Alan began by setting up a model of professional discourses in ELT. On a vertical axis, we have academic at the top and the classroom at the bottom. On a horizontal axis, we have native speaker perspectives on the left and non-native speaker perspectives on the right.
Once again, the TESOL-SPAIN Annual National Convention has served to enlighten and entertain, this year at the stunning location of the University of Seville. The theme, Teaching with Technology and the Human Touch, provided a focussed and informative event for all, with multiple opportunities to refresh, update, and expand our professional repertoires in an ever-changing world.
Tom’s enthusiasm for using personal stories and anecdotes (a limitless resource) has grown out of his own classroom experiences over the years. In this presentation, he illustrates various storytelling activities and draws on the work of Merrill Swain (Output Hypothesis) to link storytelling practice to Second Language Acquisition theory.
Nichola began her presentation by getting us to respond to different questions about an Antonio Lopez Madrid painting to illustrate the difference between knowledge-based questions and those which encourage critical-thinking skills at different levels.
Graham began with the premise, based on the work of Andrei Aleinkov (1989), that creative pedagogy leads to motivation and promotes lifelong learning. It leads to fluency of idea generation, flexibility, originality and elaboration (building new ideas on what is already known).
Stephanie began by pointing out why video adverts are a fabulous resource in the ELT classroom: they're short; adaptable to different levels; authentic; relevant to most student's worlds; offer visual support; context rooted and catchy and motivating by design. A compelling list of attributes.
Mariela began this practical workshop by pointing out a central paradox of CLIL, namely that while teaching the language skill requires lots of active productive practice on the part of the student, teaching the content requires more receptive concentration. So the CLIL teacher is pulled in two opposing directions.
Robin Walker (read our review of his latest book here) began by positing 3 stages in acquiring pronunciation: 1. the cognitive stage - becoming aware of a feature; 2. the associative stage - training yourself to be able to deal with the feature; 3.
Claire's presentation was a report on a Europe-wide project for accelerating literacy by making teachers and students more aware of the generic structure of texts. The scope of the talk was not confined to ELT, but education in the broader sense, and the idea of 'learning to read' and 'reading to learn'.
Hugh began with an anecdote in which he'd received the negative feedback, 'didn't use enough technology', pointing out how absurd that is. Using tech is, in itself, neither good nor bad. Tech is not a magic bullet which will turn bad teaching into good. You can teach well with it, but you can also teach well without.
David Bradshaw explained how speaking is a very difficult skill to promote in secondary school classrooms, and how he used to dread it. He then went on to demonstrate a series of activities which he has found to work in that context, really motivating the students to want to talk, and incidentally providing excellent preparation for Cambridge exams.
Scott began on a philosophical note, with Descartes’ idea of mind and body being separate entities, and a modern extension of this dualism on the part of Stephen Pinker, who regards the mind as a computer encased in a fleshy body. Scott presented a more ecological alternative conception, in which mind, body, and indeed the world beyond are in some sense all one.
Lynn Durrant and Gerard McLoughlin are teacher trainers at International House Barcelona, and the focus of their presentation was on how we can nurture engagement and higher order thinking skills in the classroom. Lynn began with five top tips for creating a better classroom environment: 1. Give students choices; 2. Short and sweet activities eg 2-4 minutes; 3. Plenty of movement; 4.
Noureddine began by describing his teaching context in Morocco. The students he is working with already have a high level of English, but needed to develop their intercultural understanding, and in particular, openness to new ideas. He went on to explain the perspective transformation theoretical framework, as developed by Jack Mezirow.