Disciplining adult learners?!?

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Hi everyone!!

3rd blog post in a row? My oh my!! Here’s the thing, I just could not not share (is that correct??Yup!) what happened today and of course ask you what you think. Today’s ‘hot’ topic is……… (drum roll…. which is not necessary if you have read my title- don’t look at it now!!)….’ disciplining’ adult learners.

So, I teach kids/ teenagers and adults. ‘Disciplining’ a kid is easy.

You can:

Tell em to write 100 times

I will never do that again (haha… as if…).

Or even better

Tell the kid to stand in the corner ,hop up and down for an hour.

(Just kidding!!!!)

Seriously though

You can:

Explain rules at the beginning of the year.

Get them to write up/ sign a teacher- student contract (maybe?) with what is acceptable/ not acceptable

Reward good behaviour with stickers (again an if-y topic)

Or

Talk to the kid and say what you do not find acceptable/ unacceptable.

Talk to the parent if the kid still misbehaves in your class aka is a little terrorist.

Bottom line folks. A teacher has got to do whatever he/ she can in order to be able to carry out a lesson without having to deal with bad classroom behaviour/ rudeness etc. etc.

Now you may ask,

What do you consider bad behaviour?

Checking their phone 24/7 during the lesson ( I don’t mind phones in class FYI).

Talking on the phone during the lesson.

Nervous laughter that does not stop.

Joke telling (24/7).

Making fun of me/ other kids.

Chewing gum (like a goat) in my class.

Oh! I also hate it when my students wear hats in class… but I guess that’s just me…..

Now, what happens when your learner is a CEO of a super duper company, older than you and has an opinion? Well, if you are like me, a pushover, you are screwed (oops… bad word). You endure and look at the clock.

I was teaching a big boss and the big boss was chewing gum throughout the lesson. And OK ,gum may not be a big deal if done in a ‘polite’ manner aka silently, but when you are using a headset and sound is magnified the chewing is….. soooooooooooooo bad. But on the other hand, I was teaching the Big Boss, and I am an employee who does not want to piss off the big boss, so I shut up and just had the most annoying lesson!

So, do you think I should have told my learner to spit out his gum? Isn’t it like an unwritten classroom rule to not chew gum during the class? Am I supposed to play bad cop when teaching adults? Talk about classroom etiquette?  What would you have done? What can you do? Remember it’s online. Not even face to face. Plus it was the 1st time it happened.

Digging deeper

Did I not say anything because of gender? Work relationship (cause technically he is paying me)? Was it age? Was I being polite and trying not to offend him?  If this was a kid, the gum would have been gone in like 5 secs.

Anyway, that’s today’s story and sure it isn’t like the biggest problem ever but it did get me wondering.

Should I have spoken up for all teachers or was a right to let it go (for today) and just wait for the chewing torture to end?

Chomp chomp in my ears for 45 mins……..at least he didn’t make a bubble……

Please let me know what you think…..

J.

 

Chucking the Lesson Plan Out of the Window

Hi everyone,

Today I had a lesson with a learner and I had planned to do a lesson on phrasal verbs. I had my lesson plan ready (not really a plan, just a few ideas on what I would do and when), my presentation uploaded (this was an online class) and everything was set. The phrasal verb lesson was quite challenging and my learner did want to be challenged, so I was really pleased with what I had prepared for today.

My lesson started and I did a bit of chit chat. My learner said,

I am working from home because I get distracted at work.

and bam…. my lesson plan went down the drain, and I just changed everything!! You see, this phrase got us talking about distractions and working from home.Penny dropping.

I then decided that THIS was the chance to change the lesson into something that was prompted by the learner and something that made her very chatty. So, scratch the grammar lesson, we are gonna do a speaking/ listening class.

What did I do?

I found the Jason Fried TED talk about ‘Why Work Doesn’t happen at Work’ and asked her questions that were actually answered in the TED talk.

I asked,

Where do you go to get important things done?

What is the connection between work & sleep? She actually got this right!! It is phase based.

What distractions do you have at work? Can you categorise them in real and not important distractions?

We spent about 10 minutes talking about those questions.

I then asked her to take notes of the answers Fried gave to those questions.

Because the TED talk was long (15 mins), I broke it down into 2 halves. Half way through, we discussed her answers to the questions and issues that came up from what she heard. We then heard the rest of the talk and did the same.

So,we talked about what the learner already knew,  what she learnt from the talk, and what she wanted to learn from what she heard. This talk actually inspired her to do some research on meetings, managers differences between  the USA and France, and Jason Fried!

Beach in Chania

Did I just have a learner driven lesson?

