In this video Linda breaks down the difference between ?aloud? and ?allowed?.
Below you can read feedback from an ITTT graduate regarding one section of their online TEFL certification course. Each of our online courses is broken down into concise units that focus on specific areas of English language teaching. This convenient, highly structured design means that you can quickly get to grips with each section before moving onto the next.
Working with short attention spans
Set clear expectations for all students.
Break assignments into smaller pieces to work on in short time periods.
Space breaks between assignments so students can refocus on their tasks.
Share ideas with parents so they can help with homework.
Carry out everyday routines consistently.
Develop a reward system for good behavior, completing work on time and participating in class.
Use visual and auditory reminders to change from one activity to the next. This may need to be done several times before the change is made. An egg timer is a good auditory tool that indicates a signal to begin or end an activity.
Managing constant change
The science behind teaching special education students is not cut-and-dried. The strategies that teachers develop for their classrooms are not permanent, and must be scalable and flexible so that they can evolve. This strategy enables teachers to teach every student.
Design teaching aids and lessons that are flexible.
Add creativity to lessons and homework.
Develop easy-to-use monitoring tools that are needs-based.
Design lesson plans that can be modified to fit each student.
Develop a set of resources and interventions that work.
Being an effective teacher requires many tools, most of which are chosen through trial and error. Many resources are available to help teachers planning lessons, manage classroom environments, and develop high-quality instruction for students with special needs. Effective teaching strategies include:
Use a multiple-scenario approach to developing lesson plans.
Monitor and verify student responses to lessons.
Evaluate and adapt lessons as necessary.
Use peers to review lesson plans and to develop ideas that might be applicable.
Develop and maintain a pool of mentors.
Keep a list of resources for teaching, lesson plans and professional development
Set a professional development plan for yourself and track your goals
Develop or implement a system that allows for easy and comprehensive data collection to help monitor and adapt lessons
Gather some tricks of the trade from fellow teachers, including those who do not teach special education.
English for Specific Purposes (ESP) is a learner-centered approach to teaching English as an additional language, which focuses on developing communicative competence in a specific discipline such as academics, accounting, agrology, business, IT, teaching, and engineering.
The monolingual and the multilingual class
The difficulty is obvious; monolingual classes communicate in their own language and so don?t need English to get a message across. Multilingual classes, however, would have English as their common language, automatically creating the need to use English to communicate.
The challenge is how to motivate students in monolingual classes to use English in order to communicate. Here are some ideas I have used in my classes, both for teenagers and adults.
Talk to your students
Most students accept that the best way to learn English is to use English. Ask them if they agree and why. Then, discuss if it is difficult to use English in class, and, if so, what makes it difficult. Ask them for some suggestions that would make it easier for them to use English. The main aim of the discussion is to raise the topic with your students. Teaching should not be a secret, so discussing this with them gives them an opportunity to be part of the solution, rather than having rules imposed. Also, knowing what their difficulty is in using English in class will give you ideas for activities that will help them use the English they are learning.
Time for English
Challenge your students to use only English for a specific period of time. For example, before beginning a grammar exercise, I would turn to the class and say, ?Let?s see if we can use only English for the next 10 minutes.? Since they won?t need L1 to complete the exercise, I know this is something they can achieve. By creating a 10-minute limit, students see it as a challenge and make an effort to avoid using L1 for those 10 minutes. They also know that if they need the L1, they will be able to use it after the 10 minutes.
What happened in my classes is that students saw that they really didn?t need to use L1 to do that type of exercise. Usually, they would continue using English beyond the 10 minutes, giving me an opportunity to praise them for how well they had done. At the end, I would ask if they had any questions about the exercise. Most of the time, they didn?t. In this way they realised they had been using L1 to confirm what they already knew. It was a crutch they didn?t really need. This raised their confidence. Over time, the class was able to work on a variety of controlled activities without needing L1. Equally important, students became aware of what they could do in English and when they really needed L1.
One idea that has been very helpful with my classes has been putting up a ?traffic light? in class.
I print out a traffic light on an A4 piece of paper. In the red circle I write, ?No Portuguese?, for example. In the amber circle I write, ?Some Portuguese? and in the green circle I write, ?Portuguese OK?. I display the traffic light where everyone can see it. I then explain it to the class:
I hide the red circle and the amber circle with white paper circles, leaving the green ?Portuguese ok? visible. I tell the class that when the green circle is visible, they can use L1 (in this case, Portuguese).
Then, I hide the amber and green circles, leaving the red ?No Portuguese? visible. I tell the class that when the red circle is visible, they cannot use L1 at all.
Finally, I hide the red and green circles, leaving the amber ?Some Portuguese? visible. I tell them that, in this case, they can use L1, but only in relation to the activity we are doing at that time. I use this when they are working in pairs or small groups on an exercise and may need to use L1 to talk about the language.
The traffic light gives students a clear signal as to when they should be able to use only English, as well as when they can use their own language. As their teacher, you can choose when to use each light, and how long to leave it there. For example, I usually have ?No Portuguese? as they walk into the classroom. An easy exercise for them to work on is already on the board, so they have something to do. This helps with the transition from their language to English.
Depending on the age of the students, you may want to give them a reward when they are able to use only English. Adult students will usually not need this, using the traffic light as a guide to improve their use of English in class.
Give them a reason to use English
It?s important that students have a reason to use English. If a group is organising their project work, they will probably do this more efficiently in their own language. There is little reason to use only English, especially at lower levels. However, if a pair or small group is preparing to act out a dialogue, they should be using English as they will need this to act out the dialogue in front of the class. I reinforce this idea by not allowing my students to read when they act out. The dialogues they act out are usually short and easy to remember. The pair/group work gives them an opportunity to practice before performing in front of the class. Students easily see that they need to practice their lines, as they won?t be able to read them off a sheet. Having students video their performances further increases their need to practice before actually performing.
Acting out is one example of an activity that creates a need to use English. There are many others. Information gap activities usually create a need to use English. Another activity is for the teacher, or a student, to read a text with the wrong information. Students, who have the correct information, would correct by repeating the complete sentence correctly. For example:
Teacher: (reading) ?The capital of the state of New York is New York City.?
Student: (with the correct information) ?Excuse me, but the capital of the state of New York is Albany.?
Finally, it is important for your students to know when to use L1. Demanding that they use only English all the time may actually hamper their learning of English. Older students can use L1 as a viable learning strategy to better learn English. For many students, being able to discuss their learning in their own language gives them greater understanding of the learning process, and allows them to adapt in order to improve.
There are times when they are learning the language and need to use it in order to practice the pronunciation and the word order. Practicing helps them to make their use of the language automatic. Equally, there are times when they are talking about the language, comparing it to their own, discussing learning strategies. This may best be done in their own language.