Here’s a fantastic guest post from Michael Walker, who currently teaches at a university in South Korea. He offers some great tips for teachers who are just starting out. Thanks Michael!
Don’t smile until Christmas?
There is an old piece of teaching advice which tells us. “Don’t smile until Christmas.” This is nonsense, a simple smile is contagious, we want our students to learn in a happy, friendly, and approachable environment, smiling helps deliver that type of environment. Creating a friendly, safe, and welcoming environment in the classroom is vital to educational success. If students are not comfortable they will not talk, if they stay silent their English will not improve. A friendly environment will lead to increased student-teacher contact, this is key to student motivation and learning. (more…)
I was re-reading a booklet the other day on how to use Cuisenaire Rods in class, written by John Evans whilst at LTC Eastbourne. It’s brilliant so look it up! Anyway, the first activity in the booklet involves using rods to tell the story of the Battle of Hastings. This is still one of the best teaching resources I’ve used.
The very first procedure of activity says this:
Set the chairs up in a horse-shoe. Do not have students sitting behind their desks. You WILL kill the lesson. It is important that they can see the rods and that they are close to the action. If you don’t believe me, try it!
As John points out, the layout of the learning environment can really influence the class dynamic. Here are some of my reflections on organising the classroom and dealing with some problems have arisen. (more…)
I had my first lesson observation at the British Council Bangkok the other day. I still have a job, woohoo!
I got some very surprising feedback from my line manager: ‘your board work was a real strength’. Boardwork? Strength?! I did NOT expect that! However, I do think my whiteboard work has improved a bit over the last year for a few reasons. (more…)
Helping learners to deal with spoken discourse was a hot topic on my Diploma course. You might encounter the terms ‘interactional talk’ and ‘transactional talk’ when you get to modules on discourse analysis; a possible development task could be to devise a lesson based on things like ‘responses’ and ‘follow-up moves’. If so, I hope this post will help. I’ll introduce an approach to teaching spoken discourse markers, which is based on a task-based learning input session from my CELTA. (more…)
When you undertake a 1-month intensive CELTA course it’s near impossible to absorb all the information you’re given. You have to prioritise, and that means getting the basics right. Staging a lesson, introducing new language effectively, anticipating problems, that type of thing. Even learning English grammar rules, that’s hard enough for a native speaker!
However, if you get chance, take a bit of time to consider how your CELTA tutors model good classroom practice during input sessions. Our tutors used a lot of activities and techniques on us which we could in turn apply in the classroom. They didn’t always tell us this, so it’s worth making a note of little things you observe. You never know when a little tip or idea might be beneficial, so you might as well jot it down just in case! (more…)
The language analysis assignment is quite straightforward. It’s in two parts, grammar and vocabulary. You’re given a particular grammar structure or lexical items, and you have to analyse it and explain how you would go about teaching it. That’s about it really. It might sound simple, but that doesn’t make it easy!
During the course you’ll learn how to introduce target language, more than likely in this order:
Meaning, Form, Pronunciation, Appropriacy
For both grammar and vocabulary items, we were told to lay the analysis out like this: (more…)