Essential Online Tools and Activities for Summer School Teachers – Part 1

With summer being around the corner and summer schools being a huge business in the ELT industry, I decided to share some ideas which may be useful to both experienced and new summer school teachers. The following was used in a webinar I presented earlier this month as part of Moodle MOOC 6.

Here, you can watch the recording of that webinar:

This post is the first part of that webinar and focuses on building rapport and engaging students in out-of-class communication.

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There is no doubt that during summer there are so many better things to do than working 12-15 hours per day, running up and down a campus, teaching 50 teenagers/day, and organising activities. Coming from a country whose summer has been the object of jealousy for many other people, it is always very hard for be to get on a plane and head to the north. But… Continue reading

Use Technology to Help Learners Develop Gist Reading Skills

One of the challenges I face with learners’ reading skills development is training them to read for the gist of a text, i.e. skimming. “A typical skimming task would be a general question from the teacher, such as ‘Is this passage about Jill’s memories of summer or winter?’” (Scrivener, 2005:185) Another skimming task is to ask students read the text in order to check whether they guessed correctly in a preceding prediction task.

How many times, though, haven’t you seen learners not trying to find an answer quickly? How many times do learners use their pens to follow every single word of the passage? How many times have you stopped and asked them “Will you read every word of the text? (Students answer: No), Do you care if there are any unknown words? (Students answer: No),” etc.?

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Breaks During the Lesson

I was thinking the other day how hard it must be for a student to spend 45, 50, 60, or in some cases 90 minutes in a classroom. Not only do we expect them to behave in the best possible way, we also expect them to be focused and responsive. While thinking all these, I asked myself “Isn’t that too much? Don’t we forget something?” And, basically, we do!

We keep on reading and writing about the effects of technology on our learners’ lives, thinking, expectations etc. but it seems that we forget to think the effects it has on them as human beings. What is the key word we all associate with technology and the web? Speed! Everything happens fast and the younger one is, the less able s/he is to stay focused for long.

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