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
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
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?
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?
The rest of this post is something I’ve been mulling for some time but this will be my first time putting it into words. Whether it passes the test of being transmitted from whirling synapses to lexical squiggles on a flat, rational surface we shall have to see. You have my insincerest apologies and profoundest excuses for anything here which doesn’t make sense.
I wonder if you’ve ever noticed – I’m sure you have – how most of the textbooks and syllabi that English teacher use in class have a way of taking a particular topic as a theme, and arranging assorted nuggets of grammar, vocabulary and often pronunciation and skills work around the chosen topic. For example, let’s look at a familiar lesson from New English File Intermediate. Continue reading “English in 3 dimensions: a concept”