISTENTLY WALK THE TALK and focus mainly on Ss’ restated ideas I address grammar only after the idea is clear.
PARAPHRASE “ON THE RUN”
Paraphrase “on the run” A fun, active activity for practice with word meanings from context (definitions)
Original text posted outside class ‘Runner’ reads a definition outside (2 minutes) ‘Scribe’ is told meaning inside classroom Collaboratively write a new definition
Same activity with steps/list article Ss can exchange and check others’ work Limit Time! Don’t allow Ss time to memorize!
VERBAL RESTATEMENT do activity
VERBAL RESTATEMENT Ss retell main idea verbally Speaking = less worry about grammar, sentence structure, perfection T can draw out some missing points/details; walk S toward main idea. “You almost have it, but isn’t there something about X ?”
Use short blurbs from magazines. Provide a context for paraphrase. Ss work in pairs Limited time – about 5 minutes. Makes Ss focus on idea, can’t get side tracked w/ vocabulary, no time to look up words, pressure to report main idea. Short blurbs focus students on one idea Context makes paraphrasing more realistic Context focuses reading on using an idea for support
“Finding main ideas” handout Summary Grid How to Write a Summary handout (on wiki)
Debate in Costco Connection magazine
To integrate paraphrased source into a paragraph Sentence 1: introduces topic (topic sentence) Sentence 2: introduces paraphrase Sentence 3: connects/integrates source & main idea.
Resource: integration handout
SOURCE LIST 1: New York Times Up Front Nov 22, 2010 2: New York Times Up Front Oct 25, 2010 3: Health June 2009 4: Mothering Jan 2010
WHAT IS SENTENCE-LEVEL PARAPHRASING? WHERE DOES IT FIT INTO STEPS FOR RESTATING MAIN Sentence-level paraphrase work
Changing sentence from active to passive and vice versa.
Changing parts of speech.
Inverting complement and predicate.
See grammar toolbox web link/handout on wiki page.
When and where?
Only after main idea has been restated. Word level focus = lost main idea. Back to L1 reading skills.
Only as a means to fine-tune a paraphrase; make it less like original. In some classes I never give out a sentence-based handout!