#KELTChat 14th September 2014 (8pm KT) – Making the most of reading materials

Good morning, afternoon or evening and welcome back to this season of #KELTChat. After our summer break and a public holiday, we are back with a one hour Twitter chat on Sunday 14th September 2014 at 8pm Korean time.

As voted for on our Facebook group, the topic for this chat is “Making the most of reading materials.” As ever, we have racked our brains for some questions that might prompt discussion, though we would point out that the chat is by no means limited to these, and should you have questions of your own to ask we would very much like to read and discuss them. One clarification is that we are thinking about textbook style reading texts, as opposed to graded readers and extensive reading.  Here are the questions:

  • What do we hope to achieve by using reading texts in class?
  • Ok you have a text that you need to use. You have been told students need to read it. What can you do with it?
  • What are different ways you can spice things up and move beyond read for gist and read for detail?
  • What are the best ways to exploit texts? How can you encourage students to revisit the text? Do you “mine the text’ for language points? If so, when and how?
  • Are there any follow up activities you have found to be effective?
  • How/ when/ why would you adapt a text for mixed level classes?
  • What would you do with a boring text?
  • How do we best work with fast and slow readers?
  • Why do people insist on giving students a reading text but no task other than “read this?”
  • Are there ways to move beyond the lockstep classes that can tend to happen when reading in class?

If you would like to take part in the chat, you will need a Twitter account. There are some excellent how-to guides at the top of the page (not written by us!). If you would like a more personal explanation, ask on the Facebook group and we’ll be happy to help. We’d also point out that while we are Korean centered, we’re by no means exclusive, and you should feel free to join us from anywhere in the world. We’d welcome the international perspective.

We hope to see you on Sunday.

The #KELTChat team

#KELTchat Slowburn – Promoting Learner Autonomy: Stories, Sites, Sources, and Strategies (Tuesday, June 10th 10 am-10 pm)

KELTCHAT SLOWBURN (™) Last chat one of the semester
One day only!

We all know that promoting learner autonomy is A GOOD THING and is something we *should* be doing. From there it might get a bit more hazy. Maybe for some, a variety of questions spring up. Some of these that might help guide the chat are:

  • What can we do to promote learner autonomy?
  • What would you say to a teacher who says promoting learner autonomy is not their job?
  • What strategies do you recommend for introducing and sustaining learner autonomy?
  • How can we help students to see their English as a lifelong project, rather than as preparation for a series of tests?
  • What websites or digital tools would you recommend?
  • Are there any blog posts or articles related to this topic you can recommend?
  • Do you have any stories related to challenges and successes you have had with this you’d like to share 140 characters at a time?
  • Does the Korean context figure into all this? How?
  • Do you have any questions about learner autonomy?

We will try to tackle all of this, and more, between the hours of 10 am and 10 pm Korea time on Tuesday, 10th June 2014. If you would like to take part but don’t know how, see the guides at the top of the page, or ask someone who looks like they know what’s up via Twitter or our Facebook group.

#KELTChat 1st June 2014 (8pm KT) – Recycling, Reviewing and Repeating

I have written before that taxi drivers in South Korea probably ascribe a much greater degree of Korean fluency to me than I actually possess. This is because I tend to take at least my fair share of taxis here, and the kind of small talk interaction that takes place in taxis is fairly predictable. Thus, I’ve had a good amount of repetition of “taxi Korean”, and I handle these situations much more confidently and fluently than other, less familiar interactions.

This is generally not lost on language teaching theory, where we know that vocabulary learning requires multiple reviews of and encounters with a word. The world of Task-based Teaching and Learning research abounds with studies into the effects of task repetition on accuracy, complexity and fluency. However, at least in my classroom, the pressures of the syllabus, exams and the need to be seen to be progressing sometimes means that I don’t spend as much time as I should going over old material.

