Extensive Listening – AusELT Twitter chat, 1st July 2018

Our next #AusELT Twitter chat is on Sunday 1st July at 8:30pm AEST. Check the time where you are here on TimeandDate.com.  The topic this month is:

Extensive Listening:
auditory comprehensible inputfor effective, and efficient, language acquisition

Photo of headphones on cardboard cutout head

There seems to be a lot of discussion around about Extensive Reading, but not as much about Extensive Listening.  The idea for this topic came from a recent podcast. Read on for more information, and links to some other background information on Extensive Listening that might be of interest and to get you thinking before the chat on Sunday.

In a recent episode of the We Teach Languages podcast, Beniko Mason talked about her Story Listening and Efficient Acquisition. ‘Efficiency’ is key for her, and her slogan is “Reduce suffering!”, meaning for the students, but when you learn more about the approach, you might agree it relates to teachers as well.  Beniko Mason is trying to change that, and along with Stephen Krashen, has been conducting research and workshops on this approach to developing.  Check out the podcast show notes to find links to her publications and current projects.  A lot of the material there is focused on teaching young learners, but our discussion would be around how to use a similar approach, an Extensive Listening approach in our classrooms.

The Extensive Reading Central website has a section devoted to Extensive Listening, covering aspects such as:

  • What is Extensive Listening?
  • How to do Extensive Listening
  • Types of Extensive Listening materials
  • EL Resources, Links and Research

Rob Waring also has an Extensive Listening section on his website.

These two papers by Willy A Renandya might be of interest:

This one is aimed at adult literacy teachers, but is a good addition to our discussion:  Audiobooks for Adult Literacy? It’s Not a Myth!

Hope to ‘see’ you on Twitter on Sunday evening.


For those new to Twitter chats, these posts should get you started:

If you are not sure about Twitter and need a hand to get started, do message Lesley on Facebook or Twitter (@cioccas) or by leaving a comment below.

This post created by @cioccas

Teaching Speaking – AusELT Twitter chat, 3rd June 2018

This was the topic for our Twitter chat on Sunday 3rd June. Read the transcript of the chat here.

As voted by our members, the topic for this chat was:

Teaching Speaking: speaking sub-skills, types of speaking, how to give effective feedback, meaningful communicative practice, beyond the classroom.

Photo of 3 groups of students speaking in a classroom

We’ve seen a few posts on ‘Speaking’ recently on the #AusELT Facebook group, plus it was the theme of recent Sydney MeetELT. so we thought it might be a popular topic to take to our Twitter chat. These are some of the topics we thought the chat could focus on:

  • What really are the sub-skills of speaking?
  • What types of speaking come up as necessary in our teaching contexts?
  • How can we give effective feedback on speaking, and how much? (check out Gabrielle Luoni’s presentation from the recent UECA PD Fest: Giving explicit feedback on speaking errors – the more, the better.
  • What makes meaningful communicative practice?
  • How can students develop speaking beyond the classroom?

This chat has already been held. Read the transcript of the chat here.

For those new to Twitter chats, these posts should get you started:

If you are not sure about Twitter and need a hand to get started, do message Lesley on Facebook or Twitter (@cioccas) or by leaving a comment below.

July Twitter Chat:

Heads up for those who voted for the other topic, we’ll be discussing Extensive Listening: auditory comprehensible input for effective, and efficient, language acquisition as the topic for the next Twitter chat on Sunday 1st July.

This post created by @cioccas

#AusELT Twitter chat: What would you like to talk about on Sunday 3rd June 2018?

We are approaching June which means we need to start planning for our next Twitter chat. That’ll be on Sunday 3rd June at 8:30pm AEST time.

We have a choice of two topics – see descriptions below, then VOTE!

Teaching Speaking: speaking sub-skills, types of speaking, how to give effective feedback, meaningful communicative practice, beyond the classroom.

We’ve seen a few posts on ‘Speaking’ recently on the #AusELT Facebook group, plus it was the theme of recent Sydney MeetELT. so thought it might be a popular topic to take to our Twitter chat. These are some of the topics we thought the chat could focus on:

  • What really are the sub-skills of speaking?
  • What types of speaking come up as necessary in our teaching contexts?
  • How can we give effective feedback on speaking, and how much? (check out Gabrielle Luoni’s presentation from the recent UECA PD Fest: Giving explicit feedback on speaking errors – the more, the better.
  • What makes meaningful communicative practice?
  • How can students develop speaking beyond the classroom?

Extensive Listening: auditory comprehensible input for effective, and efficient, language acquisition.