I think I did. Yes, I prompted her and gave her a provocative TED talk as stimulus. I have never had this learner be so chatty before! She loved it because she is a manager and she could relate to what was being discussed. She actually asked for the link to the TED talk cause she wanted to use it during a meeting.

Me, to myself.

YES!

Did I meet my learning objective?

Well, we did not do anything about phrasal verbs, and if my objectives were to

*familiarise learner with phrasal verbs of verbs XYZ and blah, blah, blah,

then, we didn’t, but this spontaneous 5 minute planned lesson was one of the best we have had and she loved it. I am glad the penny dropped when it did, and that I was actually ‘listening’ to my pre-lesson chit chat.

Joanna’s words of wisdom

Do not underestimate the power of chit chat.

Listen to the ‘chit chat’.

Use it to guide you in your choice of material.

It’s OK to chuck out the lesson plan and be spontaneous.

Oh! But do keep in mind that I do have a lesson plan for the Jason Fried TED talk (which I have shared here) and I have used it many times, so while the ‘chucking out’ was spontaneous, I did know what I was doing and talking about. I knew my material very well. I just hadn’t prepared it for today.

So, folks that was my lesson today.I am a Happy Teacher today!

Do you guys have similar experiences? Let me know when you chucked out your LP and did something completely different. How was it?

Till next time…..

 

 

 

Footy ELT Resources

“I want to do a lesson on football” the learner said. ” Ummmm. OK!” The fashionista in me panicked. “So, now what?” Well, I did what every sane  ‘I know nothing about football’ teacher would do. I went to Facebook and asked my PLN. Everyone came to my savior and today I am helping my fellow fashionista and non-fashionista teachers out. So, you want to talk/teach something that is based on the topic of football? Here is what I have.

The results of my search/ my suggestions

The Busy teacher website has 39 free lesson plans on the World Cup.

You can use Wikipedia and find the history of almost every national football team.

Labelled football pitch all the words you need to describe a football field (I think?!?!?).

Videos

TED Ed the Impossible Free Kick

I actually found this video very interesting (physics used to explain a free kick).

Ellen video

I watched this video and found it so funny. It is of a football match in Greece. Dunno how you can use it in the class, but I thought I’d add it to put a smile on your faces :D.

My lovely PLN

Articles

Marc suggested the Mirror Four Four Two

A hot topic, according to Paul, is this one. It’s about Zidane and this dude called Guardiola (?!).

Maria told me to have a look at the Guardian because it is very easy to navigate and has clear tabs (I second that).

Lesson Plans

Christina’s suggestion: LanguageCuster.com: Learn English through football.

Gabriela suggested Premier Skills English

A book

Rachael mentioned this book: Express Series: English for Football: A short, specialist English course which you can get *here

Sue actually sent me a lesson plan ❤ ❤

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So that’s all folks. If you have any other suggestions, please leave them in the comments section below :). Enough with the football talk. I gotta go put on some makeup now 🙂 ❤ ❤

xx

 

*I use amazon affiliate links

T+T0=P: Time Management Problems when Teaching Online

Time management when teaching online can be a bit tricky, so I thought I’d write a post about it (after Demmy suggested it of course!). I have a few suggestions to make time management more ‘manageable’. Let’s start by discussing what I mean by ‘time management problems’. As I see it, there are two types of time management problems.

Problem  number one

You cannot manage your time effectively online during the lesson, and you end up not doing what you had planned to teach.

Problem number two

You thought online teaching would ensure a better quality of life, meaning that you would have time to spend at home, and you would be a freer teacher. Instead, you are still working all day. Online or offline, you are struggling to find time, and 24 hours are not enough!

Now, let’s move on. Time to have a look at what kind of issues may affect your time management as an online tutor, and make suggestions on how to alleviate these problems.

Too many Notes and Things to share with the learners

  • Try to make folders of the material you use and try to use your material as often as you can. If, for instance, you teach grammar mostly, make docs for all the grammar points and then keep using over and over (theory docs). I, for example, have conversational lessons that are based on articles. I have a folder with the articles and word docs with tasks which are based on them. It takes time to make this folder and if you are new at online teaching this will take forever, but you can use it over and over after time. In a nutshell, just make folders and save all your stuff. You need to be very organised!!
  • If you have PPT slides, turn them into word documents and type comments under the slides. There is also a note-taking option when you choose to print a PPT. If you want, you can tell your learner to print the slides before the lesson and tell them to make handwritten notes of things you ask them to write down (in this case PPT slides need to be sent prior to the lesson).
  • Have you thought of having a generic lesson note template which you use over and over again? Do you have a doc of general feedback you can copy paste onto different documents to different learners? This generic feedback doc will save you loads of time!Again, you go to your grammar theory doc for example (the one I mentioned earlier) and you copy paste the theory or your notes and then you add more comments.  Be careful though, do not make notes of every single mistake your learner makes.This is very important!  You could say, when you first get a learner, that you will be sending them feedback notes with X number of grammar/vocabulary points and Y number of phonology/pronunciation errors. This learner/ teacher feedback notes agreement will save you time, will keep your feedback shorter, and will make your learner more conscious!! They need to take notes as well!!

