What constitutes a meaningful speaking activity for an adult and can blended learning help them improve in a task-based setting? At the end of this weekend I will be participating in the IX Congreso Estatal de escuelas oficiales de idiomas with a couple of sessions which will deal with these questions.
Speaking activities and blended learning for adult learners
In my first session “Speak Out Challenge: How to get our learners to produce meaningful oral language”, we will look at practical examples taken from SpeakOut (Intermediate), that can foster out students’ communicative interactions in English. Putting words together in order to utter a meaningful message is not an easy task. So in order to build fresh, motivating and significant speaking exercises, we need to consider quite a few things: 1) relating the activities to our students’ own reality; 2) using authentic material; and 3) engaging the learners. That is why, we will not only explore what prevents our students from speaking but we will also show effective ways of getting our students to really communicate, in other words, to say more than a few words, by combining both traditional interactive tasks with other handy technological tools.
In my second session “The digital age and blended learning: Technology is not everything, but it helps!”, we will present varied tasks, taken from Cutting Edge (Intermediate), and through blended learning, we will provide the teachers with efficient and effective activities that they can put into practice right away. Do you use technology in your class? If so, do you feel comfortable? Do you think the tool you are using is enhancing your students’ learning? Or are you just using ICT because teachers nowadays are supposed to do so? Technology is not always the answer but it can help to engage our students with significant tasks, which not only awaken their creativity but also let them cooperatively negotiate and construct meaning. Let’s face it! Although we are willing to use technology, sometimes we don’t always know how or whether it is useful for achieving our goals. Plus, in the last few years, the amount of apps, webs, and ICT tools that can be used in the ESL classroom might be overwhelming for the average teacher. That is why in this session I will show how a blended learning approach, that is, face-to-face interaction together with a subtle online technological slant, can have a positive impact on our students’ learning and motivation.