The slides from my presentations at the symposium are available below in pdf format.
Motivating the Unmotivated
Unmotivated or hard-to-reach students can make the job of language teaching especially challenging. Sometimes we need to look beyond language in order to create the kind of conditions in which students feel secure and are able and willing to participate. In this session we will consider the emotional and psychological dimensions of classroom relationships, and try out a variety of activities designed to strengthen both individual self-esteem and group harmony. We’ll also be looking at strategies and techniques for sustaining and developing our own motivation as teachers.
Soup or salad? Informed eclecticism in the mixed-ability classroom
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.