I was approached by Chris Rush, Content Marketing, from Off2Class to see if I would be able to review their website. I felt that this would not do their website justice, so we agreed to an interview. However, before we dive into the interview, I thought I would take this time to introduce Off2Class.
Looking at their website, they offer online teaching as well as student self-study materials. This is very similar to BreakingNewsEnglish or other teacher or student study material. Perhaps the difference between BreakingNewsEnglish and Off2Class is that the former website is free while the latter is accessible for a small fee. Obviously, I am unable ascertain whether the small monthly fee is value for money as I have been unable to review lessons that are incorporated for online or face-to-face lesson provision. Off2Class also upload English study and teaching related videos on their YouTube Channel but the number of subscribers are hidden from view. Nevertheless, when you visit their website, they offer a free account. Hopefully, this free account offered when registering helps guide possible readers on whether it is a suitable service.
Notwithstanding, the opportunity of online language learning and synchronous lesson provision has grown exponentially this year and some inexperienced teachers may feel more secure with the services that Off2Class is able to offer. I do hope that readers are able to make an informed decision with Off2Class and if you have used their lessons and service, then it would great to let other readers know in the comments.
I was fortunate enough to be invited to give a talk for the Korea TESOL Association about action research which I conducted over the summer months in relation to the challenges of teaching remotely. The talk included an overview and results of the research as well as practical tips for teaching different skills or functions remotely. A huge thanks to the KOTESOL Association for their support for the webinar and the recording is now available to watch in case you wish to learn more.
If you wish for me to provide a webinar in relation to teaching remotely, then please get in touch with the form below. I am also considering doing a weekly live webinar training session for teachers, so let me know if there is any interest with this.
Games in the language classroom are a must, but there are a few things that teachers need to be aware when they decide to incorporate them for students.
The first tip that I recommend for teachers is to keep the game simple. If the rules are complicated and it takes more than 30 seconds to explain the rules, it will confuse the students. There are suggested ways to explain games to students but I will cover this in a future post/video.
The second tip that I suggest is to involve everyone in the classroom. If you don’t include all students in the classroom or online environment, then they will feel isolated and unhappy.
The final tip for incorporating games in the classroom is to ensure that there is more than just one winner. Try to give credit where necessary: “Best contribution”, “The strangest answer”, “The quietest student”, etc. If you give points to contributions based on the student and what they brought to the game or activity, it will increase interest.
Many thanks for watching the video above – a huge thanks from Twinkl for your support – and don’t forget to Subscribe to their YouTube Channel.
A huge thanks to Jo for writing a contribution about creating lessons for an online context. There are some very clear and logical processes involved in preparing and delivering lessons within an online context. One thing that perhaps needs to be considered is online teaching pedagogy and suitability for nationalities.
Jo has been teaching business, general and academic English for more than 10 years in Hungary, Poland, and in the UK. Having finished her DELTA, she became actively involved in teacher training, and is a regular presenter at TEFL conferences, an external lecturer of methodology and education technology at a Hungarian university, and a contents writer for several English teaching websites and video channels. In her free time, Jo just loves going downhill and jumping around in foreign forests on her mountain bike. You can follow her on Twitter and also visit Short and Simple English.
Hands up if you’re also trying to make the best out of the current COVID-stricken situation! Even though I can’t see you now as you’re reading this post, I’m sure many of you have raised an imaginary hand, or at least smirked a little. Every country and every school seems to have a different approach to dealing with the second wave of the virus; some prefer face-to-face lessons with masks and social distancing, others went fully online, and some decided to pick hybrid teaching. In this post, I’d like to show you how you can make an online course work well!
0. You’ll need a place where everything comes together
I could say that any shared drive will do, but in these post-first wave times I think we can all agree that using a VLE (virtual learning environment) makes our lives much easier. Not only does it keep everything organised, it can also be used for day-to-day communication, assignment submission and feedback, so I would suggest setting up one as your step zero. But which one? My go-to solution is Google Classroom, and not because I’m sponsoring them 🙂 I like its clean, minimalistic design, and even though I miss some small features, it does everything that I need it for.