There seems to be a lot of discussion around about Extensive Reading, but not as much about Extensive Listening. In a recent episode of the We Teach Languages podcast, Beniko Mason talks about her Story Listening and Efficient Acquisition. ‘Efficiency’ is key for her, and her slogan is “Reduce suffering!”, meaning for the students, but when you learn more about the approach, you might agree it relates to teachers as well.  Beniko Mason is trying to change that, and along with Stephen Krashen, has been conducting research and workshops on this approach to developing.  Check out the podcast show notes to find links to her publications and current projects.  A lot of the material there is focused on teaching young learners, but our discussion would be around how to use a similar approach, an Extensive Listening approach in our classrooms.

Please vote in the poll below and we’ll announce the winner on our Facebook page and on Twitter on Monday. The chat will take place on 3rd June at 8:30pm AEST time. (click here to see the time where you are).

Vote here:


What would you like to talk about on Sun 3 June 2018?

For those new to Twitter chats, these posts should get you started:

If you are not sure about Twitter and need a hand to get started, do message Lesley on Facebook or Twitter (@cioccas) or by leaving a comment below.

Visual Literacy – #AusELT Twitter chat 6th May 2018

sunflower image.jpg
image clare.p.mcgrath@gmail.com

This chat has now taken place. Click here to read the transcript

Infographic, kinetic typography, screenager, binge-watch, emoji, meme, vine, augmented reality

John Hughes* lists these additions to our lexical repertoire to highlight the impact of visual communications on our lives and the renewed attention to the use of images in life (and work. Or work-life. Or life-work.) in the introduction to his article Visual Literacy in the English Language Classroom

What is it?

It seems no-one can agree on one definition. The International Visual Literacy Association has apparently spent the last 40+ years working on this, which seems bewildering until you remember the number of different disciplines and perspectives involved. They do quote Debes** as saying

“Visual Literacy refers to a group of vision-competencies a human being can develop by seeing and at the same time having and integrating other sensory experiences. The development of these competencies is fundamental to normal human learning. When developed, they enable a visually literate person to discriminate and interpret the visible actions, objects, symbols, natural or man-made, that he*** encounters in his environment. Through the creative use of these competencies, he is able to communicate with others. Through the appreciative use of these competencies, he is able to comprehend and enjoy the masterworks of visual communication.”

However, it seems everyone agrees that VL is fundamental to learning and living these days, whether understanding and evaluating increasingly multi-sensory / multi-modal experiences and messages, creating and communicating using these, or just plain enjoying them.

For the purposes of this Twitter chat, we’ll be focusing on from still images – photos, sketches, cartoons etc as well as emojis and memes – as well as graphs and charts, infographics and concept maps and graphic organisers, through to moving images from videos to GIFs, and if we can, VR and AR.

So please join in and share your experience, resources and questions. It’s a one-hour injection of ideas and inspiration.

Some of the questions we’ll be using to explore Visual Literacy (VL) are:

  • How do you define ‘visual literacy’ in ELT? What is a ‘visual text’?
  • Is VL reflected in your curriculum? How? / How could it be?
  • What kind of visual imagery do you and your students use / need to use, and why?
  • How do we / can we develop students’ VL skills? How can VL tasks be integrated with language development / practice and with other skills in ELT – analytical ~, critical thinking ~ – as well as with intercultural awareness and CLIL?
  • How does your own VL impact on your choices of and use of visual imagery for your own materials and presentations? What are some of the principles you apply when selecting / creating them?
  • What are your recommended sources for visual imagery? What are some of the tools and software you use to manipulate, create, or edit these? What about annotating, tagging, and other metadata skills?
  • What are your strategies to raise students’ and your colleagues’ awareness of provenance of visual sources, copyright IP and licensing (eg Creative Commons)?

* You may recognise the name John Hughes from the National Geographic Learning titles he’s authored. Here’s a link to an interview with him: Interview: John Hughes on Visual Literacy in the Language Classroom

** Debes, J.L. (1969). The loom of visual literacy. Audiovisual Instruction, 74(8), 25-27, quoted in http://ivla.org/new/what-is-visual-literacy-2/

*** !!!

This chat has now taken place. Click here to read the transcript.

glasses.jpgImage clare.p.mcgrath@gmail.com

This post prepared by @Clare_M_ELT

Classroom Layouts – what do teachers say?

