Monday, 23 February 2015

ELT Ireland Conference

Saturday and Sunday (Feb 21st and 22nd) marked the first ELT Ireland Annual Conference. It was a fantastic event and wonderful that this organisation exists here in Ireland. Our industry is going through some tough times, so it is great to have the chance to go to events like this, meet colleagues and share ideas. There were tons of highlights (I will do a post on these later this week) but one that really resonated with me was Peter Lahiff's talk about getting involved. His message, "Push, the door is open", really struck a chord, especially as Peter himself has given me, along with many others, a lot of support in trying new things and getting involved in the ELT world.

The hashtag for the conference was #eltirl2015 if you would like to check out some of the discussion.

I've attached the slides from my talk here if anyone would like to take a look. Basically the talk was about exam preparation classes and how to share the pain with students.

I'll try to explain one or two points that might not be so clear from the slides.

½ with answers + ½ with questions = less TTT

With reading texts, I might give half the students the questions and let them get cracking. With the other half, I give the answers. Their job is to find evidence in the text to prove the answer. After the time is up, get them together. They discuss a bit more as opposed to listening to me telling them the answers.

Text + student questions = speaking practice

I often give a reading text on a particular topic. The homework is to think up discussion questions related to the topic. The next day, we use those topic questions for discussion in class. They are hopefully more invested because they are discussing their own questions and they can use ideas/language they picked up from their reading.

Backwards essay writing = plans and questions 

I always bang on about making plans before writing. One thing that breaks up the monotony of me harping on is to give a complete essay and ask students to make a plan from it and figure out what the question was. If it is a good essay, it should be easy to make the plan. If it is a bit incoherent, trying to recreate the plan might show that up; likewise if the essay hasn't answered the question.

I should also credit Hugh Dellar, who very kindly allowed me to rip off the structure he used in this talk and offered his encouragement.  

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