Initially, when teaching in IEPs, I used Extensive Reading with intermediate students. These students were already accustomed to reading some in English, although they usually only did so for class purposes. Day (2011) has found several benefits of using Extensive Reading--it can improve reading comprehension, help students employer greater use of reading strategies, increase reading speed, and increase writing proficiency and vocabulary. Plus, because students often enjoy it, they become more excited about reading in general.Read More
If you haven't considered using Twitter in your classes, I'd encourage you to think it over. Even in grad school, the idea of using Twitter for language teaching appealed to me, and I even did a few projects and lesson plans that incorporated Twitter.
It wasn't until my first year of teaching at the University of Oregon that I actually decided to try it out with students. Initially, we used Twitter in class to talk about Extensive Reading selections. I wanted to build classroom community and drum up some more enthusiasm about the books students were reading, and I thought that Twitter could be an excellent avenue for doing so.
This year, I've been using Twitter in the class with my Reading 100 students. Twitter is especially useful for this population (mostly Saudi) because the majority of my students already used Twitter for personal reasons. Their reading abilities are rather limited, so navigating a course management system like Moodle or Blackboard would be challenging for them. Twitter is probably the easiest way that I can get them to access links and resources that I want them to use. It's also a beneficial way to switch up a somewhat normal classroom activity like dictations or answer reading comprehension questions. I think the one caveat when using any sort of technology in language teaching is to work hard to ensure technology is being used for its own sake, and that there is a greater pedagogical reason to choose to use a web 2.0 tools. Often, I find with Twitter, the reason using it makes so much sense is because I am able to provide feedback more frequently and faster than if I didn't ask students to Tweet.
What can you envision using Twitter for in your classes?
It wasn't until my first year teaching at the University of Oregon that I felt confident enough to try to write a TESOL proposal. During grad school, I suspected conferences were better left to the 'experts' and I neglected to consider what or how I could contribute to the field. If you're in grad school and thinking the same, don't. Try it out now--you surely have ideas that would benefit others.
Without a buddy I don't know if I would have taken the plunge either. Danielle Bus and I were working together at the University of Oregon when she suggested that we should try writing something out. We had some shared experiences over the course of the year that raised questions that we wanted to investigate. We invited some more senior instructors to join us to try to widen our perspective.Read More
This past semester, some of my colleagues and I at the Intensive English Institute participated in a book club. We read a wonderful book---What the Best College Teachers Do by Ken Bain (2004). I had actually started to read this independently, and then I realized how much better it would be if I could relate it to language teaching by discussing it with others in the TESOL field.
Several chapters gave me lots to chew on---but one area that I'm really still puzzled about is student motivation. Bain points to the research of Deci, Richard, and deCharms that suggests that if students suspect any sort of manipulation due to external reward, they might lose interest. But, at the same time, he mentions that without external motivation, intrinsic fascination might also diminish. According to Bain, the most successful educators he has worked with aim to avoid extrinsic motivators and instead work to develop intrinsic motivators for students.Read More
As the school year winds down, many are probably searching for ways to remind students what they have learned. I know that I was just a few weeks ago. In addition to wanting to show students how much progress they made, I wanted to have students think about all that they had learned, but it was important to keep such a review student-centered.
Of course, there are the old standards, Jeopardy and Password. These have been pretty successful in previous semesters. But, this May, I was searching for something different. I needed something else--the class had entered in January with virtually no English. After speaking to Maggie Courtright, my reading component leader, I had a solid plan for a review lesson.
Do you remember the game Outburst? Well, this happens to lend itself very well to the language class. It might actually work in several content areas.Read More
This week, at Faculty Summer Institute, I went to sessions related to screen casting, screen capturing, and apps to use, among others. The biggest take-away from any of these sessions was probably in Vickie Cook's presentation on her 10 favorite app types to use.
In this presentation, I learned of Adobe Voice, which is a free app which allows users to make videos. The app has a great selection of free graphics, and Cook demonstrated how she made a high-quality video in around 8 minutes for one of her classes.Read More