Tech tools we should be using: #KELTchat Summary March 31, 2013

* This KELTchat summary is brought to you by Alex Walsh.

Alex Grevett kicked off the proceedings by asking people to consider how ‘techy’ they are, how ‘techy’ they want to be and why there is a difference. Some answers included:

Alex Grevett: Personally I sometimes feel that I don’t have much time for fiddling with tech.

Mike Griffin: yeah for me, the fiddling around and the faffing about are key reasons not to. I think there can b tendency for such gear 2 make things more T-centered at times (says the person who has never used 1)

Sophie Khan: and having to involve sts in faffing about signing up for stuff etc..

Barry Jameson: I don’t see a huge pay off. maybe I’m doing it wrong :/

Colm Smyth: I tend to stay tech free, for the most part. Tech just adds extra element of risk for something going bang wallop

The conversation then moved on to how tech is actually used. Suggestions included:

Anne Hendler: I definitely use tech for listening. I’ve never met anyone who doesn’t.

Mike Griffin: Tape….cd…. internets….mp3…youtube..podcast. Pretty techy sources of listening material, yeah

Alex Grevett: I use a lot of self-recorded stuff these days, both pre-rec and recorded live in class and repeated. My phone does this easily.

Yitzha Sarwono: I once used voicethread as a homework for my students.The only difficulty was the net connection at their home

Yitzha Sarwono: I once used intercom between floors as a tool for my students to practice telephone calling :D

Colm Smyth: if there’s some difficult to explain vocab, bring up a picture so students can see what you’re talking about

Alex Grevett: So Kakao Talk always features high on my list of tools to help students actually create something. Students can record a 1 minute monologue, listen back, improve and even grade / comment on each other’s work.

Finally, the conversation moved onto problems with suing tech in education:

Colm Smyth: Personally, I don’t want the students using smartphones in class as increases chance of them going broken arrow

Tom Randolph: Doceri – The Interactive Whiteboard for iPad. Played with it from ipad to TV and just wowza..

Tom Randolph: time limits, visibility, very specific tasks, clarify use (pics, dictionaries, twitter, ktalk, WP)…

Mike Griffin: 1 thought on smarphones in class.I think its something that needs training/practice(like most things).Of course Ss go crazy at 1st.


And that, ladies and gentleman, was all she wrote.

#KELTchat Poll for March 31, 2013

Hello #KELTchatters and friends,

Our last chat on experiments us all thinking about what else we can try in our classrooms. If you feel stuck in a rut and need a little inspiration, check out last week’s freshly published summary to see what changes you might be interested in making.

We’re back for a chat on Sunday at 8pm and we would love to know what you’d like to talk about! Please click on your favorite choice below to vote. You’ll then see a handy preview pop up on Twitter and Facebook closer to the time of the chat.

Thanks for voting!

Experiments We’re Trying: KELTchat Summary (March 17, 2013)

For the first KELTchat of the new school year, we thought it might be fun to learn more about the experiments teachers were interested in trying. Despite the lack of talk of bunsen burners and beakers, there wasn’t any shortage of experimental thinking during this chat. We discovered that many teachers are excited and eager to try new things, and that KELTchatters are adventurous learners.

“We are all learning here” — My mentor. #memorable #KELTchat > @michaelegriffin

Laboratory Equipment from ELTpics

photo from #ELTpics

Our non-experimental, tried-and-tested moderators for the evening were Alex Grevett and Mike Griffin. And in case I’m not able to bring a voice to each teacher who joined us, I’d like to list them — and also recommend you follow them on Twitter — to show our gratitude for making the chat such a lively and inspiring one: @TomTesol@RhettTeacher, @bryanteacher@AnneHendler@AmelieKelly@GemL1@citoyennemondia@hallg@AlexSWalsh, and @ChopEDU.

Alex G. offered up the first question:

Why should teachers experiment?

