An Ietls Speaking Session turned into a needs analysis session

Hi everyone,

I had an Ielts class with a new learner and I decided to start with a speaking session. I thought this would give me a better picture of my learner’s level and a first idea of what I needed to focus on when choosing material.

What I already knew about my learner

Adult, engineer, post graduate level learner who wants to do an MA in the UK. He already had a B2 level language proficeincy certificate and used his English occasionally.

The day of the lesson came.

After a bit of small talk,

How are you? (that’s the end of the small talk)

I then took out the Ielts Practice Tests book and went to a speaking test. Of course, my first lesson was not going to be a mock test, but I did want to use ‘authentic’ exam questions.

 

Why?

I wanted:

to give the learner an idea of the speaking questions (topics, level and activities).This is going to be a crash course (intensive course?). We started this week and the learner will be taking the test in March. I needed to know the weaknesses asap, and I thought a speaking sessions would allow me to do that. This was going to be my productive skill needs analysis session.

I also wanted:

to have a communicative lesson (because they are more fun) + a lesson that focused on a productive skill..

to focus on a skill that is a bit more relaxed compared to the others.

The lesson: some thoughts and reflections.

I found a speaking test about being famous. In my mind, talking about being famous yourself, and other people who are famous, is probably a topic everyone can talk about because famous can be defined in so many ways. We also live in a day and age where being famous is not that hard.

Task 1: Ice Breaker/ Intro Questions

I started off with the first part of the Ielts test which is the ice breaker. Talk about your self, your friends, neighbourhood, life / work.

This actually was a good task cause I got to know my learner much better.

I did not stop him or time his answers, I went with the flow. I did not make error correction either. unless it was something major that impeded communication. Instead I lifted up my notebook and took notes. I said to my learner that I would jot down good points and corrections.

I noticed my student was making pronunciation mistakes and grammar mistakes, so I made that the focus of my notes. My needs analysis speaking lesson was in progress.

After we finished the 1st part, we talked a bit about his mistakes. He took notes, and wherever possible he corrected the mistakes he made. If he couldn’t find the correct answer, I told him.

Part 2 The Card

I then gave him a card with questions (this is the 2nd part of the Ielts oral exam). I told my learner he could think as long as he wanted to, take notes and then tell me the answer to these questions.

Again, I took notes, then at the end, we corrected mistakes, discussed issues.

Part 3: Open ended questions

This part was tricky because it required:

Longer turns/ monologues.

Critical thinking.

Digging deeper into the question and elaborating.

My learner had difficulty answering longer/ open ended questions, so I gave him an example and told him how I would answer a question like that. He then did answer the questions. This part showed me that when asked more complex questions my learner struggled, so now I had info about pronunciation, grammar and expressing opinions/ holding monologues/ longer turns.

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On the downside

My learner did look at me while I was writing, so while I did tell him that I was taking notes of good/ things and weaknesses, he wasn’t really convinced and there were times when he asked,

What are you writing now?

There were others where he felt a bit discouraged by the questions, so I did stray off the original exam type questions.I do not think that is a downside though (just to be clear). There was a lot of brainstorming and scaffolding in the last part.

In fact, the last part of my lesson allowed me to see how easy it is for my learner to come up with ideas and organise thoughts.

So, by the end of my one hour course, I had a first impression of what my learner needs help with. I have already made a list of some of the grammar points that need to be addressed in future classes as well as ‘sounds’ my student needs help with. By the end of this first lesson, my learner was also aware of what the Ielts speaking part is about.

All in all, I was happy with this type of ‘needs analysis’ speaking session. It was very hands on, dealt with ‘real language problems’. As this is a crash course, I really need to be very focused and have clear objectives. I always think that my 1st lessons are flops, a lot of let’s meet and become friends vibe and this was

Let’s meet, become friends and get down to business.

That’s all folks.

Don’t forget to follow my blog. Give my Facebook page a ‘like’ so you don’t miss out on my super duper posts.

