Category Archives: Discussion

What do you do when students NOOOOOOOOO! your lesson intro?

What do you do when students NOOOOOOOOO! your lesson intro?

So this happened to me on Monday. It was the last lesson of the day and I’d already enjoyed success with my ‘wonderful and imaginative’ lesson plan (my review) five times – including with a couple of difficult groups – and I was looking forward to winding down with the same lesson plan with a high-level group who are usually personable and intelligent people.

I took the register – about eight students were in attendance. It was too hot in the room; the blinds were down and the windows open to allow a meagre wisp of cool air to enter when it chose. I stood in front of the class and introduced the topic: ‘We’re going to discuss social networks!’

I was astonished to hear a chorus of ‘NOOOOOOOOO!’s from the students. Again, I repeat, my lesson plan involved starting with discussion in pairs about social networks. Not a grammar exercise. Not a review of present perfect, or – heaven forbid – future perfect. Not a spelling test, or a written composition ‘na ocena’ – ‘for a mark’. No, discuss social networks in pairs. I had chosen a topic that I knew my students (aged 14-15) were not only interested in, but absolute experts in. They didn’t know but my secret weapon for the second half of the 45-minute lesson was a Kahoot quiz where they were to answer true/false questions about social networks on their (normally forbidden) mobile phones.

‘NOOOOOOOOO!’

So what do you do when the students reject your (fun) lesson plan out of hand at the beginning of the lesson? ‘We want to go home!’

‘OK, but you can’t go home.’

‘We’re tired!’

‘We have to do the lesson.’

‘BRAAAGGHHH!’

‘OK, but this will be fun. Let’s try it.’

I persuaded them to discuss the simplified version of this set of questions, that I had written on the board. Then I led group feedback. IMHO it was interesting and they were more engaged and made some intelligent comment about social networks. (Although they refused to believe that they are, in fact, only ‘free’ with air quotes, as opposed to free without air quotes.)

Then they dropped the bombshell. I announced: ‘Now we’re going to do a quiz about social networks.’

‘NOOOOOOOOO!’

Again – a chorus of NOOOOOOOOOs. What part of my sentence provoked this reaction from the heart – from the belly – ‘NOOOOOOOOO!’ Was it the word ‘quiz’? Did they associate it with ‘test’ and ‘exam’? Did they still not believe, after months of evidence working together, that I only wanted to engage them with interesting and relevant content? I hurriedly put the quiz up on the whiteboard via the projector and asked them to get their phones out and log in with the Kahoot PIN. This kind of quiz is really fun because it’s interactive – you watch the quiz unfold on the big screen and participate by pressing the answer on your phone. I think it’s cool. My other groups had enjoyed it…

The real knockout blow for me came when the students were entering their screen name or nickname for the quiz. This appears on the big screen and everyone can see it, so there is plenty of potential for writing ‘naughty’ nicknames and getting a bit group laugh. In this case they didn’t use swear words (as other groups had done previously) but one student chose the nickname ‘chcę do domu’ – which means ‘I want to go home.’ Like a child in a pre-school or first class of primary school: ‘I want to go home.’

We did the quiz – all twenty questions – but the wind had been knocked out of my sails and I left the school after the lesson feeling a little sad.

How do you engage students who have rejected your lesson plan out of hand before they know what it is, because they want a ‘fun’ lesson – when actually your lesson plan IS the ‘fun’ lesson? (This is the key question for me, but it was too long to be the title of this post!)

How do you engage students who want to go home? ‘Wolny lekcja!’ – ‘free lesson!’ they chorused. They wanted to be allowed to sit and do nothing but chat in Polish for the last lesson of the day. I couldn’t allow that, but then I realised that maybe other teachers do. Can it be true? Perhaps they baulked at having to use thinking and speaking skills when they would have found it easier to answer a reading comprehension in the course book – which I’m briefed not to use in lessons. Did they think I would be a soft touch because my lessons ARE usually more fun and communicative – or because I’m a naïve foreigner? – so they thought they’d try their luck with getting a ‘free’ lesson?

In this blog post I don’t have the answers, just questions, so if you have any tips for how to deal with or avoid the NOOOOOOOOO!s I would be more than grateful!

Image: https://pixabay.com

Hashtag - Englishness

Want to Know what the English are REALLY Like? Try this Hashtag!

