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…

7 billion: Are you typical? (Integrating video with all four skills)

In my talk about using video in the classroom I mention the importance of combining images with language (see dual coding theory) and also integrating video with language teaching. In the actual presentation for this, I use a number of practical activities for classroom use to illustrate my point. Here’s one activity that seems really popular to use with students because it integrates all four skills (reading, writing, listening,and speaking). The video is free to use online from the National Geographic website (or you’ll also find it on You Tube). It’s about the most typical person on the planet basedon…

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….

Do you still use loop input?

The other day in a conversation with two trainers, I heard two questions. From the first: “Do we still use loop input these days?” and from the second trainer(2) “What is loop input?” I first learned about ‘Loop Input’ in an excellent training session with Tessa Woodward and she wrote a book called Loop Input (Pilgrims 1988). It’s now out of print though I bought a copy from the woman herself so I guess she has a few left for sale in her garage if you want one. You can also read an article by her here. Anyway, in answer to…