NOTE Due to the current coronavirus emergency, the remainder of this series will be online
For 2019/20, we have altered our teacher development workshop series and turned it into a blended course – one to choose if you're looking for new directions to strengthen your teaching.
It's for teachers of adults who want a practical programme that covers:
The eight face-to-face sessions are described below, though the precise content may be adjusted according to participant needs.
The course includes:
Adults Session 8 — Friday April 17, 2020 with Gerard, 10.00-12.00
How can we help our higher level students interact and raise awareness of inclusion? Can we really get them to see things from a different perspective? We look at areas of disability, mental health issues, women's roles and bullying. In this workshop we'll explore resources and how to exploit them for content, teaching techniques and language. This is aimed at teaching intermediate and above.
At the end of the session you should have lots of new ideas and be able to use them in your classes the following week.
Adults Session 1 — Friday November 29, 2019 with Shaun, 10.00-12.00
Teachers, learners, materials writers and assessment boards often strive for authenticity in language use. Definition of the concept is not trouble-free but balanced against the alternatives – contrived, artificial language input and use, most practitioners would ally themselves easily with the concept of authenticity.
The focus of this workshop will be on two key areas:
Authenticity of text
In an era of globalised English(es), what written and spoken texts are suitable for our learners? How can simplification and elaboration of texts be employed to scaffold their understanding?
Authenticity of task
Whether it be in terms of assessment or classroom activity, the real-world nature of tasks should be emphasised in our practice. Do coursebook tasks and activities match up to the real needs of our learners? Do examinations assess what we truly do with language in the real world?
We will explore these issues in the contexts of general English, exam preparation, online learning and materials development.
Adults Session 2 — Friday December 13, 2019 with Natasha, 10.00-12.00
Vocabulary size is of crucial importance in our learners’ language development. It’s estimated that we need between 95-98% of running words in a text to be able to understand the overall meaning of a text. The danger of overlooking vocabulary while focussing exclusively on structure was emphasised by David Wilkins back in the 1970s in his now oft-quoted phrase "Without grammar very little can be conveyed, without vocabulary nothing can be conveyed".
One of the key issues in vocabulary learning is remembering the words themselves. This workshop will look at a variety of practical techniques and strategies you can use with your learners to help them retain vocabulary. We will explore what makes language memorable, as well as how to optimise learners' memory and engaging their ability to notice, store, retrieve and reactivate language.
Adults Session 3 — Friday January 17, 2020 with Shaun, 10.00-12.00
Individual lessons and whole courses are often judged in terms of whether or how far they meet pre-agreed aims and objectives. Such a view is reinforced through teaching qualifications, institutionally standardised assessment targets and classroom observation practices. This outcomes-oriented view of language lessons is in conflict with what we know about the second language learning process. Indeed, many methodology writers encourage teachers to deviate from their plans, to "teach the learners not the plan" and to provide language "at the point of need."
This workshop will explore:
Adults Session 4 — Friday January 31, 2020 with Shaun, 10.00-12.00
Listening marks the first step of language development for hearing individuals. As such, its importance in allowing the necessary input for language acquisition to take place should not be underestimated. We use listening in order to learn a language. On the other hand, listening is a difficult skill and often causes learners problems. Perhaps we need more of a focus on learning how to listen as well as using recordings to teach grammar and vocabulary.
The prevailing approach of setting gist tasks and comprehension questions leads to a strong focus on answers rather than the processes and strategies we need to arrive at these answers. Where learners don’t succeed, they are offered reassurance and told further practice are the best remedies.
This workshop will explore a variety of other possibilities available for dealing with learner problems in listening, including activities to focus on decoding, receptive phonology and interpretation of message.
Adults Session 5 — Friday February 21, 2020 with Shaun, 10.00-12.00
In both our private and professional lives, technology plays an ever-increasing role. Digital tools are often hailed as a solution to many learning and teaching issues but without critically examining their purpose and use we can often be complicit in a scattergun approach.
This workshop will explore a range of technological tools that can be implemented in a variety of settings, from mobile devices in the face-to-face classroom to online learning platforms with their various potentials. We will look at how to integrate technology into our classes and how to get students using their own devices to foster autonomy and learning outside the classroom or between online sessions.
Adults Session 6 — Friday March 6, 2020 with Shaun, 10.00-12.00
Phonology is an area that can often be overlooked in our practice. Teachers either report a lack of confidence in the area or that it doesn’t produce the immediate gains seen with vocabulary or grammar learning. Teaching materials may deal with pronunciation on a surface level or even as a separate entity, rather than integrating it with routine aspects of language and learning.
This workshop will explore a range of practical techniques to help you gain confidence in key aspects of phonology: individual sounds, connected speech, stress and intonation. You will also take away tasks and activities to integrate phonology into your teaching and help learners with their listening and speaking.
Adults Session 7 — Friday March 20, 2020 with Shaun, 10.00-12.00
This workshop follows up on work done and ideas explored in Learning Opportunities and Reactivity in the Classroom. The weight of evidence from second language acquisition research suggests that approaches that focus on fluency first and deal with language aspects second is the most effective way to speed up our learners’ natural process of learning English. To this end, approaches like task-based language teaching (TBLT), Dogme and Community Language Learning (CLL) are often posited as a way of breaking away from a coursebook-led, "Grammar McNuggets" (Thornbury, 2010) approach to teaching.
This workshop will look at some of the advantages and challenges of these approaches, as well as examples of engaging tasks that can be implemented easily in our classrooms, be they for business, ESP or general purposes.
Shaun Sweeney is a tutor on our CELTA and Delta courses. He has been in ELT since 1999 and has worked in many teaching and training contexts outside of Spain - with longer stints in the UK (London), Italy (Milan) and Japan.
He is keen on professional development, is a CELTA assessor, presents at conferences including IATEFL, is following an MA in Applied Linguistics at Nottingham University, blogs and can be found on Twitter.
Natasha Young has been teaching English for over 15 years. While usually to be found criss-crossing the city of Barcelona teaching in-company classes, she also teaches adults, teens and exam classes at IH Barcelona and has worked in Chile and at the University of Manchester.
She is passionate about increasing learners' confidence inside the classroom and encouraging them to be self-sufficient learners outside it.
Gerard McLoughlin is a tutor on CELTA and DELTA courses and a CELTA assessor, Gerard has taught and trained in many countries.
He has an MA in ELT and is President of TESOL Spain.
Gerard regularly gives talks at conferences and is a co-author of the coursebooks iTalk and Next Generation. He has also written Teacher’s Books for Outcomes.