A five-minute history of script writing in ELT materials

This post is adapted and abridged from the introductory chapter of my ebook ‘How to write audio and video scripts.’ (See end of post for details). So you think writing dialogues and scripts for ELT is new? It’s easy to think that the scripts we use as teachers or write as materials writers are a new phenomenon. Because audio and video is delivered using modern technology (sound files, podcasts, downloads etc) we tend to associate ELT script writing with the recent world of ELT. But in fact scripts and especially dialogues feature in some of the very earliest materials written for language…

Eye on the classroom 5: Post-observation feedback

This is the fifth and final post in a series that originally appear in English Teaching Professional and is reposted here with the permission of Pavilion Publishing. The previous posts in this series about classroom observation have all been about why and how we can observe the classroom. So it seems fitting that this final post looks at how feedback after the observation is approached. Watch what you say   For many observations, feedback afterwards is not necessarily planned. For example, a trainee teacher may be asked to observe a lesson and have little or no further contact with the more experienced teacher. However,…

Eye on the classroom 4: lesson snapshots

A longer version of this post originally appeared in English Teaching Professional, issue 60, January 2009. It is reprinted here with the permission of Pavilion Publishing. As observers, our tendency is to observe and then immediately try to put into words our interpretation of what is happening. Then, when we meet the teacher afterwards to give feedback, we report back on what we’ve written and probably add even more interpretation to the events. The advantage of simply drawing and sketching what you can see is that you are observing rather than interpreting. At different stages of the lesson, you can…

Eye on the classroom 3: Observation by checklist

I originally wrote a version of this article for English Teaching Professional, Issue 59 in November 2008. It is reprinted here with permission from Pavilion Publishing. Fulfilling criteria Anyone who has taken a formal teaching qualification with assessed teaching practice will recall the stress of having an assessor at the back of the class, ticking and scoring a set of criteria. Alternatively, you might have had visits from your director of studies to check up on how your lessons are going. They will probably have had a form with a set of criteria that might have looked something like this:…

Eye on the classroom 2: Focussed classroom observations using graphs

This post is a version of an article I originally wrote for English Teaching professional magazine in Issue 58, September 2008 and is reprinted with permission of Pavilion Publishing. We often assume that a classroom observation should involve watching and noting down comments on everything that happens. In fact, an observation is often more valuable when the focus is on only one aspect of the lesson. This means that any feedback you give to the teacher will be very precise and much clearer. It also means that you can observe for an area that you personally want to develop in…

Eye on the classroom 1: Peer Observation

Between 2008-2009 I wrote a series of six articles for English Teaching Professional on the topic of classroom observations. It was called ‘Eye on the classroom’. So with permission of English Teaching Professional and Pavilion Publishing to reprint the articles here, I’ll post all six in the next few days. Note that in places they might not appear in their full entirety as the originals came with photocopiable pro-forma. However, if you are a subscriber to English Teaching Professional you can download the original as a pdf. Eye on the classroom 1: Peer Observation Many language schools and their teachers…

The Eclectic Teacher

Here’s an idea from a training input session entitled ‘The eclectic teacher’. I first used it on a Diploma course and other trainers have commented how useful it (or the idea behind it) has been. Note that the participants will need to have some familiarity with different approaches and methods in ELT history 1 Give the handout below to each person and ask them to tick any of activities 1–30 that they have used in their lessons. 2 They compare and explain their answers in groups. 3 Ask them to match an approach or method to each of the 30 activities….