Can you describe how to tie shoelaces? Watch the cartoon and start describing! Write or speak. A test for the natives too!
Okay, so how many of you teaching English are using a text from a major
publisher? And how many of you seriously think that you, let alone your students are particularly enjoying the topics under the microscope? I mean, how does someone sitting in a dusty office in the middle of no-where decide what our students are going to learn and talk about. A few years back, I was teaching the topic of spanking to a group of Saudi students. Of course, this had nothing to do with their life experience, and the topic went down like a lead balloon! It
didn’t make for much interesting conversation.
The other day, I started a discussion with my students about the latest smart phones. I mentioned the iphone, Samsung Galaxy, the HTC desire, the latest Blackberry Bold and a few other ‘in-phones’.
The students ‘pounced’ on the chance to talk about their phones memory size, whether Android beat IOS, and the various functionalities of the phones concerned. It goes without saying, that many of us are also ‘into’ these kinds of ‘in-things’. It was an opportunity to justify positions for choosing particular phones, and of course the resulting argumentation resulted in a lot of ‘talk’ – which of course was the desired outcome.
I find without reservation that most book publishers are way behind on interesting content. At times it feels like we’re stuck within a straight jacket that just does not give us the freedom to be creative. You have to focus on the content so that students perform well on the ‘achievement exam’.
The discussion on smart phones, fitted into the broad categories of technology, communication, computers etc. etc. Themes which are sometimes separated or combined as main topics within books.
My proposal is that within a teaching context, a collection of main ideas or topics should be decided by the teachers, and then teachers left to build whatever content they want around it – subject to the proficiency level of their students. Yes, build the content ourselves. We’re teachers, we’re meant to be
Collect the content that’s interesting to both sides (teacher and student) and start learning using more interesting content.
Okay, now I can hear many of you saying that if you have ten teachers, producing or acquiring their own content, doing their own thing, in their own class we’re going to end up with a bit of a ‘biryani’ or should I say ‘mix-up’.
If we take the example of travelling, whether you discuss the Bahamas, having a good time at a beach front, a trip to Tokyo or even Dhaka in Bangladesh, the
vocabulary used is going to be quite similar. The lexis students use will be very close.
All content areas have similar core vocabulary. No matter what you talk, read, write or listen about, the same words will be repeated across the classes, again and again.
The main topic or area acts as the starting point for creating content. The specifics of the content are in the teachers and students hands.
To summarise, teachers should have the freedom to choose whatever content they deem appropriate, look for content that is relevant and useful for students, taking into account student experience in their lives, and importantly items which are interesting and current.
Hi! Although many of us may eat with a knife, a spoon or a fork, there are a lot of people who eat using their hands.
Before you start thinking that it is rather disgusting licking your fingers after the end of a meal, research indicates that licking fingers helps the digestive process because it results in the release of appropriate fluids to help break down the food further. I usually eat with utensils such as a knife and fork, and sometimes use my hands when eating pizza.
However, when in the mood, I’ll eat rice with my hands. Usually at home but even sometimes at weddings in Saudi Arabia. When in the UK (England) and in a public place, I revert to knife and fork. To be honest though, there is nothing like getting your hands dirty with some rice and lentils.
How do people eat in your culture? Please add a comment below.
Step 1: Play the video and just listen to it. Make notes if you want.
Step 2: Try to answer the questions below.
Step 3: If you can’t remember everything, play the video again
Step 4: Try to answer the questions again.
Step 5: Now think about the video. Did you like it? Was it boring or exciting? Was it clear?
What three things do you need to write a gadget?
How many steps are there?
Can you remember two steps?
How much does the average family spend on gadgets a year?
After the video has finished:
Write a few questions about the video to ask your classmates/friends/colleagues
What does tech-savvy mean? Are you tech-savvy? Discuss with your classmates/friends/colleagues
Watch, Listen, Make notes, Read your notes, re-write your notes, write some questions about the video to ask others, Speak about the video. What were the things that you remember. Were there any new words you learnt?
Students, watch/see, listen, write, read and speak (see below)
[howcast url=’http://www.howcast.com/videos/2997-How-To-Never-Lose-Your-Luggage’ height=’240′ width=’360′]
There are no published materials out there that easily combine video and use this as a starting point for teaching language.
Here’s an idea: (1) Students watch/listen to the video, (2) They make notes of what they hear (listen to), (3) They then write down some questions relating to their notes, (4) They ask their classmates or instructor questions about the video. So, the process is as follows: Watch/see, listen, make notes, write questions based on information collected, read out questions and then speak.