About livinglearning

I live and work in Japan (formerly in South Korea) as an English teacher. I'm blogging here because I want to reflect on and share the things I have learned about teaching and learning over the years. I look forward to your feedback!

#KELTchat (live and) Unplugged at the Seoul KOTESOL Conference

The #KELTchat team invite you to join us LIVE this Saturday, March 29th, at the Seoul KOTESOL conference. The theme of the conference is “Think Global, Teach Local” – a perfect theme for #KELTchat as we reach out to our global PLN in order to become better teachers in our Korean classrooms. In Saturday’s session we hope to give participants a taste of #KELTchat discussion 140 characters at a time. Keep reading for the abstract and a description of what we plan to do and come join us Saturday morning at 11. Of course if any global PLN people want to share some thoughts on #KELTchat or any of the below topics around 11:00 Korea time such thoughts will be read and appreciated.

Abstract

In Korea, teachers’ access to professional development is often limited by time and distance. In this session, we will introduce an online group aimed at connecting teachers and conducting discussions about English language teaching related topics, especially those relevant to Korea. This introduction will briefly cover the history of #KELTChat, the online structure and the aims. Following this, a flavour of the online discussions will be given in a breakout session, in which three topics will be discussed in small groups. Participants are free to choose a topic of interest to them, and to move between groups. The three topics offered will be solving a specific teaching problem, considering how a certain theory may apply to Korea, and discussing how to teach a certain skill in the Korean context. Each discussion will be moderated by one of the #KELTChat team. Although this is a demonstration of an online discussion group, it will be conducted almost entirely offline, and thus technological expertise or even technology is not required. The session will conclude with information as to how participants can get involved with online discussions.

  1. Introduction

#KELTChat has now been running for two years as a place for teachers of English in Korea to meet online and talk about teaching. It was created to provide a useful source of information on Twitter, specifically for teachers in Korea, and was originally modelled on the global #eltchat hashtag. Similar to #eltchat we also hold regular “chats” on Twitter about a range of topics. #KELTChat now consists of a Facebook group, a blog and regular Twitter activity including hour long “chats” and all day “Slowburn”™ discussions. The purpose of this conference session is to introduce teachers from all teaching contexts in Korea to #KELTChat, enable them to share their views and hear from others on key issues related to teaching in Korea, and to share information on how to get involved with #KELTChat online if they wish.

  1. Structure of the session

We will begin by briefly introducing ourselves and #KELTChat, including the background, goals and style of discussions. We plan for this to take no more than ten minutes. Following this we will break out into three small group discussions, in which participants will be free to move between groups as they wish. The topics for each discussion are given in the section that follows. These sessions will last for around twenty-five minutes, after which there will be time for summing up, information on how to get involved with #KELTChat and questions. We’d like to emphasize again that no part of the session requires participants to have technological skills or even technology.

Breakout group topics

These topics will be the subjects of three concurrent sessions. Participants are free to choose and move groups as they wish. An outline of what we may discuss is given below in order to help participants to choose their session(s). All sessions will be focused on the Korean context, but experience and insight from other countries is very welcome.

1. Solving Problems – Motivating Unwilling Learners (moderated by Anne Hendler)

The topic of this session will surely be something that participants have encountered at some stage of their career, and something that they may well be encountering at the moment. Participants will be asked to share stories of student demotivation and their solutions, and we will look to build these experiences into some helpful suggestions for identifying, explaining and combating unwillingness to learn.

2. Applying Theory – Macro Strategies (moderated by Michael Griffin)

Kumaravadivelu (1993) proposed ten macrostrategies to guide teacher actions in a post-method world. In this session participants will explore what four of these macrostrategies may mean for teachers in Korea, and how they could be applied in various contexts. This session will require some advance knowledge of the macrostrategies. A handout outlining the four strategies to be discussed is included in this programme, and participants are invited to read it before the session.

3. Teaching Skills – (How) Can we teach pronunciation? (moderated by Alex Grevett)        

Pronunciation is often considered the “Cinderella” of pronunciation teaching, sidelined by a focus on grammar, lexis and communication to the extent that some teachers believe that it is impossible or unnecessary to teach pronunciation. This session explores whether this is really the case, and will ask questions of why students make errors, what should be taught, when pronunciation teaching should start and useful techniques for teaching.

