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The Right for a Mistake

Even after almost nine years of teaching, I still feel somewhat frustrated when something goes wrong in the lesson.

I strongly believe that a good lesson should be informative, dynamic, engaging and very well-paced.

Unfortunately, not all of my lessons live up to my idea of a good lesson.

I feel guilty when my students are just doing the tasks I gave them without being actively involved in the task. For me this is the sign that I haven’t thought the task through thoroughly enough to make it appealing to my students, to make my students want to do it.

I love when my students are leaving the classroom brimming with enthusiasm and humming with heated discussions we started in the lesson. Whenever my students are satisfied with the way they spent their time in my lesson, I feel happy and satisfied too. I know I’ve done a good job.

But is it possible to make each and every lesson this satisfying and inspiring? What do I need to do for that?

Do I need to grow up to some certain level of professionalism to be able to design only successful lessons? Or do I need to teach myself to be more sensitive to my students’ mood? Or do I need to spend even more time getting ready for the lessons?

Or is this sort of perfection unattainable and unrealistic? Is it just a haunting dream of an inveterate perfectionist?

I know too well, mistakes are inevitable and necessary for growth. I have heard many times before people say that in each mistake there is a learning opportunity. I’m very well prepared for that. This is not actually what I’m worried about. All I just want to be sure about is whether it is possible to make fewer and fewer mistakes as you learn and develop?

Question Mark Black

 
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Posted by on March 20, 2014 in ELT Reflections

 

Tag Christmas gifts and bloggers!

This is the Tag-a-Blog Challenge going around the blogosphere! A fun chain of posts which include 11 random facts about yourself, answers to 11 questions posed by another blogger who tagged you and your 11 questions to other 11 bloggers you tag in your post.

Looks like a chain letter?! Yes, why not? It’s merry Christmas time – let’s have fun!

What are the rules? They are simple:

1. Introduce the person who tagged you.

2. Share 11 random facts about yourself.

3. Answer the 11 questions posed by the blogger who tagged you.

4. List other 11 bloggers.

5. Put your 11 questions to the bloggers you nominated.

Let me start by introducing the person who tagged me:

Sophia Mavridi

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Sophia is a senior EFL teacher and a Teacher Trainer.  She is a regular presenter at international EFL Conferences and is currently working on her Masters degree in EdTech & TESOL with the University of Manchester doing research on technology integration in educational contexts. Sophia is a dedicated teacher, a wonderful speaker, and a charming person.

11 random facts about myself:

1. Those who are connected with me via Facebook, know very well that astronomy is my life-long fascination. Yes, I’m deeply interested in everything concerning cosmos and space exploration. I’ve got a telescope and I adore making some amateur night sky observations.

2. My current favourite author is Arthur Clarke and I’m crazy about his book “The City and the Stars”. I’ve discovered this book only this year and have already re-read it five times! This is obviously a reading record for me!

3. My favourite drinks are tea, coffee and Coca-Cola. I know it’s not good for my health, but who said all our hobbies and habits should be healthy ones?

4. I like soft toys and whenever I see another cute fluffy thing in a shop, I can’t resist the temptation to adopt it.

5. As for computer games, there is only one I’m playing now on a regular basis, and this is the Minion Rush.

6. I like drawing. I think I’m good at it though I’ve never had any formal training. However, I haven’t drawn anything for a rather long time, which is definitely very sad.

7. I keep on struggling with learning French, but regardless of all my failures I don’t lose determination and optimism.

8. I’m re-starting my tango classes – I’ve already bought a nice dress for this purpose!

9. I’m very bad at money – once I have it, I spend it all.

10. When I was 16, I had my hair cut close to the skin. So I was bald for some time.

11. I’ve never had any pets, but I grow oaks on my window-sill.

12. (yes, number 12 – coz I like this number!) I like travelling by planes because I’m thrilled by the very moments of taking off and the touchdown.

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Answers to Sophia’s questions:

1. What was the conference you enjoyed the most in 2013?

There were two – the ELTforum in Bratislava (June) and Western TESOL Greece in Preveza (October)

2. Facebook or Twitter? Why?

Facebook has become an indispensible part of my life! It’s the place where I can connect with my friends from around the world whenever I switch on my computer. And also, Facebook is the source of interesting astronomical and scientific stuff.

3. Do you know any nickname(s) your students have given you?

As far as I know, I’ve never had any nicknames. Only once some of my students called me “Sashen’ka” which is a tender short name for Alexandra.

