ELT Traveller box

about teaching English to young learners, web tools and iPad teaching


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Surprise in the ELT classroom: an inspiring #ELTChat

Last night I took part in #ELTChat . It’s always very motivating to read and contribute to each other’s reflections and teaching ideas. After all I first got the idea of blogging right from one #eltchat on twitter. I would definitely add it as “must have” in a teacher development plan :-).

The topic of this week was Bringing the surprise element into your lesson, you can read the transcript here.

You’ll get several ideas on how to surprise your students either you teach university students, BE, one-to-one or teenagers, like I do.

In the chat @SueAnnan mentioned the book 52 by The Round  (authors Lindsay Clandfield and Luke Meddings). I love it. Today I was reflecting about it and I thought how helpful a book like this can be for teachers, especially teenager teachers.  They can surprise their audience in a very reflective way.

I start thinking I should give my students a “subversive” lesson once a week. 🙂 I’ve only tried (and sometimes adapted) only a few of the activities in the book so far.

There are many  ideas in the book, from poetry to justice. Lesson 8 Dress is part of the book sample (you can download it here) and one of my favourite. I’ve recently tried it.

The lesson – #8 Dress

I came to class dressed very elegant (as I was going to a wedding), quite unusual for me, and I tried not to laugh looking at my students’ faces. I started the lesson as usual and for the first 5 minutes nothing really happened. They were expecting me to work on past simple, and I was starting to do so when a shy student from the first raw asked about my skirt. “Why are you wearing such a nice and elegant skirt to come to school?” It was clear she didn’t approve that :-). Teenagers can be very straightforward sometimes! I wrote why on the board, and asked the student to repeat the question to the class. The conversation magically started. The very good thing was that I was playing the role of the moderator. I divided the class into groups and asked them to figure out how to dress in specific occasions and why. A lot of new vocabulary items came out.

When the bell rung, a girl said “But teacher, we didn’t even take a pen!”

That was the point…and they got it!

In the following lessons I focused on consolidation activities. It was easy, they remembered most of the things we discussed.

Teachers often complain about how difficult is to manage teenagers with no written support. Several questions keep rolling through my mind:

Do teenagers need minimal inputs to develop critical thinking? Should teachers start thinking out of the box and support them?


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My first Edublog Award nominations

Right a few days ago I was thinking I haven’t posted in a long while, mainly due to life and work projects. Too many things going around, I didn’t really have time to sit and write a post. Things are slowing down now, so I’ll soon share some great professional experiences and reflections from the last few months.

The reason I’m writing this post is quite simple: the Edublog Award nominations.

There is a large number of sites, people, blogs that have had an enormous value on my professional development, especially in the last year. I thought they deserve to be nominated…(too bad, I can only give one name for each category).

So, here are my first Edublog Award nominations:

Best Individual blog   chiasuanchong

Best Teacher Blog    Cool Cat Teacher

Best EdTech blog   Ozge Karaoglu’s blog

Best Individual Tweeter @AnaCristinaPrts            

Best Twitter Hashtag  #ELTchat

Best Free Web Tool Vocaroo

Best Social Network    Twitter

Best Mobile App     Dropbox

Good luck!