#KELTChat: Politeness, inter-cultural communication and ELF. Sunday 19th April 2015, 8pm (KST)

We’re having a one hour #keltchat this weekend, on the topic of politeness as it relates to communication between non-native speakers of English from different cultures. However, politeness itself is a slippery concept, and may not mean the same thing even to members of a culture or community of practice. Post-modern theories of politeness see the phenomenon as dynamic and requiring a bottom-up approach rather than imposing categories from above (Watts 2003). For teachers, it may be helpful to approach the topic of politeness in the same way. In light of this, here are some questions that might be useful to think about before the chat:

  • Do you agree that politeness must be approached from the bottom up?
  • How can this be done in an EFL classroom?
  • What kinds of strategies can we use to become aware of inter-cultural miscommunication?
  • What kinds of strategies can we teach students in noticing and navigating different norms of politeness?
  • What experiences have you had of trying to teach politeness in your classroom?
  • What have your students done in class that might be considered rude? Why so?
  • Where might we get the materials to discuss politeness?
  • Do you think that there are any universal or widespread notions of politeness that might be useful to teach students?
  • Have your students ever shared stories or experiences of inter-cultural miscommunication or politeness failings?
  • How can we start discussions with students about politeness in an inter-cultural sense?

If you have never participated in a chat before but would like to start, there are some useful hints on the how-to tab above. Questions and contributions of any kind are also welcome at our Facebook page. We hope you can join us for the chat.

References

Watts, R. J. (2003). Politeness. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

**UPDATE** Further Reading

Here are some free-to-view links related to politeness and intercultural communication that may be of interest to anyone interested in the topic.

#KELTChat Slowburn: “What role does translation have in the language classroom?” 7th April 2015, 11am-7pm (KST)

Tuesday sees another longer form #keltchat  Slowburn™, happening from 11 am to 7 pm. Slowburn™ chats are designed for people to drop in and out of the chat, and to allow topics to be developed in a little more depth than our one hour chats. You are not obliged or even expected to participate for the full eight hours.

The topic for this chat is the role of translation in teaching languages. Translation has in the past had somewhat of a bad reputation, particularly when collocated with “grammar”. However, almost all speakers of a second language seem to do some translation, some of the time. How often have you heard a fluent L2 speaker of English pause and say to themselves, “now how do you say that?”

As usual, here are some questions to act as prompts for the chat. Feel free to answer any or all of them during the chat. Tangents are also very much encouraged. However, when you first join the chat, you might want to consider sharing your thoughts on the first two questions as a way into the discussion.

  • What role do you think translation has in the language classroom?
  • Do you use any translation techniques in the language classroom?
  • What’s good to translate? What’s not good to translate?
  • Should we abandon the grammar translation approach entirely, or were there some benefits to it?
  • What are some useful spoken translation activities?
  • How about written ones?
  • How can native teachers use translation techniques even if they do not speak the students’ L1(s)?
  • How can teachers use translation with mixed L1 groups?

If you have never participated in a chat before but would like to start, there are some useful hints on the how-to tab above. Questions and contributions of any kind are also welcome at our Facebook page.

#KELTChat Slowburn: “Just who are my students anyway?” 24th March 2015, 11am-7pm (KST)

Tuesday sees the return of longer form #keltchats for this season, with a slightly different timespan: 11 am to 7 pm. Slowburn™ chats are designed for people to drop in and out of the chat, and to allow topics to be developed in a little more depth than our one hour chats. You are not obliged or even expected to participate for the full eight hours.

The title of this chat is, “Just who are my students anyway?” We hope that the topic will encourage teachers to think more deeply about the people who step into their classrooms, and take away positive insights to help them with their teaching. We think it might also be fun to compare the impressions that teachers in similar contexts hold.

Some questions that we would like you to answer during the chat are:

  • Where are my students from?
  • What is their English learning history? How might this affect their views of English?
  • What expectations do they have of teachers?
  • What do they know about English? What might they want to find out?
  • What is their relationship to English and English in the world?
  • What do they know about themselves? What might they want to find out?
  • What do they know about the world? What might they want to find out?
  • Where are they going?
  • What are my students afraid of?
  • What common ground might I have with my students?
  • Why are my students studying English? Intrinsic/extrinsic motives?
  • What do my students do now?
  • What activities do they like in the classroom?
  • What do they like to do outside of the classroom/in their free time?
  • How can I get my students to open up about themselves?

If you have never participated in a chat before but would like to start, there are some useful hints on the how-to tab above. Questions and contributions of any kind are also welcome at our Facebook page.

#KELTChat: But my students don’t speak at all in class (Sunday 8th March, 8pm)

It’s a new month and a new semester (at least here in Korea), which means that #KELTChat is back this Sunday at 8pm (KST) for an hour-long chat, and we want to make some noise!

The topic for the first chat of 2015 is “But my students don’t speak at all in class!” It’s a situation that many teachers have probably faced in their career. You go into the class with the best intentions but no matter what you do, your students just don’t want to speak. This might just be a one-off occurrence with a single class, but other times it is a more persistent problem with a particular group of students.

