Friday, 25 September 2015

Six Steps to Oral Fluency

Here is the PowerPoint presentation I am using tomorrow at the

British Council Teachers Conference 2015:
Learning to Learn

Here are the student recordings from the presentation:

 Elisabet 11A pronunciation expressing movement:

Jose 9A Grammar bank 3 third conditional:

Dolors reading aloud:

 happy ending Hannah from English File Pre-intermediate 3rd edition:

Carla retelling - Hannah happy ending:

 Lidia G lucky or unlucky interview:

Me reading feedback for Carla T1 S5 amplified:

I practised giving the presentation at home. Sadly the recordings made by my students were very quiet over my speakers and hard to record on my smartphone, so make sure listen to the recordings above.

Here is the live recording from the presentation on Saturday.
Sadly I was unable to play the student recordings, so please listen to the recordings above at the appropriate moment.

Monday, 13 July 2015

Students Recording Themselves in class about 200 times in a year

A recording I made to prepare for this talk:

The talk that I gave in a Google Hangout organised by Learning2gether with Vance Stevens is here:

Saturday, 20 June 2015

What level are the materials on LearnEnglish?

I looked into this when I wanted to find the level of the ‘Britain is GREAT’ series of videos and could find no guidance: this is poor from a teacher’s point of view as well as from a student’s.

I decided to survey what levels most materials are at based on the information here:

Number of items
Percentage of total
0.2 %
2.1 %
61.6 %
31.6 %
4.4 %
0 %

So basically, LearnEnglish caters for Intermediate/Upper Intermediate students: 93.2%

This only covers 430 items (31.6 %), which are labelled for a particular level; the other 931 items (68.4 %) are not labelled for a particular level.

My conclusion is that I should recommend LearnEnglish to my Intermediate group  (B1) and an Upper Intermediate group (B2) if I had one.

I accept that writing material for A1 is difficult and that it is perhaps not necessary for C2 as students at this level should be able to follow their interests on any website, but I’m disappointed that there is so little for A2, particularly as I have a Pre-intermediate group.

Out of curiosity, I looked at the level of ‘Elementary Podcasts’ and found that the vast majority are labelled B1; only 2 out of 40 were labelled A2 and the most recent series are not labelled for level.

Basically, LearnEnglish isn’t organised by levels, which I think limits its usability by lower and higher level learners

Friday, 1 May 2015

Using WhatsApp to give feedback

On Tuesday this week I decided to take a few notes on things I wanted to help my students with when they finished a speaking activity in pairs. I had drawn a primitive map of England showing London, Peterborough and Leeds on the white board at the back of the class, where I usually write my notes, so as there wasn't room, I wrote the short sentences on a message on WhatsApp for the class group. I used the notes to remember what to talk about, but students didn't see what I had written. Here is a screen shot:

After saying the sentences and making some comments I send them to the group, and as you can see, I did this twice in the last half hour of the class. 

Normally I would have written these on the whiteboard at the back of the class while the students were working, but by not having to go to the board, it was much easier to take notes as I moved around the class.

When the class finishes, I always take a photo (or two) of any board work I've done using WhatsApp, and then record myself reading out the sentences and send it to the WhatsApp group for the class. This time I didn't need to take a photograph: I just made the recording:

On Thursday, I took notes again in class while my students were doing one of the speaking activities and used a WhatsApp message to the class group again, but this time perhaps because there were  more things to talk about I set up WhatsApp Web in Chrome on the interactive whiteboard. I had to increase the size of the text a bit, but then I was able to show the sentences and talk about them to the class. Of course, I realised that I could record my explanations using WhatsApp. Below you can see the sentences and listen to my explanations:

As you can see, I split the recording into three sections of about 90 seconds each:

This morning I saw that two students who had missed that part of the class had already listened to the recording the same evening!