These tips may sound simple to some, but useful to others! As a new writer I reckon you’ll have to do some of the things below, so this primer could help you hit the ground running…
note: instructions for Word based on Office 365
Tips for using Word… because we are all lazy until we actually need most of the cool functions!
Applying a template to a Word document
A publisher might send you a Word template to use and you need to upload it. Google how to do this if you don’t know, but it’s fairly straightforward (for me: Developer tab – Document template – Attach… that’s it really).
Changing the author name
Sometimes a publisher, or particularly an agent outsourcing work for a publisher, will ask you to alter author names in a document. That’s actually quite easy: File – Options – Personalise your copy… and you’ll see the options there.
Styles and the navigation pane
How often do you use Styles in Word? I’m lazy, I never used to bother….
Most materials writing I’ve done has been on Word using templates. These templates range in complexity, but the basic premise is the same as the Word Styles – it’s just applying a particular format to a body of text. Give yourself a refresher on using/changing these. Press Ctrl+F to open the navigation pane in Word. This will show you how easy it is to find your way around a document that uses Styles formatting. (more…)
This talk was specifically about in-service feedback for teachers, not about feedback on training courses
If we are not giving feedback for the right reasons, and getting the right results, then why bother?
Studies (e.g. Kluger and Denisi 1996) have shown that only a third of feedback has a positive effect – two-thirds has either a negative or no effect. With this in mind, Kennedy considers how to change the way we approach professional learning, and the impact of feedback on teaching performance and ultimately student learning.
What is feedback?
Feedback is limiting the discrepancy between current performance and future goals.
We often think of feedback in narrow terms (e.g. observations). Hattie and Timperly (2007) point out that even reading a book related to teaching can be a form of feedback.
Only feedback that is sought and accepted is likely to have an impact
I don’t have much to add when it comes to the DipTESOL phonology interview. You can find two great overviews about it from Gemma Lunn and Dave Dodgson. Both mention the example videos by Oxford TEFL, which I think are done by the tutors there.
All I can really add are some concrete examples, and a bit about my experience of doing the interview itself.
Just for context, I got a Distinction for the DipTESOL. I scored 82 for my assignments – you can read a summary of one here and find the others in English Teaching Professional (see ‘About me’). I got 83 (I think) for the phonology interview, 81 for the teaching practice and 73 for the exam. However, I’m not a Dip examiner or tutor, so I can only share my subjective views…
I presented about activities I use to raise awareness of contrastive stress. I mentioned:
a specific group of learners
WHY this was an important or relevant skill for them to practice
how I got students to notice contrastive stress
how I got them to practice it
how I encouraged them to produce this feature in a freer context
I’m currently studying a module in Materials Development through NILE online. It’s a really worthwhile course so far!
Unit two talked about evaluating materials, specifically course books. We were introduced to a range of checklists that could be used for evaluating a course book, and discussed the pros and cons of each. I can’t imagine everyone would find this topic interesting, but it was really topical for me – in the same week I was given a checklist to evaluate our new course book for teen classes. It gave me the opportunity to reflect on our own evaluation process and suggest some changes if necessary…
What makes a good checklist?
We looked at about six different checklists that were listed in McGrath (2002). In some of my jobs I’ve completed evaluations like this one from Harmer (1991:281) (more…)
If you’re about to finish the Trinity DipTESOL, prepare yourself. You’ll soon have one of the most poorly understood qualifications in ELT.
I finished mine in late 2014. Since then, I’ve had 3 different DELTA-qualified teachers suggest that my next step should be to take their Cambridge-accredited course. At least a handful of teachers have commented that I took the ‘easy DELTA’. My old boss all but dismissed my qualification by stating that the assessment ‘does appear less rigorous than the DELTA’. I’ve come across a fair few job adverts where the requirements ask for ‘DELTA or equivalent’ – my qualification isn’t even mentioned by name!
I can’t honestly say which is a harder course, I haven’t taken both and I don’t intend to. I’ll soon sit down with a DELTA-qualified colleague and record a conversation comparing our experiences of the two courses, which should be pretty interesting. I’ll post it up once it’s done. In the meantime, here are some of the most common perceptions I’ve encountered about the Trinity DipTESOL in the last year or so, and my own thoughts on them. Feel free to comment, disagree, and share some of your own experiences of both courses. (more…)
In the 6 years I’ve been teaching I’ve encountered a lot of negative attitudes towards professional development. Sure, at times I’ve been negative or cynical too – no-one’s perfect! It’s just that over the last few years I’ve really come to value the opportunities I get to develop my practice. That makes me feel guilty for being negative towards development opportunities in the past.
I’ve come across plenty of teachers who don’t share my opinion. In almost every teaching job I’ve had there’s been at least one, sometimes many people who don’t take kindly to staff development sessions. I understand when people have disagreements about the content of a session, or annoyances over its poor scheduling. I also understand that not everyone wants to (or feels they need to) develop their skills. That’s up to them. However, I’ve heard some pretty negative feedback about training sessions in the past that really wasn’t conducive to a positive staffroom environment. Not only have I heard it, I’ve actually said some of the comments below myself. I feel like a terrible person right now… (more…)
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