Reflection of 2011 – The #11from11 Challenge

I can’t believe it.  The year has literally flown by and I sit with wonder with a cup of coffee thinking about what I have actually done with the time.  Having read Mike Harrison’s blog post reflecting on his 11 posts from 2011 (challenged by @yearinthelifeof), I thought I should take up Adam Simpson’s challenge and write about 2011: it would offer some aspect of reflection and highlight what has been achieved during the past 12 months.  So without further ado, here is a reflection of my top 11 blog posts from 2011.

MA ELT – Assignments Complete: This was a brief blog post that reflected upon my studies at the University of Sussex and it is quite nice to look reflect on what I was focusing on during the beginning of the new term.  It is nice to look back and take stock of the Advanced Practical Teaching course (with my Dogme experimental observed lesson).  It is nice to see that I had posted/achieved what I planned to focus on: posting about the IATEFL in Brighton, wrote further book reviews.  Unfortunately, it was rather ambitious to write a weekly ELT related blog post and this was not fully exploited.

Pronunciation & Language Learning: This is one of my favourite blog posts this year and I continue returning to it to retrieve the same lesson plan (Pronunciation Phone Numbers) for my own YL/Adult classes.  It is successful and the learners love doing this lesson again and again.  It is also useful for readers to learn more about pronunciation and get some idea about pronunciation aims from the perspective of learners as it also included a little research analysis.

Using Newspapers in Class: This was an earlier blog post in February and it was reflection on the use of newspapers in the classroom as I had a formal observation at the University of Sussex as part of one of my courses.  In this blog post there were some images of my Teaching Practice portfolio and the materials that I prepared in class.  Also included in the blog post was the PowerPoint that I prepared for the lesson and all necessary materials that were required so that other readers could do this lesson if necessary.

Unplugged Teaching Practice – Formal Observations: During March, I was focusing on Dogme ELT for my Teaching Practice and it was the first ever time that I attempted a Dogme-related lesson.  Furthermore, I was having it being recorded and was also observed … so the pressure was on.  In this blog post I included my formal lesson plan, a video of Scott Thornbury, a self-evaluation of the lesson as well as a poster promoting a Dogme talk by Luke Meddings.  I suppose had it not been for attempting the Dogme lesson, I would not have researched Dogme ELT for my dissertation.

The 2011 IATEFL Brighton Conference: Life As A Steward – Day One: Having applied to volunteer as a Steward at the 2011 IATEFL Brighton Conference, I was requested to attend a training morning at the weekend and then start stewarding for the start of the conference.  It was a wonderful chance to meet so many people that I met in the twittersphere/blogosphere.  I always remember so many boxes piling up by the entrance in preparation for the rest of the week.  Thankfully, they all had disappeared the following day.

Teaching Unplugged – My First Video: This was a blog post focused on my Dogme ELT Teaching Practice from March 2011, which was recorded.  Having received the entire recording of my lesson, it was really useful to watch it back and look at how the lesson developed.  Over the following two months, I edited the video to a more manageable viewing of eight minutes.  It was so nice to share this with my readers.

Dogme for Elementary Japanese Learners: Whilst I MA classes had finished, I had some time to write my dissertation (which was focused on Dogme ELT) as well as teach part-time.  I was provided the opportunity to teach at the University of Sussex with Japanese Learners that had visited for two weeks.  It was so nice to incorporate my research in the classroom and decided to share a case of emergent language with Japanese Elementary Learners.  I have used this example within many teacher training workshops … so it is an incredibly important blog post that I hold close to.

Dogme ELT – Dissertation Short Summary:  Having completed and submitted my Dogme ELT dissertation, I decided to share an abridged version for all those people that helped directly or indirectly with my research.  It provides readers the opportunity to view a short summary of the dissertation and offer ideas for their research (if they are undertaking an MA or other related course).

iPad Game Lesson Plan: “Jetpack Joyride”: Having read (prior to reviewing the book) “Digital Play”, I was inspired to create a lesson plan that included some form of game.  It was a challenge but I decided on an iPad game called “Jetpack Joyride” and also included a video that was available to watch on YouTube.  I used some of the images of the video on the basis of a storyboard.  I used this in class the following day and the Young Learners were really receptive and enthusiastic to use a game in class.

“Digital Play” – Book Review: The second blog post during October that I consider important is the book review of “Digital Play”.  This book I found pushing the boundaries of gaming in the language classroom and have personal experiences of this in South Korea by playing on my son’s Nintendo in Korea or visiting a Korean PC Café.  It was so nice to receive a copy of this book and write one of the first online book reviews.

Zeitgeist 2011: A Lesson Plan: My final blog post for this challenge has to be the Zeitgeist 2011 YouTube videos that I decided to use as a basis for a lesson plan.  It received some interest from my PLN and appeared to prompt a conversation-driven, materials-light approach to teaching.  I used this lesson with my private language learners and although they are teenagers, they were incredibly motivated and keen to share about their experiences during 2011.  It seems fitting to have this lesson included as a final of my eleven best blog posts.

Naturally, there are many blog posts that I would like to include in this list but the above the best eleven posts during 2011.  Nevertheless, I look forward to 2012 and am wondering what the next year will bring in terms of achievements but you can rest assured that I will be sharing my experiences, thoughts, lesson plans and book reviews in the future.  The biggest event in my diary for 2012 is my IATEFL Talk on Dogme ELT in the Classroom on March 23, so I look forward to seeing you all in Glasgow in a few months time.  Finally, I would like to wish all my readers a very Merry Christmas and all the best for the New Year.

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