Serbia

Classroom management tips and tricks

I think it’s worth pointing out right away that one of the eternal truths about classroom management is that there are no easy fixes and sure-fire tricks guaranteed to make the classroom industrious and harmonious. There are, however, attitudes that we can adopt and processes that we can put into action that will – over time – be likely to improve the overall environment of the classroom as a learning arena.

So my workshop for OUP in Serbia considers a number of questions about effective classroom management: How can I get students into small groups effectively? How can students be best encouraged to take part in the lesson? Are there any alternatives to ‘hands up’? How can I handle distracted and hard-to-reach students? The session offers a variety of simple and practical techniques to try out in the classroom.

The slides are available here in pdf format.

Lithuania

Slides from my talks in Lithuania are available below in pdf format.

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.

Using images, pictures and photographs
In this session we will look at simple yet innovative ways in which we can use visual materials to provide opportunities for language practice and communication. There will be ideas for getting the most out of the pictures in coursebooks, as well as ideas for using art, drawings, pictures and students’ own mobile-phone photos.

OUP demo lessons and mixed-ability workshop, Hungary

The slides from the short workshop on Mixed-Ability Teaching are available here in pdf format.

I’ve really enjoyed the teaching the demo lessons. It’s not a truly authentic experience, of course – how could it be, when the students and I have never met before, when the room is crowded with observers? Having said that, the lessons have given us a lot of food for thought, and have also provided an opportunity to showcase a few of the techniques for managing the classroom (e.g. lollipop sticks for nominating students, the ‘speak/pass/nominate’ option, the ‘dice master’) that underpin approaches to making the classroom more inclusive and growth-oriented.

Thanks so much to everyone who was involved, especially the students and their teachers.

English Teachers’ Day, PH Wien, Vienna

Thanks to all who attended the English Teachers’ Day at PH Wien. The slides of my session on Designing Tasks with Literature are available below.

Designing Tasks with Literature
This session will offer practical ideas and classroom activities for teachers interested in using authentic literature in class. Focusing on extracts from twentieth-century classics as well as contemporary literature, we will look at ways to arouse students’ interest in texts, before going on to consider a variety of literary-themed speaking and writing activities that can be adapted to any literary text.

English Teachers’ Day, Luxembourg

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Thanks to all the teachers who attended the English Teachers’ Day in Luxembourg on 13 October. If you would like a pdf copy of the slides of both my talk and workshop, look for the links below.

Talk: Soup or salad? Informed eclecticism in the mixed-ability classroom (plenary talk)
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.

Workshop: 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.