4. Do you prefer reading on screen or on paper?

No doubt, I prefer paper books, but I feel I’ve come to terms with electronic books thanks to my iPad.

5. What’s the best blogpost you have ever written?  

I’ve got two favourite posts: one on students’ feedback and the other on a puppet theatre and drama.

6. Are you a morning or a night person?

I haven’t decided yet. But my life experience tells me I’m a late morning person.

7. Name 3-5 digital tools/apps that you use with your classes on a regular basis.

Old-fashioned as it may seem, but I haven’t used any on a regular basis. But I’m not inveterate “teach-as-our-grandfathers-taught” sort of a teacher and I’m open for opportunities and new trends. So, when I find an app that will perfectly suit my teaching, I think I’ll be using it quite regularly.

8. What was the most unusual food you have ever eaten? What was it like?

So far, it’s been a fried octopus. I tried it for the first (and so far the only) time in Preveza, Greece. It was unforgettably delicious!

9. Have you ever lived in another country other than the one you live now? Where was it?

The longest time I’ve spend living abroad was only three summer month in 2007. I lived in London, UK.

10. Imagine you won a scholarship to attend an ideal conference anywhere in the world. Where would that be?

In absolutely any place which I can have a direct flight to.

11. What’s your biggest pet peeve?

Loud noises and music, except for discos and concerts where loud music is a must.

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And now the 11 bloggers I’m sending my questions to (Actually, there are only 8):

Aphro Gkiouris:  http://aphrogranger.wordpress.com/
Barbara Bujtas: https://www.facebook.com/barbibu
Vladimira Chalyova: http://vladimiramichalkova.edublogs.org/
Barry Jameson: http://barryjameson.wordpress.com/
Chiew Pang: http://iasku.wordpress.com/me/
Joel Josephson: http://theuneducatededucator.edublogs.org/
Mark Andrews: http://markandrews.edublogs.org/
Tamas Lorincz: http://tamasonline.com/

My 11 questions to other bloggers:

1. What is a thing or activity that you have never done in your life before but which you would like to try out?

2. If you have attended an ELT conference or a webinar this year, which talk or workshop was the most memorable? Why?

3. What are the three things or skills you have learnt this year?

4. What would you be doing if money wasn’t an issue?

5. What is your latest fad?

6. What can make you freeze in admiration?

7. What are your favourite songs of 2013?

8. What are you thankful for?

9. What books have you read in 2013 which you would recommend?

10. What will you remember the year of 2013 for?

11. If you could choose, where would you live? Why?

A big thank you to Sophia Mavridi for tagging me! It’s been a really fun Christmas flash-blog-mob! 🙂

 
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Posted by on December 22, 2013 in Miscellaneous

 

Lessons Learnt

When after my first ever talk in Bratislava at ELTforum in June, 2013, I was offered an idea of giving a plenary speech some time later, my first reaction was a mixed one: I was surprised, I was pleased, I was scared, I was excited and, at the same time, I felt very humble. But I could never imagine that I would give a plenary this soon, just a couple of months later, in Preveza.

So, up till now, I have given two speeches: a so-called concurrent talk and a plenary talk. Not so many, but enough to draw some conclusions. And here, in this post, I would like to share the lessons I have learnt from my experience as a presenter.

For some, there isn’t much difference between a concurrent talk and a plenary because in both cases you might find yourself talking to a large audience (this was my case in Bratislava) and/or your talk might be recorded. Thus, it may look like it doesn’t matter what you call your presentation – a concurrent talk or a plenary – its format might appear pretty much the same.

However, for me, there is one slight difference between these two types of speeches, a minor difference of a great importance. It is…

the availability of choice

The people who have come to your concurrent talk have chosen to listen to you, thus, they are more likely to be interested in what you have to say. But when people come to a plenary, they don’t have much choice, they more or less have to listen to your talk regardless of whether it seems relevant to them or not. (Surely, those who don’t want to go still have a choice to spend this time in a cafeteria.)

This seemingly small difference leads to substantial consequences and can greatly influence the content and form of delivery of the speech:

  • While a concurrent talk may address the needs and interests of a specific target audience, such as Business English teachers or teachers of English to young learners, to name the few,
  • a plenary talk’s content and format should appeal to people with various interests and perceptual styles.

So, it’s not surprising that a plenary speech presents the biggest challenge.  I’ve accepted it. Whether I succeeded or not – I don’t know, this is what should be decided by people who listened to me. But no matter what the outcome was, here is what I have learnt about dos and don’ts of a plenary speech.

