It was the capitalisation that gave me the idea to fit my ideas on this into the letters composing the word at issue – GREAT. The first post, on Group Dynamic, you can find here. In writing it, I noticed that far from being an answer, it threw up a whole load of questions around the idea that I had blithely posted earlier.
This is one thing I love about these short professional development exchanges on the IATEFL and IATEFL SIG facebook pages, and I encourage you all to take part here and here for starters.
But onto what I thought was the second component of a GREAT lesson…
This was the question posed by Mike Harrison on the IATEFL facebook page recently. Considering the space constraints of commenting on a platform like that, and given my Faible for whimsical responses to serious questions, I replied thus:
If you are familiar with acrostics, a form of poetry where the first letters in each line (or some other regular pattern) form a message, you will see what I have done here – my response to Mike’s question is hiding in plain sight.
But afterwards, amused and satisfied as I was at my minor achievement in melding pedagogy and poetry, I felt the need to expand on this collection of ideas, as I had contributed them with more than simply the intention of showing off my (questionably) witty way with words.
So lI thought I’d look at each of my criteria for what makes a lesson great in a bit more depth over the next few days. I’ll be taking them in order so let’s begin at the beginning with G for Group Dynamic… Continue reading →
I’ve been thinking quite a bit about food recently. Granted, this soon after the festive excesses of the Christmas/New Year period, the last thing you may want to read about is food, but please bear with me for a while.
Recent debate over in Chia Suan Chong’s Devil’s Advocate blog series drew my attention back once more to an analogy which links teaching and food: the idea of lesson recipes.
“First, pre-heat the oven to 220°c”
The metaphor of a recipe pervades discussion of lesson structure both at pre-service level and beyond. There was even a highly popular book based on this analogy.
I got an email a few days ago from a teacher in Australia called Rufus. She works with teachers in parts of the world where resources that many of us take for granted can be scarce, and where others that we may occasionally get our hands on are pure pipe dream.
She asked me to contribute to some upcoming training she would be leading in Cambodia, with teachers whose local resources were limited and whose confidence in their own English proficiency may also be limited, and who may not have been fortunate enough to have received much in the way of formal teacher education in the recent past.
In particular, she asked me what I considered my essential teachers’ toolkit: what, as a teacher, I considered a bare minimum of resources with which I could imagine working effectively with groups of students more or less anywhere. Continue reading →
There was a trainee teacher on my last CELTA course who had come to us without any academic background to speak of but with a wealth of life experience; in the end, he turned out to be one of the most interesting trainees I’ve worked with. Continue reading →
On our CELTA courses up to now, we have maintained an approach to finding out what our trainees thought about their teaching that is fairly typical of such courses: we ask them to write a self-evaluation after they have taught, which they submit to us before we sit down with them to discuss the lesson. Continue reading →
A common feature of many initial teacher training programmes is a strong emphasis on detailed paper-based lesson planning. Whether this actually increases teacher preparedness to teach is questionable.
Prompted by a TED Talk on Security Theatre and risk assessment, I suggest that focusing on anticipating problems and trying to eliminate perceived lack of control in lessons may not be helping new teachers truly come to terms with the realities of the classroom.
Hi Anthony, I had an interesting chat with some other TEFLers and 1 person was positive that pre-CELTA teaching really helped him on his CELTA. This would fit in with reflection but do you think it’s important to only accept people with some teaching exp or even to recommend they get some before starting?
I replied that I thought prior language teaching experience was less important to me than prior language learning experience, and this post started life as an explanation of that view.
However, it also got me thinking about the whole issue of experience and the problems related to working with it. Continue reading →
This mini-series sketches out some of the ideas that I would like to explore at the upcoming TDSIG Unplugged Conference in Barcelona on 21 May 2011. If any of them chime with you and you would like to explore them as well – or if you would like to work on completely different issues, the conference is there to give you the open space to do just that. It is never too late to join in, so if you haven’t already, visit www.tdsig.org/unplugged and register!
How can we learn more effectively from what each of us is doing in our classrooms?
Here is a video version of this post – why I’ve done this will become clearer as you watch or read along.
However, I’ve built some “goodies” into each version that you’ll only get by watching/reading both to the end 🙂