By Richard Fielden-Watkinson
We sit at home, our lives so much different in form than they were a few long weeks ago, and yet the content - the need for work, for closeness and continuity is still with us, it’s fundamental.
The virus that is sweeping over the globe will bring out the best in us and it will also cause a lot of pain. We will be able to pause and reflect, but while we do so we will see images and statistics that curdle as we consume them. It will push us to teach and to interact in new ways, but in the process it will disrupt and displace.
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.
Given this research, it’s particularly important for us teachers to be strategic about how we end the school year with our students – it can have an outsized influence on not only how they feel about our class, but also about how they approach school in the future, too.
Here are three ways I try to increase the odds of my English Language Learner students feeling energized about the final month of school:
Set Last-Month Goals
Conversation classes, oral classes, presentation and debate classes are very common in both schools and higher education but time and time again you hear 1 of these 2 complaints from the teachers:
- My students won’t talk
- My students won’t stop talking
Let’s look at the first type. Here you need to reflect and work on WHY they don’t speak. Is it because they don’t have the language? They are shy? Or maybe they are just not used to speaking about topics they are unfamiliar in a strange setting with people they don’t know very well.
Everything is challenging and there are just so many things to keep on top of. With experience, however, teaching gets easier as we find ways of doing things that work for us and our students.
But what if we then get a bit too comfortable? How can we continue to challenge ourselves and grow as teachers? Here are ten questions that could help you climb above that teaching plateau.
Most teachers create at least some of their classroom materials, either as a supplement or as a replacement to the course book they are using. Are your materials good quality? You probably think they are but how do you know? And what can you do to make sure they pass a certain standard of quality control. Here are a few questions and answers that might help you to make your good materials even better.
Should I get an editor?
It ended in the desert heat of Bahrain in charge of ICT at one of the largest teaching centres in the region. Any new job brings new challenges and the need to adapt and rethink our approach to a different context. This post outlines the major challenges my new role brought about:
Teaching Beginner YLs
Just thinking back over some of the training sessions I have attended on the topic over the years, there has been a wide range of areas covered. Some workshops have focused on giving instructions and transitioning from one lesson stage to the next, others have looked at motivating and engaging learners, some have presented ideas for establishing class routines, and others have centred on discipline and class rules.
They are an excellent way to work on your, or your students’, listening skills, as you can listen to them as many times as you want to. If you’re feeling adventurous, you can also manipulate files so that they are faster or slower, or so that you are only listening to an excerpt of the whole programme.
But deeper understanding can only occur with the ability to reflect: to review, to notice, and to think carefully about what had taken place. This is true for our students and is certainly true for us teachers looking to improve our practice.
But how can we become more reflective teachers?
1. Formal Observations
Many schools have a Director of Studies observing a teacher when they are newly employed, and subsequently, once every 6 months or more. Such observations often have an evaluative function.