Tag Archives: tips

10 Things to Say instead of 'Stop Crying'

10 Things to Say instead of ‘Stop Crying’

We know from our experience that it doesn’t really help much when somebody we care about is crying their heart out and all we can think of to say is ‘Stop crying’. Want to be more helpful? Try the approaches in this useful infographic from Happiness is Here Blog:

Five things to do with a pair of scissors

Five things to do with a pair of scissors

Five things to do with a pair of scissors


— Read on www.cambridge.org/elt/blog/2018/04/30/five-things-pair-scissors/

Teaching Blog: 3018 - Holiday on another Planet

Teaching Blog: 3018 – Holiday on another Planet

Teaching Blog - Holiday on another PlanetThis week most of my groups have worked with the topic of planning a holiday on another planet.

Procedure:

I projected the instructions above on the board (or wrote it on the whiteboard, depending on the classroom I was in) and informed students to take out their notebooks and pens and work in groups of three. I informed them that they would have to do a spoken presentation, with all students speaking, which would be assessed.

I told them: “The year is 3018!” I made a kind of swishing noise and waved my arms for a while. “You’re in the future!” I clarified. Generally the students laughed. They settled into their task.

Each 45 minute lesson split roughly into thirds, with 15 mins to do the register and set up the activity, 15 mins for SS (students) to prepare their presentations, then 15 minutes for the presentations. As they prepared I operated some sound effects on an app called myNoise (iOS / Google Play), which I played on my phone through a (hidden) Bluetooth mini speaker. The ‘Warp Speed’ sound effects were great – bleeps and whooshes and pulses that you might hear in a spaceship (or on another planet) – as far as I know, anyway!

I had fun by starting the sounds off low and then increasing the volume, to see how many SS – and who – would notice. When they looked up, I reduced the volume again or denied that there was any noise. Some SS were more aware than others. I feel it helped to set the ambience of a future-themed lesson about space travel.

About 15 minutes before the end of each lesson, the SS gave their presentations in groups and we clapped each group. I was pleased by how much imagination was shown and how much they had been able to achieve in just around 15 minutes prep time.

Extension ideas:

I did this lesson with ten of my groups and sometimes, due to the lower number of SS in a group, we had time for extension activities:

  • After a presentation: I asked the group some additional questions about what they had just said, e.g. ‘What colour was the alien? Describe him. Was it a him? How could you tell?!’ etc.
  • After we had heard all the presentations: if there was time, I switched on the sound effect of the spaceship/space noises again and asked the SS to close their eyes. I asked the group questions, e.g. what can you see? Where are you? What is happening? and so on. A little bit of a drama game.

What worked?

  • The sound effects app was quite amusing for me. I’m not sure all the SS appreciated it – or how many of them even noticed it above their (work-related) noise! When SS did notice the weird noises or ask about it, I pretended not to have heard it.
  • I’m not sure why, but lower-level groups seemed to respond better to this activity – with greater enthusiasm and more imagination. Maybe they didn’t overthink it, unlike some of the higher-level groups.
  • I asked them to work in groups of 3, in order to break up some established pairs and force them to work with different people. Some SS begged me to work in groups of 4, so I asked them why I didn’t allow it: ‘Because students will talk in pairs,’ said one person. Exactly, and if they work in groups of 4 there will be sure to be at least one, and probably two, students doing nothing, while the other two work.
  • SS learned new vocabulary, including ‘adventure’, ‘aliens’, and ‘dangerous’.
  • I noticed that some groups of 3 achieved more than others in the meagre 15 minutes that I allotted. Some presentations were fabulous, with really detailed scenarios, while others were more perfunctory, e.g. ‘On the way home there was a battle. The end.’ I guess this is to be expected in terms of differentiation, although some SS worked harder than others, in my opinion.
  • It was great, as always, to watch the SS working contentedly on the task – the ‘happy hum’.
  • This lesson structure is still working well: setup > preparation > presentation (see previous Teaching Blog posts). What is the lesson plan (above) in a nutshell?
  1. Give SS a clearly defined task with several objectives to fulfil, on a topic that is of interest to them.
  2. Give them a fair amount of time to work together in pairs or groups to prepare their response. Offer help and assistance as required, but let them get on with it. In English, as far as possible!
  3. SS show what they have done to T and the rest of the class.
  4. HW optional.
  • The content has to be interesting to them. When I planned this week’s topic last weekend I was originally going to ask them to talk about a normal holiday. Then I was playing with the new app and I noticed the space sounds and realised that a holiday in space would be so much more fun – and good for the imagination! Serendipity at work.
  • I enjoyed imagining the future along with the SS. They conjured up a time when intergalactic space flight is not only possible, but absolutely commonplace; when aliens and humans co-exist and intermarry on earth and on other planets, like Mars, Mercury, and their own made-up planets (e.g. ‘Unique Planet’ and ‘Princess Planet’, where some SS went to find out about the beauty effect of magic coconuts); when space travel can involve a ‘space tram’, ‘magic carpet’, ‘flying car’, or ‘a bike in the sky on the Milky Way’; when spaceships can break down, but be fixed; when humans can go on a rescue mission to the sun – which is being robbed of its heat by a dastardly heat-absorbing alien race… It takes just 15 minutes to get all these scenarios – and more – out of SS who are by no means at a high level in English. Bravo! I salute them. I smiled, I laughed, and I played weird sound effects.
  • I think that having the instructions on the board for SS to refer to at any time while preparing was a big help. It meant I didn’t have to keep reminding them of what to do. It was clear, once we had gone through it at the beginning. This time I included an image to help to stimulate the imagination.
  • Other positives: group work; variety of focus; not teacher-led lesson, but teacher-controlled; low teacher talking time; after doing this kind of lesson a few times the SS know more what is expected of them; SS take responsibility for their work and their marks; at the end of one of the lessons one student seemed genuinely surprised that it had gone so quickly (a great sign of engagement!): ‘Juz koniec?!’ (in Polish) = ‘It’s finished?!’