  1. Conclusion

This session will benefit anyone who is craving a more interactive conference experience. Participants will experience the benefit of conceptualizing and sharing their own experiences in order to help others as well as hearing and learning from other teachers’ experiences and ways of understanding. Thus participants should come to the session willing to listen to each other and share their experiences, as the bulk of learning will come from group members rather than moderators. This is the way we tend to work during #KELTchat online discussions, and we hope that this live session will be an enjoyable and helpful experience you will want to repeat online.

#KELTchat is back! Preview for March 9 chat

Happy New Year, Korea ELT chatters! Hope you all had a nice break and are refreshed and ready to resume #KELTchatting.

This week’s chat will be held on Sunday, March 9th at 8pm.
The topic is “Being a Whole Teacher: Personal Development for Teachers”.

Teacher development is a hot topic in ELT these days, from iTDi’s blog series on “The Whole Teacher” published last week to Josette LeBlanc’s #RedThumbForLove project.

We invite you to join us in exploring these ideas and we are excited to announce that Josette LeBlanc has agreed to appear as our guest expert.

Although there’s a K in #KELTchat, this topic is a global issue and we invite our friends around the world to join this chat.

“To be whole as teachers, we must be whole as people – we must love ourselves, forgive ourselves, and accept ourselves.  I don’t believe this notion of wholeness can be taught but I do believe it can come over time and for each teacher the time it takes will vary.” Chris Mares

“Perhaps the best word to describe the lesson is connection. All the components came together. The class atmosphere was warm and supportive. The more I encouraged my students’ enjoyment and involvement, the more I rejoiced in it.” Kate Cory-Wright

“Teaching can be a lonely profession. Often, we don’t have anyone to turn to who understands the challenges we face. Self-care may be the only strategy we can turn to when the job gets too hard.” Josette LeBlanc

In preparation for the chat, we recommend you read the iTDi blog: http://itdi.pro/blog/2014/02/28/the-whole-teacher/

and Josette’s post: http://throwingbacktokens.wordpress.com/2014/03/03/teacher-self-compassion-redthumbforlove-compassion-training-3-2/

Josette would also like to recommend this article: Seeing Student Learning: Teacher Change and the Role of Reflection

We would like to have room for the chat to follow any direction of interest to participants, but here are some questions we think might come up:

– What does it mean to be a “whole teacher”?

– Do we need to try to develop personally as teachers, as well as professionally. If we do, what is the relative importance of personal development compared to professional development?

– According to Chris Mares, being a whole teacher is about being oneself, mindfully and with presence. How can this be done?

– According to Kate Cory-Wright, being a whole teacher means connection with the students. How can this be facilitated?

– According to Hengameh Ghandehari, being a whole teacher means being effective for each group of students. How do we meet these students’ needs?

– And finally, what strategies do we use when in spite of everything, things don’t work out the way we hoped they would? What are ways to offer ourselves the compassion we can get no where else?

If you’d like to join us, but you’re not sure how, check out the how to tab at the top of the page. If you’re still not sure, send me a tweet (@annehendler) or stop by the Facebook page and we’ll be happy to help you.

Demand High Learning: Summary of 9/29 #KELTchat

An international group of teachers participated in Sunday’s #KELTchat, exploring what it means to ask our students to demand more of themselves. The chat began with the question, “What does demand high learning look like?” Participants determined that it is individualist encouraging students to push their own limits and not be satisfied with a correct answer or a high TOEIC score. It is autonomous, and the role of the teacher is motivational as well as helping students determine the gaps that need to be filled. It is not exactly the same as demand high teaching.

 Demand high as a tool:

#KELTchatters discussed the value of demand high teaching as a tool that lets go of preparation and expectation on the teachers’ part, so that the teacher can respond to the moment. A teacher’s expectation of what students can achieve is limiting and teachers do well to be flexible about their preparations for class, willing to give over at the moment of learning, quoting @jimscriv: “Go where the learning is. Deviate from that lesson plan.” One participant pointed out that the demand would be on the teachers, but the students do all the hard work. Demand high teaching and learning cannot exist without intimate knowledge of the context and the students.

