Using Dice for Practicing Extended Speaking

Using Dice for Practicing Extended Speaking

One of the most challenging skills for students to develop is the ability to speak at length coherently. While the Ask-Answer-Add method is fantastic for teaching and practicing conversation patterns, high-stakes exams, such as TOEFL iBT, Pearson Test of English, and IELTS, essentially require students to deliver monologues.

Therefore, the question becomes how do we have students practice delivering extended speech in an engaging manner?

Enter “Speaking Dice”

six_farkle_dice
What school doesn’t have a set, or six, of these?

Continue reading “Using Dice for Practicing Extended Speaking”

The Benefits of Keeping a Teaching Journal

The Benefits of Keeping a Teaching Journal

I have been keeping a journal off and on since I was kid because, as everyone knows, sometimes you just need to talk to someone who isn’t going to talk back. You can find famous examples and samples here and here.

Classroom Management, Google Drive, Monitoring, PLN, Writing, Evernote, Teaching Journal, Teaching Diary
I wish my handwriting were that nice.

Nowadays, I keep a very specific type of journal. In it, I write about how what happens inside and outside the classroom affects my students and how I and my students interact with the activities, materials, and technology I/we select. The effects of keeping this journal have been profound which is in line with research: Continue reading “The Benefits of Keeping a Teaching Journal”

Learning to Write Like a Reader: Teaching Students How to Edit and Do Peer-Review

Learning to Write Like a Reader: Teaching Students How to Edit and Do Peer-Review

Peer review is an important an beneficial step in the writing process if done effectively. The question then becomes how can you do it effectively? Today I’ll provide three examples: Checklists, Write Like a Reader and Paramedic Editing.

Checklists

Why should you provide students with a checklist? First, checklists identify the key ideas/components/aspects that should be in a students writing. Second, providing students with explicit instruction increases the likelihood of them remaining on task. Basically, if you want students to be on task, make sure they know what the task is and how to do it (For a more complete discussion of using checklists, please see “Check It Out! Using Checklists to Support Student Learning” by Kathleen Dudden Rowlands) Continue reading “Learning to Write Like a Reader: Teaching Students How to Edit and Do Peer-Review”

Putting it in Order: IELTS Writing Task 1 (Describing a Process)

Putting it in Order: IELTS Writing Task 1 (Describing a Process)

Teaching IELTS Academic Writing Task 1 can be challenging. At least with Task 2 candidates can give their opinion but when it comes to Task 1 it’s “Just the facts, ma’am.” Luckily for both students and teachers, lessons don’t have to be dry just because the material is.

I have used the lesson plan below several times to teach process writing but with a few tweaks it can be used to teach any genre of writing because, as
Miyamoto Musashi said,”if you know the Way broadly you will see it in everything.

Instructions

Before Class:

1. Make enough copies of the picture cards1

EAP, IELTS, Writing, Academic Writing
Image via IELTS Buddy

 
Continue reading “Putting it in Order: IELTS Writing Task 1 (Describing a Process)”

The World is Your Staffroom: Using the Internet for Professional Development Part 1 – Seminars and Webinars

If you work at a large institution, you have access to experienced teachers, in-house workshops, seminars and (possibly) travel assistance for presenting at, or possibly, attending conferences. Additionally, your line manager has probably assigned you a mentor who can answer the day-to-day questions like “What happens if I need a new CD?” as well as fill you in on the “culture of the school” or the “unwritten rules.”

Yep, if you work at a school with a growth mindset, you will always be reminded that a teacher is a learner first and foremost and, therefore, will always be challenged to improve not only their content knowledge but also their pedagogy. In this type of school, in-house professional development workshops will be mandatory and there will be competition to see who can generate the highest turn-out for workshops.

Edtech, Writing, Youtube, TOEFL iBT, IELTS, Classroom Management, PLN, CPD, PD, Professional Development, CELTA, DELTA, TESOL, EFL
Do you do things because that is how they have always been done?

But what if you don’t work in “that” school? Continue reading “The World is Your Staffroom: Using the Internet for Professional Development Part 1 – Seminars and Webinars”

Using Reading Races in EAP/Test Prep Classes

What’s the first image that comes to mind when you hear “Academic Reading?” Personally, I have flashbacks from my undergrad days lugging around the 1,000 page plus Norton Anthology of English Literature.

When I ask my students, they typically use words like “boring, business” and/or “scientific” to describe what they have to read in their IEP/Test-Prep classes.

That the material they have to read is uninteresting or even boring doesn’t really surprise me: honestly, who really wants to read academic texts?

EAP, IELTS, Reading, TOEFL IBT, TOEIC
Does it really have to be like this?

However, just because the material is boring, it doesn’t mean the class has to be. Instead of just telling students to read and answer a list of questions, how about we make it a little more interactive, social, competitive and (gasp) fun? Continue reading “Using Reading Races in EAP/Test Prep Classes”

Teaching Speaking for the TOEFL iBT with Technology

How do you prepare people to speak to a computer? Sure, our students are used to talking through a machine

CALL, EAP, Edtech, M-Learning, Monitoring, Speaking Skills, TOEFL iBT, Vocaroo, Google Drive,
Seriously, do any of your students not have a cell phone?

but how many of them are used to talking to a machine?

CALL, EAP, Edtech, M-Learning, Monitoring, Speaking Skills, TOEFL iBT, Vocaroo, Google Drive,
Hello? Is anyone listening?

Well, needless to say, the only way to get students used to speaking to a machine is to have them speak to a machine. But how? Continue reading “Teaching Speaking for the TOEFL iBT with Technology”