A BIG NO in a plenary speech

A plenary should never ever look like a report to your boss on what you have accomplished.

I have got some suspicions that my plenary talk in Preveza nearly turned into a sort of report but thanks to a lucky chance that I was asked to stop 20 minutes earlier than planned, I avoided this trap.

A BIG YES in a plenary speech

A plenary should always be informative, communicative and entertaining.

To quote from Max Atkinson (link): “Speeches and presentations have a tremendous capacity for boring audiences out of their minds, and […] holding the attention of the audience is a major challenge for speakers.” So, the longer your talk is, the more difficult it is to keep your audience with you. Considering the fact that most plenary talks last for about 60 minutes, the speech should be a balanced mixture of information, communication and entertainment. The proportion in which you mix these three ingredients depends on many factors such as the topic, the settings, the purpose of the talk, the personal presentation style of the speaker etc. And this is the presenter who decides how to combine all three in his/her speech.

The point I would like to make in connection with this “rule of three ingredients” is that communication with the audience and the delivery of speech should be smooth and flawless. And both should be well thought-through and well rehearsed.

Just recently I picked up a useful tip on how to practice your speech so that, on the one hand, it was well-rehearsed and, on the other, it looked natural and was flexible enough to be adjusted to any unexpected situation that may arise during a presentation.

According to Jezra Kaye (link), most speakers practice by starting reading or delivering their speech at the beginning and plowing through the speech up to the end. This “plowing throw” might not only stiffen your delivery of speech but also make it harder for your audience to follow you and stay tuned in throughout your talk. To make things worse, the practice of rehearsing from the beginning to the end may also make you unprepared for various unexpected disruptions and changes when you are actually delivering your speech. Jezra Kaye suggests using a different approach. She says: “You’ll handle all of these less-than-ideal scenarios better if you’ve practiced your speech flexibly, section by section.” (link) She also recommends that you choose a random section of your speech and practiced it leaving other sections for other days. As your confidence grows, you may start practicing several sections together. Also, you can try rehearsing your talk backwards: from the last section back to the first one.

This way of practicing may help you “understand your speech as a series of sections, each with its own rhythm and flavor” and also “respond flexibly if you have to adjust or regroup [the sections] while presenting.” (Jezra Kaye)

I find this technique really helpful because if you treat your speech as a series of logically connected chunks you can develop a better command of your material, become more confident and less dependent on your prompts (such as slides, notes, etc), and as the result, you can focus more on the way you communicate with the audience. As Ingmar Bergman brilliantly put it, “Only he who is well prepared has any opportunity to improvise.”

Improvisation

The last thing I want to say in connection with delivery of a plenary speech, and in fact, any speech or presentation, is that real things around you may become real obstacles! A stage you are standing on may make you look too authoritative and distant which can disrupt your communication with your audience. A table between you and your listeners might turn into a fence. The projector may be positioned in a way that whenever you want to move around the stage you screen off the slides. And so on and so forth. These minor nuisances may haunt you like a mosquito at night, making you feel uncomfortable and diverting your attention from communication with your audience.

To sum up what has been said above, I just want to mention here what I repeatedly remind of to my students:

Any speech, talk or a presentation is just another type of human communication

And like a chat with your best friends, your presentation, be it a concurrent talk or a plenary, should be meaningful, joyful and exciting for both, you and your listeners. This simple truth should not be forgotten.

 
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Posted by on November 3, 2013 in Presentation Skills

 

Oh, those storytellers!

When teaching kids on the one-to-one basis, discipline sometimes presents a rather big issue.

On the one hand, a teacher has to attend to the kid’s parents’ wishes on what material should be taught to their kid.

On the other hand, a teacher has to make the lessons interesting to the kid and not to his/her parents.

To make things even more complicated, teachers have to have the kid stay on the task but also to make regular breaks during a lesson so that the kid could have some rest.

Needless to say, it’s really hard to strike the balance.

I once gave 2-hour lessons twice a week to a 10-year-old girl. The two hours of extra study in the late afternoon after her school classes made it really hard for her (and me too) to focus on tasks. However, the girl was quite dutiful, energetic and cheerful, and we did a lot in our lessons. But (there are always some “buts”) at the same time she was extremely talkative.

She always had lots of stories to tell me. Whatever we did in class, she would come up with a new story that somehow was connected to the task at hand.

Over some time I realized that something must be done about this stream of stories, because they started to present a really big distraction. Why? Because we not only spent valuable time on the stories, but also because the girl used to tell them in her mother tongue. So no English learning occurred.

