Objectives of the Assignment:
Showcase students’ skills or interests in languages other than Standard English as part of the About Me statement in the ePortfolio. The assignment addresses many students in a typical FYS classroom at LaGuardia Community College. It encourages:
- Students with a native ability in another language to see it not as a stumbling block to learning but as a resource to develop academically and professionally
- Native English speakers to explore other world languages and cultures, and to consider using their interest professionally
- All students to consider whether they have experience with a dialect or slang, texting language and emojis, professional or technical language, or other specialized vocabulary, and whether this experience is (or should be) part of their emerging identity that they should cultivate
In addition, the assignment encourages students to use their own judgment in deciding how to integrate it with the rest of their statement so it increases its overall impact and their own investment in the assignment.
Amount of Time to Complete the Assignment:
The assignment unfolds over several weeks and follows the steps below:
Week 1: Introduce the About Me assignment. Work with students in brainstorming, planning, writing, and revising the statement so they find a compelling “story” to tell. Three paragraphs are a good length to aim for, perhaps present, past, and future. Also make a separate email exercise one of the first assignments you do in class (or Studio Hour), so students know how to access their LaGuardia email and can contact you by email. It is a good idea to incorporate this with instruction and practice in email etiquette.
Week 2: Students should have posted their statement to their ePortfolio. Review the statement and use the Pages icon on it to write a response to statement with suggestions for revising. Email the student that the response is waiting and they should open their portfolio, read the response, and follow the directions.
Week 3: Reserve a computer room for the day they are going to find the email, access the response in the ePortfolio, and begin revising. Tell students to email you when they have finished revising. They will then receive full credit for the assignment.
Week 4: Return to the revised statement for Language Awareness assignment. Distribute Part I of the assignment to introduce the project and generate discussion. This will take an hour or a little more. Part II can then be completed in the remainder of the second hour. Students can also finish Part II at home by an assigned date.
Percentage of the Final Grade:
The original About Me statement is worth slightly more than the Language Awareness project building on it because of the additional work involved (composing, revising, emailing, etc.). However, both are relatively low-stakes assignments included among about fifteen to twenty ePortfolio assignments and roughly the same number of in-class assignments.
Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
Sibbitt, David, "Language Awareness and About Me" (2019). CUNY Academic Works.