General

Towards building a whole-school approach to EAL

I enjoyed Adri’s post on EAL vs ESL the other day. It’s great to read so many positives regarding EAL culture at her school: teamwork, addressing individual needs, building a whole-school EAL approach, etc.

Based on Adri’s comments, I feel like she’s a few steps ahead of my school in her context. As an EAL teacher, I’m still trying to work out how best I can promote EAL support to other teachers at my school, and explain how our approach can benefit the students. Adri seems to have made progress with that already so I’ll be reaching out to her for ideas, that’s for sure!

I do have one idea for building a whole-school approach to EAL. It’s basically to put the EAL dept out there – make it clear what we are doing, why we are doing it, and prompt other teachers to collaborate more with us. I’m putting together a series of videos to explain what we do both during in-class support and in our EAL lessons.

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Materials Writing: Samples

Question from a reader: Can you give me some advice on how to write a sample?

Ummm…

The free ‘No Nonsense Guide to Writing’ from ELT Writers Connected includes a good overview on this topic (see page 27, written by Damian Williams). That covers the basics tbh – it’s well worth a read.

 I’m not sure what more I can add really, apart from just what works / has worked for me.

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Jason Anderson and the TATE

There’s a Mercury Music Prize-winning band name if ever I heard one. This post is actually a long one about Anderson, CAP/TATE, British Council and Project-based learning – that didn’t have quite the same ring to it.

I attended Jason Anderson’s webinar last night on contemporary lesson planning and frameworks in TESOL (hosted by DublinTEFL). Really well-presented, very informative.

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Using Loom

Here’s a quick overview of Loom and why I like it.

What’s Loom?

Loom is a video recording / screencasting tool. It is available as a Google extension. I first came across this tool after reading this post last year. It includes a good video tutorial for how to make vids.

How can I get it?

Basically, Google ‘Loom for Chrome’, add the extension, then pin it to your browser. Whenever you want to record a vid of you/your screen/you and your screen you just click the Loom button and you get a drop down recorder appear:

When you start recording you choose if you want to record the entire screen, a window or a tab. When you finish recording the video automatically uploads to your Loom library.

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Text analysis, level checks, profiling, etc

A new subscriber, Gemma Archer, just asked about text profilers. I’ve shared this response as a comment but thought I’d paste here as might crowdsource some more ideas??? Help please 🙂

(Response)

I use, or have used, text inspector (free version 250 words). My go-to for a while.

https://textinspector.com

This is the link for longer texts (thanks Silvina/Teresa)

http://www.englishprofile.org/wordlists/text-inspector

The text analyzer from Road to Grammar:

http://www.roadtogrammar.com/textanalysis/

Lextutor.ca, which I used during my MSc and was a bit more (too!) technical:

https://www.lextutor.ca/vp/

It’s not something I’ve used recently and now it looks pretty aaaaargh but useful for checking word frequency I think.

EDIA Papyrus – I used this more when it was in beta but was good.

https://papyrus.edia.nl

There’s one from Duolingo now but won’t work on my phone for some reason. Haven’t used it yet but an option maybe (?)

https://cefr.duolingo.com

Vocab kitchen, used a few times, basic but ok

https://www.vocabkitchen.com/profile

There are also some sites that make it easy to grade their texts, which I like! NewsELA being one, but it’s not a profiler as such so bit of a tangent there.

Might be worth asking Julie Moore the same question, I think this might be her area of expertise…

*Update* Julie has responded with this AWESOME post!

(End)

WAIT! I’ve remembered another one!!! The NILE Members area (free to join) has a text analysis tool!

Another here, the Oxford text checker, shared by Gordon Dobie via Facebook.

Dan Shepherd (via LinkedIn) just shared this one for Pearson Global Scale of English

Jane Wescombe (via LinkedIn) shared this tool from Lexicool.

Gemma said she’s had mixed success with text analysis tools. Me too. Main difficulty for me has been how some tools seem to analyze words individually, so things like phrasal verbs get missed. Anyhow, they can be a useful starting point or general kinda marker for writers. I think these are the only ones I know but if another one comes to me I’ll add it in the comments/do an update 🙂 please share others and your experience of using them if you’ve time. Cheers.

Tips for writing secondary materials, ELTA Rhine

Teresa Bestwick tagged me in a tweet about materials writing earlier. ELTA Rhine were looking for someone to drop into a training session for pre-service teachers and chat about writing Secondary resources.

Teresa was going to help, I really wanted to help, couldn’t make it timewise. Had kids to look after. But tried to find time to make a vid.

I got home and sat down at about 4.30pm to share these random tips. Made some slides (QUICKLY!), recorded, sent them off at 5.50pm. There’s nothing polished, nothing structured, it’s loose, scatty, trying to be organised but like… er… This is me just, I don’t know just being real ‘me’ maybe?

You’re kinda on the journey with me here on a ‘public speaking’ front so please be patient. There are things I’d have phrased differently, there are some things I don’t explain well (although this is meant as a kinda ‘pause and chat about it’ in my eyes tbh) and I’ve literally chucked examples together. But… it’s me. I’ll get better, but I can’t do that without giving things a go.

Besides, doing this felt like I was on the Krypton Factor or something.

I think there are a few things in here to help pre-service teachers think about planning/writing lessons for teens. Some things maybe not, but certainly one or two of the tips! Thanks for the tag Teresa 🙂

P.s. this was really cobbled together as you’ll see, hence no references. The resources were Sprint 2 (ELi), Beyond A2+ (Macmillan), Learn English Teens (British Council), stuff from this blog for really quick examples.

Cheers

EAL: History / Geography reviews

Here’s another insight into day-to-day EAL planning. Usual disclaimer on the look of the resources – time restraints, okay?!

History and Geography were tough for our EAL learners in Term 1. They are so English-heavy and there’s tonnes to cover. Most of my separate EAL classes during the term focused on some part of the content in these two topics. I mean, there was the odd review of maths terms and some focus on essay writing skills, but mainly I was helping learners access the Hist/Geog content.

At the end of each (half-)term, with writing assessments looming, I help the learners review what’s been covered. These activities are done as a rip-and-run activity so sorta gamified.

Here are some of the examples of my review activities for WW2 key events (the essay involved discussing two of the events in detail…)

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Get published! Working with Peachey Publications

It’s about time I did more than just praise Nik Peachey on LinkedIn and in Twitter posts!

Another six months has passed, the royalties from ‘30 Role Plays for TEFL’ are in. They’ve covered a dentist bill, a crate of beer, and one month’s life insurance premium. Blimey, that last bit makes me feel old.

‘30 Role Plays…’ was great fun to write. See here for details of how it came about. It reminds me of some fun times at the British Council, when the crew at our tiny centre in Bangkok were alive with ideas!

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