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Madhu Tiwari's blog

Maximising speaking opportunities

While speaking skills can best be learned in a natural face to face scenario, this may not be true for coy and shy teens. Online classes can be a silver lining to them. There’s no doubt that speaking activities like group discussions, pair work etc can be challenging to monitor owing to multiple break out rooms. However, activities such as role plays and public speaking if done using synchronous and asynchronous tools can be a good bet in a virtual setting for all types of learners. Below are some ideas/practical activities that can help maximize speaking opportunities.

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A celebration of languages

Just as individuals identify themselves with a nationality likewise their being with a language. Languages help people associate with cultural, ideological, religious or ethnic characteristics. In today’s global era where impetus is on ‘one world one language,’ it becomes all the more necessary to celebrate languages.

Why do we need to celebrate?

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Challenges of online teaching

Schools, Institutions and the likes who run blended learning courses are better equipped and oriented to deliver online. Enforced move to remote teaching comes with its own challenges not only for teachers but also for students and parents.

Below are some challenges for teachers and ideas to overcome them:

Students welfare and well-being:

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Using digital tools in the classroom

Traditionally language learning has always been associated with reading books, listenin to and using the language to communicate and so on. With digital technology pervading our lives, reading paperback books has taken a back seat. With so much information available on all digital platforms, reading is one important form, albeit binge reading I would say.  In a way it is good as there is more exposure to the language, different genres and text types. This in a way facilitates learning outside the classroom where people are learning newer items, vocabulary and forms all the time.

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Exploring Cultural diversity in language classroom

We often deliver typical ‘festival lessons’ during our teaching. Festivals can provide great themes for learners and help to bring in a great deal of diversity in lessons in terms of vocabulary, colloquial language, storytelling, interesting reading material; folktales, epics, food, colour and a lot more. Many standard course books include festivals and themes that are pretty western and euro-centric with Christmas and Halloween appearing more than others.

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Will I lose my job to a robot?

The infotech boom has already shrunk many bustling and coveted campuses that boasted of long queues and a scramble for admissions. Today we see most of the reputable universities and colleges offering online and blended learning options. With the accelerating pace of technology, the education sector has also expanded its reach through online courses, free learning / training programs tutored by computers. The new technologies have already offered an explosive potential for online tutoring and e -moderation.

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World events - Do they have a place in the ELT classroom especially with younger learners?

Today most learners’ intended purpose is to communicate, engage in real life situations, there is a paradigm shift in the way content is supplemented with ‘real world information and contexts’ rather than the pre-decided information. Nine out of ten students I meet say they learn language by reading and listening to news, watching movies, videos, so on and so forth. This is a clear indication that text books are not enough and exposure to real stuff is needed to develop communicative competence.

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This can be debated as being unrealistic and a barrier in our deliverables as we live in a fast changing world where we have little time to stand , stare or care. With inclusive education getting a push world - wide in many schools and universities, inclusivity in fact has become a niche area of policy of many big organisations striving to have their names listed as top employers. It's too wide a term to be discussed and therefore I would narrow down to share practices from my classroom teaching experience.

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Giving Feedback

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.

Average: 3 (2 votes)

Embracing Inclusion

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.

Average: 3.3 (4 votes)


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