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”

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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”

Setting the Table for Success: The Relationship Between Classroom Arrangement and Classroom Management

During my CELTA, I did two writing skills lessons. The first was a disaster: every time I walked in front of a student they would cover what they were writing. Why didn’t I just walk behind them? Well, the room was arranged like this:

Horseshoe Arrangement

traditional arrangement, Writing, Warm-up Writing, u shaped desk arrangement, horseshoe desk arrangement, classroom management, feedback, monitoring, cluster arrangement, ELT, EFL, ESL, TEFL, ELL
Horseshoe Arrangement

so that option was off the table. Needless to say, if you conduct a writing class and can’t give any feedback the lesson is a failure. However, as Henry Ford said, “The only real mistake is the one from which we learn nothing.” Continue reading “Setting the Table for Success: The Relationship Between Classroom Arrangement and Classroom Management”

Using Picasa to Create Class Photo Sheets

Using Picasa to Create Class Photo Sheets

If you’ve checked out my CV, you’ll have noticed that I have taught in a lot of different settings. For example, I taught at a language school a few years back that had young learner classes on the weekends. The classes were 90 minutes long, met on either Saturday or Sunday, and had between 15-18 students in a class. Most of the teachers taught four classes a day so they’d end up having six contact hours and seeing between 60-72 kids. Not that big a deal, right?

Well the problem came in the middle of the semester when you had to do parent-teacher conferences. Now since the parents didn’t (usually) speak English and the teachers didn’t (usually) speak Vietnamese, there was always a local staff-member there to translate. Again, no big deal, right?
But what if you don’t know who the parent’s child is? That’s right, you’ve been teaching the same class for the past three months and you don’t have any clue who this parent, who is paying some exorbitant  amount of tuition, is referring to. How is that possible? Like I said before, you have 70 kids you see once a week on top of all the students you teach during the week. Needless to say, it’s easy to get confused.