Bridging the gap:

Another question that arose is how to bridge the gap between the students and their goals? Suggestions included input, not demanding high (in terms of accuracy), and demanding high when the situation emerges. This led to the question of fluency and accuracy, with chatters debating whether it is appropriate to demand high in terms of either or both, deciding that it depends on the context, the age and level of the learners. Is there value in repetition? Is there value in expecting students to apply strategies they’ve been taught? Several teachers commented that accuracy is given preeminence in their teaching contexts internationally (Korea, France, Indonesia) and that demand high is limited to exam preparation. These issues all had a place in the chat. One chatter commented that demand high is a tool and the fluency/ accuracy dichotomy need not be an issue.

 The teacher’s role:

The chat turned to the question of the teacher’s role in helping students “demand high” of themselves. Chatters suggested motivating students to push themselves, helping students explore the language conundrums they encounter when they encounter them, providing explicit feedback based on a belief that students can do better, and setting expectations for themselves in order to give them focus.

 The importance of context:

Context proved quite important in the chat. One chatter pointed out that different contexts necessitate different objectives. Another added that it also meant different opportunities to achieve the objectives. A chatter pointed out that age and level would impact the point at which one might demand high. One participant lamented the tendency in Korea to see CLT as a hoop to jump through. Another said that the place of CLT activities in Korea seem to be “fun” rather than “learning” and that focus on improvement may often be lost. A chatter wondered if demanding high might be a way of challenging the perception of CLT in Korea.

Helping students “demand high” of themselves:

What are some ways to help students to “demand high” of themselves? Responses ranged from suggestions: modeling that learning doesn’t follow a set path so that students will be free to be more exploratory; giving activities and tasks that provide an opening for demand high learning; helping students set individual goals (and find a way to assess whether they are achieved) to pessimism: one participant argued that there is no room for more demand on students in Korean public schools because test preparation is everything. Several teachers suggested helping students “demand high” of themselves so as to fill the gaps in their test preparation and that a change of learning goals may not be necessary.

 Final thoughts from chatters:

@michaelegriffin: Final thoughts: Don’t be satisfied with just smiles and communication. Students are capable of more and need to be helped see it.

@annehendler: Final thoughts: Giving students tasks that help them get to know themselves and point out their strengths and weaknesses can help.

@Penultimate_K: Key phrase that sticks with me is @jimscriv ‘s ‘Go where the learning is’ That and ‘prep vs plan’

@bryanteacher: As a movement, is “demand high” appropriate for Korea? It seems to address a problem in CLT. But lack of CLT is problem in Korea. → @michaelegriffin: Well said, BUT I also think there’s a distinct lack of any demand of or belief in SS as well.

@breathyvowel suggested that it might be individualistic, encouraging students to push their own limits. @michaelegriffin contributed the definition that Ss not just being satisfied with a correct answer or a high TOEIC score but pushing themselves.”

Shared links and things:

@bryanteacher shared some videos where he learned what “demand high” is all about.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ePXmeK1BvYk
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W7C83dg139A
My memory of Scrivener+Underhill vids: demand high about not just letting ur communicative lesson plan trundle along. Be proactive.”

@trent_mcintosh shared this article from the Guardian: http://www.theguardian.com/education/2012/oct/16/demand-high-teaching-challenge-students?CMP=twt_gu

@Penultimate_K shared the #AusELT demand high teaching chat summary: http://auselt.com/2013/03/08/demand-high-elt-chat-summary-7-march-2013/

 Favorite quote:

@yitzha_sarwono wise words: “We have to give them the view that there’s no limit to English, I mean twerk & selfie just made to the dictionary!” 

Helping students to “demand high” of themselves: #KELTchat Preview for Sunday, September 29th at 8:00 p.m.

Greetings, #KELTchatters! As September comes to a close, we welcome everyone to join us this Sunday evening for our final #KELTchat of the month. This chat’s topic is “Helping students to ‘demand high’ of themselves.”

For a good understanding of “demand high,” I highly recommend the Demand High ELT blog. Demand high focuses on the potential for deep learning by each individual student. Demand high teaching explores how teachers can challenge each student to stimulate more learning.

