When I was beginning to learn Spanish, there was nothing scarier than trying to communicate in that language to a proficient speaker, nothing more satisfying than when I felt understood, and nothing as deflating as being met with a blank stare.
Here are four ways I encourage my Beginning English Language Learner students to speak English:
1. Use the English Central website
1. In a large class, I use audience interaction app for initiating discussion and for reviewing grammar topics. I run polls that students can take part in using their phones and a code I provide on the screen. The results are immediately projected and can be discussed. If it is a grammar question, the poll allows me to see what percentage of the students answered it correctly and serves as an indication of which topics I should dwell on and which not.
Audience interaction app: SliDo
After ten years as a teacher, I was going to start teaching groups of teenagers for the first time. Up to this point, I had only taught adults, with a few teens in amongst the older students, but now I would have groups of exclusively teens in classes of around 15. Luckily for me I have good friends so they gave me loads of great advice (which you can read here on my blog).
I cannot blame them: (fun) learning can happen without technology but, to be honest, I have never asked myself why I have to integrate some technology in my classes or if I will be competent enough to handle behavior, as I had already had my own personal experience back in 2001, when I had a Mac desktop computer in the classroom, a notebook provided by the district to exchange teachers, and my students had access to laptops either in the library or in a cart to take to our classroom.
Writing is something that people ‘evade’ because it is least needed for survival. Given its importance today, it is paradoxical that writing is sometimes referred to as a less ‘necessary skill’ not needed in day to day life. I couldn’t agree more to Tribble that the ’authority and permanence’ a written piece conveys in comparison to a spoken text or discourse only contrasts the aforesaid view.
This was in the days before Edtech when we frequently used photocopiers and made worksheets by cutting up and sticking bits of paper together, and often our hands. Then when I got my first job, my heavy schedule and a 70% coursebook rule meant my creative worksheet hobby made way for extra coursebook resources like workbooks and test books. Once I’d used the same coursebooks a few times and got to grips with the content, I rediscovered my interest in making worksheets to not just complement the coursebooks but to sometimes replace them and even enhance the content.
I have worked in many different schools. Some of them were very well-organised having a computer room or even computers in every classroom. Some others though lacked these kind of facilities. What really surprised me was the fact that in the schools where technology was assisting the teaching procedure much more learning and understanding took place. The students were more eager to work and had much more fun. In the other schools where a traditional teaching procedure took place discipline problems were commoner and the students did not have the same amount of enthusiasm.
Walking along a street I overheard the following dialogue.
Two young men shared their observations at a café excitedly:
“Did you notice that dude in the corner? No smart phone, no laptop, not even a cell, no earphones… He was just drinking coffee! Must be insane!”
Still, for teachers who have had no contact with visual impairment, some of these tips or pieces of information may be useful. This article focuses on students with little or no sight as I have most experience in this area.
It calls for prowess along with ‘sense sensitive training’. In this post I would like to share my experience of teaching a bright and ambitious visually impaired teenage girl, in the mainstream classroom.
I vividly remember the first day when I was in for a surprise. I marched into my classroom armed with usual handouts and power points oblivious of my class profile. At the door stood a woman who apprised me of her daughter’s small amount of residual sight not enough to read and study.