tefl

12 conversation strategies worth teaching

One thing my CELTA course skimmed over was how to develop learners’ conversation strategies.

There seems to be a good amount of focus on conversation strategies in recent coursebooks. However, at times I find these can be problematic. Models of effective convo strategies/techniques can be naff sometimes. Where there are no models, and instead there are tip boxes for maybe using a convo strategy during a task, these can lack detail. They require the teacher to elaborate quite a bit. While the teacher notes can help, you might find (as I do on occasions) that there’s a bit of a mismatch. I.e. the language that is anticipated to come up during the task isn’t actually needed/is needed but is already known/needs to be built on. (more…)

Review: NILE Membership

The NILE Membership area is a new section on the Norwich Institute of Language Education site. It includes various resources created for language educators by the NILE trainers. There’s new content added each month and (best of all) it is completely FREE to become a NILE member. So, with that in mind, sign up!

Let’s take a look at what’s on offer…

The platform is very easy to navigate. There are nine sections on the site which are all displayed on the member’s area homepage. These are: (more…)

Lesson idea: environmental issues

We did this activity a few weeks ago as an intro to our module on environmental problems/issues. It’s a context builder more than anything, and introduced some of the language that the learners needed for their final task (produce a leaflet describing an environmental problem and listing solutions). So, basically…

(Oh, sorry, learners were 10 years old, A2).

Step 1:  Learners list all the natural features of a beach they can think of: sand, sea, birds, cliff, etc.

Step 2: A4 paper, fold into quarters so there are four boxes.

In the top left-hand box (landscape) instruct learners to draw a beach. BUT they can only include natural features, nothing manmade.

Give them a time limit, like 3 minutes or something. I did a quick 30-second sketch on the IWB as an example. So… um… don’t laugh…

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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…)

Lesson idea: Celebrities, morals and ethics

This is a discussion task to introduce a sequence of lessons on fame and celebrities. One of the set reading texts in the sequence included some comments on celebrity ethics. I thought this was a good springboard, so after a brief chat/some questions about what learners consider to be ‘ethical’ behaviour in the context of celebrities, I gave them these three scenarios to discuss:

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Lesson idea: Viral videos

This was a context builder for a sequence of lessons on viral videos, viral ad campaigns, viral marketing, etc. It’s similar to the idea I shared for introducing recipes. Anyway, used this with B1+ teens, worked well.

Task 1

Find loads of links to (good) viral videos. Our focus was on viral marketing, so I chose lots of ads. Create a QR code for each vid and add these onto a handout in a table like this one:

I gave students this instruction: (more…)

Materials writing news and views, February 2020

I’ll hopefully keep this update going this year. Bit busy at the moment so here are a few very quick updates and some useful links.

New releases

Express Publishing are promoting a new book English for 21st Century Skills (Mavridi and Xerri), which comes out Spring 2020. Lots of different contributors, looks good. No link on site yet.

All levels of Language Hub (Macmillan) are out and promo in full swing by the look of things on social media.

Shout out to Jen Dobson, who has written the course ‘Getting Started with Early Childhood English Teaching’ on Language Fuel.

The new global product for teens from the British Council, Secondary Plus, will be rolled out here in Thailand in May. Project-based approach, academic/exam skills add-ons. Looks pretty polished for a first version. It’s already being used in Europe. I’ve had a sneaky peak. Thumbs up. Info here. Disclaimer – had a bit part to play in these, that’s it. (more…)

Wordwall with young learners

I wrote an overview of Wordwall last year. Here’s a more practical example of how I actually use Wordwall, rather than just as a load of games… Well, still as a load of games actually, just in a more purposeful way!

I’m teaching a PP1 class at the moment (aged 6/7). This week we were reviewing/learning vocabulary for fruit as the task was creating your own fruit juice (bit random…). So, I started planning by making a Find the Match… (more…)

Review: Ready to Run

This review was first published in the Winter 2019 edition of the ETAS Journal. Many thanks to ETAS for allowing the review to appear on this blog.

Ready to Run, from Digital Learning Associates (DLA), is a platform providing video-based lesson resources for ELT classrooms. Its resources are marketed as ‘engaging and authentic video experiences’ which cover a range of real-world topics. Ready to Run is a subscription-based service – each video lesson includes printable materials for students, teacher notes and video transcripts. The platform recently won a British Council ELTon for Innovation in Learner Resources.

The resource catalogue for Ready to Run is generally easy to navigate, although better tagging might make searching for relevant resources more efficient. There are currently about 10 videos available at each CEFR-aligned level (A1-B2). The digital content itself is certainly varied, and likely to be engaging for a wide range of learners. Videos are high quality, a suitable length (most around three minutes) and have been well-edited. The videos are initially sourced from vlogs, TV programmes, and other authentic broadcasts, and then are adapted for classroom use. The selection of topics is inclusive and relevant – it is good to see that the platform offers resources that address issues such as immigration, refugee crises, climate change, and minority groups. Topics are dealt with sensitively, and follow-up project-based tasks on the video content encourage learners to explore these topics in greater detail. The willingness of Ready to Run to deal with some topics that tend to be avoided in global coursebooks is certainly a strength. (more…)