Sunday, 11 November 2012

Fun at the Lake

Jumping back into the Lake School of English, Oxford,  after a period of time away is always a refreshing change.  Face to face teaching is still such a thrill for me personally, after all these years, and I enjoy the experience enormously.  The three directors, Susan, Carmel and Lilly are wonderfully supportive, and the dedicated group of  friendly teachers and staff are a real joy to work with.

The Lake School of English has been featured in the EL Gazette in 2010, 2011 and 2012 as a Centre of Excellence.

This time round in September, I taught two General English courses, Elementary and Pre-Intermediate level - my favourites!  The students were a fabulous mixed bunch from Poland, Turkey, The Ivory Coast, Spain, Angola and Italy.

Having taught complete beginners for a whole year in Dresden, I have a particular soft spot for teaching lower levels.  The reponsibility of establishing a solid foundation right from the beginning, is quite vital.  If a teacher does not oversee a student's development at this critical stage it could lead to a lifetime of fossilized errors taking hold.  I enjoy being the lead teacher of an elementary group, so I can set up a strict focus on accuracy right from the beginning.  Trying to undo errors which have become fossilized at a much later stage can be a nightmare..

I decided I wanted to introduce a Blended learning element into this itineration of sessions and therefore any homework I set also had the option of being sent back to me by email.  A few of the students welcomed this opportunity and I was delighted to receive regular online tasks submitted.  I was able to give immediate feedback and  a good working relationship was established from the outset.  Mixing an online element with the f2f element gave me the chance to experiment with various tools to send to the students as feedback encouragement as follows:

Once again I used my Project366 blog for and in my lessons, and it was a useful place to keep materials and resources in one site.

Below you can see a word cloud I used as a warmer for students to guess my likes and dislikes connected to food and drink.  Can you guess what I like / dislike eating & drinking?

 I created an Animoto "Around Town" which was used in my lessons to teach vocabulary of places.

Try our video maker at Animoto.

We studied some make and do expressions and I had fun creating a new lesson.  You can see some of the lesson activities embedded in a Youblisher e-booklet format below.

Make and Do Expressions

I showed the class my weekend in the shape of a TagxedoWord Cloud flower, and then got them to create one for themselves, if they wished as homework to show to the class.

To get us in the mood for the weekend ahead, we listened to Rebecca Black's (in)famous Friday song.  Before the all-important singing stage, the students had to predict what the song was going to be about by viewing the words below:

My final message on my blog to the lovely students I taught. This cartoon was created with ToonDo. Picture frame by Tuxpi.

Now I am back in Abruzzo, I can keep up to date with Lake School news by checking into the Lake School of English Facebook page.

The Lake School is also on Twitter and you can follow regular updates from @EnglishinOxford.

Thanks to everyone at the Lake School for making it such a memorable teaching experience for me!
See you all again very soon :-))

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