Thursday, 18 December 2014

Why professional development helps you...

I have spoken to you many times about how I constantly try to improve as a teacher and as a student myself, believing that both of these aims make me better equipped and more effective in my work and my own studies.

Now I have found a great article from Cambridge English Teacher which support all of these theories, so I thought I would share them with you. Here is a short introduction video.

The articles says there are 3 main reasons why professional development helps you as a teacher:

1. It Helps You Help Your Learners

Discover more impactful ways to introduce language. More engaging ways to practise it. Smarter classroom strategies or planning practices. Substantial evidence shows that learners learn more when teachers learn too.*

2. Developing is Motivating

It's all too easy to just "teach the same lesson" again and again. But if you're trying new approaches, reflecting, and improving your practice, then every lesson is different – which is essential to feeling satisfied and rewarded.

3. The Little Things Add Up

Taking a long course or qualification is valuable, but so is learning one new thing from reading one short article. Often, that's all we have time for, and that's fine: just 15 minutes per weekday makes 60 hours per year.
Have a look at the full version of all the articles HERE. I found it really interesting. Let me know what you think?


The Teacher Abroad

Monday, 15 December 2014

Put yourself in the right environment

Teaching and learning environments can have a huge impact on all levels of our consciousness and affect how we both teach and learn. Thomas Edison, the inventor of the long-lasting light bulb, once said that 'environment is contagious', meaning that the places we live and work, the people we know, things we read etc can have an influence on us and how we act. In order to become a successful inventor, Edison apparently placed himself in the company of people who were much smarter than him, and was then able to learn from them.

Edison firmly believed that our thoughts are directly affected by the environments that they are subjected to. For example, have you ever noticed how calm you feel if you visit a beautiful natural environment, or perhaps when visiting an art gallery.

Thursday, 11 December 2014

Less is more... often!

Being a teacher is something that is sometimes difficult to escape from and an effective work-life balance isn't necessarily easy to achieve, especially when your students are in different time zones and all demanding your attention seemingly 24-hours a day.

It is sometime easy to overlook the need to switch-off, even if it is only for a few minutes between classes, or before your next student comes online. Often after work, or even before I actually begin, I have emails to review, texts to look over, and of course lessons to plan. Sometimes, the simplest ideas are the best, so in order to make emails and correspondence from my students easier to digest in a short amount of time, I am going to attempt to encourage them to communicate in as few words as possible.

This should have two direct benefits.

Firstly, the emails I have to read will be much shorter and to the point, meaning I will have to spend less time reading and digesting them before replying or filing.

Secondly, it will require my students to be more thoughtful about the actual words they use and hopefully encourage them to use more direct language, as well as saving me precious minutes. As the cartoon above shows quite simply, this is something this as ESL teachers we often overlook. Students need to know good English but also know how to be concise!

Anyway, it is a simple idea, but aren't they often the best?

For more teacher related work-life balance tips, take a look at this article in the Telegraph.

The English Teacher.

Monday, 8 December 2014

Southampton University/British Council MA English Language Teaching: Online

Want to study more?
Want to do it from the comfort of your own home?
Then try the course from Southampton University and the British Council for an MA in English Language Teaching.

Programme overview
"This entirely online Master’s programme studied part-time by distance learning has been developed by the University of Southampton in collaboration with the British Council.

The programme provides postgraduate-level study in a number of important areas of current theory and practice in applied linguistics and language teaching. It provides English language teaching professionals with a route to advanced knowledge and skills in the English language curriculum, pedagogy and assessment.

It also gives the opportunity to update knowledge in a flexible and supported learning environment."

Find out further information HERE.

You can also watch a video presentation of the course HERE:

Then more information about how to apply for the course can be found HERE.

I may just see you there online!


The Teacher Abroad

Friday, 5 December 2014

How to read a mind!

I want to tell you about a new short course (6 hours) from Futurelearn. You can find it HERE.

What is it? It is course that looks at the field of cognitive poetics. Specifically...

"This takes our current best knowledge of language and mind in order to understand what happens when we read fictional text... and how only a simple knowledge can give you rich understanding, both of literature and of your own mind."
 Have a look at this intro from the course...

Check it out... it's free and you might like it! I'm hoping it will help me in choosing materials that I use in class, how what we read relates to language, and how I can connect more with my students.

Why not join in and I will see you there, in the virtual classroom, online!


The Teacher