Post by Sandra Pitronaci  – April 2018

In my college we are currently grappling with classroom layouts and re-thinking how they can reflect/promote best practice in teaching and learning. I decided to throw the question out to the #AusELT brains trust to see what the rest of you folk were doing in your various organisations, and was stunned by (and most appreciative of) your interest, your ideas, and the sheer number of responses. So, on Lesley C’s brilliant suggestion, and in ode to you all, here is a summary of your responses for handy reference.

Desks in pairs came up as a first response. Obviously great for pair work, plus easy to split for individual work when needed, or for more effective monitoring of individual students.

The U-shape or horseshoe was another favourite, with one of the reasons being that students cannot hide in such a configuration. The downside of course is the face-threatening element and the possibility of it becoming a teacher-fronted classroom.

Rows came up, more as a method of classroom management, but did not seem to be popular, especially in an ELT classroom where communicative language teaching and learning is the aim.

Small grouped desks came out as king, especially for mixed-ability classes in order to group levels, or as self-guided workstations with different activities per grouping, and students cycling around to each one. Nesting in groups of four is popular, as is rotating students throughout the day. Large groups of eight were also suggested (also see boardroom set-up below). The downside of course is neck-twisting to see the teacher/board. (Perhaps if the board and teacher aren’t always situated in the same traditional place, this could be improved…?)

The circle was suggested for whole-class discussions, and this is known to be a very democratic layout, where the teacher is essentially situated at the same level of ‘power’ as the students.

The boardroom set-up is also in use, and this one fascinates me. Is it more egalitarian, or do boardroom distribution of power laws come into play according to who is sitting where? The teacher who suggested it has six long, narrow tables, and seven elementary students, with each person being able to speak to another and switch partners for different activities. The suggestion was that it can work for up to ten students, depending on room size. Another teacher runs small-group conversation classes at large tables with a similar set-up. And the ‘boardroom’ teacher also noted that as the room is quite large, she asks one student each day to lead the rest of the class in a physical exercise activity in the afternoon. Classroom as soccer field! What is there not to love?!

As for the furniture itself, anything that is quickly and easily rearranged is preferred. Node or pod chairs seem to be favoured, as they allow teachers the freedom to quickly create new groupings with little fuss, and anything on wheels is a plus. Some prefer squares, some prefer circles. Trapezoidal tables in the photo below provided by Nicki Blake, separated for exams and combined for pair- and groupwork (came with thigh-bruising warning); simple square table grouping observed at a UECA PDFest and light tables on castor wheels that students can easily move themselves, courtesy of Lesley Cioccarelli.Photos of classroom furniture, desk, chairs, etc. as described in blog post

I’ve also added here a photo of some of the pod chairs at my centre – as noted by Meredith Macauley, excellent on so many levels for use in ELT classrooms, as they move easily, bags are stored on the tray underneath, and they are especially effective when combined with whiteboard walls around the whole room. The downside is that sometimes the desks are a little too small, and that these small desks are not viable in some of our Foundation and Diploma classrooms, where a minimum desk size is mandated for university exams.

I wanted to make a special mention of some of Virginia Mawer’s use of desks, such as placing them against the outside walls. Such a configuration had never occurred to me, other than when I am trying to get desks out of the way. The suggestion is to have students completing some of their tasks facing the wall, and then turning and facing the centre for group discussions. Virginia also suggested a long runway down the centre of the room as per her photos below, facing either inwards or outwards. I will put a reference to Scrivener below with further ideas on such bold configurations.

Photos of 3 different classroom layouts as described in blog post

All the ideas and suggestions were tempered of course by the needs and type of class, the number of students and the size of the classroom, and the existing furniture. Physical constraints are of course a big issue. Classroom layout is sometimes (often?) governed by simple laws of physics, i.e. the best layout is the one that allows the greatest number of students in the room, especially for those schools in the CBD where pedagogical real estate is both costly and scarce. Some of you spoke of classrooms that are so packed that you can hardly move between desks to reach all the students, let alone reconfigure them. And large, heavy desks seemed to cause similar issues.

Hats off to Tori Bikutoria Uiruson who then brought student voice and choice into the picture, with the mild suggestion of “You could try asking the students…”. Different reactions came up as to how willing students are to move furniture (with most politely doing what the teacher asks) and whether they actually enjoy switching desks throughout the day/week. It was suggested that constant movement can be destabilising for anxious and introverted students, or simply irritating for others, and that students should have more control over how things play out in the classroom. One class would move the desks immediately into groups and then rearrange back into rows for the next teacher so that their teacher wouldn’t get into trouble. My own experience tells me that this is a common scenario, and makes me wonder why we teachers can be so grumpy with each other?

