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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10 ways to use short video in class

Using video in the language classroom was a thing when I was at school, though back then it involved wheeling in a big TV on a trolley to watch Run Lola Run and we didn’t do much besides watching. How things have changed! We now typically watch much shorter videos and we do more to exploit them.

The benefits of using short video to teach languages are many and varied. Students watch short video already (eg YouTube and TikTok), it’s a medium they’ve embraced. With the ubiquity of mobile devices, short video can be watched anywhere. Visual clues aid comprehension and give meaning to language: videos demonstrate paralinguistic features like gestures, facial expressions and intonation. We can broaden our students horizons with video: video can bring the wider world into the classroom and expose learners to different cultures, accents, people and ways of life. And of course, video can provide a meaningful context for grammar and vocabulary and it can also provide a speaking model for students. We could go on, but we’re here today to propose activities. Here are 10 of them:

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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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SIGN UP NOW! How to deliver an engaging online lesson to teenage learners

 

🔵Are you a teacher of teens?🔵

🔵 Have you been asked to teach your students remotely?🔵

This webinar by Pearson teacher trainer and Live Classes teacher Michael Brand could be what you’re looking for. We’ll look at planning, pre-lesson tasks and follow-up, digital delivery tools and platforms, the use of video and ways to build in interaction all with the aim of helping English teachers of teens to find their feet in the world of online teaching.

Sign up to one of the four different sessions available:

Friday 10am and 12pm,

Monday 9am and 2pm.

 

 

Supporting distance learning during coronavirus outbreak: reglada

TO ALL TEACHERS WORKING IN PRIMARY AND SECONDARY SCHOOLS (REGLADA)

Dear Teacher,

The adoption of health prevention measures this week due to the recent Covid-19 (Coronavirus) outbreak has led to a temporary interruption of education activities in many regions, and represents an unfamiliar situation for students, teachers and families in many parts of Spain. At Pearson, we would like to offer all our support at this critical time to help you deal with this situation in the best possible way:

Access to all your Pearson content from home

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