Friday, 21 August 2009

Feedback on 4-week Teachers' Refresher Course in Oxford

The above picture shows 2 classes together on the final day of the Teacher Refresher courses.

It's time for me to get down to some TEFLing stuff after focussing on Abruzzo news recently. I had the great privilege to teach at the Said Business School on behalf of the Lake School of English during the whole of July. I was looking forward to it very much as I had never worked there before. The place is fantastic with excellent facilities and lovely big classrooms. My classrooms were fully equipped with computer and huge screen which I took advantage of most days.

A Cosmopolitan Mix
I taught approximately 54 primary school teachers in four different groups. They were delightful, keen and very receptive to my "Update your English" sessions. I taught phrasal verbs, everyday English, idioms, collocations and grammar points and we did a lot of speaking practice. I tried to integrate technology whenever possible. I used ideas from "Blended Learning" and "How to teach English with Technology.

Some of my lovely teachers on the last day of course 1
I introduced myself with this Xtranormal video here. I had made it specifically to use during the summer courses. It was different from the way I usually do Introductions and Icebreakers. I felt a bit nervous about using it for the first time. I hope it worked.

I mentioned blogs and in particular my favourite ones such as Kalinago English. The excellent slideshow below hadn't been published then but I would like to include it here. The "Blog Carnival" consists of great advice for newbie bloggers and Karenne Sylvester has combined loads of brilliant information all under one roof. It is definitely a must-read post and an inspiration for anybody wishing to start blogging or who already has a blog.
English Language Teaching Blogging

View more documents from Karenne Sylvester.

I highlighted "The English Blog" as being one of my favourites for keeping up-to-date with news of the day. Jeffrey Hill's use of cartoons is amazing and he always picks interesting ones which lead on to good debates. He always has his "finger on the pulse" and I can rely on his postings for interesting snippets. For example, today, there is a great post on "My English Images": Picture Resources.
I used Jamie Keddie's excellent Make and Do collocations lesson and it went down very well. For me, it was really stimulating to exploit something completely different with make and do verbs and I think it's a brilliant lesson, because it is very varied. We loved the Mr Men lesson as well!

I adapted some of Lindsay Clandfield's innovative Six Things postings and used the Six Contradictory Proverbs lesson as a discussion opener.

I highlighted Nik Peachey's Learning Technology Blog and we looked through and commented on some of his practical postings.

I mentioned Larry Ferlazzo's amazing resources of lists and their implication for education.

Of course, it goes without saying, that onestopenglishblogs was highlighted as an incredible resource for teachers.

Primary School Blogs
Have a look at this blog by primary school children in New Zealand. It's called Moturoa's Blog.
This is Miriam's (Teachers Course B) class blog here.
Check out Guillermo's (Teachers' Course C) school website and activities here.
This is Maite's (Teachers Course B) blog, which includes some of her students' blogs, here.

The Importance of PLN is a cool tool for mind mapping and it is easy and functional to use. I demonstrated this e-tool when I was highlighting the subject of PLN in connection with CPD (Continuing Personal Development). CPD is indeed a Buzz word and it is a very important feature of a teacher who wants to keep up to date . See Richard Byrne's excellent slideshow regarding how to build your PLN here.

We discussed the validity and practicality of e-portfolios for young learners. We mostly agreed that this was the way forward. The following is a very interesting slideshow presentation by Ray Tolley from eFolio in the Uk

Read this interesting article by Ozke Karaoglu on e-portfolios and creating your digital self.

I wrote this article in January 2009 called "The Era of IE" in which I discussed the role of e-Portfolios. I received a very in depth comment from Ray Tolley, who created the slideshow presentation above.

Class D created 3 beautiful word clouds on the last day of the course. The themes were pubs, slang and experience in Oxford. They looked absolutely lovely! We didn't save them, unfortunately, but they can be viewed on the open web.

A Cliltoclimb blog has got an excellent idea for using Wordles in class. Click here for a slideshow
Here is an example of a Wordle I created a while back. Can you guess what the article is about??

I used Dvolver to teach some phrasal verbs and it added a different dimension to the usual way I teach them. I found it a bit frustrating that I couldn't control the music and so it seemed to come on all the time. Maybe it was just me and my lack of technological ability! I do like it as an e- tool, however, as it is quite fun to use.

We talked about the Number One e-learning tool of 2009 and its application in education. Here is a link to an interesting article from Time Magazine about how twitter will change the way we live. As a result of my mentioning twitter in class, I now have 4 new friends from my teachers groups! Happy tweeting! Check out my MakeBeliefsComix on the subject of "fun Twitter expressions" here and read this very interesting posting from English Raven Blog here.