Many of us agreed that experimenting keeps teaching fresh. This freshness is connected to the learning — about learning and teaching –that Gemma believes is important. Rhett’s take on experimenting is that it is play and that we all learn while we play. :)

A few spoke of the idea/importance of change:

  • Tom: “Because it helps us change, and the world’s always changing, so sort of implicit that we need to change witht he world? If we resist change, we’re changed anyway. Experimenting is embracing change, controlling the way we change, for the better.”
  • Mike: “I also think experimentation is a nice way to “try on” a new technique and a chance for us to learn as teachers. Otherwise we are just prisoners of what we have seen and done thus far.”
  • Georgeanna: “There’s always a different &/or better way to do things because each group of students is different. I also have to experiment because at KAC, we often have new courses given to us so I experiment based on similar experiences from the past.”
  • Amelie: “I think experimenting requires embracing challenge and requires being somewhat organized to do something new!”

Amidst all this, a small discussion about the value of “set procedures” came up:

“I think set procedures tend to ignore the differences in students to some extent” , stated Alex G.

“always thought of set procedures as a framework that allows useful experimentation,” replied Tom.

“agree as long as the T is flexible with their ‘set’ procedures and whats within them,” intervened Gemma.

“sometimes frameworrk is imposed… makes experimenting a fun creative challenge,” shared Tom.

And with this, the discussion ended.

Mike then asked:

What kind of experiments/changes do teachers usually make?

  • Trying new activities
  • Altering order of items we cover
  • Adding new features (such as journal groups)
  • Playing around with warm ups
  • Timing teacher wait time to make sure students have enough thinking time
  • Experiment with student attitudes and risk levels
  • Asking students to talk more in their homework assignments. > @AmelieKelly will bravely be fielding KakaoTalk messages to help them achieve this goal.
  • Starting new schools! > @RhettTeacher :)

@citoyennemondia instigated a little back and forth exploration on seating arrangements. Circles? Lines? In one of her experiments, Anne found out that circles were the least successful. Tables or no tables? After a trial, Suzanne discovered (and perhaps triumphantly), that tables were the way to go… for that particular context. It of course all depends on who and what is in the classroom.

@hallg and @TomTesol discussed ways the use of Twitter, Google Docs, blogs and other things tech to monitor and engage students in online discussions. I recommend tweeting them with any requests for details on this matter. :)

Many teachers mentioned they wanted to engage students in reflective activities. Georgeanna mentioned that she is consciously doing this and also trying to get the students using the word “reflection” more. Alex G. is “trying to get the students to be more conscious of the learning process. I’m trying to ask a reflective question at the beginning of the week, so that it’s already in their minds……and then they write a short journal entry at the end. Eg question: “What did I notice about Eng this week?” Alex W. shared his idea of reflective “Exit Slips” (Here is a lesson plan and here are example exit slips).

What are you trying out this semester?

  • Rhett: I am testing out a 12 week journal. Exit time = journal (feeling, participation and learning) and I am experimenting with advertising, selling seats in my class, while focusing on having fun.
  • Georgeanna: major exp: I’m trying out journalling groups in one class of Integrated Skills. they have a small slip of paper they’re intro’d to, & print or handwrite then fill it out each class – give to me @ end.
  • Bryan: with help of @gemL1‘s blog I’ve started filming/self-observing my teaching. Want to experiment w/ lots of little parts of lessons. I also want to design more content-focused lessons. I’m teaching 중 writing now. So experimenting with ways to build content focus. This sem I have more to prep…have given self permission to plan more quickly for adults class. So gonna exprmnt with quick! prep
  • Chop: Inspired by @GemL1 and @breathyvowel micro-reflections, I’ve started experimenting with these in class. I’m planning on having a ‘silent day’ in the not-too-distant-future as well. Nice idea @GemL1!
  • Gemma: This week I’m going 2 experiment with silence-try to speak less & give Ss more time 2 answer qs etc mayb try a whole class silent
  • Mike: I am back to using wikis after a couple year lay off. :) I find pbworks to be pretty intuitive and easy for all involved.
  • Josette: I repeat my instructions too much. 10sec silence after instructions. New exp.
  • Alex G.: I’m experimenting with not monitoring too much in fluency activities (or any time), and encourage students to try to self-monitor. Guided reflection forms and recording may feature heavily. Questions (pre-introed) about things they found difficult, things they think might be wrong. Then they can ask me Qs.
  • Alex W.: encouraging St reflection (not easy with high school Ss) is my big experimentation this semester.

