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
- Talking about our COVID experiences
- Analysing our remote teaching experience and planning for the future
- Looking to develop student autonomy
- Preparing socially distanced activities
- Catching up on missed work
Off we go!
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 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!
‘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:
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.
🔵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.
TO ALL TEACHERS WORKING IN PRIMARY AND SECONDARY SCHOOLS (REGLADA)
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
Due to growing concerns related to the Covid-19 (Coronavirus) outbreak in Spain and abroad, we have decided to hold our upcoming training events for Secondary school teachers planned for Saturday 14th March in Madrid and 21st March in Zaragoza online.
These 45-minute webinars on a variety of topics are a great way to access professional development from the comfort of your own home.
Have a look at the sessions below and click on the links to get more information and register:
Order! Order! Getting our students presenting and debating (Michael Brand)
Being able to give a presentation or engage in constructive debate are essential skills, but ones that many people lack – possibly they didn’t get much practice or skills development in school. But all that is beginning to change, with projects such as Global Classrooms in Madrid evidence of this. This session will explain approaches and activities to get our students presenting and debating confidently and successfully.
Saturday 14th March 10:00
Reading and writing just got exciting (Phil Brownsword, Michael Brand)
Reading and writing are tested extensively in external and university entrance exams, but our lessons to develop these skills needn’t be dull! In this talk we’ll look at some activities that will get our students working collaboratively to get better at reading and writing – activities that will improve their skills and bring our lessons to life.
Saturday 14th March 11:00
Saturday 21st March 11:00
Scaffolding in CLIL. Make your students BLOOM (Emma San José)
This session will offer an approach to Bloom’s Taxonomy in a CLIL context. Considering CLIL as a content AND language integrated learning methodology, teachers quite often have to face some issues like the requirement for content teachers to help students acquire the language despite not being language teachers.
Bloom’s Taxonomy and its different levels in cognition offers support and turns out to have a very practical application in CLIL environments. It can be used for scaffolding content AND language, modelling, differentiation and also guides teachers in how to survive the challenge.
Saturday 14th March 12:00
Connecting with the video generation (Michael Brand)
For entertainment, interacting with friends, or just trying to make sense of the world, the medium of choice for today’s teens is video. The implications for our classes are clear: If we want to engage with them and help them learn more effectively, video is a vital ingredient. But which videos should we choose? How can we best present them in our classes to make them both fun and educational? And how can we get our students making their own videos? In this session we will deal with these questions and provide a wealth of practical activities for you to try with your students.
Saturday 21st March 10:00
You’ll never guess what I did last weekend! *answer revealed at bottom of blog post.
People like guessing. And they like getting other people to guess. Think of your own experience. Before revealing something to someone, have you ever invited your listener to ‘have a guess’, hyping up what it is you were about to reveal? And you might have given your listener a few guesses, turning the interaction into a sort of game.
Speaking guessing games are a mainstay of ELT lessons. Sometimes used as warmers, fillers or even the main speaking activity, they add a game element, provide a task for the listener which encourages them to listen, and often allow our learners to speak about themselves. In the blog post we look at five.
Christmas is just around the corner! Many of us will be grading exams, putting marks in the system and, hopefully, teaching the odd Christmas-themed lesson. A nice alternative to your standard worksheet is to use Christmas adverts, which are something of an institution in Britain (and elsewhere) with brands vying to make the biggest splash. These short videos are great material as they tend to tell a story and include lots of Christmas vocab. Here I’ve taken five and offered ideas and activities to exploit them in class. If you like what you see, check out last year’s post too!
NB. Some of the speaking activities listed here presuppose a knowledge of Christmas vocabulary, so preteaching vocab may be necessary: perhaps doing one of those worksheets first isn’t such a bad idea!