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.
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”
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.
|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”
How do you prepare people to speak to a computer? Sure, our students are used to talking through a machine
|Seriously, do any of your students not have a cell phone?
but how many of them are used to talking to a machine?
|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”
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.
I love using videos in the classroom: they are engaging, multi-sensory and provide quasi-authentic language. The question of course is what do you have students do while they’re watching the videos? Well, one tool I’ve come across recently is videonot.es.
Videonot.es is a web app that allows users to take notes of online videos (Youtube, Khan Academy, Coursera, Udacity) and then store and share their notes using either Evernote or Google Drive. Why would you want to use this site?
- Ease of collection – Instead of carrying paper copies, you just have students “share” their work with you (more on that later).
- Tracking the process – If you are having students write essays on videos, it is a lot harder for them to plagiarize if you are tracking their work from the very beginning.
- Collaboration – Students can share their notes and ideas with each other nearly instantly.
- Safe Keeping – Students “misplace” their paper notes all the time. Unless a student consciously deletes the file from their Google Drive account, their video notes aren’t going anywhere.
So how do you use Videonot.es? Continue reading “Videonot.es and Youtube: Watching videos with a purpose”
It seems that no matter how hard you try students just don’t ever seem to put in as much work outside of class as you would like them to; or, and this can be even more frustrating, students practice their language skills in highly ineffective ways (more on that in a future post). This fact leads to the following conundrum, how can you, as a language teacher, get students to work outside of class?
The answer is you can’t – people are going to do what they are going to do. However, what teachers can do is try to make the work they assign as relevant and (gasp!) fun as possible.
It is in this spirit that I suggest the following activity given to me by Anthony Teacher. I haven’t tried it yet but I have a good feeling about it. Continue reading “Google Drive and Quizlet.com: A match made in the clouds”