There are a number of simple exercises aimed at expanding and solidifying your students’ vocabulary which I found very useful. Most of them work well with any age and level; you just have to trust your own ability for trial and error, and for distinguishing between the “right” and “wrong” activities for your class.
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When I am asked, both by students and by colleagues, how to begin speaking, how to overcome the language barrier, I usually give the same answer. The proof of the pudding is in its eating. Or, to paraphrase the famous charmingly ungrammatical quote from “Winnie-the-Pooh” by A.A. Milne, “one can’t have spoken without something having been said”. If one wishes to say something, one should say it. It sounds simple; why then is it so hard to really start speaking in a foreign language? I am sure any psychologist would produce a zillion reasons.
Should we read to children? If yes, when do we start? Is it at all important to have students read any texts? Should we try to introduce reading aloud in class? Can reading in all its forms be incorporated into an online lesson?
A Celebration of Languages. Nina Koptyug, Ph.D.
April 23 and June 6 are the two days which I observe every year. I would say that anybody who ever came in contact with me, and that means thousands of people, know those dates too.
Warmers, or warm-ups, have been an integral part of my lessons, lectures and seminars for ever and ever. They work well with any age and level. There are a few important considerations to realize for yourself before introducing any warmers to your lesson.
As a teacher trainer and author, I have been teaching and writing about ICT in Education since the mid-1990’s. In recent years, I have mostly dealt with adults, plus numerous official and unofficial consultations, seminars, demonstrations, projects for students of all ages and levels. In a way the sudden switch to online existence a year ago was not a shock. I spent more time and effort on helping those colleagues who did not use ICT in their classrooms much, or maybe even at all, previously.
Our curriculum does not always include texts and exercises connected to global issues, simply because Life itself brings in unexpected topics faster than any new textbook may be compiled. Sure, such themes as climate change or a healthy way of life or dysfunctional families, to name but a few, have been discussion staples for quite a long time. Students of any age would ask all sorts of questions within and without our lesson plan or erupt into hot disputes on anything.
I have been writing e-lessons for English-to-Go and many other virtual and paper publications since the 1990’s. The past year has shown me as a teacher trainer/instructor/author that today’s online teaching and learning are vastly different from everything I knew previously. I summarized the questions and requests from my colleagues to the best of my abilities, added my own recent experiences with webinars and conferences both as participant and coordinator. Here they come.
This year is indeed unprecedented; probably for the first time in history the whole world is facing the same challenges. For all teachers, it brought about a sudden swing from face-to-face in-class process to online teaching. Sure we can all use various platforms like Zoom, Skype, Face Time et cetera. But using them with our classes, for the duration of our over-loaded working day, presented new challenges practically overnight. Nobody warned us about the change, there were no transition time, let alone teacher training courses.
This is probably the first time in known history that the whole planet finds itself under the same conditions, with every day bringing in unpredictable changes. None of us know which restrictions may descend on our heads tomorrow, what dire news we may hear, when and how this unnatural situation may end. We all miss the usual order of things; lots of us are cut off indefinitely from our nearest and dearest. Many adults lose their jobs. Families suffer. Children of all ages wander around confused.