Have a nice day/ evening.

Joanna

 

The girlie side of ELT: Kate Spade Agenda Review

Hi everyone!

I haven’t written one of these posts for ages, but today is the day I repost something I wrote for my girlie blog. An agenda review…. and yes, it’s fancy 🙂 ❤ ❤

So it’s white and gold and it has polka dots. What is it? If you love planning, are a planner junkie, and like pretty stuff, then keep reading. If you don’t, still humor me and keep reading, will you? ❤ ❤

I got my 2017 Kate Spade  17 month Large Agenda in August. The first thing that caught my eye was how pretty it was. You know when love hearts start flying out of your eyes? That was me when I saw this pretty agenda.

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The agenda

First impression: I would say it looks chic and sophisticated.

The exterior

A thick cover. White and gold polka dots. the corners are slightly rounded. It closes with a black elastic band.

Interior

When you open the agenda on the 1st page it says,

This agenda belongs to……… if found please call…….

Then you have a glossy paper envelope/ pocket.

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This is a 17 month Agenda, so it started August 2016 and ends December 2017. You can use the months that have gone by as a journal and keep memories.

The first pages of the Agenda are:

  • Calendar of 2017/ 2018. Just the days/ dates in boxes. You cannot really write anything there.
  • After that, you  have lined boxes for monthly celebrations. There are 7 lines  per month, six months per page.
  • Then a list of all the holidays in 2017.
  • Finally, there is a notes section (8 pages long).

Each month is introduced with a quote page. Before each month you have two notes pages. So, notes pages at the front of the agenda and extra notes pages before each month.

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Monthly layout/ calendar/ agenda

Each month have a monthly overview which is on two pages (picture above). These are small boxes that are great to scribble in appointments and maybe even decorate a bit (if that’s your thing. It is mine). There is also a sidebar where you can take notes. Then you have a weekly overview (two lined pages). There are 8 lines per day. Saturday and Sunday are smaller sections. Each monthly tab is laminated, so they don’t wreck.

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There is no pen holder but I slide my pen in the area where the spiral is and it does not slide off cause it is attached to the cardboard paper on the spiral. It is not heavy or bulky. It is an agenda I prefer to use at home though.

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The large agenda retails for 34 dollars but there are smaller and cheaper ones.

How I use it

Well, if you have been reading my blog for a while, you know I am a ‘pretty’ planner. The planning process relaxes me because I make it more creative, I like to use stickers, draw etc. You can see pictures of my planning below.

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There you have it. The 2017 agenda. If you want to get a Kate Spade 2017 agenda (like the one I have just described), you can find it here.

 If you are looking for a planner agenda (bigger), you may want to check out the Happy Planner.

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If you enjoyed what you read, do subscribe to my blog. We can also connect on social media. Click on the ones you use and connect with me 🙂  Pinterest /Instagram

*I have used Amazon affiliate links in this post. This does not mean you pay extra for any products, it just means that I make a small commission off the purchase if you choose to buy.

Thanks for stopping by and reading my blog.

xox

Joanna

The one where I jinxed everything

So folks,

Last week I came on here all joy and fun to talk about my Iatefl presentation. To get you to come and hear me talk.

I was ready. Presentation rehearsed. Plane/Car booked. Luggage packed and then…… I got sick. I went nowhere!!! I stayed at home, in bed doing nada. I was so sick I couldn’t even watch the presentations! I mean com’on! Talk about jinxing myself!!

So,  here is what I learnt from this experience.

Stay away from sick students when something important is coming up.

Do not over talk about something when you are really excited cause… you jinx yourself.

No matter how well you plan something, everything may still go down the drain!!

On the bright side, I lost 2 kilos! Yay.

Lousakies

As for my presentation, I will make a video and share it here.

So, that’s why I haven’t written any Iatefl posts and why I have been quiet.

Talk soon.

