Blog

12
Apr

Loose parts in the young learner classroom

Loose parts play refers to the use of materials that can moved, put together, taken apart and used in any way children desire. This post is for anyone who wants to bring innovation and creativity into their lessons using inexpensive materials which maximise a child’s development. Today, I’d like to share what I have learned about loose parts through extensive reading on the topic but mostly through my own teaching experience. I’ve loved the change that this type of activity has brought to my lessons. So what exactly are loose parts? The term was coined by Simon Nicholson way back...
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6
Apr

Visualise this!

Teresa is a course tutor on the Trinity CertTESOL in Active Language, Cádiz. She’ll be presenting a workshop on guided visualisation at the conference this year in May. Read more about it here.  I have a very clear memory from my childhood of sitting with my eyes closed as my sister told me a ghost story set in a lighthouse. I could see the waves crashing against the rocks at the foot of the lighthouse, feel the wind whipping my face as I approached it in the darkness and sense the tension rising within me as I climbed the stairs...
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22
Mar

Exploring group dynamics

Oxford TEFL Director Duncan Foord will be presenting the Pre-Conference Training Session ‘Exploring Group Dynamics’ at the upcoming InnovateELT conference. In this blog post he reflects on what group dynamics is and explores case studies which highlight the challenges teachers face. It will come as no surprise to readers with experience working on Intensive pre-service training courses that not all groups are equally happy and productive. What has puzzled us at Oxford TEFL, Barcelona is the random nature of this. We run intensive 4 week CertTESOL courses throughout the year and can get very different responses from one month to...
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9
Jun

Whiteboards: The Force Awakens. Boardwork Tips for Teachers.

Last weekend I had the opportunity to present at the third annual InnovateELT conference in Barcelona. The brainchild of the lovely people at ELTJam and hosted by Oxford TEFL, it’s become famous for a diverse and friendly crowd, relaxed and productive atmosphere, and innovative format: 10 minute plenaries in the garden, sessions involving learners, and 30 minute talks. I delivered one of these short sessions on the topic of using the whiteboard. No, not interactive, just the act of writing with a pen on the board. As a CELTA tutor, observing lessons and boardwork is a key part of my...
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2
Jun

Taking the Task-Based Approach to the Extreme

Have you recently given your students a real-life task? A genuine out-of-classroom task that they were supposed to complete in order to make their lives (personal or professional) better: sending an email, publishing a blog or social media post, giving a presentation, etc. A few years ago, at an English language centre I was in charge of, our students would do presentations quite frequently. But very often we felt those presentations were not benefitting them as much as they should. It seemed our students often treated those presentation as yet another classroom activity that needed to be completed before the...
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25
May

Embracing the L1: Getting your teens to speak more English in class – Part 1

We are often told during our initial teacher training courses that students are in class to learn English, therefore only English should be used in the class. In theory, this makes sense. The more exposure they have to the L2, the more likely they are to learn something, right? Many trainees arrive in a new country and don’t speak the local language so they are more than happy to go along with this, but in reality it’s not that simple. I remember my first year teaching teens – it nearly put me off for life. Motivating my students was one...
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4
May

ITNedu at InnovateELT 2017

ITNedu and Digital Learning Associates are a team of TV producers and learning resource specialists working on the next generation of ELT learning. We are are passionate about how great video can give English learners confidence and real life experience of the language. This weekend we will be attending InnovateELT as Gold sponsor. The idea of using film or video in learning is hardly new. In 1913 the inventor Thomas Edison predicted that within ten years books would be obsolete because it was “possible to teach every branch of human knowledge with the motion picture”. Despite some great educational film...
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27
Apr

Pushing the Digital Boundaries

There’s no denying the transformational impact technology is having on our personal and working lives. If reports and media stories are to be believed, it’s not just robots taking our jobs that we need to worry about – algorithms and Artificial Intelligence will play their role too. A recent report from leading consultancy firm PwC suggests that by 2030 one third of UK jobs will be under threat as a result of automation. Reassuringly, this research highlights that education is one of the professions least at risk of a total digital takeover, as social and literacy skills are less easily...
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