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18 September 2012

How Children Learn: A World Tour of Class Portraits

This is a beautiful piece, with amazing images, on classrooms around the world.
I love seeing where people learn. Just a snapshot gives such insight into educational systems.
Thanks for the link, Jeanine!

17 September 2012

Living Language English

For anyone interested in learning (and teaching) English, Living Language has an account on Twitter for ESL. They're@LL_English. Follow them and learn fun, new phrases!

14 September 2012

Students Leading Lessons

This semester, I am teaching three grammar classes! I have been thinking of new ways to teach the same old material, and I have been implementing (more and more, as of late) student-led grammar lessons. This is a great way to review grammar forms students have already learned but need a refresher on. 

First, I require students to study the grammar in the book (level 4 is studying perfect and perfect progressive; level 2 just finished present simple and present perfect), and I give them lots of practice and exercises. Then, I put them into groups to present their form to the class. They present the form (i.e. Subject + have/has+ been +verb-ing) and when to use it. They also provide examples to the class from the textbook, as well as from their own lives. Each group presents the lesson to the class, and the rest of the class asks questions, which the lead group must answer. I believe in the old teaching adage, "Who does the work does the learning," so I design lessons where students do most of the work. Usually this takes more work on my end in the planning and evaluation stages; however, the students are doing most of the "in-class" work, thus learning more through teaching. 

I also like this strategy because it reduced teacher-talk-time dramatically. I monitor the groups by walking around, asking and answering questions, guiding them in the right direction, and giving suggestions and clarification during the presentation, but students are talking way more than I am, especially compared to traditional grammar note-taking.  It also encourages them to think more analytically about the grammar, rather than passive taking it in (or in most cases, NOT taking it in). 

12 September 2012

Word Puzzle Lesson

This is a fun and easy lesson to get students making sentences using words as puzzle pieces.  And it promotes kinesthetic, visual, and auditory learning. I use this activity for lots of different grammar forms, but in this example, I am using them for adverb clauses for a level 4 grammar class.

First, I developed a list of words that I want the students to use, depending on the lesson and level. Because this course was EAP (English for Academic Purposes) I used academic nouns and verbs, along with the adverbs which make the dependent clauses for our objective: Adverb Clauses. I made four sets for this class, which had about 12 students. That put three people in a group to create sentences using adverb clauses.

The students then lay out the words to take a look at what they're working with. I usually let the students add their own words, if they want to, in which case, they would need to make their own scraps of paper. For example, if they want another noun or verb to fit their sentence, they can make their own "puzzle piece."
Sometimes students have a hard time getting started, but once they get the hang of it, they can usually make quite a few sentences in the time allotted. I gave the student about 15 minutes in this class.

Because the verbs aren't conjugated (and I didn't provide nots), I asked the students to write out the sentences they created using the puzzle pieces. They then shared what they made with the class.

This is a fun and quick-to-assemble activity that can be used for almost any type of grammar lesson. Try it out and see students succeed!