Jo

#Marchfavourites

Hi guys,

I am back with another monthly favourites. I am sharing with you websites, videos, articles and loads of random stuff you can use in your classroom. I am kinda happy with this one cause there are lots of interesting things here today.

 Shout Out to Bloggers

I discovered a new blog that I like (technically she discovered me), so you may want to check her posts out. It’s called the ELT Think Tank. The post I am sharing with you today is How to get most out of Socrative in the Classroom.

Tekhnologic and I worked on a colour blind friendly post. The focus was on colourblind friendly graphs. You can find it here.

Online material for the classroom

Ideas for an article+ lesson plan (video based session): Guy Goma, the IT Job Applicant Who Was Mistakenly Interviewed on Live TV. This has been turned into a lesson plan (thanks Sue for telling me) and you can get it at Lesson stream

Websites to check out for extra grammar/vocabulary etc practice: www.englishpage.com

I was looking for a reading text that focused on conditionals and discovered this website. You may wanna have a look. Press here.

Articles I read and loved (I used with my learners)

8 benefits of being a cat owner

This is an incredibly cruel way to model plus-sized shorts: This article caused a lot of discussion!

 Videos:

The New York Times

The NY Times website has loads of videos you can watch and create lessons. I created a lesson based on the McDonald’s coffee case (you can find it here) but there are loads of other websites you can check out here.

Harvard Business Review

There are loads of short videos to watch with your learners. I have used this one:

How to get the feedback you need to grow

Random but relevant

Crafts

You know I like my DIY and well, I watched this video and loved the idea. You can make (scrunched up/crumpled) paper flowers. Press here to watch the tutorial.

Fonts

Free calligraphy fonts which you can use for your blogging, lesson material or to practice calligraphy with your students (just an idea). Tip: you download the font and then you open the file you have downloaded. You press True Type Font File and then install. It gets added to your Word.

Work

Looking for a summer job (EAP and others)? These are my favourite websites for job hunting:

http://www.jobs.ac.uk/www.baleap.org.uk

I had a great moment this month as I got two of my blog posts published in the Huffington Post. You can check them out here and here.

Finally, this is not a favourite for March, but I am really looking forward to this. I am going to be presenting at the Iatefl Birmingham conference. I will be part of the forum on academic writing and will be talking about drawing in EAP. If you are there, do come and say ‘Hello’. My talk is on Thursday the 14th at 10:25.

So, that’s all for now. Don’t forget to follow my blog if you are not already and give my Facebook page a thumbs up so that you do not miss notifications! You can follow me on Twitter/Pinterest/Instagram. If you want to read my beauty/TV and random favourites, check out blog number 2.

ELT fav

Thanks for stopping by. If you have a favourite you would like to share, feel free to leave a comment in the section below. Sharing is caring.

Thanks for stopping by.

Jo

 

I love to hate formal observations

I mentioned in one of my previous posts that my next post was going to be about formal observations cause well, loads of people are talking about them, and I thought, I’d join in. Now, loads of time has gone by since I said that, and this post has been sitting in my drafts section for quite a while now, but now is the time. Let’s talk about observations and formal observations (observations that are assessed).

So here is what I think. Formal observations are necessary, but evil (tell us how you really feel Jo). Now, evil is used for dramatic purposes. Before I go all full on about what I dislike about formal observations, I will start off with what I like about observations in general. You learn. You get constructive feedback and you see your teaching through someone else’s eyes. If you are a stronger personality, you may even ask the person observing you to pay attention to one of your weaknesses and give you tips on how to deal with that weakness. They help you improve, think out of the box, and maybe even approach a lesson differently next time. Anyone can observe you. A new teacher can give you fresh ideas a more seasoned teacher may give you practical tips and vice versa.

BUT as I said earlier, formal observations are not my cup of tea. Why? Cause even if you are the best eva prepared and qualified teacher, there is someone who is there looking at you,assessing you,  and this is stressful.