And that was it! Jam packed with trials, goals and great learning. If you think I missed something here, please check out the word for word chat at Storify. Remember to click through the pages at the bottom.

Blogs about experiments

Video about tinkering (Thank you Bryan!)

Photo Post: KELTchat at the KOTESOL International Conference

– Pictures of the KELTchat presentation at the October 2012, KOTESOL International Conference, Sookmyung University, Seoul, South Korea –

To read more about KELTchat and the aftermath of the conference, check out Alex Grevett‘s article, What is KELTchat? (p.28), in KOTESOL’s The English Connection.

The following photos were taken by John Steele. Check out his fantastic photography at John Steele Photo.

And these were taken from an iPhone. Tweeting may have been involved.

Thanks @michaelegriffin for the abstract below. I’ll take credit for that snazzy title. ;)

#KELTchat: Professional Development  at Your Fingertips

In this session we will be sharing our experiences and thoughts on the formation, continuation, practices, and future of the #KELTchat group on Twitter. At this point, #KELTchat is basically four different but interconnected things. First, #KELTchat is a bi-monthly moderated chat on Twitter where educators from around Korea and the globe “meet” to discuss topics of interest to teachers in Korea as we draw on the thoughts and experiences of participants. Secondly, #KELTchat is a twitter hashtag so that educators in Korea can keep track of links, questions and ideas relevant to the teaching community in Korea. Third, #KELTchat is a blog that features summaries of the chats and acts as a resource. Finally, #KELTchat is a loose collective of individuals seeking to improve and understand their own teaching practices defined by curiosity, open-mindedness, a desire to help others greater awareness of our own teaching practices that makes up a supportive and dynamic community. Audience members can expect to hear about the community and perhaps decide if and how they might like to participate.

#KELTChat summary: Classroom Rules and Implementing Them (9th December 2012)

Teachers from Korea, Turkey, Ireland, Australia, and Indonesia (perhaps many more in the “lurk-esphere”) joined KELTchat to discuss classroom rules. Michael Griffin lead a smooth and insightful discussion where teachers discussed the following topics:

*Click on this Storify link to get the full chat. Please remember to click “read next page” to see what everyone had to say.

  • Important classroom rules and a why to back it up
  • Who makes the rules?
  • Reasons for implementing rules: school policies, student behaviour or personal beliefs?
  • Self-policing
  • Framing rules
  • Implementing and keeping the rules
  • Focus on Korea

Related links:

#KELTchat Summary: Lexical Approach – October 28th, 2012

The evening began a little earlier than usual with Alex Grevett (@breathyvowel) offering helpful tips to new KELTchat participants. Not only was this helpful to newcomers, but even an old hand like me (:P) learned something new. I look forward to more Alex’s handy tips! Click here for some of those tips – and the transcript of the night’s chat.

This was the perfect lead-in for the landmark discussion ahead. This was the first time KELTchat had a guest co-moderator; Leo Selivan, lexis connoisseur, stepped in to fill this role. I recommend reading this chat’s preview to learn more about his exemplary background. Along with the super sidekick-like moderation of Michael Griffin, a group of new chatters from inside and outside Korea, lurkers, and old-time tweeters were ready to talk “chunks”.

The discussion started with Leo asking us when we first heard of the Lexical Approach (LA) – also a fun way to get the roll call for the evening:

  • @JohnPfordresher first heard of it in TESOL cert, and have tried to use it in class since…that was….late 2009
  • @breathyvowel About a year ago, mostly through the concept of chunks. Just finished Lewis’s 1993 book today.
  • @Lexzicon During my masters at Victoria University of Wellington…Studying under Paul Nation he was all about it
  • @michaelegriffin maybe just maybe it was fall 1999….I took a TESOL course (with Chris Mares! cc @johnpfordresher) and it was briefly mentioned
  • @JosetteLB heard of it during my MA studies at SIT from Radmila Popovic… I think that was 2007
  • @GemL1 heard of it during my DipTESOL course when reading bout different approaches
  • @AnneHendler Last year for me.
  • @AlexandraGuzik On a teaching course in Britain

