The Lies of the Lesson Observation Process

1. “This is to help you become a better teacher” While I don’t deny that a well-handled observation can help a teacher to improve, is this really the primary purpose of most observations? In my experience of being observed, most of the time the process ended with a grade or report which was briefly shown to me and then went up into the higher echelons … Continue reading The Lies of the Lesson Observation Process

Five ‘dark horse’ topics to get students talking

a dark horse (n) a candidate or competitor about whom little is known but who unexpectedly wins or succeeds – Google Not all interesting dinner-table discussions translate to the English classroom. Controversial subjects like politics and romance might work brilliantly with some students, but won’t with others. A lot of ‘safe’, worthy themes – the environment, healthy eating – are a bit overused in textbooks. … Continue reading Five ‘dark horse’ topics to get students talking

Why should(n’t) we teach British culture?

I’ve recently been producing a series of lessons on various aspects of life and culture in the UK. While writing these, I’ve also been thinking about the teaching of British culture and I have to admit I don’t feel completely comfy with it. I wouldn’t go so far as to say it’s necessarily imperialistic; the lessons I’m writing are in response to students and particularly … Continue reading Why should(n’t) we teach British culture?

Why don’t my students know what they want to do in class, and what can I do about it?

I remember it well, as it was the opening of my first lesson as a CELTA-qualified teacher. The student was a manager in a public utility company. I walked in, introduced myself, started on the lesson the Director of Studies had suggested. The student’s words exploded on the desk between us: ‘I hate this topic’. A great start! The rest of the lesson hasn’t stuck … Continue reading Why don’t my students know what they want to do in class, and what can I do about it?