Being a teacher is not just a job you do every day to get money. It's a vocation that fills one with an insatiable desire not only to plant the acknowledged ideas and make sure they are learned by heart or understood properly, but to create a special atmosphere for the learner which will enable him to cultivate these ideas independently. That is why it is a hard thing for an EFL instructor to bear in mind the phenomena of both inclusivity and equality in teaching, as we not only offer topics to discuss but also provide students with necessary building material- the language.
We live in a politically correct world, for the most part. There are words and stereotypes that were commonly used half a century ago that we wouldn’t stand for now. We work hard to make sure that no-one feels his or her experiences or opinions are worth less than that of an other’s. We still have a way to go, but on whole, I would suggest -- we are on the right track.
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)
However, it is important to allow students to do it on their own, otherwise they grow very dependent on the teacher and never learn how capable they are by themselves. While illustrated books are one option and work well with students from a reading background, card games are a wonderful way to incorporate reading practice into Literacy lessons, especially for Secondary level learners. They may work well for some Primary groups, provided the students are patient enough to watch a long demonstration.
My first two-hour lessons with them were divided into 4 parts of 20 – 30 minutes, in which students wrote words on whiteboards, read together as a group, made words with cards and did some written dictation.
However, when I began to isolate the skills I wanted to teach and adapt activities I used with other levels, I found there was a variety of different games that could be used with Literacy learners, that made classes fun and learning successful.
In the context in which I teach, A0 primary and A0 secondary learners are rarely ever learner trained, as they come from school systems that place little emphasis on pro-activity and creativity. They also come to class with little or no Literacy skills (i.e. phonics recognition, reading and writing, etc.), although some of their spoken English might be fantastic.
Both adults and children develop their communicative competence at different paces. How can we help them to accomplish their communication goals, regardless of their level of proficiency?
I will focus on two strategies that not only help low level students, but all language learners:
1. Building rapport
ICT is perhaps the fastest-growing phenomenon, the inherent characteristic of the third millennium. For today’s children and now even for their parents, the internet has “always existed”. They are truly a new dot-com generation, and as such they cannot even begin to imagine life without instant communication and access to information tools. Thus the question of whether to allow the use of phones and any other mobile devices in the classroom seems to have become rather academic. As with all the more traditional and simpler teaching aids some strict guidelines are usually in place.
I would like to start this post by saying that when I hear some people say that mobile phones are dangerous devices for humankind, I cannot help smiling while recalling that I had to hear something similar about the dangers of TV not so many years ago. In fact, TV was called “the idiot box” and you had to be very careful because spending some hours watching it could kill your creativity forever. Fortunately, it seems that did not happen to many of us who learnt how to benefit from watching TV.