EFL

“Can you…?” Ice Breaker – (Most Levels)

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Here’s a fun ice breaker that works for most proficiency levels. I’ve used this for years and it has never failed.

You’ll notice there’s some unusual language (for the classroom, at least) in there – “wheelie”, “impression”, “party trick” and so on – that can provoke some interactive problem solving between partners. Also, they are unlikely to have answered these questions in an English class before so I’ve found that the students are more lively and engaged than the usual “What’s your favourite…?” ice breakers.

For lower proficiency levels: By definition, all the questions have Yes/No answers, so for lower levels, it’s a good idea to go through some conversation strategies. It helps prevent them blowing through it in 2 minutes just answering “yes” or “no”. Positive answers need an example. For negative answers, they can “explain why not”, “tell a related story”, or “tell a friend or relative’s story”. I get one student to ask me a question so I can demonstrate the answers.

THERE IS ONE QUESTION SPECIFIC TO SOUTH KOREA (where I teach) BUT YOU CAN USE THIS AS A SPRINGBOARD TO YOUR LOCATION’S ANTHEM.

Click the link below to download.

Can you Partner Questions

 

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10 – how fair is your English test? – QUICKIE

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@MOTcast

www.mastersoftesol.com

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I’m alive! Back after five months with a quickie that (hopefully) gives us a foundation for a deeper look at this topic later this year with a real expert.

We’re looking at TESTING & EVALUATION – The main priciples in this episode:

  • Practicality
  • Reliability
  • Validity
  • Authenticity
  • Washback

Lots of info comes from this excellent book:

Language Assessment: Principles and Classroom Practices – Brown & Abeywickrama

09 – Bilingual Mythbusting – Marilyn Vihman

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To a monolingual, being bilingual or multilingual seems magical. More than one language in one head – no one can live at that speed! As a result, some unusual misconceptions have grown around linguistic phenomena that, globally, is far more common than speaking a single language.

Marilyin Vihman has significant experience in bilingualism both personally and academically. In this episode, recorded in her office at the University of York, we look at some of the myths about bilingual development and which are outright wrong and which lean closer to the truth than others.

The myths we bust – or, in some cases, bruise – are:

  1. Bilinguals are two monolinguals in one head
  2. Bilinguals start to speak later than monolinguals
  3. Babies soak up languages like sponges
  4. Some languages are more primitive than others, so are easier to learn
  5. English is widely spoken (as a second language) because it has less grammar
  6. Parents pass on mistakes and non-native accents to their children
  7. There’s one right way to raise a bilingual child

(Adapted from Pearson (2008))

Marilyn Vihman at University of York

 

08 – English as a Lingua Franca in the ESL classroom – Martin Dewey

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[This episode follows up on issues first covered in episode 4 with Jennifer Jenkins.]

English as a Lingua Franca (ELF) is a perplexing thing. It’s not an approach. It’s not a methodology. It’s a perspective. So there’s nothing for teachers to really get solid a grip on. This can get frustrating for teachers and can leave us more confused than enlightened.

In this episode, Martin Dewey of King’s College London towels off this slippery subject with a classroom perspective. Rethink how much attention we give certain language aspects in our classes, moving away from the native speaker norm, focusing on how students adapt their speech for the specific situation.

M’Kay…

Due to the time difference, I was up at dawn for this Skype interview so I was a little sleepy and, yes, I do say “curriculums” at one point!

If you like the show, SUBSCRIBE! Questions, comments, requests to…

@MOTcast

www.masterofTESOL.com

Further reading:

V.O.I.C.E  – Vienna Oxford International Corpus of English

“Understanding English as a Lingua Franca” on Amazon

“Exploring ELF” on Amazon

Martin Dewey’s Research

Jennifer Jenkins on Amazon

07 – Why your ESL lesson bombed – Tom Randolph

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In this episode we hear from TESOL methodology trainer Tom Randolph about some of the reasons ESL / EFL lessons don’t succeed, and how to avoid it happening. I chip in with my own experience as a teacher trainer based on the classes I have monitored that didn’t go well.

There’re plenty of solid tips and even activity ideas in this conversation, so there’s something for everyone, regardless of experience.

I’d love to hear your ideas too. Don’t be shy!

@MOTcast

www.mastersofTESOL.com

 

06 – The ESL / EFL student brain and how we learn – Stephen van Vlack

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As teachers, we need to be aware of how students are learning. Different brain systems need to work together in order to retain information and, most importantly, integrate it into existing systems. So, what is the best approach for teachers to give the best chance for students to improve? Stephen van Vlack slices open the brain (metaphorically) to show us how the different brain systems interact and the most effective ways for students to improve.

This is one of the more difficult subjects we’ve tackled on MOT, but Stephen breaks it down into an understandable view of how information and perception affects language learning and retention. Read the rest of this entry »

05 – How to teach English intonation – Dorothy Chun

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One of the most overlooked elements of teaching spoken language is intonation. Yet it’s extremely important for conveying meaning. Traditional methods of teaching intonation tended to be simple listen-and-repest drills.

Our guest for this episode, Prof. Dorothy Chun, has researched using visualisation to teach intonation, where students are able to see the contours of a native speaker and compare it to their own production.

I spoke to Dorothy Chun over Skype, defying the 16-hour time difference, to get the expert opinion on the ‘how’ and ‘why’ of teaching intonation.

If you never do any intonation practice, this will be a useful guide for how to introduce it to your classes.

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www.mastersofTESOL.com

Dorothy Chun

PRAAT Visualization software (free) (Windows and Mac)

Jazz Chants