IATEFL Hungary: BonnieTsai on unlocking inspiration in the classroom

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IATEFL Hungary: BonnieTsai on unlocking inspiration in the classroom - hancockmcdonald.com/blog/iatefl-hungary-bonnietsai-unlocking-inspiration-classroom

Bonnie began her presentation by comparing teaching to following a path in a forest – the path isn’t straight, there lots of dead ends and decisions to be made about which way to go. After that rather depressing thought, it was time to warm up (the session was straight after lunch, after all) so Bonnie got us all to be angry apes and then terrifying tigers to muster up the energy we needed to fall in love with teaching again.  

The keys to this are:

  • using more engaging materials and ensuring that we enter into the world of our learners, rather than expecting them to enter our world;
  • thinking about our classroom layout and designing it in such a way that it’s a place that students want to come to. We should use the walls to make our students’ personalities visible;
  • exploiting lesson pacing so that students think more quickly and creatively, and are involved as much as possible in the lesson event, for example, by giving out papers and writing on the board;
  • dealing effectively with feedback by being careful with body language (given that 90% of feedback is non-verbal), and using a feedback ladder with rungs (or criteria) based on clarity, value, concerns and suggestions.

Bonnie then asked us to brainstorm what a good teacher makes. Her comments were that a good teacher should make students glad that it’s Monday, and that our challenge isn’t to dwell on what’s wrong, but what we can do to make it better. She then showed us a clip of Taylor Mali talking about ‘What Teachers Make’ http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RxsOVK4syxU

Change is in our hands, and we left the plenary feeling inspired to change one thing in our teaching lives!

 

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