Posted by Alexei Kiselev
For any teacher working freelance it might be a serious challenge to evaluate the effectiveness of their course without peer supervision and control. It is vitally important to develop methods enabling them to see whether they are leading the students in the right way or may have already gone astray.
If somebody had told me 15 years ago that I would be teaching several thousand people every day without knowing who these people are, their names and actually without seeing them; that I would be teaching even when sleeping or drinking coffee with my friends, not even thinking about it or knowing that I am teaching someone at the moment, I would have certainly laughed and said that it could be a good plot for a science-fiction story.
We can see new opportunities for teachers, as well as new sorts of problems.
A good example of such dualism is a job that 15 years ago was a novelty, yet now it is a huge part of the education market – teaching English online. Not only is it a source of additional income for school or university teachers, but for thousands of people all over the world it has become full-time employment, or to be more precise, self-employment.
ICT tools and resources have been around for quite a while. We saw the advent of the trend as long as about 20 years ago, when desktop computers were no longer a novelty in a classroom. Students wrote and edited their works with the Word processor, and teachers began to consider an email a reliable way to communicate with students.
I love games, because playing a game is like living a short life with a very happy end: if the game is interesting, engaging and meets the educational goals, each participant is enriched with either new skills developed, or existing skills enforced, or, on the part of a teacher, with the feeling of fulfillment and accomplishment. There is a ton of great games around for vocabulary and grammar that are easy to find on the Internet, or in books, and that are sure to make lessons memorable and effective. I mean offline lessons, but how about online?
Teaching English for quite a long time, I have seen my students undergo the same stages on their learning path: enthusiastic start, when they are all highly motivated and driven; steady growth in all 4 skills from A0 to B2 levels; and then, very often, coming to the point when suddenly the progress slows down and they seem to be stuck, using the same patterns, the same language forms and the same vocabulary. This situation makes them feel dissatisfied and frustrated, as they do want to move forward.
Working as an ESL teacher and trainer for adults and corporate clients, I sometimes need to provide training for employees to develop or enhance certain language skills vital for the business.
I am obsessed with educational technology, but this obsession is of a rare type which leads to positive outcomes. Now it is difficult to imagine my work and my students (I mostly deal with adult learners in a corporate setting) without using tablets and smart phones. I want this article to be of a more practical value, so I’d rather just give a list of 5 things we do with mobile devices in class and a short description for each usage.
1. Using a learning management system (LMS)