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Saturday, September 3, 2011

Unplugged teaching An idea from Scott Thornbury

After 14 years of teaching English I'm quite bored with all those predictable course-books, and I feel like teaching something my students really need to improve their language skills, something really relevant for them. I know it might be more time-consuming than just following the instructions in the Tachers's book, but the results of such teaching I mean meeting exact students' needs is absolutely amazing and rewarding.

I made my first steps in this direction when I was preparing some students for IELTS. I gave up using the text book in 3 weeks as I realised it was "eating up" our prescious time. I started modelling every class according to my students' weak points in a certain skill. Let me boast a bit - My students' IELTS results are 6.5-7.5)))

It goes without saying, it's a risk. But Russians say "Those who don't risk, don't drink shampagne!" What's more I lke all sorts of experiments) This year I launch a course that is't based on a single textbook,actually, it's a number of books focused on particular skills. Hope I'll manage to do my best. Keep my fingers crossed.

This idea I 've stolen from Scott Thornbury and going to use it in practice asap!

"Paper conversation" - students in pairs have a conversation but written, passing paper back and forth (like on-line chat). Monitor and extract interesting errors. Change partners and do this spoken. Introduce "back channel" devices - e.g. showing interest - and they change partners a third time, trying to incorporate these. Students report to class on partner's day.