Overall, a more reflective and principled use of groupwork and mixing was proposed, especially for those working with traumatised students, where stability in the classroom might be more effective and appreciated, and simply negotiating the layout with students seemed to be a favoured approach. And then, as all good discussions do, this one eventually (d)evolved into something a little more quirky, courtesy of Clare McGrath, which in this case was Nissan’s self-parking robot chairs. Click this link if you are as intrigued as I was: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FLEgvD7iG-M

As we have all found, the semiotics of our classroom are powerful, and the simple result is: space speaks. Experimenting with how to best utilise that space is a fun prospect, and of course the common thread is that it is highly situated – dependent upon school, learner, space, activity, time.

Thanks once again everyone for all your responses, ideas and links. I’d love to be a fly on a wall, or a student at/not at a desk/in a pod chair/nested in a group/within the horseshoe/sitting on the runway in your classrooms. And I cheekily suggest that we all head slightly towards teaching on the edge of chaos (someone else’s brilliant idea, not mine), rather than by default. Mix your classrooms up, give Scrivener’s hotels, bars and aeroplanes a shot (reference below), get your students used to following the layout you have mapped out and posted up on the door and let them move the furniture themselves before you even arrive, and keep smiling sweetly at those of us who turn grumpy when the ‘leave it as you found it’ rule is broken…

One further question for you all: what about teacher layout? Does where we place ourselves as teacher in the classroom have an effect on student learning? Can we move our desks? Can we put a student at our desk? Can we sit behind the students, or in amongst the students? What effect does intentionally locating and relocating ourselves in the classroom have on the classroom dynamic? Perhaps a topic to throw out to the #AusELT community for experimentation and discussion…

For anyone who wishes to delve further, here are a few good readings on classroom layout and classroom ecology:

‘Classroom layout – what does the research say?’ https://www.teachermagazine.com.au/articles/classroom-layout-what-does-the-research-say  (kindly provided by Stacey Takahashi)

Erhman, M. & Dornyei, Z., 1998, Interpersonal Dynamics in Second Language Education: the visible and invisible classroom, Sage, Thousand Oaks CA. (see pp.91-93 & Appendix E pp. 293-296)

Scrivener, J., 2012, Classroom Management Techniques, Cambridge University Press. (see pp.7-35)

 

Supporting Teachers New to the ELT Profession – #AusELT Twitter chat, 4th March 2018

This chat has now taken place. Click here to read the transcript.

Blindfolded teacher with one hand behind back image

A new teacher can feel like they’re starting out blindfolded with one hand tied behind their back.

The focus of the chat will be on supporting teachers that are new to the ELT profession and we are looking forward to hearing your stories whether you are new to the industry or not. We would like to extend a welcome to all new and experienced teachers and hope that this will be an opportunity to get a few tips together that novice teachers can follow.

We will structure that chat around the following questions:

  • What has helped you as a new teacher?
  • How can new teachers support each other?
  • How can experienced teachers support new teachers?
  • How can new teachers grow in their careers?
3 teachers with a #loveteaching sign

Share your love of teaching!

This chat has now taken place. Click here to read the transcript.

 

[Photos taken from https://www.flickr.com/photos/eltpics/ by @CliveSir & Daniela Krajnakova, used under a CC Attribution Non-Commercial license, http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/3.0/%5D

This post created by @heimuoshutaiwan & @cioccas

How to engage language learners online – #AusELT Twitter chat, 4th February 2018

from ELTPICS 6711545545_02ccdba940_m

Our first Twitter chat for 2018 took place on Sunday 4th February,
This chat has now taken place. Click here to read the transcript.

Because we’re running our awesome video competition on Engaging Learners Online, we thought we’d also make that the topic of our first Twitter chat for the year. That way you can brainstorm your ideas, or get some support for what you’re not sure about, by using our community as a sounding board. Of course, even if you’re not planning on entering the video competition, we want you to join us to discuss anything to to with this broad topic.

Please join us with your questions and thoughts about…

  • your success stories in engaging students in online language learning
  • what are some of the hard things about engaging learners online?
  • what do your learners think about online learning in the classroom?

And also your ideas for…

  • what are some strategies for engaging learners online?
  • what are some things we should be mindful of when encouraging students to go online for their language learning?

We look forward to engaging with you on Sunday!

This chat has now taken place. Click here to read the transcript.

 

This post prepared by @cioccas

[Photo taken from https://www.flickr.com/photos/eltpics/5285506614 by @CliveSir, used under a CC Attribution Non-Commercial license, http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/3.0/%5D