Blog

18
May

Real Fun and Fake Fun

The InnovateELT 2018 conference theme was: Fun?! Delight and Struggle in ELT. In this post I will reflect on some key points which emerged for me, inspired by the talks I attended and conversations I took part in. In the pub quiz conference ice-breaker activity, I quoted this from the Demand High website (Scrivener and Underhill). In the quiz this was a gap fill task incidentally, but here I quote in full: “We launched the Demand High meme at IATEFL in March 2012. We argued that communicative language teaching had painted itself into a corner, encouraging a lot of “fun”...
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16
May

Plenary: Do students really want fun in the ELT classroom?

This is the transcript of my plenary ‘Do students really want fun in the ELT classroom?’, which I gave on Saturday 12 May 2018 at InnovateELT. It was just a microphone and me in the Oxford TEFL school garden so there are no slides or graphics to accompany it. A special thanks to all those who tweeted and chatted with me afterwards about it. If you’re short of time then the TL;DR version is in the final paragraph. Feel free to leave your thoughts or questions in the comment box at the end. Enjoy!   FUN. It’s made up of...
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9
May

If I’m not suffering, am I learning?

Bindi Clements is Instructional Design and Efficacy Manager at Wall Street English, and will be exploring some interesting discrepancies between what teachers and students think is ‘fun’. Join her talk at 17.40 in Room 10 to find out why these differences might matter for how we design learning experiences. At around the time that the iELT18 conference theme of ‘Fun?! Delight and struggle in ELT’ was published last year, I’d recently joined Wall Street English. I’d obviously checked out our website when I was applying for the job, and had noticed that the idea of ‘fun’ featured strongly in how...
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8
May

Trouble and Strife in Teacher Observation

From my earliest foray into Teacher Observation on one side of the desk when I was a budding ELT teacher to my more recent experiences of observing teachers, creating safer spaces for ELT CPD has always been at the forefront of my mind (and heart). I had come from a therapy background prior to be a teacher and so reflective practice ran through me like the eponymous Brighton rock! This led me into choosing this fascinating area for one of the research areas for my Diploma in TESOL. How can we continue to make Teacher Observation both central to ELT...
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3
May

How authentic video can add classroom ‘fun’

Elena Deleyto is a scriptwriter and producer at Digital Learning Associates and will be talking about how video can add to the fun at iELT18. Join her talk at 17:40 at Room 7. See you there! If you’re interested in video, Digital Learning Associates are hiring an ELT writer. More info here.
1
May

The Conversation Experience

Jędrzej Stępień will be doing a demo lesson with real students at #iELT18, where attendees will get a better understanding of what are good, educative questions, as well as what is innovation of the content in education, and that it does not require technology. He’ll be speaking at 12:10 – 13:10 at Room 9. Read more on this session here. I have always been fascinated by the potential of second language classes for adults. It is one of the rare chances for grown-ups of various trades, experiences and insights to meet and talk about anything. Being a freelance teacher, I have been...
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27
Apr

Fun & Challenge in the YL Classroom

While fun is an important element in the young learner (YL) classroom, it’s not just simply colouring, playing games and singing. Teachers of this age group need highly-specialised training to plan lessons with age-appropriate activities that help move students forward in their learning, and oftentimes this training is not available or perceived as essential for a teacher walking into a YL classroom for the first time. My talk, Saturday May 12th at 17.40h (Room 7), provides practical activities so that teachers can bring Vygotsky’s Zone of Proximal Development (ZPD) to life in the YL language classroom. Fun and challenge complement...
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23
Apr

Getting Better at Listening: Just for the Phon of it.

Oxford Tefl Dip TESOL tutor Shaun Sweeney will be doing a live lesson at iELT. In this video he talks about the background to planning the lesson. Developing listening skills can be a struggle for learners, and a struggle for teachers too. Apart from just giving more practice, what exactly can we practically do to ensure each listening experience marks a journey of improvement? This lesson will attempt to demonstrate some simple, easily-applicable techniques we can use to make sure we don’t just test comprehension and sell our learners short by telling them not to worry about understanding everything. I...
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