Picture Activities
I showed my Bookr story called The Prince and The Maid.

Here's my Speechable picture of Joey.

I found out about Picture and saw excellent examples of it from Cristina's lovely"Let's Learn English 2008 blog"

A fantastic source of picture activities can be found in Jamie Keddie's Blog.

The Picture Dialogue Game
This is a fun writing activity which involves a selection of pictures of people talking( from magazines, the internet). You put the pictures of the couples in the middle of the table or on the classroom floor. Ask students to secretly choose one of the couples talking and then give a time limit for students to create a short dialogue between their couple. Students are invitedto read out their mini dialogues open class and the class members have to guess which picture the dialogue refers to.

There are many alternatives to this activity. Another version is I show them a picture of a famous couple and get my students to guess what they are saying. I then reveal the dialogue which focuses on slang/idioms/phrasal verbs etc and I invite students to create their own, which can they be placed around the classroom for others to see and comment on.
This is a short dialogue for the picture above.

David: Hey Babes. Come on! Give a big smile for the cameras!
Victoria: I'm really not up to it today. Can't we put this meeting off?
David: Too late, babes. They're all looking forward to seeing us.
Victoria: Right! Let's get down to it then!
David: Ok here goes!

Language in Motion
New words coming into the English language were highlighted and discussed. One of the words was "staycation". Have a look at this video regarding "staycation" posted by Jeffrey Hill from the English Blog.

Another word was "wardrobe malfunction" which is featured in

A mob of carrots?

Carrotmob was a new word which I personally learned about during the course. Before that I would have thought it was a mob of carrots getting together! (Only joking). Seriously though, I wouldn't have had much of a clue to its meaning prior to its inclusion in Wordspy.

We discussed where new words came from and, hey presto! Hot off the press is this new worksheet with answers from Macmillan English Dictionary.

I explained the meaning of ASBO, and today, two buskers have been given Asbos because they played the same 2 songs again and again. Read the story here.

The C-Factor
We brainstormed the important qualities of the Survivor Teacher. All the qualities had to begin with the letter "C". Below is a photo of the whiteboard with the list of brainstormed adjectives. I am embarrassed to say my board work does not look neat and tidy and that is why I don't usually do a lot of boardwork! It's not my forte. I have always envied teachers with lovely writing. Angus: take note - your boardwork is brilliant!

Can you think of other adjectives beginning with "C" which would apply to a "Survivor" teacher?

Personal Feedback
I thought it went very well and I certainly enjoyed the experience. It was good for me to branch out with integrating technology and it was a chance for me to showcase a few of the e-tools I have been learning about. It was nice to share my knowledge and to have some good discussions about the future of e-learning. I shared my classes with Catherine and I'd like to say a big thank you for being such a lovely, calm co-teacher. It was good fun liasing with you!

Useful Links for teachers of young learners
Gail Lovely: Top Ten for Young Learners (Thanks, dear Lidiana!!)
Free Technology for Teachers: 10 Spelling games and Lessons
British Council site for Kids
English Raven
Tech ELT Blog

The Meaning of Teaching?
For me teaching is all about learning together and collaboration and hopefully, my students learned something and will go back to their schools armed with some new techniques to use in their classes.

Fancy a Cuppa?

I taught this expression to my teachers and now that I have finally finished my feedback, I am going to make myself a nice, relaxing brew!

Click here for an interesting post by the English Blog on The Power of Tea.

Bye for now....



Wow, Janet - this is such a great follow up for your trainees and am sure it will come in very handy as a follow up to your session with them!

Ta, very much for being so supportive of my blog too, very much appreciated.

;-) Karenne

LLJB said...

Hi Karenne

Nice to see you here. This is what it is all about. Learning and sharing together as professionals.

I think feedback is very important and I felt inspired to do this particular feedback as it's also a summary for me of the new tools I was trying out for the very first time in an open class environment.

All the teachers were in Oxford to brush up their knowledge of the English language and also to learn more on methodology, which my co-teacher Catherine focused on.

I think the 50-50 element worked very well, and I learned a lot from all the course participants.

Janet :)

Chiew said...

Hi Janet... glad you liked my Wordle idea. I'd like to hear from teachers who had used the slides (or will be using them); perhaps when the European academic year starts, I'll get more feedback. Meanwhile, watch out for more stuff!