If this also rings true for you, #KELTChat is here to help. During the chat we might look at any of the following questions, or any other questions that you bring:

  • How much repetition, reviewing and recycling do you do in your classroom? How do you go about it?
  • How can we carve out space for a little R&R(&R)?
  • How can we help students to see the benefit of repetition and review, when all they want to do is rush on to the next piece of language?
  • How much is repetition and review the job of the teacher, and how much is the student responsible for?
  • What techniques have you heard of for repetition and review that you’d like to try?
  • Is there any technology out there that could help teachers and students?
  • Is there anything about repetition and reviewing that we need to condsider that is particularly relevant to Korea?

We will try to tackle all of this, and more, at 8pm Korea time on Sunday 1st June 2014. If you would like to take part but don’t know how, see the guides at the top of the page, or ask someone who looks like they know what’s up via Twitter or our Facebook group.



#KELTchat Slowburn – Communicating with Colleagues (Tuesday, May 20th 10 am-10 pm)

Relationships with colleagues can be a major factor in how much we enjoy and learn from a teaching position. They can also be a source or stress and confusion and more. If we want to avoid workplaces like this, communicating with our colleagues in ways that foster cordial relationships, collaboration and improvement in teaching is important. In this Slowburn, we would like to tackle some of the things we should think about while picking our way gingerly through staff room relationships. Here is a list of questions that we will base the chat on, but please feel free to bring your own questions and experiences too.

Do you…?/How do you…?:
    • foster a more collaborative relationship with colleagues when that seems like a worthwhile thing to do, but in a workplace that seems to discourage collaboration;
    • access the wisdom of experienced coworkers when that wisdom might not be shared spontaneously, or might not be sharable within ‘official wisdom sharing';
    • negotiate different teaching philosophies among colleagues;
    • approach new colleagues;
    • offer help to colleagues who are struggling;
    • model interactions to students;
    • respond to colleagues who may not have your best interests at heart;
    • avoid coming off as a cult recruiter when you mention KELTchat/KOTESOL/professional development;
    • deal with getting feedback you disagree with or think is just unhelpful from senior colleagues;
    • handle receiving criticism from a coworker in front of students;
    • communicate your teaching philosophy to senior coworkers?

We will try to tackle all of this, and more, between the hours of 10 am and 10 pm Korea time on Tuesday, 20th May 2014. If you would like to take part but don’t know how, see the guides at the top of the page, or ask someone who looks like they know what’s up via Twitter or our Facebook group.

Sun May 11th #KELTchat on Critical Pedagogy with Special Guest Moderator Divya Madhavan

Hello there and thanks for dropping by. We here at #KELTchat are thrilled and honoured to announce our topic and special guest moderator for the next KELTchat. The topic is Critical Pedagogy and the special guest moderator is Divya Madhavan. The date of the chat is May 11th and the time is 8 pm Korea time, which is 1 pm in Paris and Prague, 11:00 am GMT, 3:00 pm in Moscow, 8:00 am in Brasilia, and 7:00 am in Boston. For the times in other locations you can check here.  In addition to being kind enough to join us for the chat and to help moderate it Divya has also shared part 1 of a preview (on Cultural Capital) here and part 2, which is on the Hidden Curriculum, here and here is part 3 which is on the Banking Model of EducationWe are very much looking forward to the chat and hope you can join us. In the meantime, please head over to Divya’s (excellent) blog and check out the previews. While you are there you might want to check out her other posts as well!

#KELTchat Slowburn – ELT Megatrends in Korea (Tuesday, April 15th 10 am-10 pm)

UPDATE: Here is the Storify collection of tweets from this chat. 

David Graddol gave talks at both TESOL and IATEFL this year. Here is the link to the talk at IATEFL (he starts talking at the 8:40 mark in the clip)  and here is the link to his talk at TESOL (he starts at about 12:45 in the clip).  The title of the IATEFL talk was “English and Economic Development: Myth or Reality” and the title from TESOL was “Five Megatrends shaping the future of TESOL.” You are not required to have watched the talks to participate in the chat!

