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ELT workshops: teaching English to adults

About the 2016/17 series

A series of 8 two-hour workshops designed as a cohesive series forming a course in teacher development for teachers of adults.

Teaching English to adults

Participants may enrol for all eight sessions, or for individual sessions.

Teachers attending the whole course of eight sessions will receive a certificate at the end of the course. Certificates will not be issued for single sessions.

Best practice: why do we do what we do and what do the students really think about it

TD Session 1 — November 4, 2016, 10.00-12.00

It is quite common in my place of work to see students of all ages running up and down corridors dictating things to each other. Teachers seem to like this activity but I wonder what the students thing the aim of it is? The thirty-year-olds might think they had a good workout but how has their English improved as a result of this? Sometimes I think we are doing the right things for the wrong reasons. In this session we’ll be evaluating a broad section of common classroom practices.

Myths and legends: learner styles

TD Session 2 — November 18 10.00-12.00

How do you cope with a student who says she is an abstract/sequential learner, or the one who tells you she is a cognitive, micro-concrete learner with leanings towards the kinaesthetic? With today's plethora of learning styles many teachers must be wishing they'd never done that CELTA course and gone into banking instead. In this session we’ll see how we can cope.

Receptive skills

TD Session 3 — December 2 10.00-12.00

As with speaking skills, the skills of reading and listening don't really get a look in. We test them all the time with comprehension questions, but of what use are these to students when they are confronted with written or spoken text in real life – nobody is going to give them comprehension questions.

In this workshop we will be looking at receptive skills sub-skills and ways of dealing with these at all levels.

The language we teach: grammar without tenses and the grammar of words

TD Session 4 — January 13, 2017 10.00-12.00

Course books are full of lessons on verbs; the present simple, the past continuous, the future perfect continuous passive etc. but is this really what the language is all about? Consider the difference in meaning of the following: I only saw Maria. Only I saw Maria. I saw only Maria. Meaning differences here are caused by grammar, but not by "tense". In this session we'll be looking at what grammar really is, syntax and morphology.

Non-verbal communication: dealing with cultures in the classroom

TD Session 5 — Friday February 17 10.00-12.00

Perhaps one day one of your students will go to China on business but forget his/her business cards, disaster is sure to follow. Or what about that student who eats the tajine with his left hand in Morocco? In Spain they kiss, in Japan they bow but how would you feel if a Japanese person kissed you when being introduced?

Some say 75% of communication is non-verbal, but even if only 5% is, your students could be in for a rough time if they get it wrong. In this session we’ll be discussing the role of cultural norms in our classrooms.

Reactive teaching

TD Session 6 — March 3 10.00-12.00

It is probably true to say that most teachers base their classes on pre-selected language points, very often whatever is coming up next in a course book. This approach concurs with the idea that a subject is easier to study when broken down into its component parts, but doesn’t concur with current beliefs on language learning.

The current epistemology suggests we learn things "at the point of need", that is when we notice the need for a chunk of language to express something we are trying to say or write we learn it. The teacher can help the student at these "points of need" by supplying the linguistic form that fills the gap in the student's pool of English. This is what we will be investigating in this workshop. We will be looking at a handy teaching tool and the hundreds of ways it can be used in the classroom to help with grammar vocabulary and pronunciation.

Teacher talk: the good, the bad and the ugly

TD Session 7 — March 17 10.00-12.00

Telling anecdotes, live listening, open and closed question types, quality and quantity – all relate to teacher talk in positive and negative ways.

In this workshop we will be assessing the teacher's voice in the classroom to see where and when it is, or is not, a useful teaching tool.

SLA past, present and future

TD Session 8 — March 31 10.00-12.00

There are many theories regarding how we learn second languages and many of these inform common classroom practices today, but where to next? Will current practices die out like dinosaurs and, if so, what might replace them?

In this workshop we will be exploring the past and looking to the future.

See also

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Young Learner workshops




Roger Hunt
Roger is Head of Education at IH Barcelona and is a tutor on both CELTA and DELTA courses -- and many of our other courses, too

Aims of the series

Roger says:

The underlying aims of these workshops are twofold: firstly to rethink some attitudes about language and language learning which have perhaps become taken for granted and ritualized; and secondly to provide those attending with practical, classroom ideas for experimentation to try out some of this rethinking.

Current computer-based research into language has revealed we may not be giving students a complete picture and that discourse and pragmatics frequently suggest more traditional approaches to language have gaping holes: we will be trying to fill these gaps in the workshops.

Equally many teachers may have become disillusioned with the same, tired old teaching recipes and are likely to appreciate some of the new teaching ideas presented.


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