Challenges:

Challenges that are familiar from previous weeks with this lesson outline:

  • Getting SS to do the preparation stage in English is difficult – even with the highest level groups.
  • SS listening to each other during the presentations – this is getting a bit better.
  • Limitations of time – 45 mins to start, work on, and complete the activity, with no rollover to next lesson. I have to be very strict on the clock.
  • I’m concerned – as a teacher – that there is still little or no time for grammar correction, e.g. one group wrote: ‘My friend meet a very preaty girl, and now they have one kid.’ and ‘Adventures – Swimming with Delphin.’ (In Polish ‘dolphin’ is ‘delfin’.) Should I take in the work and mark it at home, then return it with written feedback? How helpful would that be? In the next lesson we don’t have time to return to the previous week’s lesson, because there is a new epic to be created. Focus on speaking becomes focus on writing and grammar? My job is to get them talking, but what about accuracy? Is this a speaking activity or a writing/grammar one? Can we have speaking and presentations without writing and grammar? Without writing, yes, but without grammar, no!

Image: https://pixabay.com/

BRAND NEW Infographic! How to Look and Sound More Confident

How to Look and Sound More Confident (FREE Infographic)

If you have a spoken presentation or exam coming up, you may want to read our latest infographic, which gives some great tips for improving your confidence and feeling great while speaking in public!

Click here to find out more!

 

Is Spaced Practice the key to good ELT? Dellar ‘s 2018 IATEFL presentation

Is Spaced Practice the key to good ELT? Dellar ‘s 2018 IATEFL presentation

Is Spaced Practice the key to good ELT? Dellar ‘s 2018 IATEFL presentation
— Read on criticalelt.wordpress.com/2018/04/15/is-spaced-practice-the-key-to-good-elt-dellar-s-2018-iatefl-presentation/

Learn English in 30 Minutes - ALL the English Basics You Need

NEW Video Lesson! Learn English in 30 Minutes – ALL the English Basics You Need

This is a great video if you want to learn the basics of the English language in just 30 minutes!

Let us know what you think in the comments below!

Thanks to Alisha at EnglishClass101.com! Check out their website here and find them on social media:

27 Tips for Effective Classroom Management

NEW Infographic! 27 Tips for Effective Classroom Management

Check out this amazing new infographic which gives you not 10, not 20, but 27 fabulous tips for effective classroom management!

27 Tips for Effective Classroom Management

Do you manage a classroom? Do you want to manage it right? Read these essential tips, put them into practice, and watch your classroom management issues disappear!

Please remember to share this great page with your social networks! 🙂

My story with collocations

BlackboardEnglish.comThis is a guest post by Halima from BlackboardEnglish.com.

If you would like to publish a guest post on PurlandTraining.com, please do get in touch!

I used to teach vocabulary differently than I do now. I taught single words and grammar. I had taught in a classroom setting before I started teaching online. My students learnt all the new words well. I even had tests to help them remember new words. They always did well when they did the tests. However, when they tried to use the vocabulary during a speaking or written activity, they would sound so unnatural. That’s when I started my collocations journey.  I started researching, and reading and I found out about the Lexical approach by Michael Lewis. A new approach to teaching vocabulary and grammar. It was the most exciting thing I had read about as a teacher. I started implementing its teachings straightaway.

These are some of the points I found most useful:

  • The brain stores and retrieves word chunks quickly
  • Collocations are words that sound natural together to native speakers of English
  • Collocations help you produce natural English
  • It improves your spoken and written fluency
  • It helps you to build a larger vocabulary bank
  • Successful language is more important that accurate language

What should you do now that you know this information?

  • Use a collocations dictionary online and if you can buy a hard-copy (watch my video to help you learn how to use a collocations dictionary)
  • Start taking notes of new word chunks
  • Start listening and reading more
  • Learn the seven different types of collocations and examples and start noticing them (download the poster to stick on your wall)
  • Don’t be afraid to start using your English!

I hope this article helps. Send me an email and let me know what you think! HS@BlackboardEnglish.com

Written by Halima from BlackboardEnglish.com.

References:

Lewis, M. (1993). The lexical approach: The state of ELT and the way forward. Hove, England: Language Teaching Publications.

My video:

https://youtu.be/k0_a-C6Vqho

The free poster link:

http://eepurl.com/cWbw0j

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