Here are some blog posts on the IATEFL talk:

  1. A handy recap of the IATEFL talk
  2. A thoughtful review of the talk 
  3. David Graddol, ‘Trends Analyst'” which is another nice recap that focuses on some key issues from the talk
  4. This persuasive post by Mura Nava talks quite a bit about Graddol
    (along with mentions of and comparisons with Sugata Mitra’s speech)

Update: David Harbinson’s () excellent new post makes connects Graddols IATEFL talk to his learners in Korea.

And here are some posts on the TESOL talk:

  1. Thoughts from IndiaELT on the talk
  2. A short review from Andy Curtis

In case you are wondering, the megatrends he mentioned were demography, economy, technology and politics. Wait, that is only 4? The fifth, was us, teachers.

Some questions to get us thinking and rolling for the chat:

  • Why do students in Korea learn English?
  • How important is English for Korean people working in Korea?
    What levels are required? What do people need to be able to do in English?
  • What are the economic benefits students can derive from learning English?
  • How can we account for the “English Fever” in Korea?
    Are there signs of the “English Fever” waning or increasing?
    What are they?
  • What is the rate of return for the time and money invested in English education in Korea? How is this similar/different to other countries you are familiar with?
  • What does the increase of “non-native speakers” of English worldwide mean for Korean students?
  • How will demographic changes around the world and in Korea impact the field and our job prospects?
  • How do any of the changes and trends figure to impact teaching and pedagogical choices?
  • What predictions do you have for the ELT industry in general and Korea in specific?
  • Any other related questions you have or that arise in the ongoing discussions.

This chat is a  #KELTchat Slowburn™ which means it is the same idea as an hour chat but it is spread out over 12 hours. Participants can feel free to dip in and out of the ongoing conversation as their schedule and interest allows. We are hoping it will be something of an event, but a slow and steady one throughout the day. You can see what is happening by checking out the #KELTchat hashtag throughout the day.

#KELTChat – 6th April 2014 – Too much fluency?

Hello #KELTChatters,

Your favorite Korean online teacher development group (I’d call us an organization but I think it would be a contradiction in terms) offers you the chance to offer advice on a possible problem for teachers in Korea during our one hour chat on Sunday night at 8pm Korea time. We’d point out that you neither need to be involved for the whole hour, nor be in Korea to participate. Any and all contributions are welcome.

The problem is this*:

My classes are heavily fluency focused, with a lot of free talking, conversational tasks and role playing. We use a textbook, but students claim that they already know most of the language that it aims to teach. Therefore I try to focus on getting them to use the language that they already have. I also feel like this is what my administration expects of me. During activities I try to supply language at the point of need, which students appreciate, but if I try to use this to teach grammar or lexis past individual vocabulary words, then I sense attention starting to wane and boredom setting in. I wonder if there is more to be gained from fluency work than just fluency gains and incidental vocabulary.

* This is an imaginary scenario compiled from my experience and that of teachers that I have spoken to. I have left it deliberately vague in order that it can be adapted to different contexts. Feel free to invent or assume anything about this situation that is not given in the description.

Some questions that we might like to answer:

- What other learning oppportunities do conversation and tasks provide?
– How can we take advantage of these for learning?
– Can we structure tasks and conversations differently in order to provide language learning opportunities without explicitly focusing on language?
– How can we help students to achieve or set language goals within tasks?
– How can we create opportunities for students to use target language within freer speaking?

- Do you think that native speaking English teachers in Korea are expected to have more fluency based classes?
– If so, where does this expectation come from? Does it work against native speaking teachers? How can teachers counter it if they wish to?

If you have any answers to these questions, or any comments in general, we would be delighted to hear them during the chat. If this your first time, you can find a how- to guide on the tab above, or simply ask anyone in the Facebook group. We look forward to seeing you on Sunday night.


Alex (@breathyvowel)