And this is what I came up with – STORY CARDS!

I made four cards of pink cardboard.

Pink_Story_Cards

So at the beginning of each lesson, my student was reminded that she had only four story cards to use during the lesson. Whenever she wanted to tell me something in Russian, she had to ask for a Story Card. At the rest of the time, she had to speak English. However, she was never restricted on the number of stories. Yes, she could tell me only four stories in Russian, but she could tell me as many stories in English as she wanted! And she did! She started telling me stories in English. So by the end of the lesson, we sometimes had some unused Story Cards!

To make this activity even more attractive to your students, you can personalize the Story Cards by letting your students draw or write anything on the cards. They can also put some stickers or any other decorations they want.

Decorated_Story_Cards

So all you need is a colourful cardboard, a pair of scissors, colourful crayons, stickers and whatever decoration you or your student can possibly think of!

I hope you liked the idea of Story Cards!

So next time you have a kid who loves telling stories, try using Story Cards with them to gently encourage them to try to tell their stories in English.

 
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Posted by on September 1, 2013 in Kids

 

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E-merging Forum-3 in Moscow: reflections

I love ELT conferences! For many reasons, in fact. One of them is that all ELT events are so different, and you never know what exactly to expect from them: everything goes as a surprise.

EMF3

However, this idea had never occurred to me before E-merging Forum-3 (EMF-3) this year.

Partly, due to the resounding success of the E-merging Forum-2 last year, many attendees were rather disappointed with this year’s forum. Some delegates were upset with the speakers, some with the venue, some with the catering and others with all of the above things all together. As for me, I should admit that EMF-2 was more successfully orchestrated than EMF-3. But I also believe that it’s hard to live up to the ever-growing expectations of participants and keep up with the really high standard set up by the previous forum. I’m convinced that the organizers of the event, the British Council team in Moscow, were trying to do their best and that next year they will take into consideration the merits and setbacks of EMF-3 and will definitely surprise us all with the outstanding organization of E-merging Forum-4.

Yet there was another thought that came to my mind during the EMF-3: the outcome of a conference depends not only on what you take from the event but, to a large extent, on what you bring to it. If you go to a conference with an open mind and heart and you are ready not only to take but to give and share, you’re most likely to be rewarded with positive emotions and fruitful ideas. So, when a conference doesn’t meet your high expectations, this is you who can turn a seemingly upsetting situation into your benefit: just look around and see how many new people are around you – this is your chance to connect and discover. The main treasure of all the conferences are the people and ideas they bring.

In fact, the distinctive feature of EMF-3 was that this year saw hundreds of teachers from all over Russia and some other countries as well who were eager to socialize, share and learn from each other. And that was a really big thing about the Forum which provided the space and unique chance for teachers to meet.

So, all conferences differ, but what unites them all is the chance they give for teachers to come together and enjoy each other’s company, share ideas and savour the feeling of community.

Now, when EMF-3 is over, I just can’t wait E-merging Forum-4! I can’t wait to see here in Moscow the familiar and dear faces from my PLN. Something is telling me that next year’s forum is going to be really special. And it will be, if you all find time to come!

I’m looking forward to meeting you all in Moscow in March, 2014!

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Posted by on March 9, 2013 in ELT Conferences

 

Cold Day – Warm Smiles: Lindsay Clandfield in Moscow

A couple of weeks ago, Lindsay Clandfield visited Moscow, Russia, with two presentations as part of Macmillan Conference at People’s Friendship University of Russia.

The first presentation Let’s wise up, not dumb down was mainly devoted to promoting the new Andvanced level of Global coursebook. However the key idea of the talk was that modern coursebooks should provide an interesting and motivating content along with developing critical thinking in learners. As an introduction and, in fact, a leading idea to his presentation, Lindsay quoted a Japanes physicist, Sumio Iijima who said that “True education means forstering the ability to be interested in something.”

Here you can find a PDF file with Lindsay’s presentation.

In his second presentation that day, Lindsay spoke about how to connect ideas in advanced level writing. And if we take the presentation title Making the link metaphorically, it’ll become clear that the conferences like this are more than just about promoting coursebooks and sharing latest teaching techniques but are also about establishing the link between educators around the world.

This is, in fact, what Lindsay Clandfield actually did on that frosty winter day: he not only shared his knowledge and expertise with us but also gave us his shining smile that warmed our hearts and reminded us once again that whereever we went we’ll find like-minded teachers and friends in every corner of the world. And this is how the link is made.

