Wednesday, 25 June 2014

Creating e-resources

Dear all

Many thanks for your contributions in today's session. As Sharmin said, "I never realised it could be so easy."

Of course, when using technology you need to think about a number of things:

a) The content - is it appropriate? Does it aid learning, etc? How does it fit into the overall lesson?

b) The skills of your learners. Some learners, and teachers, are intimidated by technology. I know when I started an e-teaching course a few months ago, I was worried that my skills were not up to scratch. Learners may need a lot of support with using the technology. If you want them to use mobile devices in the classroom, they may not have a mobile phone or may feel embarrassed by their clunky device.

c) The language used. If the resource uses a lot of jargon, it can be off-putting for learners. In addition, documents may be formatted in a way which makes them difficult for learners to navigate.

d) Availability and performance of the technology. Learners will become very frustrated if it takes a long time to conntect to a particular website. The moral of the story is to always have a contingency plan rather than relying solely on technology.

Well done for creating some fantastic resources - I have included them below and feel free to add to the page if you wish. I take on board your comments that perhaps we should introduce these tools earlier on in the course.

Finally, I'd recommend this book to all those interested in integrating technology. I've tried out a couple of things myself.

Thursday, 5 June 2014


As you know, ESOL learners can struggle with listening. On the CELTA course, we advocate a kind of cycle approach: prelistening (e.g. talking about pictures related to the topic), during listening (completing a task of some kind) and a post listening (e.g. a roleplay). However, comprehension questions in coursebooks tend to be rather similar, e.g. 'How old is the speaker?' and require the learners to listen out for very specific details. I'm not sure we always do this - we would ask the speaker to repeat a point if we didn't understand something.

This article questions the value of setting comprehension questions. Thornbury (2001, 'Uncovering Grammar') also makes a distinction between comprehension and comprehending questions. The latter look more at language, e.g. "How did the speaker ask for something to be repeated? "Why do you think he said '....' in this context?' etc.

This article explains how to liven up listening lessons. If you have any ideas, let us all know by commenting below. I like to vary the way I give feedback on listening activities, e.g. holding up 'true/false cards', standing under the correct letter - a, b or c or really exploiting a task. For example, I remember when I did my diploma (many years ago!) I did a listening lesson for my external assessed lesson. I was very nervous as I was teaching a proficiency class and these learners were excellent. The listening was about a famous artwork. After listening for gist and detail, we looked at some of the language in the audio and practised this. The learners then had to use the expressions to talk about a piece of artwork they knew (pictures provided if not).

Hope you have some new ideas.

Wednesday, 4 June 2014

Different approaches to writing

In today's approach we looked at approaches to writing: process, product and genre. It is difficult to get your head around these approaches.

This short presentation gives you a summary of the approaches.