Lots of interesting blog posts in July, so thank you to everyone for their contributions. Catch up on them all here.
This month, as many of us are enjoying a well-earned break, the choice of blog topics is up to you! We'll be back in September with specific topics, but for August, please feel free to write a blog entry about any ELT-related area that's of relevance or interest to you at the moment. We look forward to your thoughts - happy blogging!
But a couple of things are pretty constant. The first – spending most of my waking hours in front of a computer screen under the auspices of ‘Working: Do not disturb’ and the second – spending much of this time actively seeking distractions to take me away from the task at hand. Occasionally these distractions lead me to new discoveries and sometimes I’m able to link one of these discoveries to my profession, enabling me to justify the meandering.
These are the kind of activities you have up your sleeve because you’ve been dropped in it from a great height at the last minute when a colleague is off sick, or because your planned activities took far less time than planned. So what do you do?
One fail-safe option to go with is pronunciation, as the learners themselves and a phonemic chart is all you need. If you have a few sets of Cuisenaire rods kicking around, so much the better! This post outlines a handful of activities you can do without preparation.
Many thanks to everyone for the blog posts in June, which made very interesting reading.
This month, many of us are on a long break for the summer, so our first topic looks at how we as teachers can use this time to reflect on our teaching or for developmental activities. We also have topics on no or low prep activities, learners with Special Educational Needs, and parental expectations - so we hope you'll find something interesting to write and read about.
Besides attending a summer resort, this time can be profitably be used to introspect ourselves.
In one kind, the teacher knew in advance that he would be away and will have prepared a lesson plan, complete with materials and maybe a few notes about the class itself; students to keep an eye on, students with special needs … The other kind happens when the teacher’s absence is unplanned and there hasn’t been time to make any such preparations. Some schools and Language Centres have ‘ready-to-go’ lessons available for these occasions; useful of course but not always ideal and hardly ever remarkable.
This gives me a chance to review the previous year and start preparing for the next. I have often thought about what sort of things I can do to make my teaching experience better while having a bit of a break during the summer, to relax away from work, whilst also keeping my hand in.
This is what I have come up with...
1. Think about things you want to change (Preparation, planning and action).
It vividly brought to mind my own first days as a parent at The Manhattan School for Children in New York. There were at least ten languages spoken in our first grade families; many of them did not speak English at all. Spanish was wide spread, and due to our closeness to Columbia University, there were a few exotic examples, like Croatian, Japanese, Korean, German... Children had no problems communicating with each other; they also translated what their Japanese or Croatian classmates were saying to their teachers.
There are children who need different approaches, individual timetables, flexible schedules, and careful treatment. It is important to understand that while some of them may have permanent learning disabilities like dyslexia, or some physical impairments like poor eye sight, lower hearing, seasonal allergies and various developmental problems, others may find themselves in a tough situation temporarily. Through my years of teaching, I had to deal with children who could not master spelling no matter what methodics I tried; some could not even read in their own language, in ninth grade.