IATEFL 2017

IATEFL 2017 in the great city of Glasgow is finishing up after a busy, enjoyable and thought-provoking week for many in the ELT profession.

This year I really started to make use of my membership when unable to attend because of work and family commitments. I checked how the MaWSIG or Materials Writers Special Interest Group was getting on at their PCE on Monday and saw they’d had a great time. You can read about it here in Rachel Daw’s excellent post: Storify about the 2017 MaWSIG PCE.

I also watched the British Council interview with the world-renowned, erudite and extremely affable David Crystal. See it at: David Crystal interview at IATEFL 2017.

I haven’t had time to fully check out the presentations by contacts and mentors in my career so if  you are interested you can check out these links:

Rachael Roberts’ blog; Marie Delaney’s site  The Learning Harbour and Jo Gakonga’s site and links to videos on YouTube: Jo Gakonga elt teacher training.

Today, I have the task of rewriting some Secondary progress and end-of-year tests so the internet and Facebook are mainly switched off apart from research purposes. Come 4.00 pm GMT, I’ll be finishing off and either relaxing with a cuppa in the garden or heading into town for a well-deserved coffee.

 

 

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Test writing from the inside perspective

It’s the second day back at my desk since the UK August bank holiday, when I treated myself to four whole days off including a very sunny Friday in the garden.

I’m now getting on with revising a sample Primary test in line with the client’s feedback. I know my stuff, or so it seems from the good overall feedback, but I have to be mindful of not writing too much especially as it is the first unit test. Does this sound familiar to anyone?

Fortunately the client has given good suggestions on how to counter this, so I will be amending the activity types so less text can feature. And I will be sketching out the layout as this is a requirement.

Sometimes people think because there is so little on the page for children that it is a doddle to write for this age group. Wrong! I am inclined to think it takes more time as you have to get it right in terms of cognitive challenge, interest, physical ‘fit’, course book ‘fit’, motivation, engaging activities that children want to do and so on.

YLs Teacher Training Course – Session 7 Valuing Children / High Expectations

I am backtracking a little and posting session 7 of my 10-week YLs teacher training course. In it, I work on getting teachers to consider how they demonstrate to their young learners that they value them and have high expectations of them. The session is a blend of theory and of activities that ask trainees to consider their practice as teachers.

Please note, I am currently awaiting permission to reproduce one of the resources in this session. The Michael Rosen poem can be found here

 TT course – session 7 – Permissions awaited

YLs Teacher Training Course – Session 8 Process versus Product

As most UK and some overseas schools return after the winter half term break, here is the eighth session of my 10-week Teacher Training course for teachers of Young Learners.

Session 8 examines the different reasons that underlie activities in children’s and teenagers’ lessons. Trainees explore how the students’ motivation for doing an activity can vary widely from the teacher’s aim. They analyse recently published YL course materials or the course materials that they use with their YL classes to discover each side’s motivation for doing the activities.

I hope you find these materials useful and relevant to your teaching context. Do please let me know if you have any feedback or questions.

YLs TT course – Session 8 – Process versus Product

February update

I start February energised after the fabulous 2nd ELT Freelancers’ Awayday in Oxford at the end of last month.

It was organised by Karen White of @KarenWhiteInk and Helen Holwill and took place at the Hawkwell Hotel in Iffley, Oxford.

In the morning, Sophie O’Rourke and her colleagues from emc design gave a fascinating insight into how designers, media researchers and editors can work smarter.

In addition to this, there were two workshop slots with ten topics to discuss everything from creating a digital brand to adapting to working from home. I am now a new face on Twitter! See @trishburrowelt and share your thoughts and encourage me to learn more. You can also find out more about the event by following ELT Freelancers.

To end the day, Lorna Membury and Charlotte Webb from OUP presented on their new workflow designed to facilitate lean management of the content and copy editing process.

The event was a brilliant way to connect and reconnect with ELT colleagues old and new and had ample space for discussions over coffee and lunch and then at the end-of-day drinks event sponsored by OUP. It was a sell out so I advise booking early for the 2017 event.

See you next January!

YLs Teacher Training Course – Session 6 Involving and Occupying Activities

As most UK and some overseas schools have now been back for a week, here is the sixth session of my 10-week Teacher Training course for teachers of Young Learners.

Session 6 examines the fundamental principles of providing a balance of involving and occupying activities in children’s lessons. Trainees take part in a demonstration of a common range of primary age lesson activities. They then discuss whether they will appropriately challenge and include the children in their classes, and if not, how they can adapt the activities to achieve this aim.

I hope you find these materials useful and relevant to your teaching context. Do please let me know if you have any feedback or questions.

YLs TT course – Session 6 Involving and Occupying activities

Research into task design of assessment tasks for YLs

I am making available an MA assignment I wrote a while ago about the design of assessment tasks for children. In it, I examine how tasks which effectively assess the language ability of children can be designed. It was written while I was working at Cambridge English as a Subject Officer for the YLE tests and I refer to the research the tests underwent as part of the 2007 review of the YLE tests.

NB The two internal documents from Cambridge English are not publicly accessible (Guidelines for Oral Examiner Training and Coordination and Instructions to Oral Examiners) Also note that the latest YLE information is available online: http://www.cambridgeenglish.org/exams/young-learners-english/ 

I hope you enjoy reading my MA assignment.