Welcome back if you've been on vacation! We hope you've had a relaxing and restful time if you have or, if you're in a part of the world where August is a working month, we hope you haven't been working too hard.
For September, there are four new topics for you to write about, two of which are connected with the start of a new school year and two of which are more general.
Starting this academic year in a new teaching role at a new school gave me plenty of time to stop and consider that opening ‘get to know you’ lesson. Every since I first started teaching the idea has been more or less the same – I introduce myself and spend some time passing on information about myself and then I get my students to do the same in a similar manner. The manner of achieving this, of course, changed several times over the years and that is what I want to explore in this post.
First lesson, first mistake
Throughout my teaching career, I have always enjoyed a challenge – I think every ‘career teacher’ does! – and there have been many: the intensity of my Trinity Cert TESOL course, that first lesson, teaching beginners/advanced/kids for the first time, getting up to speed with technological possibilities for the classroom, doing an MA, presenting at a conference… the list goes on.
As with most good teaching practice, using activities to promote a student's confidence is a simple matter of common sense. Confident students make the best language learners. By creating a classroom in which your students have the confidence to learn, to speak, to make mistakes and ask questions – you are providing them with an environment in which to flourish.
If I were to describe my 2014 so far, in one word, it would be challenging. I’d even go as far as to say that it’s my most challenging year yet. I feel this blog post may be somewhat therapeutic for me.
Back in March of this year, I moved to Medellín, Colombia. My Colombian fiancée had found herself an interesting job, and we thought it would be nice to have a change of scene.
First classes. Continuing with the new academic year theme, we want to know what activities you've used or are planning to use in your first few classes. Getting to know your students and their abilities, needs and personalities is an important part of a new course. How are you going to make sure these first few classes are effective?
For a few years now I've been experimenting with sharing lesson summaries with my classes and here I'd like to share a summary from a typical first class. This was an intermediate class of adult students at a private language school in Cádiz. I've changed the names, but nothing else!
Going into a first class, from a selfish, teacher-centred point of view, I have three main objectives (apart from gauging the level and confidence of the students).
Helping a student to advance in their language learning activities normally depends upon how confident they are in actually using the skills that they are learning. Children at school and college tend to build their own self esteem and confidence levels through academic achievements, which most will take with them into the workplace. As we get older however, learning new skills such as languages becomes harder to achieve and this can knock an older, or adult student’s confidence.
An introduction… challenge for young adults
Are you one of those people who accepted the ice bucket challenge in the summer? Had you been nominated but you didn’t dare to pour a bucket of ice water on your head?
For those of you unaware of what the ice bucket challenge is, below is a summary