I’ve been thinking about listening skills a lot since we decided to “unplug” our CELTA course back in 2009 (if you are interested in catching up with that work, you can watch a summary talk we gave at IATEFL 2010, or read some blog posts here, here and here.).
Listening skills development is certainly not a novel topic; what is perhaps unusual about my preoccupation is that it hasn’t been the students’ listening skills that I’ve been thinking about, but the teachers’.
Each evening, I wait for the sound of your footsteps
But they are never there.
I heard this haiku translation (or something close to it) in Berlin several years ago during a workshop on Big Words, Small Grammar by Scott Thornbury. I am not sure why, but I fell in love with this short poem then, and was fascinated by the sheer volume of study content embodied therein: present perfect simple; question formation; possessive pronouns; time referencing; present simple; prepositional phrases; coordinating conjunctions; negation; determiners; irregular verb forms; the article system, transivity, countability, plurality…
Since then, I have only taken two opportunities to exploit it for teaching, and both times, I have found it to be a beautiful, enriching and yet confounding experience.
The first time was several years ago, shortly after getting to know the poem; the second time was two days ago, as part of an observed lesson on a CELTA course I am teaching on.
I would like to share with you what happened in this lesson, share the written outcomes by my students, and say a little about why I am surprised and invigorated by the power of poetry in ELT. Continue reading →
I’ve just finished my first Webinar on what makes a lesson GREAT and I have to say I thoroughly enjoyed it!
It was strange talking into thin air for almost an hour but it was lovely to see so many people there and participating through comments: thank you all for coming. I know how busy teachers’ days are, so I truly appreciate it.
As it was my first time, I totally messed up the upload of my presentation slides, and had to work with an incomplete set – serves me right for not checking in advance! However, here they are, in all their intended glory. You can either play it as a slideshow (each slide is set for 10 seconds so you can read the text-heavy ones) or you can click through.
Thank you for being patient with me.
PS: Note that the URL given on the first slide is now out of date – but if you are reading this, you know that already!