I just made a short podcast for my current Celta trainees up here in Hamburg, where I talk a bit about our general approach to training, teacher talk, language grading, task-setting, work management (less generally interesting unless you are on the course) and tips for passing the Focus on the Learner assignment (these tips may be generally useful for anyone). It was recorded for a very select audience (you eight people know who you are!), but perhaps it’s interesting for anyone who likes reading my posts.
00:00 – introduction
01:27 – Using problems to drive learning
05:25 – teacher talk, keeping instructions simple, and task before text
11:50 – workload management and tips for passing the FoL first time
14:23 – closing
I’d be interested to hear what you think if you give this a listen (especially about whether you would like an audio version to accompany any future blogposts), so drop me a line if you do!
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.
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 →