Thursday, 30 April 2009

Let's have a Susan Boyle Moment

I had a Susan Boyle week. I did Susan Boyle in my Intermediate class, then I had a very similar lesson in my Pre-Intermediate class, then I used the idea as a warmer in my CPE class and I think I am going to try something similar on Tuesday in my Elementary class.

My husband said I just needed an excuse to listen to her voice. He was right.

Anyway, this is how I did it: I played the audio of Susan singing Cry Me a River (it is much less famous than Les Miserables and it is a beautiful song) and I asked the students to imagine the woman singing it. Needless to say, they concluded she was tall, slim, beautiful, in her 30s and had long hair. They couldn't agree whether she was a blonde or a brunette. Then I showed them Susan's photo and everybody recognised her. They had all seen the You Tube video or at least heard about it.

After that I did different things. In my Intermediate class I pretended I was Susan and they interviewed me. I used their questions and my answers to revise indirect speech. Then we discussed the whole Susan Boyle phenomenon and we talked about our own dreams and ambitions. Finally, I gave them the Cry Me a River lyrics. In the Pre-Intermediate class I used the lyrics to introduce a couple of phrases and idioms ("You drove me out of my head", "You said that you were through with me") and then they decided to sing along. In CPE we got more philosophical and discussed the economic chrisis and the music industry.

And I am not the only one. I know of at least two EFL teachers who came up with their own Susan Boyle lesson plans. Check out Karenne's post (the lesson plan can be downloaded) and then visit Susana's blog. Susana's students left some great comments

Why does this type of lesson plan work? 

Well, it is up to date and, as one of my students said, "She gives people hope." We can always do with a little hope in an EFL class. We can do with a little hope everywhere.

If you have your own Susan Boyle lesson plan, please share it here. Or just come and brainstorm your ideas in the comments section. If you are reading this and you are not an EFL teacher, you can still share your ideas here. Or your dreams.

Let's have a Susan Boyle moment. 

Technorati Tags:  


Monday, 13 April 2009

The Little Imperfections and What not to Talk about in Class

Razlan wrote an excellent post on 10 things he'd like people to say at his funeral. He also shared this wonderful film in his post.

I was wondering if it could be used in class... Both the film and the idea behind the post, I mean. What would you like people to say about you at your funeral?

I can see you getting up from your chairs and waving a fist at me (which is great, because at least you'll get some exercise that way, after all the time you've spent in front of your computer). The ideas this woman has. And she was told a long time ago never, and I mean never to mention death in her class. And religion. And...

OK, I probably won't use the "10 things" idea anyway. But the video would be great and, in fact,  it has been used for that purpose. As Sze says in the ad maker's blog:

"Just to let you know, I used this short film with my civics class, after I asked all 28 of them to share what they couldn't stand about their family (they loved talking about that!). After viewing this film, the hyperactive 18-year-olds became really sombre and I peeked to see one of my boys actually tearing a little. We then talked about family and also the notion of perfection in their future life partners. I think they learnt some lessons today."

I think this is a good idea. In fact, I think I'll embed this video in my intermediate wiki and write a couple of questions for them to think about. I might even add the: What would you like people to say at your....

OK, OK, you hate me. I'll stop here. But I would really like to hear what you have to say. I have one simple question for you:

What do you never talk about in your English class?

Technorati Tags:  

You might also like:

Wednesday, 8 April 2009

25 Ways to Keep Your EFL Students Motivated

1. Show them that you care. Show them that they are important to you as human beings, not just as students.
2. Use positive emotions in class. There is a better chance that they will remember what you did.
3. Use humour as much as possible.
4. Give them quality homework. Start a blog, create a wiki, give them project work.
5. Give them visual input. Pictures, images, photos.
6. I know this one is obvious, but do your best to make your classes interesting.
7. Bring their personal interests into class. If they have a hobby, let them talk about it.
8. Whenever possible, personalise their homework. Make it relevant for them.
9. Give them a lot of feedback and, if possible, make it positive.
10. Help them set realistic goals. If their goals are set too low, they will learn nothing new. If they are set too high, they will be disappointed.
11. Let them feel safe. Make the classroom a safe place for them to make mistakes and ask questions.
12. Praise them. Concentrate on what they are good at.
13. Challenge them. Show them how much they can achieve. It is often much more than they thought they could achieve.
14. Give them choice. Let them choose which activity they will do first and how they will do it. That way, they will feel included in the decision-making process.
15. Whenever possible, make the exercises open-ended and personalise them.
16. Teach them how to be autonomous. Teach them how to learn, how to organise their knowledge and how to find information.
17. Teach them how to assess their own knowledge. Introduce portfolio assessment as early as possible.
18. Explain the purpose of every activity. Don't say that you are going to "play a game". Tell them that they are going to practise reported speech, polite requests or whatever you are really going to practise. When explaining the purpose of an activity, start with yourself. If you don't know why you are going to do something, don't do it.
19. Give clear instructions. This is something I often have a problem with, and I find writing the instructions down before I go into class really helpful.
20. Show enthusiasm.
21. Don't wear a mask in class. Let them see what you are really like as a person. If they like you, they will like your class. This is true for adults as much as it is true for the children.
22. Ask for feedback. Show them that you really want it.
23. Create the group spirit. Encourage them to cooperate and help each other.
24. Make sure that everybody knows everybody else's name.
25. Get them interested in Web 2.0. Teach them how to make the Internet their classroom.

What would you add to this list?

Technorati Tags:

You might also like: Student Motivation

Tuesday, 7 April 2009

31DBBB Day 1 - My Elevator Pitch

Wordle: Natasa's Blog 2

“An elevator pitch is an overview of an idea for a product, service, or project. The name reflects the fact that an elevator pitch can be delivered in the time span of an elevator ride (for example, thirty seconds or 100-150 words).” - Wikipedia

I thought I would wordle my Elevator Pitch and you can see the result at the top of the page.

Another way of doing it would be to answer the good old Who? What? Where? When? Why? set of questions. So here it is:

Who? I am a teacher of English, a Web 2.0 geek and a lifelong learner.

What? I blog about the stuff you would generally expect me to blog about (see the Who? part), but the result is often unexpected. I cook with common ingredients, but I end up creating a new dish.

Where? I am from Serbia, but you can find me "all over the place" as far as Internet is concerned.

When? I usually blog once a week.

Why? I blog because it is fun.

I am not sure I could deliver this during an elevator ride. Maybe if I held my breath and spoke really, really fast.

How about this: "I am an EFL teacher, a lifelong learner, a creative writer and a Web 2.0 enthusiast. I blog because blogging makes me happy."

Which of the three descriptions of my blog do you like best - the short one, the long one or the Wordle? What comes to your mind when you look at my blog? How would you describe it?

Technorati Tags:

Saturday, 4 April 2009

Days 20 and 22 - Welcome readers old and new

If you are here for the first time, welcome. You can find out more about me here.

This blog was born on 22nd January 2008 (which happens to be my birthday too) as a part of the Blogging4Educators course. I have done different things on the Internet since then (Twittered, created wikis, podcasts, slideshows and online exercises), but my favourite online activity is still blogging. It is hard to define why - maybe because I simply enjoy writing. It clears my mind and helps me think.

I blog about different things - Web 2.0, teaching English, the seminars I am attending... You can find out what my favourite posts are here.

If you like what you see, please come back. Or you can subscribe to my blog via RSS or Email - whichever you prefer. And do leave a comment. I love comments and I will definitely write back.

If you have been here before and like my blog, please don't leave yet. I need your help to improve this blog. If you can spare a minute, please leave a comment and answer some of these questions:

How did you find out about my blog?

What do you like about it?

What should I do to improve it?
Is there something you would like me to write about?

P.S. This was my 31 Day Challenge homework. Here are the links to the posts I wrote about the 31 Day Challenge:


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...