The moderators then gave us this challenge: @leoselivan if you had to sum up in 1 sentence the main principle of LA what would you say it is? – @michaelegriffin What do we mean when we say “lexical approach?” (challenge in 130 something characters I suppose)

  • @JohnPfordresher first word comes to mind is “chunks” ie, chunks of language
  • @yitzha_sarwono the idea that important part of learning language consists of being able to understand & produce lexical phrases
  • @breathyvowel Something like pay attention to (authentic?) usage, not rules.
  • @AnneHendler lexis is learned more naturally from the top down than the bottom up (maybe?)
  • @JohnPfordresher LA teaches English thru chunks of language, gives Ss lexis based round their needs, uses lots of recycling
  • @michaelegriffin Worry about words (and not just words by themselves) first and grammar will/can follow.
  • @languagebubble LA lets the speaker focus on the message by putting the pieces together (as opposed with thinking about each word or rule)
  • @AlexandraGuzik noticing the language, being curious is LA

A brief but interesting discussion on the role of translation in relation to LA. Should we or shouldn’t we?

  • @JohnPfordresher im not sure there is ever a situation to say never… except never use never. def w/discretion ;)
  • @breathyvowel I think that Lewis (see book reference at then end of this post) has it more or less right with his scale of meaning-value. Some high value words are L1>L2 subs.
  • @leoselivan to sum up, translation is certainly YES as long as u don’t translate single words. Always translate whole chunks / phrases.

Success stories and strategies for teaching LA:

  • @AlexandraGuzik I’ve made a reading diary where Ss put down ten new expressions from a piece of text, they guess meanings…then check with the dictionary and make own examples, then retell using new phrases…They record and email me, then we discuss for 10-15min a lesson…I listen and analyse, but my groups are 8-10 students
  • @GemL1 mind maps where Ss include common collocations r useful
  • @JosetteLB I teach my advanced learners how to use Can’t say how successful it is, but they are v happy to learn
  • @JohnPfordresher i use my multi-colored chalk to highlight chunks within text…i just write the “chunks” using different colors, alternating colors, anything to make them stand out
  • @michaelegriffin My (weak?) strategy is just to keep hammering home that there is such a thing as collocation. Ss often seem surprised by this.
  • @leoselivan Start w/ basis: underline all adjectives; now underline nouns they go with > @breathyvowel Interesting that you start with adjectives. From reading Lewis I would have thought that nouns might work better? > @leoselivan it was just a suggestion :) Verbs are a good place to start too
  • @languagebubble get your school to invest in some Cuisenaire Rods (for tactile learners)

LA in Korea:

  • @breathyvowel I think that an LA would work well in Korea. The system seems reliant on vocab memorization. Why not collocations/chunks too?
  • @GemL1 agree, think it would work well here as long as Ss were taught common and not obscure / incorrect collocation!@breathyvowel I think it would give them more of a sense of ‘learning’ too, in the, err, Korean sense of the word.

And to end the night, a poetic quote from @michaelegriffin:

a brilliant person once said, “LA is like an exotic fruit– everyone’s heard of it but no one knows what it tastes like.”

I’d love to know who that brilliant person was. :) We may not know the taste, but thanks to this chat, now we may have a better sense of it.