At the end of the conference I was lucky to interview Lindsay and ask him some questions concerning  the audience, coursebooks and Lindsay’s professional plans for the near future. Below you can watch the interview and read the transcript if you find the sound too quiet.

I’m very grateful to Lindsay for finding time to aswer my questions, to Macmillan team for bringing Lindsay to Moscow and other Russian cities, and to Anna Loseva for her enormous help in recording the video.

Interview with Lindsay Clandfield

[Transcript]

L – Lindsay Clandfield

A – Alexandra Chistyakova

A: Hello Lindsay!
L: Hello!
A: I’d like to welcome you to Moscow, Russia. We’re always glad to see you here.
L: Thank you. Very good.
A: My first question to you: how is Russian audience different from audience in other countries?
L: I don’t think it’s different, although, I would say, what I enjoy about Russian teachers, is that they are often not afraid to voice opinions although they are very respectful in the audience. When they want to say something they will say it, and it sounds very refreshing. But otherwise, my experience here has been very respectful audiences, nice teachers. They seem very professional.
A: Oh, thank you. Today you presented the new Advanced level of the Global course book by Macmillan. And it seems to comprise the latest and best techniques and achievements in teaching methodology. So, it looks very impressive. Thank you so much for your hard work!
L: Thank you. Thank you for the nice words.
A: My next question is: what is your opinion on course books? You know this ongoing discussion for and against course books. What do you think?
L: I think the discussion for and against course books is very good for our profession because it makes us think of what we do. I, personally, don’t have a problem with course books. And I think, where possible, it’s a matter of a teacher’s preference. Unfortunately for many teachers, they don’t have a choice whether or not to use course books. My feeling is course books might be very helpful in providing structure and a sense of progression throughout a course. And that even when using course books, you can still allow time for students to meaningful interaction between the students and between the students and the teachers. So I don’t necessarily have a problem with that. I think any problems that have been with course books have been with course books that are not so good as opposed to course books that I think are better. I use a lot of my competitors’ course books. I don’t always use my own. I use my competitors’ course books. I like some better than others. And that’s where the problem lies: not in the fact it’s a book itself, it’s more an execution of how things are different than what teachers are used to. So I think course books are here to stay. I think it’s worth trying to always improve on what we have to allow more voices, different stuff to happen within course books. Course books represent a tangible growth of our methodology, so you can look back on course books and see where we are in methodology, historically, and not make the same mistakes. That’s why they are useful also from a wider perspective. But I don’t think that a teacher who doesn’t teach with a course book is teaching any better or worse than one who does: it depends on an individual teacher and how they interact with their students.
A: Ok. So how do you feel when the work on the new level of Global is done? What are your feelings and emotions?
L: Immensely relieved! And usually when the work like this is finished that’s when the promotion and touring starts. So one kind of work stops and another kind of work begins. But I’m very pleased and proud of the course series as a whole. So generally satisfied.
A: Oh, great! And What’s on your professional to-do list now?
L: My professional to-do list … It seems you’ve finished a series of course they start talking about, if it’s doing well, they start a new version of this series. So professional to-do list is to start thinking about an updated version or a new version of Global, especially with technology stuff. On my professional to-do list, I’m also still working on The Round and trying to get new authors, new projects into that publishing project. And maybe a couple of other books for teachers which I’m thinking of doing myself including one on grammar for teachers. That’s keeping me busy, keeping me out of trouble.
A: Thank you very much, Lindsay, for coming! It’s been a pleasure to see you here in Moscow. Thank you very much.
L: Thank you very much! And thank you for iTDi for interviewing me!
A: Thank you!
 
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Posted by on February 18, 2013 in ELT Conferences

 

The Driving Force of Personalization*

If you were invited to an evening party, which outfit would you choose: a tailored dress individually sewn for you for this particular occasion, or a dress which you bought in a shop and which might be worn by someone else at the party? I’m sure there is no second opinion about it. The same goes for other things in life, language learning including.

No doubt, we do need standards that structure our life and against which we could measure our success and growth, or whatever. However, we are all unique and perceive and react to the world in a different ways. We process and analyze information differently. That’s why standardization in education bears little fruit. So it’s not surprising that personalization and customization have become the burning issue in modern ELT discussions. The necessity of personalized learning is agreed upon by the majority of educators around the world. This means that within existing and preferably revised from time to time educational standards, teachers should strive to achieve personalization as much as possible, i.e. to make teaching meet the expectations and interests of learners.

