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Upon reflecting on how I became an EFL teacher in Venezuela (by Miguel Mendoza)

“Sometimes the slightest things change the directions of our lives, the merest breath of a circumstance, a random moment that connects like a meteorite striking the earth. Lives have swiveled and changed direction on the strength of a chance remark.”-Bryce Courtenay


I have been teaching English for more than 20 years. From teaching children to adults; from teaching students to training teachers; from EFL to ESAP; from using board and chalk (I still do!) to computers, flipcams and smartphones; from teaching F2F to emoderation; from being trained to teach able-bodied students to “training” myself to teach and care for functional diversity students; and from contemplating a career in arts to choosing my second best: teaching English. And from this last revelation, and maybe you sitting on the edge of your seats, you might be wondering how I ended up taking the road of teaching – and not exactly the one less travelled! Sorry about that Mr. Robert Frost and Sir Ken Robinson. No regrets, though. (more…)

Child’s play crafts that increase spelling skills (by Anna Musielak)

My spelling is Wobbly. It’s good spelling but it Wobbles, and the letters get in the wrong places. 

A. A. Milne 

English might be an easy language but its spelling is tough and complicated. The words are spelled and pronounced differently and there are a lot of exceptions to the existing rules. That is why it is important to make spelling activities exciting and fresh. We should refrain from dull drilling and making our students rewrite a certain words 10 times. Instead let’s make spelling colourful and fun so that even when kids write the same word 10 times they do it differently and they don’t get bored and discouraged. (more…)

Flipped Classrooms and Simple English Videos (by Vicki Hollett)

http://www.flickr.com/photos/andrewlaparra/4145235150/

We can take in a lot of information very fast just by looking. It’s why video is so helpful to language learners. Audio recordings provide the words, but videos take the blindfolds off. We get information on how old people are, what they’re wearing, their facial expressions, their stance, their gestures. And crucially we get context. (more…)

Engaging young (and very young) learners with (basic) craft projects (by Anna Musielak)

Arts and crafts involve children simultaneously in activities promoting their personal development and in helping them to learn the language. While making things, children also make meaning. As they explore shapes, colours, textures, constructions, they are extending their experience and understanding of the world – and doing it through the medium of the foreign language.

                                                            Alan Maley

Crafting is my hobby – despite the fact that I am a very messy and clumsy person;) I find it relaxing and challenging at the same time- just like teaching kids! My interest in using crafts to teach English started with my daughter – now 5 years old. I wanted to make learning fun and memorable for her. Agnes collects a lot of “rubbish” which she likes to embellish and she just loves drawing, painting, gluing, cutting and folding which makes me very happy as it helps her develop her motor skills. As for me – well, it keeps me busy because I have to clean the mess she makes afterwards;).  I decided to use Aga’s interests to introduce some new English words and sentences and to make learning enjoyable. (more…)

#ELTchat: the loss of eltchat.com — Plan B

This post was originally published on Marsia Constantinides — TEFL Matters on August 10, 2012. I support the ELTchat project, and am very proud of my brief stint as a moderator for the group, so I am sharing the post here. It’s sad when something like this happens.

For the last – well, almost two years now, since September 15 2010, #ELTchat has kept us on our toes and forged hundreds of professional and personal relationships amongst its followers who turn up on Twitter every Wednesday to talk about topics they have suggested and voted on – a community of peers which was created by a small group of colleagues – which grew and grew some more and became something that counts as an important part of our continuous professional development.

Like many great ideas, it didn’t hit just one person but several.

ELTchat logo

And that is how #ELTchat was created.

The website to keep up the communication of its members, a base and repository of our ideas was one of the first things we all thought of creating – the wiki came later.

Andy Chaplin was keen to join the moderation team and help with podcasts and technical stuff; he was quick to buy eltchat.com and announced the good news to us after the fact.

A few months later, right after TESOL France 2011, he suddenly disappeared – some say for reasons of health.