Leo’s top quotes:

  • @AnneHendler a holistic view of the language is certainly one of the underlying principle of LA
  • @breathyvowel that’s a good one. We don’t like rules but we like useful patterns :)
  • @JohnPfordresher excellent. focus on chunks rather than individual words (e.g. collocations) and recycle a lot
  • Not single words – I’d say that’s the most important principle…if we translate this principle into practice, I’d say you should never write on board single words – that’s essential…e.g. instead of “home” write “… is AT home” or instead of “achieve” write “achieve a goal” – encourage Ss to copy down same way…if you talk about semi-fixed expressions, that’s it alright to shove on the board single words that complete it…for example ‘it didn’t …. first time’ – WORK / HAPPEN / SUCCEED – an idea taken from Ken Lackman’s LA resource book.
  • @AlexandraGuzik thank u. Lewis originally claimed that noticing was even more important that output…and exploring language with students instead of explaining
  • @JosetteLB Corpus is a gr8 tool for adv.learners. Promotes learner autonomy too!
  • Memorization plays an important role in LA. But always encourage Ss to memorise chunks, e.g. 1 new word + 1 old word (its friend)

Resources and links

Leo’s suggested links:

Leo’s suggested books:
  • Lewis, M. (1993). The Lexical approach: the state of ELT and a way forward. Hove: LTP
  • Lewis, M. (1997). Implementing the lexical approach. Hove: LTP
  • Lewis, M. (2000). Teaching collocation. Hove: LTP
  • McCarthy, M. & O’Dell, F. (2005). English collocations in use. Cambridge: CUP
  • Thornbury, S. (2004). Natural Grammar. Oxford: OUP

#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

Richard Pemberton

Alex Walsh

Alex Grevett

Fiona Mauchline

KELTchat Summary: Sunday, April 29th – “What about listening?”

“There is no such thing as a worthless conversation, provided you know what to listen for, and questions are the breath of life for a conversation.”  ~ James Nathan Miller

This quote certainly rang true in the #KELTchat that took place this past Sunday night, as 24 contributors, along with the moderator Michael Griffin, created a rich conversation with questions about ELL Listening skills wafting throughout the hour-long session.   The initial questions concerned the value of listening, or “why should we include listening in ELT”? And with one short breath of an answer, the question quickly turned to “how”.

As ELTs, the top priority on our minds was activities, with most everyone agreeing that textbook activities were lacking…in creativity, authenticity, and communicative qualities, and therefore, sometimes hurried through or skipped altogether.  The suggestion was made to start with teaching listening strategies (before asking students to jump into varied activities), and was elaborated on to include 6 common strategies that could be employed in any listening episode (in or out of the classroom) – asking, guessing, predicting, focusing, reviewing and responding.

Additionally, a mention of taking away visual stimuli to allow for ‘pure’ listening created a heated debate as to the need or frequency of ‘pure’ listening to occur in real life.  It was conceded that visuals could be used as contextual clues to aid learners, but also could be seen as ‘distractions’.

After those deep breaths, the life of the conversation came full circle to begin again, the inquiry of what kinds of activities might be helpful to enhance listening lessons and outcomes for both students and teachers.  The air was filled with options from pre-listening silence, to live textbook adaptation, to accented English, to podcasts, to self-recordings, to music, to sit-coms (a complete reference list of all cited materials and sources follows this summary).

Now, armed with activities galore, and an agreement that listening lessons should have a purpose and a structure of pre-, while-, and post-listening tasks, the lively ‘chatters’ exhaled laudations and gratitude to each other and the moderator.  With everyone breathing easy, we took suggestions of topics that would breathe new life into the next #KELT chat.  So, stay tuned or ‘listen closely’ for the details…coming soon.

“Man’s inability to communicate is a result of his failure to listen effectively.”  — Carl Roger


Summary by Kristina Eisenhower (@keisenhow)

#KELTChat 4, Sunday April 15, 8pm: Integrating Personal Teaching Beliefs at Work

Does the school you teach at want you to use a coursebook, but you’d rather follow your students’ learning needs? Does your university force you to grade on a curve, and you hate how heartbreaking this will be for Jin Soo who has been trying hard all year? Do you feel like your hagwon is asking you to be an entertainer instead of a teacher?

This Sunday’s KELTchat will focus on how teachers have been able to deal with institutional frameworks that seem to be in complete opposition to their personal teaching beliefs. Perhaps you’ve found creative ways around such issues. Maybe you’ve developed coping strategies such as joining peer support groups. We’d love to hear your success stories as we know they will be a great source of inspiration.

Looking forward to seeing you on Sunday!

Josette (@JosetteLB)