3 announcements and a preview

Hello, Keltchatters and friends!

As you might guess from title, this post will share three announcements and a brief preview for the upcoming chat.

Announcement 1
The next #KELTchat will be on Sunday, October 28, 2012.
The chat will start at 8:00 pm Korea Standard Time.
The topic will be: The Lexical Approach (more on this below in the preview).

Announcement 2
For this #KELTchat we will have a special guest moderator!
Known on Twitter as @lexicalleo (perfect fit for the chat, right?), Leo Selivan is a senior teacher trainer and materials developer with the British Council in Tel Aviv. He has been with the British Council for the last 9 years and has delivered teacher training in many countries in the Wider Europe region. His key interests are vocabulary development and using video in the classroom, the topics he often speaks on at teachers’ conferences such as IATEFL, TESOL France, IATEFL Poland and ETAI. Apart from writing for the TeachingEnglish website, he maintains his own blog Leoxicon. We are thrilled to have Leo participating and hope and believe it will be a great chat.

Announcement 3
Due to the likelihood (possibility?) of having some newer members to #KELTchat this time Alex Grevett (@breathyvowel) has kindly offered his time, expertise, and help starting at 7:30 pm. In this 30 minute pre-chat, Alex will help newer chatters get their sea legs under them. Please come with questions or just ready for some scaffolded practice.

(Note: most of this preview (the good part) was supplied by @annehendler)

The democratically selected topic for the chat is “The Lexical Approach.”

It has been said that “words are the building blocks of language”. Sometimes it is added that “grammar is the cement”.

It seems like (even more so in Korea?) that grammar and vocabulary are thought of as “wholly other” things and that there is not much room for combining them or thinking of them in a different way.

Some questions to think/chat about might include:

  • How much focus do you give to collocations in class? How much would you like to give? Why?
  • How much focus do you give to fixed expressions? How much would you like to give? Why?
  • What are some ways that teachers can effectively focus on fixed expressions/collocations?
  • How can we improve our learners’ fluency through lexical instruction?
  • How can we best “sell” these ideas to students and admin?
  • What are some potential drawbacks from following a lexical approach?

Want to learn more about the Lexical Approach before the chat?

This one minute video on the Lexical Approach (from @MrChrisJWilson) is a good start.

Some additional potential starting points for pre-reading:
(perhaps mostly roughly in order of accessibility/ease of reading/assumptions of prior knowledge)







Please feel free to add any additional links in the comments.
Questions are most certainly welcome as well.

As always, we would be happy if you would join us for this discussion and add your own questions or tips.  If you’re new to Twitter chatting and aren’t sure quite how it works, check out this handy guide. If you have no idea what #KELTChat is, have a look here or here. You can also contact us through Twitter (@breathyvowel, @JosetteLB, @michaelegriffin, @alexswalsh, @annehendler) or on our Facebook page.

KELT chat: Through the eyes of a newbie

[This post is re-posted here through the kind generosity of John Pfordresher, whose excellent blog, Observing the Class, can be found here.]

There are a myriad of ways to get professional development (PD). The advent of new technologies is constantly increasing those possibilities and the size of the communities that can participate.

One method of PD I find particularly difficult to participate in is a Twitter chat. Now, I am still relatively new to Twitter, joining early this year, and have found it an instrumental resource for PD. This being so I can understand and see the how benefits directed chats, through Twitter, amongst a large group of educators could be enormously helpful.

However, every time I am on and ready to participate I find myself muted (which for those who know me, is an unusual circumstance). There are a number of problems.

  1. It goes so fast! I will be watching everyone and see something interesting I would like to comment on, but by the time I formulate a response within the constraints of Twitter (140 characters) I look up and the conversation has passed me by and everyone is onto a new topic. So I delete my comment and begin to “lurk” again.
  1. It can be severely disjointed. With a large group of people talking in a room, there is a bit more cohesion in the discussion and it is much easier for participants to navigate the contributions from participants. On twitter, everything is visual and can become overwhelming when trying to follow the conversation as one might in the “real” world.
  1. It’s short. Only an hour, and after the flurry of activity an uninitiated one, such as myself, can come away a little shell shocked. Grateful for all the information, opinions, and resources, but also a little “at a loss” with what to do with it all. How to organize it into a manageable manner that I can use for myself and my teaching.

Here I will admit, that so far, I have allowed these issues to dissuade me from joining on a regular basis. They have most certainly kept me from contributing. And that frustrates me, because I like to have my voice heard. I believe everyones voice being HEARD is exactly what the community is for, and why it is such an instrumental tool in improving ourselves and each other.

For all you other newbies like me, don’t give up just yet! After conversations with a number of regular contributors I have come to understand the forum of the Twitter chat a bit better. It is, for sure, still a bit daunting, but try and remember this.

  1. A twitter chat is moderated. It is the moderators job to make sure that all the voices that should be heard are heard. It is the moderator who will recognize your comment, and even though it may not fit with what is on the screen that moment, he/she will make sure you are heard.
  2. Don’t back down. If the moderator misses your comment, but you think it is a valuable addition, speak out again. Let it be known that you feel something is missing from the debate.
  3. Read the recap! Kelt chat, in particular, always has a write up the next day (or within a reasonable span of time) of the pertinent topics, big points made, and a list of resources thrown out throughout the hour. If you do not catch everything the minute it pops up, you will have a chance to gather it all at your own pace here.

