tefl

Before I became a teacher

Tyson Seburn recently tweet-asked followers about their degrees prior to working in ELT. After seeing such varied responses, I feel quite embarrassed to admit that I know very little about anything other than the English language ☹. Not even much about that either! You certainly wouldn’t think it given my writing style or SPaG!

My BA was in English Language and Communication. Most of my tutors were/had been involved in ELT in some way/shape/form so I guess I was bound to fall into it. The foundation year of the course had modules on SLA, psycholing and sociolinguistics. The other two years were quite TEFLy, courses on grammar, lexis, phonology, and a CELTA equivalent. There were also courses on ‘the bigger picture’ as such – things like language policy and planning, language and culture, etc. Plus, we had to pass a language to intermediate level. Mine was Spanish (you’d be surprised if you heard me speak it now, seriously). My dissertation was on language learning strategies (metacognitive strategies mainly).

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Poetry lesson: What do you hear?

Here’s a short poetry task that worked well with YLs and teens. It’s based on a poem from A Nest Full of Stars by James Berry.

Before you ask, no. I haven’t suddenly gone all NLP.  

Aims

  • Create a poem in the style of a famous poet
  • Review and practice adjectives to describe feelings
  • Practice mindfulness and ‘being present’

Optional lead-in, discuss poetry (might be dry for YLs but worked okay with the teens)

  • Do you like poetry? Why / Why not?
  • Do you know any famous poets from your country (or somewhere else)? If so, who?
  • Have you ever written a poem? If so, what was it about?
  • What are some typical features of poems?

More of a ‘hook’ lead-in for the YLS…

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Reflections on the DipTESOL

Here are some short video reflections on my DipTESOL experience. These are meant for candidates on the new DipTESOL course run through DublinTEFL. I’ve explained more in this intro vid…

Excuse the tiredness. And the lockdown hair! Barbers are shut here in Bangkok. The classroom is stripped back now, end of term and all. We’re still lucky though, IWB and whiteboard, plus looooads of resources out of shot.

So anyway, DublinTEFL asked quite a few questions. I’ve covered most of them. All the vids are only 90 seconds long.

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New ebook! 100+ Professional Development Tips for Post-CELTA Teachers

So, here it is, my first self-published ebook! Here’s the blurb:

This book is aimed at new teachers such as those who have recently completed a CELTA or Cert TESOL course. It offers a range of development tips and ideas to help teachers gain confidence in various areas of their practice. These areas include lesson planning, reviewing vocabulary, teaching pronunciation, classroom organization, and getting teens to talk.

This book is a result of my participation in Self-Publishing for ELT Professionals – a course run by iTDi.pro and hosted by Dorothy Zemach. I’ve just posted a bit about the course here.

Why did I write this book?

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EAL presentation tasks

I’ve been teaching an intensive English course this term. It works out (online) at about 8 hours per week, would have been a lot more had we not been back in lockdown. Seven students, Japanese, between 12 and 14 years old. All were supposed to be ‘low level’ (like, A2 or below I guess), although I’m sure you’re aware of the nature of these things. Once they got a bit of speaking and listening confidence, well, there’s far more language there than they’d realised.

To be honest, it’s been an absolute pleasure so far. There was a public holiday last week, and by lunchtime I was missing them! I just haven’t had students like this for a while. Awesome.

Every week, I set them a presentation task. I thought it would be quite challenging for them at first, but they seem to love it.

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Timesaver: Conversation starters

Here’s a quick fix warmer while you’re waiting for all students to arrive in your online class.

I googled ‘conversation starters’ the other day and found this list of questions 225 starter questions on gifts.com. I pasted these questions into the random spinner on Wordwall (yes, Wordwall again) and… that’s it. Nothing special, but just a way to prompt a bit of a chat if needed. Here are 6 different question spinners, as I said all questions originally from the gifts.com site (I took out some less useful ones). These are all teen-friendly.

Link here
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Timesaver: Quickfire questions

Online learning again… Five weeks in. Need to keep things lively.

Starting the lesson with these quickfire questions for my A2 level students. Nothing special, but livens things up while we are waiting for everyone to arrive.

Here are the links, don’t know why I called them random challenges, was just lacking inspiration.

link here

Second one…

Link here.

and third one…

Link here.

These are embedding as games as I link them but probs just end up links 😦 soz.

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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