Teamwork is dreamwork: pushing the boundaries in breakout rooms

When I teach online lessons to groups of students from around the world on the Pearson & BBC Live Classes project, the breakout rooms are always my favourite bit. It’s wonderful to see the students working to make themselves understood, getting to know one another and learning about one another’s countries and cultures.

But if you’re teaching regular online lessons to the same group of students week in, week out you can really push the boundaries with breakout rooms, moving from simple speaking tasks to increasingly ambitious collaborative tasks. In this blog post, we’re going to consider setting up and managing tasks like these in breakout rooms. I’ve referenced the platform Zoom, but it’s not the only one with breakout rooms (BigBlueButton, Webex).

Let’s begin!

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How to Hybrid: Part 1, The Set Up

With new, essential, restrictions coming into place at a daily rate it seems our classrooms are quite a long way from returning to the old normal. For some of us our new normal, like it or not, appears to be leaning towards a Hybrid classroom. A class with students both online and face-to-face.

In today’s post I’m going to go over the different types of hybrid classes I’ve come across and look at ways in which you can set up your classroom. I’ll also consider how to deal with potential challenges that may pop up with some hybrid hacks. In part two of the blog, there will be sample activities to help facilitate interaction in a hybrid environment.

For those wishing to delve deeper, a webinar I delivered on the topic  can be found at the Teacher Training Hub.

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How to bring reading to life in class and beyond

“A person who won’t read has no advantage over one who can’t read.” Wise words from Mr Mark Twain, American writer, who neatly summed up the pleasure, knowledge and power one gets when reading. In this day and age where social media and video platforms are often the preferred go-to choice for people of all ages to have fun,  it’s now more important than ever for us to be introducing literature into our classrooms, not only to bridge the gap between hearing dialogue from videos and reading the words from books, but also to help our students learn a second language faster and more successfully.

Yet, among the millions and millions of books out there, how do we know which ones are the right choice and level for our students? A bit like the story of Goldilocks, they should neither be too hard nor too easy, but just right. Plus, how can we make the experience lots of fun, and add communicative and collaborative elements to help our students use the language they will pick up from reading? Below, I will explain some ideas for how to select the book, help get your students interested in it, and activities to do during and after reading that can be applied to every story – whether you´re teaching primary, secondary or adult students.

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