ELT Experiences

Experiences for English Language Teaching

Preparing for an Online Pre-Sessional Course: The Technology

Over the past week or so, I have been attending some Zoom meetings to prepare and induct for the newly arranged eight week Online Pre-Sessional course, which is to start next Monday. It is very much a new venture for all involved in the online course: students, teachers, convenors and admin staff. 

Last week, all those involved attended a meeting to introduce all technology involved with the course. We were expected to become aware of all functions related to Zoom: breakout rooms, polls, chat, etc. This became quite an interesting experience for all end users. The person who organised this is technology and remote learning professional at our University. 

The first part of this session looked at the hopes, fears and expectations of the Online Pre-Sessional course. Fears seemed to outweigh many other aspects: “Will I get used to the technology?”, “Will I embarrass myself to the students?”, “What will happen if I can’t use the technology?”. Some of the hopes focused more on being establishing rapport with students, noticing a development with student competency or being available for students during course hours. It was obvious that significant challenges faced by all tutors and students are related to technology and the ‘remoteness’ in relation to the course. We then looked at technological challenges and benefits and this was discussed in breakout rooms via Zoom. Much of what was discussed was demonstrated below.

On top of Zoom meetings, which focus on synchronous lessons, there is also an emphasis on asynchronous learning for students. With our institute, we have started to incorporate Canvas and were encouraged during the initial meeting to record self-introductions and post on the discussion board to students. Then, to encourage students to self-introduce themselves once the course starts. Furthermore, we were recommended to personalise the self-introduction – with the inclusion of hobbies, the place where we live or other aspects about our lives – so that rapport could be established. It appears to be quite invaluable suggestion, but obviously it is most dependent on how much a tutor wishes to share with their cohort of students. Other aspects on Canvas include the Announcements and Inbox, which I have not really used much in the past but I look forward to seeing how much this is integrated during the summer course.

Finally, there were a few considerations for tutors such as not organising a private WhatsApp/WeChat discussion group with the students (I guess there are some privacy-related issues). It was recommended that if students have any issues, that they use the formal channels of communication so that it is transparent and open. Obviously, it was possibly suggested that students could arrange their own private online social groups to help each other or share their own reflections and experiences. There is an assumption that providing learners with a private space would be of benefit and that they are able to liaise among themselves.

Some questions that I have going forward (and I hope to answer in future blog posts) include:

  1. What is the ratio of face-to-face synchronous teaching/learning to asynchronous teaching/learning?
  2. How much work ‘behind the scenes’ will go into synchronous teaching?
  3. How will students respond to this new environment of teaching and learning?
  4. What sort of EAP-related issues will emerge during the course?

This is my only second year as a Pre-Sessional Tutor and I am looking forward to this course as I feel much like a beginner teacher again. I also hope to share another update in the near future about my most recent inductions this week and my plans for next week’s course.

Teaching Tips: Avoid These Ten Mistakes As A New Teacher

Teaching is regarded as a very noble profession where one can really educate future generations. However, when teachers start their career they usually make some fundamental mistakes. In today’s blog post and video, we look at ten common mistakes new teachers usually make and should avoid. 

Teaching is a very noble profession that shapes the character, caliber, and future of an individual. If the people remember me as a good teacher, that will be the biggest honour for me. (Abdul Kalam)

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Top Tips for Non-Native English Teachers

I had the pleasure to invite Marek for a quick interview regarding advice he would recommend newly qualified and certified teachers of English who second language is English. Fortunately he agreed and we created this video answered questions regarding recruitment, the CELTA and various other elements of teaching.

If you don’t know Marek Kiczkowiak, he is the founder of TEFL Equity Advocates and TEFL Equity Academy. He has been involved in English language teaching since 2007 and is originally from Poland. He is now working in Belgium and is involved in preparing students for their academic studies in English. Marek is also writing material for National Geographic.

