The Masked Classroom: 13 engaging activities you can still use

 

There are no questions about it, the landscape of the classroom has changed. No matter which way you look at it, teaching may never be the same again. From one day to the next we went from face-to-face teaching to being stuck at home trying to figure out just how to get our ideas across to our students through a computer screen.

We’ve since been thrown back onto the front line and a great number of us are back in the classroom. Only now we’ve got brand new issues to deal with. In this blog post I’m going to provide you with 13 activites that will keep your classes active and engaging despite these essential restrictions which have been put into place 

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Assessment for learning: going digital

In spring many of us moved our teaching online. As we go to press, schools have thankfully reopened, though many are following a blended or hybrid approach and for some the threat of further closures looms large. Even when we are ‘back to normal’ most agree that the events of this year will have accelerated digitalization in education and much of what we’ve learned to do this year we’ll continue to do.

In this blog post lets have a look at some practical ways of going digital with our assessment for learning. We’ll look at four areas:

  1. Written feedback on written work
  2. Oral feedback on written work
  3. Peer feedback on presentations in online lessons
  4. Progress tracking with an LMS

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The Big Bumper Back to School Blog Post

Tuesday was my children’s first day back at school. There were barriers laid out and stickers on the ground to manage the flow of pupils and parents, registers, temperature checks, gel points and teamwork between teachers, volunteers and police at the gates: this must have taken some organising, and we’re not even in the classroom yet!

This is a back to school like no other. Besides the logistics mentioned above, from catching up on missed work to moving forward with this year’s curriculum, from preparing a socially-distanced classroom to planning for more remote learning, all the while considering the socio-emotional needs of their learners, teachers truly have their work cut out. In this blog post I’d like to propose ideas for the back to school period that speak to the (rather uncertain) ‘new normal’. In what is a huge topic topic I’ve gone for five sections

  1. Talking about our COVID experiences
  2. Analysing our remote teaching experience and planning for the future
  3. Looking to develop student autonomy
  4. Preparing socially distanced activities
  5. Catching up on missed work

Off we go!

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How have teachers adapted to distance learning?

This spring, teachers have had to transition to distance learning and have done so admirably, bringing all their considerable adaptability and creativity to bear. Now it’s time for a well-earned rest!

Let’s look back on the last few months. How did teachers find the distance learning context into which they were thrust? What were their challenges? What tools and platforms did they go for and what did they do when live online lessons were impossible?

This infographic shows the results of our survey carried out this May. Many thanks indeed to all teachers who took part!

Distance learning for schoolchildren: parents have their say

Distance learning for schoolchildren has become the new norm since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic this spring. Both teachers and pupils have been thrown in at the deep end, adapting to a new way of working from one day to the next. But what about the parents? How has this experience been for them? What teaching medium did their children’s schools adopt? What did they perceive as the greatest challenge?

We thought it made sense to hear what parents had to say on the matter. This infographic represents the results of a survey carried out this May: many thanks to all parents who took part!

Ten top tips for learning English over the summer

‘School’s (nearly) out for summer’ may be a little inappropriate given that many of our students haven’t actually been physically attending school for the last few months. Nonetheless, the term is nearly over and the time is upon us to send our charges on their (virtual) merry way with an English task or two to do over the summer. What’s the best policy here? Attempt to get them to do a lorry load of homework? It’s very ambitious, can create real resentment and students do need a rest. Tell them to forget about English and switch off? 10 weeks is a long time. Perhaps the best approach is to set fewer tasks that motivate students and propose other ideas for them to explore. What sort of tasks and advice can we give them? This blog post has ten ideas:

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Five top tips for online lessons

Teaching English online was already popular, but for some teachers covid-19 suddenly made it the new standard: idioms like ‘being thrown in at the deep end’ or having a ‘baptism of fire’ spring to mind. Some countries, such as France and Britain, are gradually reopening schools; others, like Spain, seem to be largely waiting until September. Nonetheless, more online teaching may well be necessary and even desirable in the future, so getting to grips with the medium seems a pretty good idea. Having been teaching online as part of the international Live Classes project (recently nominated for a British Council ELTons Award for Innovation in Learner Resources) for the past couple of years as well as teaching Big Live Lessons in Spain over the last few months, I’d like to share a few tips in this blog post. Regarding my suggestions for synchronous classes, I’ve mainly used zoom, but most of what I suggest can be applied to any platform.

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Making English distance learning a reality #6

Hello teachers!  This week, we are pleased to invite you to Pearson English Spring Days: a veritable festival of online training sessions, with over 40 different sessions to suit every teacher! Just as spring is a new beginning, we hope to bring fresh ideas to help teachers keep learning and keep teaching.

In this newsletter you’ll also find a survey for Primary teachers and parents, the winners of our World Book Day Contest  and a couple of useful articles.

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Making English distance learning a reality #5

Hello teachers! This week, we‘re celebrating World Book Day! As English teachers, you’re surely aware of the many benefits reading a book has for your students: enriching vocabulary, broadening knowledge, keeping themselves entertained… however, during this difficult period, one of the benefits stands out: reading helps us to unwind! In order to celebrate such an important date, we’ve launched a competition: ‘What book are you escaping into during the quarantine?

In this newsletter you’ll also find a number of webinars we’ve prepared to help you move to online teaching and to support your famlily’s mental health in these uncertain times.

For more resources to make English distance learning a reality visit