Moving away from a coursebook-driven grammar syllabus

What have I done to change this aspect? Well, I have moved into project-based learning and reorganised the whole syllabus for each course. I have taken into account the levels in the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages and used their level descriptors to check the language appropriate for each level without necessarily following the traditional language grading found in coursebooks.

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Vicky Saumell: What makes an effective manager

You may have the most wonderful group of teachers in your institution, but the difference between success and failure is a mindful guidance from the manager or coordinator to give your team a sense of common direction. So here it goes:

Have a plan!

Respect your teachers’ individuality

Promote and value teamwork

Take advantage of your teachers’ talents. Help them discover what they are and let them share what they do best so that the whole team can grow.

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Vicky Saumell: Using rubrics to assess projects

We have been using PBL for 6 years already and one of the most difficult aspects to work on has been assessment. After a few trial-and-error takes on project assessment, I decided to stick with rubrics.

A rubric is a document that clearly states the expectations for an assignment, task or project by listing the criteria and levels of achievement or performance.

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Vicky Saumell: The role of methodologies and approaches in organic lessons

Over the years, I have found that due to my own beliefs about the teaching and learning processes, I tend to favour certain strategies over others. However, I can say that my lessons usually include an eclectic mix. The question is “How does this mix come about?”

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Vicky Saumell - My journey as a teacher: a winding road

My journey in the teaching career began when I was 18 years old and developed in two different areas at the same time over the years. I had just finished secondary school and I decided that I would study to become a PE teacher, which I did.

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Vicky Saumell - Ways of promoting creativity in the classroom

As Einstein once said, “Creativity is intelligence having fun”. And as such I think creativity should be an important aspect of teaching and learning. However, it depends on us that creativity finds a place in our classrooms.

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Vicky Saumell - Approaching literature with an open mind

I have always tried to introduce authentic and graded literature in my classes with various degrees of success. Over the years, and with the belief that reading for pleasure is quite different from required reading, I have tried to lessen the negative effects of required reading.

Some strategies that have worked for me

Finding the right book or poem

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Vicky Saumell - Turning homework into an effective learning opportunity

Homework is a complex issue with many factors affecting its success or failure. To begin with, homework is usually loaded with negative connotations. How can we turn homework into an effective language learning opportunity?

It is important to consider the teaching and learning context when we examine the homework issue:

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Vicky Saumell - Avoiding teacher burnout

What simple steps or strategies would you recommend to help teachers stay motivated?

I have been teaching English for more than 25 years and although there have been a few times when I felt exhausted and demotivated, I have always found a way to get my energy and motivation back. So here are a few suggestions that have worked out for me, in no particular order.

Fight routine

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Teacher development tips for novice teachers

But often they get lost in the routine of planning, teaching, marking, etc. These are a few simple ideas to keep up with teacher development.

Read, read, read
Keeping up to date with new trends in language teaching and learning is essential. What you studied during your teacher training time is very valuable but needs adjusting to new ideas, methods, approaches and theories all the time. Reading is a must. Whether it is books, journals, blog posts or any other kind of writing, reading about your areas of interest is a way of keeping updated.

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