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Should I do a PGCEi?

I’m currently doing a PGCEi through the University of Nottingham. The course is specifically designed for international educators with a focus on improving professional practice. It is an 11-month course which is mostly distance learning, although there is a short face-to-face component.

The course seems popular with teachers who are working at ‘lower-tier’ international schools and who do not hold a teaching certificate from their country of origin. It also seems popular with EFL teachers hoping to transition to international school teaching. However, that’s just a snapshot – my cohort on the course is extremely varied and includes edtech business owners, state-school teachers in Thailand, educational materials writers, and unknown bloggers (*waves*).

Here’s a Q+A style chat I had with a friend on the pros and cons of taking this course. For context, we are based in Thailand, and I currently teach at an international school. (more…)

ELT Twitter chats

I did a digital reset of my Twitter account recently. I now see a much wider range of content than before, and have found loads of awesome EAL/ELL/ESL teachers to follow.

One really useful thing about the reset is that I now see loads more tweets from organised ELT chats. The only chat I used to get involved in was #ELTchat. I say involved… I’d normally dip into the 24-hour slowburn. I probably joined the actual hour-long chat no more than five times, as it was always after midnight here in Thailand. Also, I found it a bit difficult to get involved in sometimes – they’d discussed so much stuff already that I wasn’t really sure what to add without going over old ground.

#ELTchat may be on hiatus at present, but there seem to be loads more organized chats around for EL teachers. Here are some of those I’ve come across since the new year… (more…)

Spoken Grammar: a Guide for English Language Teachers

I got offered free access to this course on Udemy. I’ve been meaning to do it for a while. Finally got around to it and… wow! It’s very impressive.

Course overview

Spoken Grammar is a teacher training course. It provides teachers with techniques and materials for teaching conversational grammar – typically to learners at intermediate level or above. There are about three hours of lectures on the course which highlight a wide range of spoken grammar, and give an insight into how these features could be taught in the classroom.

There are 6 sections on the course:

Section 1 Introduction.
Section 2 Word order and ellipsis: heads and tails; declarative questions; ellipsis.
Section 3 Emphasis: hyperbole; interjections; cleft structure and binominals.
Section 4 Vague language: vague categories; vague placeholders; lexical bundles.
Section 5 Marking spoken discourse: adverbials; discourse markers; using direct speech.
Section 6 Response language: tokens and questions; so and do; synonymous language; dependent clauses.

(more…)

Course review: Evaluating Digital Materials (iTDi)

I recently took the iTDi course on Evaluating Digital Materials, delivered by Pete Sharma.

If you can’t be bothered with the whole review – here’s a summary in, er… wait… 17 words:

Excellent input, great delivery, very active forum, useful take-home resources, real value for money, well worth it!

Overview

The course lasts four weeks. Each week there is a weekend webinar with Pete, and then various follow-up activities such as reading and exploratory tasks related to digital tools. Most tasks involve sharing reflections in the course forum which, I have to say, was really active and thoughts were interesting to read.

In Week 1, Pete orientated us to the topic of Computer Assisted Language Learning with an informative webinar and follow-up resources. The main task after input was for us to choose the tool we were interested in evaluating. With so many participants on the course it meant that the tools selected were extremely varied, and some very topical for my context (such as Kahoot). I chose to evaluate Genially after coming across this on Owain Llewelyn’s blog (ELT Sustainable). (more…)

Review: NILE Technology-assisted Language Learning course

I took the MA module in Technology-assisted Language Learning through NILE back in 2017. Here are some thoughts on the course (views my own).

Overview

The course “covers the uses of technology in language education and includes theoretical perspectives, practical applications and opportunities for hands-on practical experience.”

Module content included the following…

  • The role of edtech in ELT
  • Evaluating edtech in your own institution
  • Working with the web: search literacy, tagging literacy, etc
  • Working with media – images, audio, video, remixing
  • Mobile learning- what is it and how can we use it? QR codes, virtual reality, augmented reality, e-readers, SMS, etc
  • Syllabus design; implementing tech
  • Teacher development online: PLNs etc

(more…)

Review: NILE Materials Development course

I completed the MA module on Materials Development through NILE back in 2016. Here’s a quick review of the course (all views my own).

Overview

The online course runs for 8 weeks, with a mid-course break. It explores ‘many aspects of effective materials development, from key principles to practicalities.’

After an introductory unit, the rest of the course content covers the following:

  • Learners, contexts and materials
  • Cognitive demand
  • Language input and output
  • Exploiting texts
  • Affective factors in materials
  • Visual design and image
  • Teacher notes

(more…)

Materials writing news and views, March 2019

A longer post this month – some overspill from the last post and then happenings over the last few weeks…

What’s new out recently?

Here are some recent coursebooks from publishers that I’ve clocked mainly on LinkedIn…

  • Oxford Uni Press have a new Pre-Primary series out – Archie’s World (shared by Jen Dobson). That link suggests it’s for the Spanish market, but I’m not sure.
  • Macmillan released Language Hub earlier in the year, and were promoting this at the English UK Academic Conference. I was involved in the digital content for the product so it’s great to see it on the market…

(more…)

Review: ELT Lesson Observation & Feedback

Lesson observations – where to start?! Jeanette Barsdell, the author of ELT Lesson Observation and Feedback Handbook, was thrown in at the deep end and expected to observe a teacher on her first day as a DOS. Despite being terrified, she got some great advice, hit the ground running and developed into a competent observer. She’s written a guidance book for anyone who observes or intends to observe ELT teachers, and overall is a great resource. (more…)