On Friday I was delighted to be involved with the training day run for Plymouth schools under the PASH banner. I hope that it was a useful day for everyone involved and that some of my comments generated the odd bit of interest and thought. The day was focused on 2 main threads- the roles of spontaneity in our teaching and also that of the actual content that we are delivering. My main goal was to encourage people to think again about why they are delivering certain topics- is it because they always have and because that's what the text book tells them to do or is it because it's the most effective way to teach certain structures, to challenge our pupils and to really make them think. After all, in what other subject can pupils leave an hour's lesson having learnt nothing about the world around them but now being the proud understander of 10 new nouns?
Anyway, a large amount of the day was based on the concept indicated by this video- fun is good!
Last Thursday it was an absolute pleasure to spend a day in Santander, northern Spain at Universidad Internacional Menéndez-Pelayo. I had been invited to take part in a week's course about learning from recent advances in English education. All of the teachers are in some way involved in using English as part of their teaching, either as the central subject or to enhance their main subject, such as part of a psychology course. As such they were spared me presenting in Spanish... phew. My focus was on encouraging creativity and to demonstrate that it is possible to move away from "traditional" approaches and acceptances.
A huge thank you to everyone who contributed ideas to these presentations. I tried to attribute as much as I could remember to, but if I've missed anyone out then yell and I'll alter things! A huge thank you to José Antonio del Tejo for organising the event as well, it was great fun. And thanks for organising a La Oreja de Van Gogh gig for that night too!!
Yesterday was another fun day out for Carlos and I. A 5am start allowed us to head up to High Wycombe and get to the home of everyone's favourite, www.languagesonline.org.uk more or less by the start of a Links into Languages event organsied at RGS Wycombe. I had planned on talking about games to support learning, similar to the presentation I gave a few weeks ago at Fernhill in Farnborough. However, a last minute e-mail lead me to radically alter things (ensuring I was NEVER going to finish on time, whoops!) and really go into the topic of thinking differently. This is something that seems to have really got under my skin recently, fanned by the words of wisdom of John Connor and Chris Harte, and seeking to add meaning and cognitive challenge to our pupils' learning. Anyway, I'll write more about that at some point very soon...
I've decided to embed both a slidecast, with audio, and a slideshow without the audio that you can just click through, thus not having to spend an hour listening to me drone on! I'm intrigued as to which version people find more useful!
A few years ago in a meeting I was accused of being a one trick pony by a colleague. That was an accusation that really stung and has stayed in my head ever since. At times those of us who are interested in finding ICT-based solutions to those problems which surround us are accused of being tech-obssessives. In my eyes the best solution is the one which works best on all sorts of levels, both for the teacher and for the learners. If that's powered with electricity or if it started out life as a tree, if it's made of plasticine or makes a noise, c'est la vie, who am I to say no? All of that mini-rant leads up to explaining this non-ICT based presentation, looking mostly for ideas that busy practitioners can incorporate into their teaching immediately. Yes, there are a couple of ICT hints thrown-in for people who couldn't attend my session in the morning (see post on blogs, podcasts and magic websites) and yes, there are a few longer-term elements which we looked at.
I hope this all makes sense, I decided to leave the sounds of chaos as we played games in the session in, to allow anyone who listens to gauge the response of the teachers involved. If you'd like to clarify the rules for any games then feel free to get in touch. Alternatively feel free to download any slides or materials below.
This didn't work perfectly, and I ended up having to post it manually, but when I can get it to cross-post, what a fantastic service!! Has anyone used gabcast, and if so any advice on setting up the direct cross-posting?