Wednesday, 13 May 2009

Macmillan Webinar Feedback: Lindsay Clandfield - The Power of Lists

I have just attended my first live interactive Macmillan "webinar" hosted by the top ELT author Lindsay Clandfield on the "Power of Lists". The session proved to be very worthwhile and practical. The webinar was attended by teachers from all over the world including Russia, Turkey, Argentina, Morocco, Slovakia, Germany and Australia to name but a few. So it was a truly international and cosmopolitan mixture of people.

An effective talk
My computer behaved itself and everything went off without a technical hitch in sight. I was able to communicate short messages and do interactive activities via a text message box. The session lasted 30 minutes with 15 minutes at the end for questions from the floor and answers from Lindsay. The slideshow presentation was very effective with clear points and pertinent images. The timing was impeccable ( a sign of a good teacher, in my personal opinion) and Lindsay spoke at a very good pace. I felt involved and motivated throughout the talk.

Famous ELT lists
Lindsay explained his fascination with lists of all kinds and how they can be used in the classroom. His lists are always in groups of 6 things. We brainstormed 2 types of lists, personal and ELT- related, via our text message boxes. The six most famous lists in ELT are the following: I will write down the lists but not the subject matter- see if you can guess them:

  1. go-went-gone
  2. A1, A2, B1......
  3. linguistic, intrapersonal, logical-mathematical....
  4. noun, verb, adverb.........
  5. monitor, input+1, natural order.......
  6. the, of, an
6 things to do with lists
1) Take a list of your choice and get students to guess what the list is about. Eg
  • JKRowling
  • Bob Geldoff
  • Stephen King
  • Nick Hornby
The connection is that they are all famous authors who have also taught English at one time or another.

2) Dictate a list of the most disappointing sites visited by tourists round the world but leave out the first site. Ask students to guess what the first site could be and then as a follow-up, get them to think up their own list of best sites/disappointing sites etc. This is a very good communication activity and an excellent springboard for student production.

3) A fascinating site for lists full of chunks and common verb phrases is the following:

Get students to do their own "To do" lists and thus present perfect grammar can be exploited eg
"Have you done the shopping yet?
Yes, I've already done it / No, I haven't done it yet.

Another useful site suggested by Lindsay is

4) Lists are excellent resources to practise correct pronunciation and intonation.

5) Lindsay demonstrated an unusual icebreaker/speaking activity based on good things and bad things about having his particular name and surname. Eg with my name Janet Bianchini

Good things about my name?
  • I am named after the famous 1950s actress Janette Scott
  • Janet means "gift from God" in Hebrew
  • I share my name with Janet Jackson

Bad things about my name?
  • Not many people can pronounce my surname correctly
  • Not many people can spell it correctly
  • I used to be called "bikini" at primary school and I hated it

I like this activity as an icebreaker and I am sure students would have a lot to say on this topic.

6) Jumbled up lists
A good source of lists which can be jumbled up and then used to do a ranking / pyramid activity is the following from (for some reason, the site wouldn't allow me to hyperlink it here).

Finally, Lindsay showed us his blog entitled I have just quickly looked through it and it is indeed a veritable "Treasure Trove" for EFL teachers like myself!! I will enjoy looking through it at leisure and will try to add it to my RSS sidebar for easier access.

Final thoughts?
An excellent webinar and I can't wait for the next one on Wednesday 10th June.
Thank you Lindsay for a stimulating seminar!


Lindsay Clandfield said...

Hi Janet, and thanks very much for your comments and review which I have only just come across.
I enjoyed doing the presentation very much, and will be visiting your blog some more now too!


popps said...

hi, interesting stuff in this post.
i don't know if you know this site
but it should be part of your list too.
I don't know how to turn it into a link in comments but you can cut and paste or reformat it maybe.
By the way how do you change text size during a post?

Janet Bianchini said...

Yes, I forgot to include the link you mention, which was actually given during the seminar. I'll update it on this posting, thanks!

As for the changing of text size, I'm afraid I have no idea why it sometimes changes against my will! It happened again yesterday on my latest posting in the final paragraph. I tried all sorts of things, but no luck. If anyone has any ideas, please let me know!! I have a suspicion there might be a terribly simple solution.