Ask students to describe their pictures to each other and try to find their other half.
Sunday, 26 February 2012
Ask students to describe their pictures to each other and try to find their other half.
Friday, 17 February 2012
Please not this is not quite finished yet. I need to add your comments from the session.
Why do students lack confidence?
So what can we do?
Listen to your students not your student’s mistakes.
4 reasons not to over-correct your students
· students will become demotivated and fear making a mistake
· communicative accuracy is as important as linguistic accuracy.
· being listened to and getting a message across is motivating
· errors can be learning steps, we don’t want to make students think making mistakes is wrong.
4 Reasons to correct your students.
- if mistakes are learning steps then error correction and coaching is important to help students see the problem and improve.
- students perceive the teacher’s job is to correct, they will feel like they are learning if they correct.
- students are passed the natural age for learning language so coaching and correction are important to help the students develop.
- it is a way to deal with language the students would like to be able to use but can’t. (emerging language)
Golden Rules of Error Correction
- Don’t correct all the time.
- Remember what is being said is as important as how.
- Echo rather than overtly correct.
- Don’t interrupt… go back to correct.
- If error causes breakdown in communication negotiate meaning don’t correct.
- Use errors to help you plan
- Think about the needs of your students, are they confident, can they handle correction.
This will make the students more confident so they speak more. So they will make more mistakes.
Helping our students make better mistakes.
My tips for helping students make better mistakes
- The more they speak … the more mistakes they make.
- Give time to prepare and plan.
- Encourage a friendly, supportive environment.
- Allow for lots of variety.
- Allow chance to repeat the activity.
- Favour pair and group work rather than whole class.
- Pick topics that will interest and won’t embarrass.
- Don’t make them do what they don’t want to.
Making Speaking Fun
Some principles for making speaking fun
- Make sure there is a task.
- Make sure the students know what they are doing.
- Give students freedom to express themselves.
- Make sure there is a reason to speak and to listen.
The students interview them and they have to answer 'in character'.
Let’s start with what students need to really understand a language point.
§ Contextualised language – language out of context can mean different things.
§ Focus on Meaning Use and Form – whether it is explained by the teacher or worked out by the students, the students need to know what language means, how to put it together and when to use it.
§ Focus on Pronunciation
§ Confidence – if we over-correct students they will never build the confidence to perform in the language.
There are different ways to present grammar, different orders to do things, we can work with the language in the book or the language the students produce themselves. No approach is wrong or right. It is what is right for you and your class.
Let’s reflect on some of the activities demonstrated in class.
Making Controlled Practice more engaging
Award points for correct answers to a gap-fill type exercise. But ask students to nominate one sentence they are sure of. If they get that sentence correct they get 2 points instead of one, but if they get it wrong they lose a point.
The team or student with the most points at the end wins.
This adds a competitive element to the activity.
Good for multiple choice gap fills. Have different areas of the room assigned to different alternatives.
Read out the questions and ask the students to move to the right place in the room. Award a point to every student who gets a correct answer (it is often a good idea to give them a piece of paper or a ball or something) ask the ones who got it wrong to sit down. (they sit out just the next question).
Repeat for question 2 for question three invite those who got question 1 wrong to join in.
The idea is that controlled practice is often quite sedentary. This gets the students up and moving and that movement can increase concentration levels.
Make it correct
This is useful when students have two options to choose from in a controlled practice exercise. Ask the students to do the exercise and get feedback as usual. The ask them to look at the sentences to again and try to change them to make the incorrect alternative correct.
This makes the students think about what makes a sentence correct and incorrect and makes things more memorable.
Ways to practice grammar
We have probably all played Pictionary with our students with vocabulary but how about with grammar too. Give the students a sentence and they have to draw it. Their colleagues have to guess the sentence and try to get it word perfect.
None of us
In order for speaking tasks to be real communication their needs to be a reason to communicate, to not only speak but to listen too. When doing speaking tasks it often seems that students are taking it in terms to deliver little monologues.
The simplest way to add a task is to create a ‘me too or me neither’ feeling. So students have to find things in common or differences with colleagues. The example we saw in the session was getting students in groups of four and ask them to find things that was true only about 1 person in that group, true about 2 people, true about 3 or true about all of them.
Tell students to
§ Go to Google – other search engines are available
§ Put a phrase in the search engine use “ “
e.g “used to work”
§ Hit search and see what results you get.
§ Ask students to make a note of the sentences and bring them in to the next lesson
For the vocabulary ideas I demonstrated and more click here
Hope this is useful and thought-provoking.
Friday, 3 February 2012
Songs about crime
Three keys to unlocking your Case Studies
In a recent article on case studies a teacher claimed that setting up case studies was similar to establishing chaos in the classroom. I can empathise with that, I was always hesitant about doing role plays and case studies in my class. I felt they were childish, or difficult to control.But it doesn’t have to be like that. In my experience a well set up and well executed cases study can be a motivating and stimulating lesson for both students and teachers alike.
Why use case studies?
Students learn best when they are actively involved in the learning process. Case Studies allow students to practice their reading, writing, listening and speaking skills in a realistic setting. There is the satisfaction of achieving an outcome and having used English to achieve that outcome.
In addition to that case studies are now widely used on business management courses, therefore our business English students are familiar with their formats and will see them as an essential part of the learning process.
So how do we get the benefits and avoid the chaos, well I believe there are three keys to doing successful case studies.
Key 1 is don’t expect to be the expert. In a good case study there is no particular ‘correct’ answer. The students should be given the freedom to come up with their own solutions or conclusions. As with all business English teaching the teacher should be the ‘language expert’ not the ‘business guru’, so let your students be the experts. (Business Result helps you with this by providing an expert view from the Cranfield School of Management for the students to compare their findings with.)
Key 2 is good classroom management. Don’t leave classroom management to chance. Before the lesson starts plan the groups and the seating arrangements, be willing to move the furniture and the students so they have room to discuss freely without being influenced or intimidated by other groups. However, make sure your plans are flexible so the case study will work even if some students do not attend that lesson.
Think about preparation time, letting students with the same roles working together first son they can feel confident they understand the content before they need to use it with their new partners.
Key 3 is the teacher’s response. In Key 1 I mentioned the teacher does not have to be an expert but that does not mean that the teacher should not be interested in the outcome of the discussions. One of the main principles of correcting students is respond to the content of the message as well as the accuracy. Students like to believe that they have something interesting to say and that they are not just mistake making machines.
So we can see that setting up case studies does not have to cause chaos, they can become a really useful part of the learning experience.