An interest in languages, combined with a few stints living and working overseas, has meant that I have played the role of language learner more than once. These experiences have greatly informed my practice as a language teacher. Famously, this is called the ‘apprenticeship of observation’. Teaching is a unique profession in this sense; teachers have their own experiences as students watching their own teachers teach, which influences them when they become teachers. Here are a few of the things I have felt and thought as a learner that have influenced my teaching…
One of the best things teachers can do for their students is to help them learn to help themselves. To promote learner autonomy, we need to build students’ self-confidence and give them strategies for teaching themselves. Some of the ways we can do this include the following. Continue reading →
“I’m just going to find a video quickly online!” I’ve said to myself many times, clearly delusional. A “quick” online hunt for material to use in class often becomes a lengthy goose chase. It’s hard to find just the right thing, at the right level, on the right subject when searching the vast reaches of the World Wide Web. The better option? To make it myself. Sometimes this can seem intimidating though, especially if videography is a medium one is not used to working in.
Considering that fact, below is my summary of a video presentation my business partner, Larissa Conley, and I made for this year’s TESL Ontario Conference explaining how to make your own videos for classroom use. Continue reading →
Do you have some go-to activities that you use for multiple teaching points? I have a few. I think it’s reassuring for students to see activities they recognize. They feel confident when they know what to do, and they can focus on the point being taught instead of learning the rules of a new game (ahem, I mean “learning activity”). It also doesn’t hurt that reusing ideas and materials reduces teacher prep time. For these reasons, here are three of my favourite flexible activities.Continue reading →
Have you ever explained a task to your students, checked to make sure they understood, and then let them go to work – only to realize as they stared blankly at their work, that they actually didn’t understand? In my first years of teaching, I was so puzzled by students telling me they understood when they clearly didn’t. Even when I would ask directly, “Do you understand?” the answer I was given was often “Yes, teacher” before it became clear that the opposite was true. This was frustrating! It seemed so obvious Continue reading →