When I started reading some of the tweets on this recent trending topic on Twitter, I knew that I had to share them with you! If you are interested in understanding the true character of English people (which is an awkward combination of shyness, embarrassment, and self-righteousness) check out this hashtag to learn more about our quirky ways!

https://twitter.com/hashtag/VeryBritishOffences

Click below to listen to the podcast and hear my commentary of the following top ten tweets. Don’t forget to watch the video and like Purland Training on Facebook!

Listen and download the free MP3 lesson: Hashtag Englishness (22 MB, Google Drive)

There is more free material on the topic of Englishness – including podcasts and videos – here:

Finally, here’s my contribution to the hashtag:

The Businessman and the Fisherman

Free Reading Pack – The Businessman and the Fisherman

This is a great reading comprehension pack for advanced-level learners of English. Based on the modern fable of The Businessman and the Fisherman, this free ESOL material will have you and your students discussing the time-old concepts of work-life balance and how to find true contentment:

If you like this material, please join us on Facebook for more fantastic free printable worksheets and books!

The Businessman and the Fisherman (PDF)

 

New Year's resolutions podcast and worksheet 2018

NEW Podcast! Talking about New Year’s Resolutions – with Daria Storozhilova

It’s time to ring in the New Year 2018!

In this very special holiday podcast I’m joined by online course developer and tutor Daria Storozhilova from Smart English Learning. We have fun discussing New Year traditions, resolutions, and predictions for 2018! I would like to take this opportunity to wish all of our listeners a very Happy and Healthy New Year 2018!

Listen and download the free MP3 lesson: Talking about New Year’s Resolutions – with Daria Storozhilova (36 MB, Google Drive)

Don’t forget to download the accompanying free printable worksheet below:

New Year's resolutions podcast and worksheet 2018

 

You can visit Daria’s profiles here:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/smartlanguagelearning/
YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC3bYRjDJXQwcsZJOpOhO4sg
Twitter: https://twitter.com/StordarLearn
Website: https://www.stordar.com

Free image courtesy of https://pixabay.com

Talking about a Song in an ESOL Class

NEW Podcast! Talking about a Song in an ESOL Class

Get some great new teaching material for planning a spoken presentation about a song in ESOL classes.

This week we publish a brand new free printable worksheet that will help students to plan and prepare a spoken presentation where they talk about a favourite or memorable song:

Listen and download the free MP3 lesson: Talking about a Song in an ESOL Class (20MB, Google Drive)

You can download the free printable worksheet here:

https://purlandtraining.com/free-lessons/free-printable-worksheets/talking-about-a-song-in-an-esol-class/

If you like this podcast, please subscribe and follow us on:

Podbean: http://purlandtraining.podbean.com

Stitcher: https://www.stitcher.com/podcast/purland-training/purland-on-elt

iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/purland-on-elt/id1204714487?mt=2

Thank you! I hope that you enjoy the podcast and the new material! If you have any comments or questions, please do get in touch here: https://purlandtraining.com/contact-us/  and
https://twitter.com/purlandtraining

Free image: thanks to https://pixabay.com

Quick Christmas Quiz for ESOL Students!

NEW! Quick Christmas Quiz for ESOL Students!

Are you looking for a fun Christmas quiz that you can do with your ESOL or English Language students in class? Then look no further!

Quick Christmas Quiz for ESOL Students!

Quick Christmas Quiz for ESOL Students!

ArtsyBee / Pixabay

Podcast featuring Moz the Monster!

Brand New Podcast – Free Teaching Material Featuring Moz the Monster!

It’s time for a video lesson with the eagerly-anticipated new advert from John Lewis!

Listen and download the free MP3 lesson: Free Teaching Material Featuring Moz the Monster! (18 MB, Google Drive)

Join me as I introduce some free teaching materials based on the new John Lewis Christmas advert featuring Moz the Monster. Click below to access the discussion questions and comprehension questions:

https://purlandtraining.com/free-lessons/free-printable-worksheets/moz-the-monster-comprehension-questions-for-english-classes/

https://purlandtraining.com/free-lessons/free-printable-worksheets/moz-the-monster-discussion-questions-for-english-classes/

If you like this podcast please tell your friends and colleagues about it and subscribe on iTunes, Podbean, Stitcher – or your favourite podcast provider!

Background music: ‘Tom’s Drops’ – thanks to: http://podsummit.com/freemusic/

Free image courtesy: http://johnlewispresscentre.com/imagelibrary

Moz the Monster – Comprehension Questions for English Classes

NEW! Moz the Monster – Comprehension Questions for English Classes

Check out the heart-warming video for the brand new John Lewis Christmas advert – and answer comprehension questions in your English class!

Click here!