What are the teaching and learning interests of Global Innovative Language Teachers? — 25 August 2017

What are the teaching and learning interests of Global Innovative Language Teachers?

Introduction

In an attempt to better plan the professional development content of the Global Innovative Language Teachers group’s Facebook page, upon joining the GILT group, I (Barri Mock -admin and moderator of G.I.L.T.) put a simple survey together to collect information using the following questions:

  • What language/languages do you teach?

 

  • What age group/range do you teach?
  • What specific areas of teaching and learning are you most interested in learning more about?

 

There have been 117 responses from teachers around the globe. This post reports a short summary of the outcomes.

Summary of findings

1. Languages taught: English, Spanish, French, Welsh, Polish, German, Russian, Indonesian, Latin, Italian, Japanese.

2. Age groups taughtAll age ranges from 4 years old to adult learners with the majority of responses for 11-18 years old.

3. Areas of interest mentioned by respondents:

Top 5 (in no particular order):

  • Developing the use of target language (TL) in class
  • Developing listening skills
  • Developing spontaneity when speaking
  • Developing the use of technology to enhance language learning
  • Comprehensible Input (CI)

The rest:

  • Teaching Proficiency through Reading and Storytelling (TPRS)
  • Project Based Learning (PBL)
  • Accelerated Integrated Method (AIM)
  • Communicative Language Teaching (CLT)
  • Content and Language Integrated Learning (CLIL)
  • Second Language Acquisition (SLA)
  • Developing independent learning opportunities
  • Recycling high frequency language items
  • Improving take-up of languages
  • Responding effectively to new specifications and examinations
  • Supporting struggling students
  • Challenging more able students
  • Developing and building vocabulary
  • Strategies to improve engagement
  • Use of authentic materials
  • Developing cultural awareness
  • Spaced learning and retrieval
  • Developing writing skills
  • Activities that address practice in all skill areas
  • Moving from thematic to grammar based approaches
  • Supporting students with Special Educational Needs and Disability (SEND)
  • Literature and cross-curricular opportunities at A-level
  • Improving memory recall
  • Developing questioning techniques
  • Improving motivation
  • Managing workload
  • Developing approaches to assessment
  • Improving classroom management

Concluding remarks

Many thanks to all who responded to the survey and we hope this summary is helpful.

In drawing a conclusion together for the above data, it is apparent that we are all at different stages on our professional development journey and there is a vast range of interests and aspects to our work that teachers want to learn more about and develop. The survey gives a clear picture that we are an open minded and reflective group of practitioners and stakeholders who are passionate about improving outcomes for students.

Interestingly, of the five areas that stand out as the main concerns of the language teachers in the group three refer to the skills that, according to much recent research, are famously neglected by L2 instructors, i.e. Listening and Speaking.

In the weeks and months to come, we shall strive to address the areas highlighted by our informants both in our forum’s discussions and through the content we’ll share.

 

Authored by:

Barri Mock (GILT Admin)

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Global Innovative Language Teachers – The blog — 1 August 2017

Global Innovative Language Teachers – The blog

Articles on this page are authored by myself and/or by other administrators of Global Innovative Language Teachers henceforth GILT), a Facebook community whose agenda is to bring together EFL (English as a Foreign Language) and ML (Modern Language) teachers from all over the world, share innovative ideas and offer professional development to its members.

Global Innovative Language Teachers, was created by Dylan Viñales and myself, it is managed and moderated by a team of ML and EFL professionals, which include published authors, CPD providers, internationally renowned-bloggers, teacher trainers, owners of specialist websites and very experienced Heads of Department from all over the world.

Current GILT membership includes around 1,100 very keen, inquisitive and passionate language teachers from all over the globe, who actively share good practice and constructively debate pedagogy and current issues in ML education.

The articles shared on this page will draw on the data arising from the most interesting discussions unfolding on GILT or from the surveys of member opinion on various issues.

