It’s widely accepted that student collaboration is an effective tool in the TESOL classroom. Outside of the class, more and more collaboration is done online through the use of wikis. Why not bring wikis into the classroom to create an authentic collaborative environment for your EFL students?

Why a wiki:
  • Students collaborate more.
  • Students think more critically about the content.
  • Students are empowered, serving as author and editor.
  • Students write to a larger audience, increasing motivation.
  • Teachers can still monitor individual progress and contribution.

How to wiki:
  • Create and make students aware of the rubric.
  • Choose a user-friendly program and train students how to use it.
  • Train them on what it means to collaborate, and design tasks that demand it.
  • Train students how to edit, and provide them with your own regular feedback.

What to wiki:
  • Create a class textbook.
  • Brainstorm class topics.
  • Create a list of language reference materials or websites.
  • Post writing samples and comment on each other’s work.
  • Plan a school or community project, meeting, or conference.

I know my suggestions are all very general, but you know your students better than I do. Choosing the right task gives you a chance to demonstrate that you know what is relevant.

What I would also suggest is trying this on a larger scale in cooperation with other educators. Share lesson ideas and information about learners. Share links and other resources to encourage professional development. Build a support system within your staff.

If anyone has tried this in his or her own TESOL school or classroom, I would be very interested to hear if it was successful and what you learned from the process.