Toward the end of May, I published a post highlighting guest posts readers might have missed in March, April, and May. I received a number of messages thanking me for the summaries, so I’m going to write another. Since the end of May there have been quite a few posts, mostly by guest authors, so it’s easy to imagine that one or two might have slipped through the cracks!
Here’s what has been published on Teaching Village recently:
Mark Kulek shared some practical ideas for using chunks of language in young learner classes. Since it’s no harder for students to memorize chunks of language than it is to memorize individual words, knowing how to exploit these lexical chunks can be a real help for teachers. Check out Mark’s post, Lexical Chunks for Kids, and see for yourself.
Have you ever wanted to teach debate in your kids’ classes? Randy Poehlman shared simple steps to move from the basic “I like….” to true debate. Since we all teach lessons about likes and dislikes, you’ll want to read Randy’s post, Moving Beyond “Do you like?” to see how easy it is to get more mileage out of the topic than you ever imagined possible.
These days, a lot of teachers are interested in teaching in a more student-centered, materials-light way, but aren’t sure how to start. Chiew Pang explains how using images can be a simple way to try this approach. In his post Images à la Dogme, Chiew offers clear examples of lessons building on the power of images to draw out language.
“We’re better when we work together” isn’t just the byline on my blog–it’s one of my core beliefs. When I was invited to join the International Teacher Development Institute and to help develop a course for teachers who want to improve their language skills, it felt like a natural step. Now that Chuck Sandy and I are working with an amazing community of teachers to create materials for the course, it feels more like a dream come true for me. You’ll have to wait until September to see our finished product, but you can read more about iTDi in Steven Herder’s guest post, Teacher Development 2.0.
Tara Benwell will be the first to tell you that she’s not the driving force behind My English Club–members are. On the one hand, she’s right. But, Tara is the energy behind this community that empowers its members to teach themselves and each other. In her post Teaching Pronunciation Online, Tara explains how the Internet enables members of MyEC to learn pronunciation more effectively than in a traditional classroom. After her post was published, Tara sent me a link to show me how members of the Audio Speaking Group had turned the content of her guest post into material for their pronunciation practice. I’d love to share that page with you, but you have to be a member of MyEC to see it. Of course, if you’re a teacher or a student, MyEC is a very good group to join!
It’s hard to find teachers who feel lukewarm about teaching teens. It’s an age group that teachers tend to love…or hate. Luckily, Mari Nakamura falls into the first category. She’s also a fan of Paul Nation’s Four Strands (meaning-focused input, meaning-focused output, language-focused learning and fluency development). In her post, Creating a Buzz in Teens’ Classrooms, Mari walks us through the way she uses video with her teens to get them excited about using English in a meaningful way.
Bob Middleton teaches elementary school in Japan. He has come up with a topic that children here get very excited about (rice) and created a comprehensive unit that teaches English along with science, social studies, world geography, and math. In his post Rice in Japan and Rice around the World, Bob provides an excellent example of how a teacher can build an incredible thematic English unit, starting with student interest.
One of the most frustrating situations for a teacher is when students aren’t able to answer simple questions in a way that makes any sense. Especially for students with limited vocabulary, coming up with answers that are relevant to questions can be a challenge. Naomi Ganin-Epstein helps students develop these skills by removing text and having students practice “reading” pictures. Check out her post, The Reading Pictures Strategy, to learn more about this interesting technique.
All teachers want to create a positive learning environment for students. Eric Kane builds a lovely garden analogy to help teachers establish a pro-active approach to classroom discipline rather than a re-active one. His post, Proactive Discipline–Tend to Your Garden, explains how to use Eric’s Three Cs (clarity, consistency, and caring) to keep your classroom garden healthy and free of weeds.
While most of the posts over the past month or so have been from guest authors, I did make a few contributions! In How Culture Matters and How Context Matters I used examples from my life in Japan to explore ways that culture can affect what our students find easy or difficult in a language class, and the role of context in teaching.
I had a chance to interview Sandy Millin as part of Brad Patterson’s PLN interview challenge. Sandy is a fascinating member of my personal learning network, and I invite you to get to know her in Sandy has a real job, thank you very much! And finally, Chiew Pang interviewed me for his new blog, Iasku. If you’re curious about me beyond my “about me” page, you might want to check it out
Whew! While you’re getting caught up on posts you might have missed, I’ll get to work on the next series of guest posts–there are some great ones in the wings, from both familiar and new Villagers!