I'd like to tell you about how I've been going to the beach every day since my arrival in Sydney, but my first week Down Under has been fairly restricted… You guessed it - I tested positive for Covid last Sunday so I've had seven days of self-isolation. Not much fun, but at least I haven't been too ill and I'm back in the saddle now.
I've been using the time (since I felt better at least) to talk to people about my Video Creation for Educators course (VoiCE), so if you're thinking that my work/life balance isn't bad and you're interested in making video like I do, to attract more learners, promote yourself or sell online courses, it's not too late to sign up for a one to one chat with me about the course starting in April. I'm also keen to widen participation, so I'm offering a FREE SCHOLARSHIP place on the course. If you'd like to make an application for this, send me an email with 'VoiCE Scholarship' in the subject line and 300 words (max) telling me why you think you should be the recipient of this award.
OK. Let's get on. My newsletter this week has a bit of a theme of questions - let's get started.
Questions are a fundamental part of any teacher's toolkit and I've made a few videos about different kinds of questions over the past year, so I thought that for this section I'd bring them all together. These are mainly aimed at trainees and novice teachers, but there may be some thoughts here for the more experienced of you, too. There's a video on questions to elicit vocabulary, one on instruction checking questions and finally, one on different questions to check meaning. If this isn't enough and you want a more comprehensive overview of concept checking, you might also like my course Concept Checking Made Easy.
As well as thinking about the kind of questions that are useful, I thought that it might be a good idea to identify those that AREN'T, so this week's new video looks at some of those. This is the first in what I think will probably be a series on the kind of problems that trainee and novice teachers often have and the kind of traps that I see them falling into in teaching practice. I'm calling it 'TP Potholes' so look out for more coming soon.
Finally, something for you more experienced teachers. Last week, I introduced you to the developmental webinars put on by National Geographic Learning and this week I came across another publisher who's offering a wealth of free materials. Helbling Languages have a stable of authors that reads like the Who's Who of our industry and there are lots of interesting talks in the archive that you can access. In the spirit of the theme of questions, here are a couple that you might like:
When is it OK for students (and teachers) to use their own language? By Phillip Kerr
Where do students get language from and how do they learn it best? By Jeremy Harmer
OK - that's it from me for this week. I hope that some of this is helpful. Now I'm finally off to the beach!