We never found out for sure.

We never received a single word of response to our emails.

eltchat.com was and still is registered in his name.

And yesterday we lost it

 

On August 8 the domain expired and we have no way of taking over unless it goes up for sale again; it was very sad that Andy Chaplin did not find it appropriate to renew.

The news is really upsetting.

The work we have put in on this website cannot be told in a few simple words – but it has been a labour of love and we have got so much out of it that we have never regretted one single moment

We are pretty upset at the behaviour of this individual – disappointment is one big understatement.

But we trust that our community of #ELTchatters, our PLN for short, will again gather round the new domain which we have purchased – eltchat.org

It will take us a few days to put the website back on its feet

And all will be as it was before – all the posts in place all your thoughts and comments, all the polls and great summaries which got us on the shortlist of the ELTon Awards nominations

We will be back with a vengeance

We are not just a website – we did not get on the ELTon awards shortlist as just another website!!!

 We are a great community of teachers and we have a Plan B!

 

See you all in September!!!

Marisa Constantinides – Shaun Wilden

Barbara Hoskins Sakamoto

P.S. We would greatly appreciate it if any of you belonging to this great community of teachers, teacher educators, bloggers, #ELTchat followers, reposted this on your blog

If you decide to do this, please add your name to the post under ours.

More than six ways of motivating our students

Motivation

Image: rosipaw (flickr)

This week, the iTDi bloggers are talking about motivating students. As always, they come at the topic from different angles, and (as always) they gave me plenty of ideas to think about. (more…)

More than six ways of using technology in language teaching

This week, the discussion question over on the iTDi blog is How do you use technology in your classes? I’ll be honest … I sort of expected that all of the posts (except for my own) would gush about the wonders of technology in teaching. I know that’s a dreadful generalization, but almost all of this week’s authors are digital natives, and quite tech savvy. This generalization sounds worse and worse, doesn’t it, especially when I know that the whole digital native and immigrant distinction is rarely worth the space used to describe it. But sometimes, in online networks, saying anything cautionary about using technology in teaching seens about as popular as saying anything favorable about coursebooks :-) (more…)

The Role Play App

I got an email recently about a new iPhone app from Edublogs, which is the platform I use for my class blog. Since today is the day I teach at the community center (no Internet except for my phone) and I had planned to have students review language, it was a good opportunity to try it out. While it isn’t really an app for role plays, that was the use I had in mind for today’s lesson. (more…)

Four Skills and Five Senses (by Anna Musielak)

Blog of the month
Two weeks ago the director of my school announced that the teachers should organize a “family” lesson. Kids could bring their parents, grandparents and relatives to accompany them on the lesson to observe how their little ones learn and interact. I have to admit – I was a bit worried and well… stressed out. I’ve organized shows and performances for parents and families and I’ve had teacher-parents meetings. But I couldn’t imagine how to have a lesson with parents and relatives observing pupils (who would definitely be stressed) and watching (and probably silently judging) me of course….I decided not to overthink it and as I didn’t have a lot of time to “prep” my pupils just do what I normally do hoping it would go well. (more…)

Community, Collaboration, and Leadership at Nakasendo 2012 (by Chuck Sandy)

Every once in a way you hear someone say something so true that everything inside you shifts a little. Lights go off in your mind. Pieces of things you’ve been thinking about for years suddenly get tied together, and all at once you wind up with a new frame for the window you use to see the world.

This happened to me a few years ago when I heard community activist Bob Stilger say, “every community is full of leaders just waiting to be asked to step forward”. Those words from Bob helped me to reframe and redefine my thinking, the same way that Steven Herder’s now famous statements about collaboration did. When I first heard Steven say, “Anything I can do, we can do better (together)” and “collaboration provides just the right amount of pressure to get things done” similar bright lights went off inside me as a new framework took hold. It is now not too much to say that these statements have come to define how I think about community building, collaboration, and leadership. (more…)