Shut Up!

Let’s face it, one of the hardest things for us teachers to do sometimes is to shut up. We can feel the need to keep teaching all the time and somewhere deep in our subconscious  we have been led to believe that teaching means talking.

Maybe we don’t realise what we are doing, or we find it hard to resist. We might be waiting for the training that makes us realise it’s okay to be quiet for a while, or we might have a great story we want to share and half way through we realise we’re really going on a bit too much here. Continue reading “Shut Up!”

52: Bailout

52 by Lindsay Clandfield and Luke Meddings is an e-book collection of subversive activities for the ELT classroom (see also the support blog Subversive Teaching 52). Each of the activities in the book attempt to engage the learner and the teacher in a challenging conversation. They are both forced to question, investigate and debate the world that we live in.

Since I like to push my students to engage critically with materials, I’m always on the lookout for interesting and demanding stimuli for my lessons. Subsequently this book was just what I was looking for.

Continue reading “52: Bailout”

IATEFL Issues: Dogme (or Wandering Naked Through the Dogme Forest…)

So Dogme ELT was one of the big issues of the conference. Big surprise, I hear you say. Well I’m sorry if you’re tired hearing about it, but it’s not going away. If this conference proved anything, it showed firstly that there are still a lot of teachers who don’t know what Dogme ELT is, and secondly that even some of the ones who have heard of it don’t really know what it is, even though they think they do. More about that later… Continue reading “IATEFL Issues: Dogme (or Wandering Naked Through the Dogme Forest…)”

Video Games Unplugged

I’m currently reading Kyle Mawer and Graham Stanley’s Digital Play, published by DELTA, for a book review (which I’ll share with you as soon as it’s online). So far it’s a great book, passionately and convincingly arguing for a place for video games in the ELT classroom.

The second part of the book, and the biggest, contains a myriad of activities, including ones that are about video games rather than using video games. I was particularly struck by an activity on page 39 called Game Chatalogue. The essence of the activity is that students use video game catalogues to discuss what they find interesting. Continue reading “Video Games Unplugged”

Guest post: Loving the Greens – Montessori and Dogme

This is part one of three guest posts this week by Yitzha (Icha) Sarwono, a kindergarten Montessori school teacher in Jakarta, Indonesia. We were recently discussing Dogme during ELTchat, and as I have no experience Montessori teaching, I asked her to write about the possibilities for teaching unplugged in her particular situation. I started by asking her about the main elements of Montessori (as quoted on Wikipedia), and how they apply in her classroom:

Why the music festival should have been unplugged

Note: This post is not an anti-technology piece as it may appear. I’m simply suggesting, as I have before, that tech should be employed only when it is necessary and adds something to the student learning experience. I’m also aware that I previously argued that we should put this discussion to bed, but this experience was too perfect a representation of my beliefs to ignore. Yes, I’m a hypocrite...

In May I was lucky enough to attend an amazing event in Barcelona with loads of like-minded, interesting people. I was entertained, enriched and absorbed in a wonderful occasion, and I hope can go back next year. Unfortunately, it wasn’t the IATEFL Teacher Development SIG Unplugged Conference, but the Primavera Sound music festival.  Continue reading “Why the music festival should have been unplugged”

#ELTchat Summary: Revisiting Dogme – Thoughts After IATEFL & the DOGME Symposium

New to ELTchat?

If you have never participated in an #ELTchat discussion, these take place twice a day every Wednesday on Twitter at 12pm GMT and 9pm GMT. Over 400 ELT educators participate in this discussion by just adding #eltchat to their tweets. For tips on participating in the discussion, please check out this video, Using Tweetdeck for Hashtag Discussions!

Ever since the term was first appropriated by Scott Thornbury back in 2000, the subject of Dogme teaching never fails to provoke strong and healthy debate in the ELT community. The ELTchat on Wednesday 27th of April was no exception, especially since we were lucky enough to be joined by Luke Meddings, co-author of Teaching Unplugged. Also participating was Jeremy Harmer, who I think it’s fair to say is perhaps more sceptical about the Dogme approach, as well as an interesting mix of unplugged acolytes, Dogme doubters and those who just wanted to know what the fuss is all about.
Continue reading “#ELTchat Summary: Revisiting Dogme – Thoughts After IATEFL & the DOGME Symposium”