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.
The slides for my session on Informed Eclecticism in the Mixed-Ability Classroom are available below. Thanks to everyone for coming, and to OUP for organising the events in Cali, Pereira, Barranquilla, and Bucaramanga.
Soup or salad
Copies of my slides are available in pdf format below.
My Four C’s
‘Twenty-first century skills’ is a broad term encompassing life skills, literacy skills and learning skills. As teachers, we are most concerned (but not exclusively concerned) with the third aspect: learning skills. You have probably already heard of the so-called Four Cs – communication, collaboration, critical thinking and creativity – and are probably interested in finding out ways to kindle them in your students. This talk is not going to focus on those Four Cs. Bocs. Instead, I would like to consider the role of the teacher in all this. What skills and qualities do we need to bring to the classroom? To help discover some of the answers to this question, I’ll be sharing my own ‘Four Cs’ for effective teaching in a twenty-first century context.
This talk will look at strategies and techniques for promoting collaboration and co-operation in the classroom. We’ll think about the benefits of pair work and small-group work, and explore some practical ideas for creating a motivating and inclusive learning environment for all.
The slides for the secondary and adult workshops are available for download below in pdf format.
The slides from my lecture on ‘Using Literature in the EFL Classroom’ at the ELT Summer Seminar 2017 at Exeter College, Oxford are available here.
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.
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.
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.
A great event organised by the DUOC English program and OUP in Santiago. You can download the slides from my talks in pdf format below. Thanks for the warm welcome! 🙂
Reflective teaching: creating a positive learning environment
21st century skills in the classroom
Slides of my presentation on ‘Engaging all learners in the mixed-ability classroom’ are available in pdf format here.