Dec 12

Reflection Challenge- Week 5

Week 5

What does it look like?

Reflective Practice is a great way to develop your teaching. This is the final in a series of five videos, helping you to reflect on your practice in an objective and specific way. This week, we're looking at the visual experience that your learners have and some hints on making it more engaging and attractive.

Hi. This month, I’ve been giving you weekly challenges to examine your teaching in a data led way and reflect on your practice- how are you getting on with them? I hope it’s been an interesting journey. I’m Jo Gakonga from ELT-Training.com and this is the last challenge in this series.

We’ve done a lot of examining your talk, so this week, I’m changing the focus a bit. Let’s look at the visual experience that your learners have. I think that what your learners see is really important, especially if you are working online. I’m not sure about you, but I find that it’s much easier to relate to people when they’ve all got their videos on, for example. It feels much more like a real class and it’s easier to build a rapport.

But what about the information that you want to share with them? Is it important that it’s attractive? I’d argue that it is. If I were cooking you a meal, I’d try to make it look nice. It might have exactly the same nutritional value if I just piled it into a bowl, but you might be much more inclined to enjoy it (and eat it and remember eating it!) if it’s arranged nicely on a plate. Is that stretching the analogy too far?! So, how can you make your lessons visually appealing, especially when you are teaching online and you can’t rely on your physical presence so much? I want you to look through your lesson again- just 20 minutes of it and be aware of what the visual expereince is like for your learners. I’d say that there are two things to look out for:

The first is using great pictures and this is super easy to do without breaking copyright- use Pixabay or Morguefile or Unsplash

The next is text – remember that a lot of your learners are probably accessing your lesson on a smaller screen- maybe a tablet, maybe a phone- and it’s better if there’s less text on a slide and more slides.

So- 20 minutes. Every minute on the minute. Use a timer to help you https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y-AYC3_DbpY Don’t cheat. What do the learners see on the their screens? Make a note. Is it the class with videos on? The class with videos off? A slide? An image? Text? Their writing on a virtual whiteboard? Something else? Fill in a grid like this. Now, look back again. If there’s text, is the slide crowded? Could you split it into two slides? If you’re using images, are they engaging? Is there anything that you’d change for next time? Have a go and as always, feel free to email me and let me know how you get on.

OK- That’s it. A month’s worth of observational challenges. I hope that you’ve found them helpful and interesting and remember that these are exercises you can come back to again and again over time. Thanks for watching and I’ll see you soon.
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