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.

 

 

Test writing at A2 level for Lower Secondary

Since coming back after the break, I have been tasked with briefing some unit and progress tests for an A2 Lower Secondary course for 11-14 year olds. I’m currently writing the progress and end-of-year tests, so I am working with my Cambridge English KET Handbook close to hand. I am cheered by the news that I may have found a writer for our unit tests as we are asking for someone to start as soon as possible and our first choices were booked up.

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.

IATEFL 2016 Materials Writing SIG PCE – Print VS. Digital; is it really a competition? (2)

Here is a summary via White Ink’s blog on Katherine Bilsborough’s talk at the MaWSIG PCE at Iatefl last week.

Katherine Bilsborough kicked off after the break, and she is talking about Writing for Primary. 2 years ago, she spoke about ‘Becoming a digital writer’. Since then, she has realised th…

Source: IATEFL 2016 Materials Writing SIG PCE – Print VS. Digital; is it really a competition? (2)

New Ways of Working for New Ways of Learning [Event Round-Up]

A concise and informative update from emc design on Saturday’s MaWSIG Conference on New Ways of Working for New Ways of Learning. Find out what happened from this digest of tweets and photos!

emc design ltd

On Saturday Sophie from emc headed down to London to the beautiful Macmillan campus for MaWSIG’s conference ‘New Ways of Working for New Ways of Learning’.

The day was a real mix of practically looking at the ways in which our working practices have changed over recent years to how these have impacted the classrooms and learners we are all connected to, in some way or other.

Working smarter, not harder: the nine characteristics of the Productivity Ninja

Graham Alcott from Think Productive kicked off the day with his fantastic exploration into the messy and muddled way in which we work in ever quickening and complex teams and organisations. He also looked at the way in which we add our own stresses to this mix by heaping pressure on ourselves to be quicker, think better, do longer all of the time, which inevitably is counter-productive. Taking 9 areas he suggested small, do-able adjustments to…

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An unexpectedly quiet week

Insights from Karen White of White Ink Limited on how to productively fill rare downtime. I had some downtime in January and caught up on my paperwork for my next tax return. I then treated myself to a Friday yoga class and then watched Oklahoma on DVD in the afternoon. The perfect end to what started out as a slightly unnerving week.

White Ink Limited

Here are a couple of snippets from conversations I had with a client last week …

Monday
Me: Can you help me prioritise the tasks I need to do this week? I know I need to do a, b, c, d, e, f, g, and possibly h, but I’m not sure which are most urgent.
Client: Sure. Please do c, f, e, h, a, b, d, then g. If you finish those, do i, j and k.

Friday
Me: I think I’ve nearly finished. Can that be right?
Client: I think so. Have a good weekend.

Having worked flat out on this project for a couple of months, it seemed incredible that I’d been so engrossed in meeting the deadlines of last week that I’d totally failed to notice that everything would be off my desk this week. So imagine my surprise when I sat down on Monday morning and realised…

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YLs Teacher Training Course – Sessions 7 & 8

I am currently working on updating Sessions 7 and 8 of my YLs Teacher Training Course.

Session 7 needs permission from published authors, including Michael Rosen and Jane Revell, so it may go up on the blog after Session 8.

The theme of Session 7 is Valuing Children and looks at the expectations we have of learners as well as ourselves as children’s teachers.

Session 8 covers the difference between Process and Product, by which I mean examining our activities for the children’s motivation to do them as well as our language teaching objectives.

I’m aiming to find time in the UK half-term next week to update at least one of these two sessions, so do look out for them.

As ever, thanks for reading and feel free to send me your feedback.

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!

Dyslexia – A Problem or a Gift?

Really helpful advice on teaching students with dyslexia from Marie Delaney.

Oxford University Press

Student being helped by teacherMarie Delaney is a teacher, trainer, educational psychotherapist, and author of ‘Teaching the Unteachable’ (Worth). She will be hosting a webinar entitled “Dyslexia – A Problem or a Gift?” on 9th and 18th October.

What do Thomas Edison, Henry Ford and Muhammed Ali have in common? They all found school and teachers difficult. Thomas Edison’s teacher sent a note home when Thomas was 6, which said “He is too stupid to learn”.

These successful people had dyslexia. Their teachers didn’t know much about dyslexia. They labeled them lazy and stupid. You may have students with dyslexia in your classes and not even know it. Often these learners are labeled slow, lazy, or daydreamers. It’s not true. In order to help these learners, we, as teachers, need to understand more about it.

What is dyslexia?

As you read this, are the letters clear to you, are any moving…

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