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How To Make Reading More Engaging

In this quick post, I share five tips to make your reading more engaging and entertaining for your learners. I have also supplemented the post with a video for those that want to watch something for 5 minutes.

Should you enjoy the video, please leave a Like and Subscribe if you haven’t already.

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Teaching With Just a Piece of Paper

The other day, I decided to create, edit and share a video aimed for teachers (with minimal experience) on how to teach with just you and a piece of paper. It seemed to be quite popular and I hope there are some useful tips included within the video. The video is available below and it would be great if you could show your support by Liking and Subscribing to my YouTube Channel. 

If you have any suggestions about future video content, I am all ears as I have a lot of time to create content for you. Take care and stay safe at the moment.

Seven Ways To Use Zoom for Remote Teaching

Teaching remotely or teaching online is becoming more and more common, especially with the latest pandemic where teachers are finding their courses and classes being placed online. Since then, there has been a scramble for finding alternative and suitable applications to support teachers and students with their online lessons with Zoom being touted as the most appropriate.

In this blog post and video, I am sharing with you seven ways you can incorporate Zoom to help you with your synchronous remote teaching and to engage and interest learners with lessons.

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Six Steps To Prepare for Remote Teaching

I will now be using my laptop to start delivering lessons remotely to my students who I usually teach face-to-face

When it comes down to responding to the CORVID-19 as a teacher, many are being required to deliver lessons and content remotely to their students. In fact, today I was informed that all teaching would be suspended until the following week with all courses being delivered online. Obviously, the amount of teachers that I have been in touch with via Twitter and Facebook have faced similar situations – even the PM, Boris Johnson, has recommended that all people who are able to teach online, where possible. It is drastic action, but it is necessary.

When teaching remotely, it is important to prepare and have the necessary equipment, skills and environment suitable to deliver remote lessons. In this blog post, I am sharing some things that need teachers should consider before delivering a lesson or input for a course.

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Episode 8: How To Plan A Lesson

Hello all and welcome to another post and video about planning lessons from a course book. In the video below, I share my thought process and ideas about particular stages of a lesson. I think it is good to share the ideas and the rationale behind this process with the (albeit rather long) video.

The course book that I was using was Move Pre-Intermediate – I haven’t used this for around a year so it was refreshing to remind myself of this book. The main topic of the chapter which I selected was about food and the desirability of food based upon colour. It included a reading, discussion and a grammar focus of countable and uncountable nouns.

With the video above, I share some of the ideas of supplementing the course book. These included using a survey as a lead-in/warmer to engage learners about the topic, matching key language (words and images) about food as well as focusing grammar from the language that had been introduced initially and recycling this from the initial survey.

These were my main ideas and they are not exactly great but I am happy to share these with you. I do hope you enjoyed the video, despite the length (and apologies in advance about that), and don’t forget to Subscribe to my YouTube Channel and Liking the video would be wonderful.

Many thanks and happy teaching!!! ? 

Episode 7: How To Start Teaching EAP

I have been teaching EFL for the last 14 years and last summer, I was fortunate to make the transition to teaching English for Academic Purposes (EAP). When I gave in my notice last April with my previous employer, I was a little lost and didn’t know what to consider. My wife (all thanks to her) recommended that I get in contact with my University where I had completed my MA. And here is where I started my journey towards EAP.

I was offered a 6 week intensive English course to teach, Monday to Thursday, and invited to an interview to be part of a ten-week summer pre-sessional course at the University, all in one day. In this blog post, I am sharing my tips for securing employment as an English Tutor with a University. Continue reading

Pancake Day: Lesson Ideas and Activities

One of the most popular events during late February or early March, in the UK, is Pancake Day. I am sharing some lesson ideas you could use with your class to celebrate the event and to get your students learning more about this British custom.

It is very important to introduce your students to celebrations in the UK, so they are able to learn more about British society and events which they may come across. Furthermore, they will feel more inclusive within British society if they are able to participate with some events.

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