Contemporary English Workshop ICPNA May 2015

Dear Teachers, as promised during my presentation, here are the digital handouts of the Contemporary English Workshop I presented at the Binational Centers Convention in Lima on May 29th.

As in the previous post, about the Effective Speaking Classes Workshop, one of the slides has a link directing you to the video I showed in the presentation. Just click on them and you’ll get there.

It was a great pleasure working with such a highly qualified and demanding audience and I hope you enjoyed the presentation as much as I enjoyed presenting this workshop to such a participative audience.

By the way, right after the presentation, I came across this VERY INTERESTING post about new English words, exemplifying the ECL thing we discussed in the workshop. Interesting, innit? 🙂

Should you have any comments or questions, please, feel free to post them here and I’ll be more than please to answer each one of them.

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Effective Speaking Classes Workshop ICPNA May 2015

Dear teachers, as agreed during my presentation, here are the digital handouts of the Effective Speaking Classes workshop I presented at the Binational Centers convention in Lima on May 29th.

Some of the slides below have a link to the website or video they illustrate. Click on them and you’ll be directed to the sources.

I’d like to state again that, for me it was a HUGE pleasure to be a speaker at such an important event with such a high-quality, demanding audience.

I hope you all enjoyed it as much as I did, and if you have any questions or comments, feel free to post them here. I’ll be more than pleased to answer each one of them.

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Eduardo Trindade’s Blended Learning Workshop @ BrazTesol 2014

Dear teachers! As agreed during my workshop at BrazTesol 2014, here are the slides I’ve used there. Since I cannot link the PDF slides to the videos, I’m posting them separately, with an explanation to which slide they refer to.

The first video I’ve used there is the one with interesting (some actually shocking) facts about our modern world. If you wish to explore this further you can check the Shift Happens wikispace.

The second one is about the School in the Cloud project, by Sugata Mitra. Here I really suggest you further explore his concepts and ideas. IMHO Sugata will be seen in the future as the guy who started changing education in the 21st century. Getting acquainted to his principles and ideas will help a lot those of you who are already interested in the Flipped Classroom concept.

Well, I think this is it for now! It has been a great pleasure sharing a bit with you guys! Hope you liked it as much as I did!

See you soon in a next post!

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Xtranormal for Education

In one of my previous posts, I have talked to you about the Xtranormal website, which is a very interesting tool that can give your students’ dialogs a whole new dimension.

Instead of simply writing a dialog on a piece of paper, when they have to practice the written form of any given functional situation, with Xtranormal they can create short animated movies with the same simple dialog they use to write in class.

Even though the website has not been primarily developed with education purposes, it started being used by loads of language teachers who saw in Xtranormal a nice tool to motivate students create nice and engaging dialogs.

The result is the Xtranormal new platform, designed specifically for education purposes. I must confess I’ve just got the email with the advert, and have not yet been able to browse the new Xtranormal for education platform. But I wanted to share the news with you even before being able to check it, because for what I know about the website, I’m pretty confident about the quality of their new product!

Hope you enjoy it!

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Teachers TV

One of the purposes of this blog, as my readers already know, is to try and help teachers of English find web resources to use in their classes. In some previous posts you can find lots of suggestions of nice websites and activities to use with the web in the classroom of English.

As blended learning is becoming stronger and stronger and every teacher is now looking for interesting ideas to incorporate ICT into their instruction, and as my job requires, I’ve been searching for interesting web tools in the past few years. And because of the nice things one can find on the cyberspace, this search has almost become an obsession for this blogger.

In this post, I’d like to present you to a very useful website called Teachers TV. A colleague has recently sent me the link to this site and after browsing through it, I can tell you it’s surely a great resource website with ready-made video activities for you to work with your students.

The Teachers TV website offers short snippets with interesting suggestions of activities to go with them. And what’s interesting about it is that, since it’s a UK based website for all subjects, there are clips that work with lots of cross curricular activities for English language teachers to use in their classes.

Here’s a very nice example of a short functional video that might lead to a good conversation practice on a specific grammar or lexical topic if well explored. By the end of the snippet there are some questions intended to get students guessing what happens next, and right below the video box you’ll find a downloadable word file with ideas on how to best explore the clip.

Once you browse the Teachers TV website you’ll find out you can choose the cross curricular subject you want to work with. But let’s suppose you’re not interested in cross curricular subjects or videos. In that case, you can choose English and then select the skill you want to work with.

IMHO, the most interesting video-based activities you can use in class are the ones which work speaking or listening skills. But with Teachers TV you can also find interesting videos that might help you explore other skills as well, even the ones that, in principle, you’d not expect to explore with a short snippet.

Have fun!

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American or British English?

Most ELT specialists nowadays insist that we should not make this clear distinction between American and British English and, instead, we should teach our students what recent trends call International English.

Honestly, I understand them and I think we should always try to teach our students more than just one version of English. On the other hand, saying that English is becoming more and more international and that we can forget about the distinction between both types of English might not be completely true.

I’ve recently come across a very interesting blog where I found a post with a short video proving that even native speakers have some problems when they have to face the differences between the American and British English.

In the video below, you’ll see Emma Watson (Harry Potter’s Hermione Granger) talking to David Letterman about those cultural differences she had to face when she started college in the US.

This is, IMHO, crucial in order not to neglect explaining those differences to our students, even if we decide our teaching is gonna be based on the so called International English.

After all, a rubber might be a simple school object in the UK, whereas in the US it might have a completely different meaning. And that’s just one very interesting example of the confusions we might create by not considering the differences in British and American English in our teaching.

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We all need management skills

Once I heard a friend, who was studying to be an engineer, complaining about having to study management for a semester: “I don’t need to learn management skills, I don’t want to be a manager, anyway!”, he argued almost in despair.

Of course I laughed. It was funny the way he put it. But at that time I was around my twenties, didn’t have the same content I have now in my “life bag”, and couldn’t disagree much. Now, almost twenty years later, I reckon my friend was completely mistaken.

In fact, all professional areas I can think of, in a way or another, profit from having professionals with good management skills. Even in personal life, if you don’t have good management skills you might end up losing a lot of things.

But in the business world things are even more complicated. Once you stop looking for labels indicating whether or not you need to know about management you’ll see that, in most cases, the need for those management skills are there without being even noticed.

In an editorial department of a publishing house, for example, good editors (although some don’t know that) need very good management skills for dealing with the team of authors, providers, art staff and a lot of other people who are involved in the project they’re editing.

Besides that, if editors cannot manage their own time, they will never deliver things on time and thus, won’t be considered desirable professionals. And that applies to any job I can think of, as time management is an issue in all professional areas nowadays. After all, despite the cliché, “time is money”.

What about teachers?

I’m sorry my friend but, undoubtedly, you, teacher, must also have very good management skills in order to succeed as a teacher. Of course those skills have to come together with a lot of others I don’t need to mention here.

But teachers who cannot manage, for example, their own groups surely lack management skills and this lack of command (without having to impose fear) is certainly going to prevent them from getting good teaching jobs once their reputation is known.

So, if you’re a graduated teacher and you’re looking for a specific course on something different from what you do, but, at the same time, something you could apply in your current professional area, I suggest you go look for a management skills course.

If you take a good course on this subject, the next time you’re faced with management situations, that aren’t labeled but certainly demand a good management command from you, it’s possible that things will run smoother.

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