Gianfranco Conti

Martyn Nayman’s eleven survival tips for novice language teachers —

Martyn Nayman’s eleven survival tips for novice language teachers

(posted by Martyn Nayman, Head of MFL at Nexus International School, Kuala Lumpur on the ‘Global Innovative Language Teachers’ Facebook page on 27 July 2017)

Having seen the amount of NQTers and new teachers joining I think it’s a great time for an oldie to share some pearls of wisdom to make sure you get the most out of your job and not get snowed under!! This list is by no means complete, please feel free to add other pearls in the comment box, but I hope it is a good start! Numbers 1 and 2 should stay where they are. The rest are in no particular order.

1) It is ALL about learning. Everything you do should focus on improving the students’ learning. When planning a lesson think about what you want the students to have learnt at the end and then work backwards. All activities should be focused on this. If your activity does not improve the students’ learning in some way or other then it shouldn’t be in the lesson.

2) ENJOY yourself. Teaching is the best job in the world by a mile. If you’re not enjoying it, it will reflect in your teaching and become a downward spiral. Stop, reflect, and alter so you end up loving your job (even the bottom set year 9s on a friday afternoon!!!!)

3) Pedagogy. Read it, understand it, use it. However there is no ‘one size fits all’. Use it like you use a Chinese takeaway menu! Find the bits you like and choose them. Every teacher is different. Every single class is different so adapt and find what works for you. Don’t feel pressured to use any one bit. If in doubt, trial it and assess it yourself. If it works, great, if not either adapt it or bin it. Simple.

4) Relationships. One of the best ways for classroom control is to know your students. Our subject lends itself to finding out personal information from the students eg their family, likes and dislikes etc etc so use it to engage the kids. If they have a good relationship with you and want to come to your class they will be far more willing to learn.

5) Fun. Try to vary your activities. Have a range of vocab games to fall back on (either tech or non tech) for a simple starter maybe, but vary it up. If the kids enjoy the class, they will want to come and learn. Leave the page after page of the text book rubbish to Maths!!

6) Try new stuff. There’ll be plenty posted on here to try! Give it a go and see if it works. The kids will appreciate it and it will make your lessons more fun, interesting and learning focussed.

7) Technology. Only use it if it makes sense!! If it’s quicker and easier to use mini whiteboards for an activity than to logon to an iPad then use the mini white boards. Also only use it if it enhances the learning. And don’t feel pressured to use it if you’re not confident with it. On the flip side, Joe Dale is on here (the GILT group) and there are plenty of others of us with a wealth of tech knowledge and creativity so use us. We could give you an idea which you can quickly put together rather than have you work on it for hours.

8) Less work. One of my favourites!! Your skills are far better utilised creating engaging, challenging and learning focused lessons than spending 2 hours marking a set of books with a simple reading comprehension which the kids won’t even look at!! Be smart. Get them to mark some of their own work using rubrics. Use self marking technology to help. Look at Gianfranco’s LIFT method for marking writing (I do and it has halved my work and improved the learning massively).

9) Organisation. This is a biggie! For my planning I use Google docs and hyperlink my resources. This means year after year I have at least the basis for a lesson already there and don’t have to start from scratch. It saves me soooo much time and is a godsend when you walk into the classroom and tell them they’re doing ‘colours’ to hear you did it last week and you’d forgotten (don’t worry, it’s happened to every single one of us!!). You can then simply create a starter game and jump on your computer and open your next lesson. It means that during the year when you find new resources you simply hyperlink them to your planning so you have everything ready the next year. Getting organised will minimise your stress alot!!

10) Progress. Record student progress. Not only does it incentivise the kid to crack on, it will also inform your planning as well as evidence meetings with your HOD. Not all kids will be A* (or whatever it is these days), so don’t sweat it. I take far more satisfaction from getting an F candidate a C grade than an A* candidate getting the A*.

11) IT IS ONLY A JOB!!! Yes we all work bloody hard but you MUST sort a work/life balance. If you don’t, the job can consume you. Plan nights/weekends where you do NOT work or set a cut off time and stick to it. The more frazzled and stressed you are, the worse your lessons will be, the less engaged the kids will be and numbers 1 and 2 on this list will not happen which is not good for all concerned.

Hope this helps a tiny bit 🙂 My forte is finding common sense solutions so feel free to contact me if you’re struggling with anything.

Martyn Nayman
Head of MFL
Nexus International School
Kuala Lumpur
Malaysia