Have to send too many documents/upload stuff

  • Get a learner’s management system  or a Wiki where your learner goes and sees everything uploaded. Remember the grammar theory document I mentioned earlier? If you have a website with this info already uploaded, you can direct your learner there.

Tech problems that cause you to be online/offline

  • Have a good internet connection. Nothing else.

Lesson planning problems that are affected by tech problems etc.

  • The solution here is quite easy. Chuck your lesson plan if you were beaten by the ‘tech’ beast, or be more generous with your task timing. The more flexible you are, the easier it will be to cope with your lesson plan going down the drain.

Distractions at home

  • Have a designated area in a room (like a study) where you teach. Door should be closed and don’t have phones next to you unless it is extremely necessary ( I often take the phone off the hook when I am teaching online).

Online distractions

  • This is a no brainer, when you teach online, have everything else, all other websites, closed. Yeap, Facebook is great, but it may distract you when you are teaching and you will forget what you were talking about.

Final tip: Remember to multi-task. If your learner is reading an article or writing a short text online, you can be making lesson notes.

I hope these suggestions help you to save a bit time. Just keep in mind, teachers are all wired in a way that makes them work or think about work 24/7. Happy teaching!!!

Feel free to leave a comment on how you save time when teaching online. Follow this blog via mail, WordPress or Bloglovin if you found it helpful and want to keep reading my posts. There is also a Facebook page on the side bar you could ‘like’. Enough with the self-promo. Thanks for stopping by.

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Till next time……

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My first MOOC

The MOOC that went wrong: confessions of a learner.

So, here I am going on and on about the advantages of online teaching and then came the slap in the face. This is a story about an online teacher who became an online learner and failed. Anyway, let’s take things from the beginning.
During the Easter break a friend of mine, Lia,  sent me a link for a free online teacher development course, a MOOC. Now, before moving on, I will tell you what MOOC stands for. It is a Massive Open Online Course. So, as an online teacher, I thought to myself, “Hey, what a great opportunity! I am in.”
In fact, attending a MOOC, in my mind, at that point, was the best option for me for many reasons.

Reasons why the MOOC was a great choice:

  • I could study from home.
  • I could study whenever I wanted to.
  • There were deadlines so I did have time limitations.
  • There was a learner management system (LMS). I got to introduce myself and meet other students attending the same course as me. I got to make a profile, so it was not anonymous.
  • There was a discussion board with loads of Q & A threads and people asked and answered questions. The tutors also contributed to these threads so there was a lot of interaction.
  • There was an abundance of material available at the just the click of a button. No need to search for anything. I could also access further reading material if I was really interested in what I read.
  • There were videos related to the theme of the week. Follow up questions related to these videos were also there.
  • I could take a pre-knowledge test and see what I already knew about the material covered each week and if I had unknown terms the definitions were available immediately.
  • I would get a certificate of attendance and it would have looked great on my CV.
In fact, this MOOC had all the ingredients that were necessary to make it the perfect MOOC. The perfect (?) online course. Yet, I failed to complete it. I dropped out. Why?
Upon reflection, I think:
  • I was not motivated enough. The course was not on something completely new or something I needed to learn more about. It was not really connected to my needs as a learner.
  • I started it during my holidays. Bad, bad, bad idea! Holidays mean free time, time to relax and recharge your batteries. As a teacher who works all day long, I needed my free time and I had not acknowledged how tired I was. I seem to totally shut down when I actually find some free time.
  • I have realised that in order to attend distance courses, I also need some sort of face to face interaction with other learners and my tutors. I do not have to meet them in person, but some Skype time, some real time interaction, is necessary for me. It gives me the opportunity to express my concerns, my thoughts on whatever I am learning. I do not feel cut off.
As someone who teaches online, experiences the benefits of an online course and who knows the prerequisites of what makes a successful online course, I have not given up on the idea of MOOCs. I need to become a better online learner though!
I am really interested in seeing what you think about MOOCs so please feel free to share your thoughts in the comments section below.
Picture taken from: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Personal_computer

Till next time…