Teaching and culture tend to go hand in hand with each other. Without culture, language would not exist and vice versa. I remember one of my tutors telling me that if you ever wish to learn about the culture of a country, you must eat their food. It is true, traditional cuisine is an important element of any culture and is the first step of understanding a culture. Nevertheless, if you wish to develop rapport with learners, wherever they are from, you must attempt to understand their culture and way of doing this is understanding important events.
One important event that is celebrated and is considered integral for Koreans is their Thanksgiving. If I wish to develop rapport with Koreans, whether they are my students or possible contacts, I would share my understanding when important events occur. As such, if there is an important event in China, with the Mid-Autumn Festival being celebrated at the same time as Korean Thanksgiving, I would be sure to wish my students or contacts a Happy Mid-Autumn Festival.
Culture is such an important element of understanding the people, functions and events of a country, that to withdraw culture from a language is impossible. From next Monday, I shall be starting my first ever online language course with my University: Beginner Japanese. One thing that I will consider to incorporate is understanding the culture of Japan. I have very little awareness of Japanese as a language and also little knowledge of their culture but I am keen to learn. I am looking forward to this course as this will give me the insight of the challenges that my online learners face when studying online.
I will be sharing my insight of online language learning in a future article and I can’t wait to share this with you. I hope my Korean readers are having a wonderful Korean Thanksgiving.
How do you incorporate culture with your language teaching? What do you consider important when learning more about a culture? Let me know in the comments.
Just a quick one! Twinkl ESL are currently offering free access to users in South America in response to school closures. Miranda’s doing a great job at Twinkl and offering loads of awesome resources, many of which can be adapted for (or are even best suited to) online learning.
I found Twinkl really useful during online learning. I made various guided reading sequences on Seesaw using their resources and my learners responded well to these. I’ve since found other Twinkl resources useful for EAL classes with my Year 4 students (fronted adverbials for the win!).
A blank page. Just a question and a word count at the top. You stumble your way through an answer, sheepishly hand it in (with a funny feeling it’s not what your teacher wanted) and have it handed back to you later full of little red lines. Did you really make so many mistakes?
It’s no wonder that some students dislike writing. It’s boring or scary, and sometimes both – like a homemade horror film. But it doesn’t have to be! I actually promise this. There are so many ways to help students think creatively and love writing.
What activities are there to help you and your students get the most out of writing, I hear you cry silently at the computer screen. Weeeelllll … don’t you know it, I have some ideas.
Hang on in there and check out number 11 – it’s a method that will completely transform your students’ writing skills.
I received a review copy of “How To Write Grammar Presentations and Practice” by Diane Hall and Graham Burton from ELT Teacher 2 Writer. This has been the first time that I have reviewed a book published by ELT Teacher 2 Writer and was very keen to share my thoughts and opinions. Looking at the blurb at the back of the book, it is aimed for teachers who wish to receive a theoretical overview of grammar, considerations towards good grammar presentations and practice, as well as practical tips for writing rules, explanations, and rubrics.
There is an expectation from some students for the teacher to provide as much feedback as possible, whether it is related to one of the skills speaking, reading, pronunciation, writing, etc. In fact, when students produce some written work in their L2, teachers usually go through the writing and provide some feedback. In today’s article, I will look at how to proceed with errors in writing. There have three main approaches to correcting student written work – there is a forth but I will not go into this in this post.
The first approach to providing correction and feedback on student writing is correcting everything that the student has submitted to the teacher. This is quite a traditional approach to writing, but it may impact on student confidence towards writing in their second language. The second approach to written correction is providing feedback on selected parts of a student’s writing. This will not overwhelm a student, and usually a teacher will choose a paragraph to analyse with some feedback. The final approach to providing feedback or correction for writing, is with the use of symbols or a coding system. The coding system relates to the particular error, with the teacher drawing student attention towards the error in the hopes that awareness of the issues.
In this article, I share ten common codings that teachers can incorporate with their written feedback for students. Obviously, before attempting to incorporate a coding system, I would recommend that teachers introduce this system to students in the classroom before immediately handing back any written work. Students will need to become accustomed to this style of feedback and it is more learner-centred, with students having to discover the problems with their text. Therefore, learner training and tutoring is a valuable and necessary part when including this style of error correction and feedback.