reflective practice

15 ways I’ve developed as a teacher this year

I’ve had a really busy year. I’ve taught in four different countries since January. They’ve included a quick winter camp in Spain (which was great fun), a short stint back in England, an amazing summer in Vietnam and now Christmas in Bangkok! You can’t beat the life of an EFL teacher!

I’ve certainly learnt a lot this year. Here are a few things I’ve done that have improved me in some way as a teacher. I hope they give you some ideas for professional development. Some of these were motivated by this great post from ELT Experiences, I recommend looking at it for more inspiration! (more…)

EFL Classroom Management Techniques

I contacted Cambridge University Press last month. I said ‘If you send me a book, I’ll scrivener.jpgreview it on my blog.’ To my surprise, a copy of Classroom Management Techniques by Jim Scrivener turned up in my pigeon hole at work. This was very generous of them, but it’s been out for a while and reviewed plenty of times so I’m not going to stick to my promise (sorry). Instead, I’m going to write a few different posts about sections in the book, choosing things that I agree with, new things I will definitely try out, and some things that I feel differently about as a practising teacher.

Two things I should say. First, you can find a good overview of the book here, and a nice review here. Secondly, the fact that I disagree with some things written in the book doesn’t mean I dislike it. We had a copy of it at my last school (don’t tell CUP I’ve read it already), and I think it’s great – actually I’d say it’s an essential book for any staffroom.

I’m starting with the final section in the book which is about lessons. The last 50 pages of Classroom Management Techniques offer tips and activities related to 10 different topics, which are: (more…)

classroom organisation: some reflections

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:classroom arrangements10

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…)

Getting teens to talk

This post outlines my problem-solving techniques, and offers some tips for improving interaction in teen classes.

problems

It’s only a few weeks into term, but I’m revisiting familiar issues with my new teen classes:

Why are they so timid? Why won’t they volunteer answers during class discussion? Why won’t they share ideas when nominated? Why won’t they interact in pairs? Am I putting too much pressure on them so early into the term? How can I stop them speaking together in their L1? Should I always stop them speaking in their L1? (more…)

Reflective practice: creating a self-development record

How do you develop as a teacher? Do you rely on observations from peers or senior staff to tell you what you need to improve on? Do you evaluate and reflect on your own lessons? If so, do you do this informally or formally? Do you find that observing other teachers informs your practice? Do you read any ELT theory books or research articles?

There are plenty of ways I could improve my own teaching, but not all of them are within my control. I was thinking about why I struggle to develop as a teacher, and came up with these reasons: (more…)

What were the last 10 teaching books you used?

Last week my boss Martin Sketchley (eltexperiences) was sitting next to me compiling his list of recommended reading for the CELTA. It made me think about resource and reference books in general, and how I use them. I thought it would be an interesting self-development task to look at the last 10 ELT books I used, and explore what they tell me about my teaching. (more…)

DipTESOL observed practice – evaluate and reflect!

This is my first blog on the Trinity College London DipTESOL. It might seem like I’m jumping ahead a bit by talking about the final observations, especially if you’re new to the course. But if you’re anything like me, the observed practice will be what you’re most worried about.

Obviously I can’t make a fair comparison between observations on the Dip vs DELTA, as I’ve only taken one of the courses. However, from various conversations I’ve had with DELTA students (who of course may be exaggerating), I can tell you that the following are not true of the Diploma observations:

You are NOT going to fail if… (more…)