One thing that can trouble teachers is how to teach reading skills in an engaging and interesting way. When I was learning French or German at school, my teachers would give us a block of text – not all that I could understand – some comprehension questions and let us get on with it. Fast forward 25 years, and I have created some techniques to ensure that reading is dynamic and exciting.
Observing teachers can be quite a challenge, especially if you have limited observation experience. However, it shouldn’t be too stressful and you can also help teachers with the whole process. There are of course different observations which are considered: pop-in observations (where a senior member of staff pops their head through the door to get a general idea of the class), formal observation (which is arranged by the Director of Studies or a senior teacher) and a peer-observation. Each have different objectives and this will be looked at in a future article. In this article, we shall look at ten tips for observing teachers and things to consider.
It can always be difficult in prompting learners to talk or respond to questions, particularly if they are not used to it. Teachers can try a number of things: games, rewarding behaviour or input, reminding learners of class rules, offering some form of carrot (a movie at the end of the week) or the threat of homework. For English teachers, it can become quite challenging particularly should one have the same students throughout the year.
There are some reasons why learners can be naturally quiet in the classroom, but encouraging them to interact can improve their progress However, the more the teacher talks, the less the students talk. What is more, you do not want your students to come to class just to listen to you. So Annabelle Fee offers some suggestions: five ways for English teachers to talk less and students to talk more.
A few months ago, I decided to invest in some Story Cubes and have been trying them out with some of my classes. If you are unfamiliar with Story Cubes, they are a collection of nine dice with images printed on each side of the dice. They are stored in a convenient box which is super portable, with them being small enough to just place in your pocket. Anyhow, when using the Story Cubes in class, the students responded positively and created some very engaging and funny stories. If you want to find out a bit more information about these Story Cubes, you can check Rory’s website.
In this article, we look at ten teaching ideas for using Story Cubes in the classroom.
A teacher training session looked at 20 ways to make your lessons more exciting and engaging. Please find below a video of the training session, the PowerPoint slides as well as a Handout which was provided to each of the attendees.
I was excited to receive one of the latest publications from Cambridge University Press, Interaction Online. The book is co-authored by Lindsay Clandfield, who has written other titles including the successful Global coursebook series, as well as Jill Hadfield, who has written the recognisable photocopiable resources: Communication Games. As with other Cambridge Handbooks for Language Teachers series, this latest publication is edited by Scott Thornbury.
“Interaction Online” is aimed for teachers who are keen to incorporate an aspect of online interaction as part of their course. It also encourages use with not just face-to-face courses but also with online or blended learning courses. As you read further into the Introduction of the book, the authors focus on interaction and tools to promote online interaction. These suggested tools include message or chat services such as WeChat or WhatsApp, audio or video tools such as FaceTime or Skype as well as discussion forums or message boards. The Introduction is logically organised and well paced with suitable information for any reader who is keen to implement an element of online interaction with their course. The final section of the Introduction provides a comprehensive breakdown of suggested interactive online activities in their corresponding chapters: ‘Personal interaction‘ (Chapter 2), ‘Factual interaction‘ (Chapter 3), ‘Creative interaction‘ (Chapter 4), ‘Critical interaction‘ (Chapter 5) and ‘Fanciful interaction‘ (Chapter 6).
It is that time of year where a vast group of English teachers venture to the UK to continue their professional development for the IATEFL Conference. This year it was held at Glasgow. I believe it was five years ago, in 2012, when I went to the IATEFL Conference in Glasgow to give my talk based upon my research for my MA in Dogme ELT. You can read more about my dissertation and research in this post.
Anyhow, attending conferences can be overwhelming, challenging and intimidating, but it doesn’t have to be. This post looks at the best ways to make the most out of conferences and how to make the most of your time.
Last week, I was inducting some new teachers into our school: preparing them for their teaching career for the year ahead. We looked at various areas about teaching: classroom management, get to know you activities, games in the classroom, etc. The final area we looked at was about continuing professional development (CPD). We looked at formal and peer observations, attending workshops, contributing to workshops as well as blogging. All teachers with varying years of experience, including a teacher who had just completed her CELTA (or equivalent), had only come across the mainstream websites related to English language teaching (TEFL.com, Dave’s ESL Cafe or Teaching English) yet had not really considered blogging a tool for CPD.
So the past few months, I have been focusing more and more on pronunciation for all levels of learners, no matter whether they are young learners or adult learners of English. Anyhow, I tried out a new lesson idea today which was partly inspired from the wonderful book, “Pronunciation Practice Activities“, written by Martin Hewings. I would recommend any teacher worth their salt to purchase this book, as it offers some great pronunciation lesson ideas which could be incorporated into class immediately.
Most teachers would identify word stress with the teaching of new vocabulary or as a technique to support pronunciation for problematic lexical items. This is all well and good but it reminds me of a teacher reacting to issues rather than proactively focusing on areas of language learning. Personally, if a teacher is able to develop a lesson based around pronunciation and developing learners’ awareness of pronunciation, so much the better. There is by no means anything wrong by reacting to pronunciation issues as they arise but I think it would be a nice change of focus when we remind learners that there are some basic principles that they can learn no matter how large or small the lexical item. Nevertheless, lets look at one lesson idea which is published in “Pronunciation Practice Activities“.