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Assessment and formal observations

In cases where formal observations are part of a diploma/certificate, they become a ‘tool’ of assessment.Someone is  assessing you based on what? Criteria. Criteria set by whom? Do these criteria fit all teaching contexts, situations, learners and teachers?

So, my next question now is, if you have a 3-4 formal observation, will they really showcase how good or bad a teacher you are? And before you say… ”that’s not why formal observations take place Joanna”. I will ask you, “so why assess then?” That’s why, for me, the assessment part of formal observations shouldn’t exist. In my little brain, the sole purpose of an observation should be to help you find ways to become a better teacher. Does assessment take that away? Yes, when you are box ticking.

Now you may say, “Yes, but in order to get a certificate/diploma, we need to formally observe you and assess you.” Sure you do, but just cause I pass the assessment criteria, doesn’t mean I know how to teach. I could have read all the criteria and made a lesson that fits these crtieria, couldn’t I? Or I could be teaching this way to pass the criteria but in real life, I neva, eva teach like that.

And anyway, what is a perfect/ good lesson? Who defines good or bad? Finally, (this is just a question that will probably piss you off) but isn’t the person assessing you, assessing you the way s/he thinks the lesson should be because the criteria have become embedded in their brain?

So what do I suggest?

Of course I am in a position to make decisions, but in my perfect little pink world this would happen. Observations wouldn’t be assessed. Period.There would be no box ticking.

I would observe, but not assess.

I would ask the teacher being observed to tell me what they want me to focus on (some people to do that). I would then make suggestions. Not assess.

I would ask for lesson plans after the observation. I would give the teacher the time to sit down and write a lesson plan after the observed lesson. Don’t get me wrong, the teacher can make a little lesson plan prior to his/her lesson, but, I, the observer would get it after the lesson. Why? Cause for me, one of the hardest and most stressful part of a formal observation was sticking to my lp.

Final thoughts

I have had some very enlightening and helpful observations in my teaching career. I have gained a lot from them. How should teachers be assessed in order to get a diploma? I dunno. That’s not the purpose of this post!

Feel free to leave a comment in the section below. It’s all yours.

Till next time ………

Fun lesson ideas for February 29th

Hi guys!!

So, I know you probably have planned your Monday already, but I thought I’d pop on for a minute or five and share with you an idea or more :).

Monday is February the 29th and since it’s a leap year, you can do something different!

Ideas

Articles to read and summarise as part of a research project, a speaking or writing activity.

The Telegraph just published an article with a video and loads of info. You can print it and share with your kids.

Wikipedia: Post about February 29 and a post about the meaning of a Leap Year.

Working on the 29th of February. Do you get paid? Interesting article for your BE/adult learner.

There are a lot of videos on Youtube about the 29th of February or explaining the leap year. I chose this one cause it is clear and quite easy to understand (B1+)

A video explaining the leap year

Apart from reading, talking or watching a video about the leap year or February 29th, you could also get your students to write an essay  or a letter to themselves (this does not require watching or reading anything about February 29th)

Ideas for writing

Write an essay about what you would like to have achieved/ done before  February 29 2020.

Write a letter to yourself telling him/her what you want your life to be like in 4 years from now. Or anything along those lines.

Tell your students you will be keeping this essay and making a poster out of it. When 2020 is here, you can have a look at the post again. You could also put the essays in a bottle and keep it somewhere in your class. You can also take a class photo and add it on the poster/ bottle.

Time Capsule

Turn this into a more creative class activity by making a February 29th time capsule. Tell your students to put things in this box and that future students will open it on February 29 2020. They can find newspaper clippings, they can make lists of popular songs/ games/ movies. Anything. They make the time capsule and it is stored somewhere in the class.

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So, sorry if this messes up your Monday plans, but I think it would be fun to do something different on a day that is here every four years!!

Do you have any other ideas? The comments section is all yours. Don’t forget to subscribe to my blog or follow me somewhere somehow on the different types of social media shared on my sidebar.

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

 

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