Regardless of the seeming drawbacks of personalization such as the lack of general perspective; unclear time span of a course; blurred syllabus and lesson structures; easily lost purpose of learning and an obscure outcome; the overdependence on a particular teacher’s techniques and preferences; and, more importantly, the avalanche of online and paper resources, customization of the learning process has a lot of strong points.

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Foremost, personalization addresses learners’ unique needs and expectations. Students are working on their own mistakes and weak points; they study and practice the vocabulary and functional language they need for achieving their own personal or professional goals; they read about and discuss the topics relevant to them. Moreover, learners have the opportunity to work in the way that is most appropriate and convenient to them. For example, some learners need more of grammar drills while others find drills stultifying and prefer more dynamic and creative tasks.

With the advent of technology and its integration into the classroom, personalization has become even more easily achieved. Social networking systems, podcasts, wikis, bogs, encyclopedias, online dictionaries, webinars, online English courses, various applications, to name but the few, can satisfy the most capricious and picky learners. And though the shocking number of online resources can at first intimidate a learner, this frustration can be overcome with the attentive guidance of a teacher who will give expert advice to the learner on how to steer through online ocean and find the treasure islands.

Unfortunately, this hi-tech paradise is not accessible to the majority of English learners around the globe. I regret to say that Russia is not an exception. In addition to the use of mainly out-dated and tedious course books, there is almost no personalization of the learning process neither at schools, colleges, universities nor even at language courses. But if some attempts of personalizing lessons do occur, it is solely the initiative of some individual teachers.

So here rises the question: “How can teachers personalize learning in the low-tech environments?”

Below I am going to list some solutions to the above question. These things or techniques are no way new to ELT but we just sometimes need to be reminded of some old good but long-forgotten or taken for granted techniques which can serve us a good service in solving new problems.

The first and foremost thing to do at the very beginning of a course is to carry out a rigorous needs analysis and overall general English test. It will also be beneficial to identify students’ learning styles and teaching methods they are used to. I find it very fruitful to question students about their course expectations and then hold a group discussion on this topic. The finishing touch to getting to know your students is to conduct some psychological tests to reveal what sort of personalities your students have and what kind of people you will have to deal with later.

Secondly, make sure you try out various types of activities ranging from old-fashioned dictations to modern Web 2.0 tools, if, of course, it is possible in your teaching environment. In this way you will enlarge students’ arsenal of learning techniques and will address expectations of the majority of your students. Moreover, if your students find some types of activities most useful and appropriate to them – congratulations! – you have hit the bull’s-eye. In this case, try to include these activities as much as possible in your lesson plans. This is exactly what happened to me when I was teaching an elementary group of adults at a language school. As it is always the case at most language schools, I was under pressure to cover the whole course book by deadline. So we were mainly doing the textbook exercises during our lessons with the very few extra materials of mine. Somewhere at the end of the course book there was a listening dictation exercise: students had to listen to the whole sentences and then write them down. To my surprise, all the students in the group were excited about the task and were eager to do more exercises of this kind. Unfortunately, it was almost the end of our course and we never did such exercises again. But this case taught me a good lesson: teachers are not necessarily need to run headlong after ever-growing number of countless hi-tech educational tools but rather creatively exploit some traditional yet useful techniques. The case with my elementary group also showed me that a teacher should always be mindful of their students’ preferences and needs. This is how personalization can be achieved no matter whether you have to cover a course book in a limited time period or working one-to-one, whether your classroom is hi- or low-tech.

Thirdly, there is no better tool to personalize learning than to give floor to the students, let them decide on the contents of the lessons, choose the activities they like the most, make them active participants of their own learning. This way works both for group and individual teaching.

It is no secret that to do all these is highly time- and energy-consuming. From a teacher, it requires good people and observational skills, the ability to reflect and analyze. Teachers should always be tuned in, flexible and responsive to changes in their classroom. They should be able to single out students’ linguistic problems and address them accordingly. Finally, there is one more thing, the crucial one, that makes personalization possible in any learning environment. This is a teacher’s personality: the willingness to help and surpr@ise (© Vladimira Chalyova) your students, open-mindedness, patience, love for their profession, eagerness to try out new techniques and experiment with the old ones, and a strong feeling of responsibility.

To sum up, it is teachers’ personality that personalizes learning.

 

 

*The article first appeared at http://tesolgreece.blogspot.gr/2013/01/the-driving-force-of-personalization-by.html

You can find other interesting articles on personalised learning at http://tesolgreece.blogspot.gr/p/blog-challenge.html

 

 

 
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Posted by on January 25, 2013 in General