CEN Guayaquil, Ecuador

The slides from my talk of 24 September at CEN, Guayaquil on “Soup or salad – informed eclecticism in the mixed-ability classroom” are available here in pdf format.

Many thanks to all those who attended and made the event – and the three-day OTA course at CEN which preceded it – such a success. Special thanks to Eduardo Icaza and Hilda Flor at CEN, Steve Tomkins and Maria Sol Guzman at Books and Bits, and OUP.

VUS TESOL Conference, Vietnam

2016-07-20 19.03.37

The slides from my plenary talk at the 11th annual VUS TESOL Conference, held in Ho Chi Minh City on 21st July, are available below in pdf format.

Soup or salad VUS TESOL plenary
Traditionally, the role of the teacher has been at the heart of language-teaching methodology; in the mixed-ability classroom, however, the needs of the learners are paramount. Finding the right approach to take with a group of students can therefore involve making a difficult choice from a rich menu of methodological possibilities.
This talk will first argue that there is room for traditional methodologies in the modern mixed-ability classroom, and will suggest innovative ways of drawing from a variety of different approaches in an attempt to meet the specific needs, strengths and preferences of individual learners.
Just as disparate ingredients combine to make a good salad, an informed and flexible approach that recognises and celebrates individual diversity and personal preferences can allow us to enhance and enrich the learning experience for all.

Thanks to VUS TESOL, OUP Vietnam, and everyone who attended the event.

Oxford Days in Vietnam

First of all apologies to the teachers in Can Tho: circumstances beyond my control meant that I couldn’t be there. The slides of the talks given at the Oxford Days events in HCMC and Hanoi are available for download below in pdf format.

Teaching as a daily routine
I get up, I have breakfast, I go to school….In this session we’ll be taking a closer look at our daily teaching routine. Does everything run like clockwork, or is it a daily struggle? What could we change or improve? The session will look at a range of practical ideas and useful tips to help us establish the kind of classroom habits, routines and traditions that can make our teaching more effective – and make learning lots more fun.

Engaging All Learners in the Mixed-Ability Classroom
This session will begin by considering what we mean by the term ‘mixed ability’ before going on to look at some of the practicalities of working effectively with mixed groups. We’ll look at how materials and language-learning activities can be differentiated to make them more inclusive and accessible. We’ll also discuss principles and techniques for creating a positive classroom environment – one in which all learners can make valid contributions. Finally, we’ll look beyond language in order to consider the benefits of a whole-person approach to teaching in the mixed-ability classroom.

Oxford Teachers’ Days, Bulgaria

Here are the slides from my OTD sessions in Varna and Plovdiv in pdf format. Thanks to all those who took part.

Grammar Games in the Classroom

Teaching grammar is a serious business, but it doesn’t have to be ‘all work and no play.’ Although it’s true that many students think that grammar is difficult and boring, this session will suggest a playful approach to teaching language – one that students might find engaging and motivating. There will be a chance to try out and discuss a variety of practical games and activities for introducing, practising and revising grammar.

21st Century Skills in the Classroom
This session will focus on the most celebrated aspect of 21st Century Skills: the four learning skills. We will look at the so-called ‘4Cs’ and consider ways that they can be promoted in the classroom in appealing, relevant and motivating ways, both as extension activities based on coursebook materials and as free-standing classroom tasks.

OUP Days, Bulgaria

Thanks again to everyone who took part. All the slides available in pdf format below.

Saturday:
Better Together
This talk will look at collaborative and co-operative learning methods. We’ll think about the benefits of pair work and small group work, and explore some practical classroom ideas for creating a motivating and inclusive learning environment for all.

Encouraging and motivating adult learners
The language classroom can be an intimidating place for adult learners. In this talk we will consider a variety of techniques and activities that can help adult learners to capitalise on their real-world skills and expertise, boosting their self-confidence and motivating them to succeed as language learners.

Sunday:
A Whole- Person Approach
In this session we will be looking at the challenges of the mixed-ability classroom. Sometimes we need to look beyond language in order to give learners the motivation and validation that they need. The session will focus on promoting social skills, values and life skills in the English classroom, and will provide practical ideas for classroom activities that combine language development and personal growth.

Writing. Dear me!
Many students hate writing. It’s hard and it’s boring. Right? Not necessarily. In this talk we will consider a variety of creative and inventive techniques that can help learners improve their writing skills while having fun in the process.

Croatia

Grammar games in the classroom

Teaching grammar is a serious business, but it doesn’t have to be ‘all work and no play.’ Although it’s true that many students think that grammar is difficult and boring, this session will suggest  a playful approach to teaching language – one that students might find engaging and motivating. There will be a chance to try out and discuss a  variety of practical games and activities for introducing, practising and revising grammar.

Slides are available here in pdf format.

Handout with a description of some of the games and activities here.