I know this can be an invaluable forum for PD. I am going to keep trying, and I know that , just as with Twitter before it, I will become more comfortable with how to navigate it and use it in an immensely positive way. Won’t you join me?

Kelt Chat is held bi-monthly Sunday nights 8PM (+9 GMT) #KELTchat 

(PS- After completing KELTchat this evening (10/7/2012) I realized something else for the first time. Watching the tweets fly in I saw that in reality, it was a long list of many individual conversations. Many pairs or small groups have conversations all at the same time. This can be overwhelming if one expects to respond to everyone. However, between the moderator, and retweets, it is fairly easy to catch all the main points, and carry your own conversation. Something to keep in mind for the inexperienced – MAKE IT WORK FOR YOU)

#KELTchat Summary: L1 Use in the Language Classroom – 7th October 7th, 2012

This week’s summary was brought to you by @BarryJamesonELT of the fantastic blog, Barry Jameson: All things ELT… Thank you very much Barry!


This is a summary of the #KELTChat that took place on Twitter on the 7th October 2012. The topic was L1 Use in the Language Classroom. There was a lively discussion involving many KELTchat regulars and some new faces too.  The chat was moderated by the wonderful @AnneHendler.

L1 Beliefs

The chat started by discussing L1 beliefs in the classroom.  The majority seemed to agree that some form of L1 was okay depending on how it was controlled.

@languagebubble stated that it was, ‘no secret that I like L1 in the classroom… where appropriate.’

@AlexSWalsh felt that, ‘L1 correctly utilized is a useful tool but it has to be carefully guided and structured.’

@darryl_bautista suggested that, ‘Full English instruction only divided the learner and language.’

@johnPfordresher tends to, ’teach and instruct as much as possible in English, allow students help each other in L1 for few who don’t understand.’

@OksanYagar felt L1 is useful, ‘when there are different levels of students… you do not want to lose a low group.’

Most were not strongly against it but didn’t particularly use L1 within their classroom.

However, @teachersilvert felt that, ‘if you use L1, how are you going to convince them to learn a new language?

@yitzha_sarwono does not use, ’L1 at all, as long as I use gestures and simple short sentences they are okay’.

@michaelegriffin said, ‘One thing I am totally against is pushing L2 for giving instructions n such for the purpose of “input” it’s usually the same stuff.’

@tamaslorincz had issues with teachers using L1 unless with very young learners, ‘no reason why teachers shouldn’t be able to explain things in L2’.


The chat then moved on to strategies that teachers use to enforce they language policies.  A number of useful strategies were discussed such as self assessment by students of their participation including L1/L2 use, Korean tokens (for high levels), team points (for mixed levels), speak English (don’t break the chain), students stand up to use Korean, being allowed to use L1 if they have attempted English twice, English only in increments etc

Final Thoughts

As the chat was coming to a close participants were offered a chance to give their final thoughts.

@teachersilvert felt that, ‘nothing is forbidden as long as it works for you and your students’.

@GemmaL1 suggested, ‘explain benefits to students of using English as much as possible’.

@JohnPfordresher, ‘don’t be pressured by anyone, your class, your choice.’

An energetic discussion came to an end.  It was great to so many teachers getting involved.  Thanks to all who participated.  Hope to see you at the next #KELTchat.



Scott Thornbury http://itdi.pro/blog/2012/10/01/breaking-rules-scott/

Richard Pemberton http://www.slideshare.net/richpemberton/l1-use-in-the-l2-classroom

Alex Walsh http://www.alienteachers.com/1/post/2012/06/at-what-point-if-ever-is-it-right-to-implement-an-english-only-classroom.html

Alex Grevett http://breathyvowel.wordpress.com/2012/03/09/asking-students-to-assess-your-l2-output/

Fiona Mauchline http://cerij.wordpress.com/2011/01/25/guest-post-by-fiona-mauchline/

#KELTchat preview: L1 Use in the Language Classroom – Sunday, October 7th, 8pm

Hi all,

Tonight’s #KELTchat topic is L1 Use in the Language Classroom. Often our workplaces dictate whether or now L1 use is appropriate in the classroom. Many places ban it entirely. Is this beneficial to the students?

During the chat, we can discuss the benefits and drawbacks of L1 use in the language classroom and share strategies for how, when, how much we allow our learners to use their first language. Some things to think about include:

1) What are your beliefs about L1 use in the classroom? Does it depend on age? Ability level?

2) Does your workplace have rules about L1 use? Do you agree with them?

3) What strategies do you use for enforcing your language policy in your classroom?

As always, we would be happy if you would join us for this discussion and add your own questions or tips.  If you’re new to Twitter chatting and aren’t sure quite how it works, check out this handy guide. If you have no idea what #KELTChat is, have a look here or here. You can also contact us through Twitter (@breathyvowel, @JosetteLB, @michaelegriffin, @alexswalsh, @annehendler) or on our Facebook page.