Category: Training ideas

Posts summarising ideas for how to simplify initial teacher training courses (such as Cambridge CELTA, Trinity CertTESOL etc.)

Learning to listen

"Sorry?" - whiteboard
“What can you say when you haven’t been listening?”

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’.

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Poetry and the Art of Teaching Practice

Have you forgotten the way to my hut?

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

What Makes a Lesson GREAT? – slideshow

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!

What makes a lesson GREAT? Part #5

Here is the final part in a five-part series of posts inspired by Mike Harrison, who asked on the IATEFL Facebook page “what makes a lesson GREAT?” My answer was:

Group Dynamic

Relevance to learners’ lives

Emergent language

Attentiveness

Thoughtfulness

You can find my posts on the first four characteristics by clicking on them above. But all good things must come to an end, so let’s close this series on a thoughtful note…

T for Thoughtfulness

thinking / thoughtful

(credit: thanks to Ceri Jones and ELTPics for this image)

How thoughtful are you and your learners – towards each other in class? Towards your learning? Towards the task in hand, whatever it may be?

For a lesson to be truly great, I would like to suggest in closing this series that thoughtfulness, on several different levels, is essential. Continue reading

What makes a lesson GREAT? Part #4

Here is the much-delayed part four in a five-part series of posts inspired by Mike Harrison, who asked on the IATEFL Facebook page “what makes a lesson GREAT?” My answer was:

Group Dynamic

Relevance to learners’ lives

Emergent language

Attentiveness

Thoughtfulness

You can find my posts on the first three characteristics by clicking on them above. Or you can start in medias res by reading on…

A for Attentiveness

The now-traditional glance in my dictionary tells me this about attentiveness:

attentive |əˈtɛntɪv|

adjective

paying close attention to something : never before had she had such an attentive audience | Congress should be more attentive to the interests of taxpayers.

ORIGIN late Middle English : from Old French attentif, -ive, from atendre ‘give one’s attention to’ (see attend ).

Attentiveness is then, the paying of attention to something. Seems obvious, but there are one or two implications worth paying attention to! Continue reading

Dear Diary…

Journal page image
Well, you’ve got to start somewhere…

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

Blast from the Past! – new old article

Just posted another old (or should that be ‘vintage’?) article of mine that I dug up.  Re-reading it wasn’t too embarrassing so I thought I’d share.

I can see lots of connections to now: the ideas about learner independence explain why Howard Vickers’ talk at the Dogme Symposium resonates so much with me, and the focus on exploring learner language chimes with my emergent, unplugged leanings – so an interesting piece of nostalgia for me, but hopefully a useful read for some of you!  Here’s the link: http://teachertrainingunplugged.wordpress.com/other-writing/just-for-the-record/

Please let me know if you find it was worth reading!

Anthony

TDSIG Unplugged Countdown: “Two…”

Third Principle of OST
The Third Principle of OST

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!

Counting down…2…

How can we spread the unplugged word?  Continue reading

TDSIG Unplugged Countdown: “Three…”

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!

Counting down…3…

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 🙂

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uH9GljE5jRY?rel=0]

Prefer reading to viewing?  Suit yourself… Continue reading