Note from Barb: A few days ago, I wrote a short post for the iTDi blog about teaching large classes. I was fascinated by the Englishometer that Valentina mentioned in her comment, and asked if she’d consider sharing more of her ideas in a guest post here. Lucky for us, she agreed!
About ten years ago (when I graduated), if you had told me I would spend a significant part of my life teaching English to young people, I would have been surprised, a little shocked. To be honest, at that time teaching English was not my dream. I always loved the language, the culture and the literature, but never before had I thought I could be a teacher.
It didn’t have anything to do with the language, I was just afraid of managing thirty young boys all together, only me and them in one room. So I started working in a big international company. My role was to implement communication plans and run workshops for managers.
After two years I realised I was not getting anything back. In terms of values and human relationships, I mean. So I decided to go into teaching. Basically it was moving from an impersonal environment into a strong human-focused one. (more…)
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Imagine a persistent traveller who suddenly sees an ominous mountain in front of her obstructing her way.
A photo I took on the island of Santorini.
Determined to arrive to her destination, she climbs up the steep slope, ignoring the surrounding thorns and other invisible dangers. What is her eventual reward? She has reached the peak right on time to feel the calming effect of a most memorable sunset.
This is how I personally perceive teaching to be: its initial joys give way to responsibilities, potential trouble in class and special needs to cater for. But every single time the teacher has the chance to witness the progress her class has made, all efforts are justified and there is a soothing effect on the soul. (more…)
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It’s the last day of 2010, and a good time to reflect on the year that’s nearly done. This is the 110th post since I began this blog in June of 2009. I know that’s not a lot compared to really prolific bloggers, but it’s enough to thrill me. I began this blog as a way to learn more about connecting with teachers online, but wasn’t really sure how well the experiment would work, or what direction it would take. I had a vague idea about creating a community where EFL teachers around the world could share stories about their unique teaching environments and share wisdom garnered from their teaching experiences. (more…)
The focal point of my previous post on this blog were the potential ways teachers can help their students to organize and practice their knowledge by setting up a blog especially for them. Since video activities on a teacher’s blog seem to be the most appealing ones to learners of all ages, I will now briefly number a series of easy steps for those who wish to take advantage of the potential all kinds of videos offer for making attention- grabbing blog activities. It is to be noted that I have consciously avoided complex educational jargon, having outlined the procedure as it practically happens in an everyday lesson.
In February, I talked with approximately 1000 teachers in Fukuoka, Okayama, Osaka, Nagoya and Tokyo as part of the OUP Teaching Workshop Series. Workshop titles were assigned to fit an acronym. I was the “I” in K.I.D.S.—Interactive Ideas for Keeping your English Classes Relevant for the 21st century. The challenge for me was how to make technology tools relevant for teachers who don’t have computers in their classrooms. (more…)
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Do you remember the Indian fable about blind men describing an elephant? Depending on which body part they touched, they described a very different animal.
At times, trying to describe English as a Foreign Language for young learners feels a bit like describing an elephant. There are two things common to young learner EFL classes: they are taught in countries where English is not the dominant language, and students rarely have exposure to English outside of class.
Beyond this, young learner EFL can be a very different beast. Students might be as young as 2 or as old as 17. Teachers may speak English as their first language, or English may be their 2nd (or 3rd or 4th) language. Some teachers work in international schools, some work in private schools, and some work in public schools. Some classrooms have technology tools available. Some classrooms do not. Some teachers use textbooks. Other teachers create their own materials. And still others do a little of both.