The focus of this week’s chat will be on what you can do in those situations. Some questions you may like to think about before, during and after are:

  • What is causing the students to remain silent?
  • Does this happen across all age groups/levels or is it just a particular group?
  • Are there particular times of the day, month, semester when this happens more often?
  • What other factors (outside of the classroom/studying a language) might be causing students to be quiet?
  • What have you done in the past to encourage your students to speak more?
  • What success stories have you had encouraging students to speak in class?
  • How important is it for students to actually speak in class?
  • Should we be forcing students to speak if they really don’t want to?
  • What activities/type of activities have you found prompt the students to speak the most?
  • What type of interaction patterns are most effective for encouraging more student talk? Dyads? Groups? Class Discussions?

Perhaps another tangent that the chat might like to take is how to encourage more speaking in traditionally quieter, heads-down activities.

#KELTChat welcomes anyone and everyone to take part, whether you’re in Korea or not.

Topic: #KELTChat: But my students don’t speak at all in class!
When: Sunday 8th March at 8pm (KST) Check your local time here
Where: Twitter

See you all there.

#KELTChat: Your big questions in ELT (Sunday 14th December, 8pm)

This #KELTchat 1 hour chat is a chance for you to bring your classroom wonderings into a public forum where we can discuss them. The topic was inspired by the #KELTChat live session that we will be running on the previous day at the English Expo in Seoul (Room B, 3:15pm), during which we will be discussing Scott Thornbury’s Big Questions in ELT. Here is a video introduction from Scott Thornbury himself. The session and the chat are not linked, however, so there is no need to have attended the session to participate.

The chat will be on December 14th, 2014 at 8pm, Korea time.
All are welcome and here is a link for times around the world. 

For this chat, we are asking participants to create one question to share with others in the chat, and to post that question when you join the chat, something like this:

If you’re in need of inspiration, you can read Scott Thornbury’s big questions by clicking the “look inside” option on this page.

We hope to see you during the chat.

#KELTchat Slowburn: Reflecting on the Teacher Behind the Practice

This #KELTchat Slowburn™ is roughly based around Tom Farrell’s workshop on November 30th in Seoul. Of course, attending the talk is not a pre-requisite for participating in the chat, which is aimed at being an exploration.

The chat will be on December 2nd, 2014 from 10 am to 10 pm, Korea time.
All are welcome and here is a link for times around the world. 

Here are some questions to consider and maybe to guide the chat:

  • Farrell says, “Good teaching requires more than application of methods; it requires self-knowledge.” What does self-knowledge mean to you in this case?
  • How can we go about acquiring this knowledge?
  • How can knowing about ourselves impact our teaching?
  • How can we discover our tacit beliefs about teaching and learning?
  • Have you ever discovered your hidden beliefs? How did it happen? What did it mean for your teaching and development?
  • What does it really mean to know yourself as a teacher?
  • Where do your teaching beliefs and philosophy come from?
  • Your own related questions.

Some sentence stems (“narrative frames”) that might help us explore our thoughts on teaching are:

  1. To me, the word teacher means…
  2. I became a teacher because…
  3. I believe teaching is a calling because…
  4. When I first started to teach I…
  5. The place I teach now is…
  6. My students are…
  7. I enjoy going into school each morning because…
  8. I find teaching exciting and challenging because…
  9. I do not thinking teaching is a job because…
  10. I think teaching is a profession because…
  11. The best aspect of my life as a teacher is…
  12. The worst aspect of my life as a teacher is..
  13. What I really enjoy doing in my classroom is…
  14. My students believe in….
    (These frames are all directly from the workshop.)

Which of them was easier for you to answer? Hardest? What made you think? What connections can you draw? What does this tell you about your beliefs about teaching?

We are looking forward to seeing you in the chat and as always please feel free to pop in and out as time permits

 

“Who I am is how I teach.” 

#KELTChat “Medium Burn” – Technology that we actually use! (Tuesday 18th November, 12pm-6pm)

Hello everyone.

With a squeal of tires and a puff of oil smoke, #keltchat skids back on to the information superhighway with a (new nomclemature alert!) Medium Burn™. This will be very similar to our usual Tuesday Slowburn™ chats, but half the length. As usual it takes place on Twitter, but this time from 12-6 pm only. Here is a link on the timings for those not in Korea, as the times listed are Korea standard time.

The topic for this chat is an old chestnut, but one worth roasting again at this cold time of year. We’ve discussed technology before, but this time we are focusing on stuff that we are already using in or out of our classrooms. It might be worth defining technology here fairly openly as anything that requires electricity to run. Things we’d like to know when you join the chat are:

  • What technology do you currently use in the course of your teaching?
  • Why did you choose to use it?
  • What kind of benefits does it bring?
  • Do you ever have any problems with it?
  • What advice would you give to a teacher who is thinking about using it?
  • Have your students given you any feedback about it?
  • Are there any reasons why a teacher wouldn’t want to use it?

We hope that you can join us for some or all of the chat. If you’d like to participate but you’re not sure how, there are a number of guides linked at the top of the page, or feel free to leave a message on the Facebook group. We hope to see you on Tuesday.