Written by Vicky Saumell
I decided to go in for the interview. The new position involved working with all the groups in a bilingual primary school. That meant 21 groups of children aged 6 to 12. I would become the ‘ICT lab’ teacher, which meant I would be in charge of the computer lab and would work with the students on ICT-mediated projects related to what they were working on with their classroom teacher. The teaching schedule would be on a rotation basis so that I would see each group once every 20 days or so.
By Vicky Saumell
It is difficult to imagine a world without technology and, therefore, for me it is difficult to imagine a classroom without technology. But…. Yes, but. It’s important to remember that all that glitters is not gold.
Some of the benefits
I will start with the benefits I perceive as the most important.
The first is that there shouldn’t be a mismatch between the classroom and the outside world.
By Vicky Saumell
What have I done to change this aspect? Well, I have moved into project-based learning and reorganised the whole syllabus for each course. I have taken into account the levels in the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages and used their level descriptors to check the language appropriate for each level without necessarily following the traditional language grading found in coursebooks.
You may have the most wonderful group of teachers in your institution, but the difference between success and failure is a mindful guidance from the manager or coordinator to give your team a sense of common direction. So here it goes:
Have a plan!
Respect your teachers’ individuality
Promote and value teamwork
Take advantage of your teachers’ talents. Help them discover what they are and let them share what they do best so that the whole team can grow.
We have been using PBL for 6 years already and one of the most difficult aspects to work on has been assessment. After a few trial-and-error takes on project assessment, I decided to stick with rubrics.
A rubric is a document that clearly states the expectations for an assignment, task or project by listing the criteria and levels of achievement or performance.
Over the years, I have found that due to my own beliefs about the teaching and learning processes, I tend to favour certain strategies over others. However, I can say that my lessons usually include an eclectic mix. The question is “How does this mix come about?”
My journey in the teaching career began when I was 18 years old and developed in two different areas at the same time over the years. I had just finished secondary school and I decided that I would study to become a PE teacher, which I did.
I have always tried to introduce authentic and graded literature in my classes with various degrees of success. Over the years, and with the belief that reading for pleasure is quite different from required reading, I have tried to lessen the negative effects of required reading.
Some strategies that have worked for me
Finding the right book or poem
Homework is a complex issue with many factors affecting its success or failure. To begin with, homework is usually loaded with negative connotations. How can we turn homework into an effective language learning opportunity?
It is important to consider the teaching and learning context when we examine the homework issue:
What simple steps or strategies would you recommend to help teachers stay motivated?
I have been teaching English for more than 25 years and although there have been a few times when I felt exhausted and demotivated, I have always found a way to get my energy and motivation back. So here are a few suggestions that have worked out for me, in no particular order.