I was in Okayama last weekend for the OUP Teaching Workshops. Okayama is famous for several things, including a story many of you know (at least in translation) and a food enjoyed by the main character in that story. Finding the name of the story and the name of the food is your webquest for today! (more…)
This Valentine’s Day, since all the chocolate in Japan goes to men, I’m enjoying spending some quality time with the longest (non-family) relationship in my life: teaching. (more…)
This morning, a friend shared this video on facebook. It’s one of the entries for the Fun Theory award, which recognizes ideas and inventions that prove that fun is the easiest way to change behavior for the better. Wouldn’t you want to take the stairs if they were this much fun?
I wasn’t the only one who thought about what the Fun Theory could do for English class.
Just think. No matter how you package it, it’s hard to gain much fluency in a foreign language without a lot of repetition, which students often see as the learning equivalent of taking the stairs. Given the chance, students will choose the escalator every time. But, if repetition were fun, would students beg for more? Probably.
Of course, in the back of my mind I was thinking that applying the Fun Theory to learning tasks could mean a lot more work for already busy teachers.
Kim Takeda came up with a wonderful solution:
What a brilliant idea! Let the students solve their own problems! The process itself could be an excellent language task. Students can identify which tasks they dislike, and suggest ways to make them more fun (but still as effective). It would be interesting to see how students and teachers see the same tasks.
Do you think your students would change anything? If so, what?
Part of the series: Teaching and Learning in Second Life
You may have heard about Second Life . I actually hadn’t heard of it before I saw the course description for a TESOL EVO workshop on Virtual Worlds and Language Learning. Considering that I thought an avatar was a diety in Hindu Mythology, I think it’s fair to say that my learning curve was pretty steep. (more…)
Try something that makes you feel foolish.
Something that guarantees you’ll make mistakes.
Something that frustrates and overwhelms you.
In other words, do something that helps you remember what it feels like to be a beginner. (more…)
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…)
You can read the first part of this post here.
The outline of the presentation with all the links can be found here.
Moving on to the second challenge all teachers around the world need to face at some point, I am going to refer to the constant use of books or anything that comes in paper. Yes, all printed material is extremely useful and informative, but hasn’t it become too predictable these days? Students invariably expect that photocopies will be handed to them, that they will play some kind of board or card game at the end of the unit and that they will have to submit their homework on a piece of paper. This will come as a surprising statement from a fanatic book lover and proponent of using coursebooks in the classroom, but I have finally realized that if we want to truly attract students’ interest, then we need to think of unique ways to spice up the learning procedure. (more…)
Branko M., Assistant Professor of American Literature of the English Department (Faculty of Humanities in Serbia), has been so kind as to give me the opportunity to present in a webinar some of the challenges teachers worldwide need to face if they wish their teaching to result in efficient learning on the students’ part. Although I feel fortunate to have been trusted with students of all ages and levels, the difficulties posed on the way have been numerous, also allowing me to take delight in their resolution. (more…)