In our #KELTchat, we can explore how to help learners challenge themselves. Some questions to think about:

  • What does “demand high” learning look like?
  • Can students do it on their own? What questions would they need to answer for themselves?
  • Have you any experiences to share about helping students challenge themselves?
  • What can we do to help students push themselves further than they think they can go?
  • How can we involve students in tweaking activities to stimulate further learning?
  • What ideas or advice would you share regarding “demand high learning?”

The following is shamelessly plagiarized from @thebreathyvowel: The above is of course a guideline, so please bring any other questions, ponderings or flashes of inspiration with you to the chat. See you Sunday night at 8pm!

If you’d like to join us, but you’re not sure how, check out the how to tab at the top of the page. If you’re still not sure, send me a tweet (@annehendler) or stop by the Facebook page and we’ll be happy to help you.

4/28 #KELTchat summary – BURNOUT by @bryanteacher

Many thanks to special guest summarizer and #KELTchatter Mr. Bryan Hale (@bryanteacher), who has graciously provided our summary for Sunday’s chat:

What is teacher burnout? Have you suffered it? How does it relate to administration, students, The System, our own overcommitment? What can we do about burnout, and what advice would you offer your past self?


On Sunday April 28, 2013, #KELTchatters shared thoughts on these questions while exploring ‘avoiding teacher burnout’. It’s an important professional concern, and I hope this summary does justice to the ideas and experiences we shared.

Participants:

Alex Grevett @breathyvowel – moderator
Georgeanna Hall @hallg
Anne Hendler @AnneHendler
Suzanne @citoyennemondia
Tom Randolph @TomTesol
Bryan Hale @bryanteacher
Roy Woodhouse @RoyWoodhouse
Daniel Craig @seouldaddy
In a special cameo appearance: Mike Griffin @michaelegriffin

What is burnout?

“feeling of being overwhelmed by what (I thought) my job required” … “exhausted” … “a bit in despair” -Georgeanna

the point where you’re not effective as a teacher any more?” -Anne

“Feeling extinguished, like you can’t do anything” … “No passion or motivation” -Suzanne

“Maybe loss of passion, sense of fun, desire?” -Tom

“Something like not making the effort to see that learning occurs, rather than actively promoting it.” -Alex

“uninvested” … “feels impossible to change the situation” -Bryan

“you think you’re not making a difference, or worse, contributing to problems in the system.” -Daniel

Possible symptoms of burnout

Georgeanna – exhaustion and feelings of despair, depression.

Anne: “migraines every day”.

Burnout is not…

Georgeanna and Tom agreed that burnout is not related to age.

Tom later said “burnout’s different from ‘exhausted by a job well done’…I want to quit if I’m burned out.”

Different burnouts

Tom raised the difference between burnout in a particular job, or burnout in a career.

Anne and Alex mentioned burnout related to particular age groups/school types.

Bryan said there could be burnout related to particular teaching types, and burnout related to the Korean education system.

Workload, support and overcommitment

Much of our chat dealt with intertwining issues of administrative support and teacher overcommitment. I have tried to tease out the strands.

On teaching hours

Roy spoke about his heavy teaching load, and thought 30 teaching hours is about the limit a teacher can handle. He said outsiders might not see 30 hours as much, but teaching requires a lot of planning. Others agreed that people might not appreciate planning time.

Roy said that different student levels require different amounts of work and energy – such as beginners. Others agreed, but Alex pointed out different groups are different. He said with his current beginners  “we sort of feed off each other.”

On support from administration

Tom brought up the issue of administrative support – “hugs, $$$, help”. He wondered if participants had felt burnout related to a sense of unappreciative admin and being overworked.

Anne pointed out that admin staff can be overworked, too.

Georgeanna said she sometimes questions whether admin want teachers to teach their best, given the workload they give teachers.

Bryan said there can be a gap between what a school thinks it’s asking of a teacher, and how a teacher perceives a request – for example, schools might only expect simple lesson plans, or might not expect a lot of After School planning.

Later, Georgeanna said she wishes she knew what admin and students actually expect. Tom suggested admin “just wants you to keep your students happy and spreading the word.” He asked if good admin “force themselves to look further?”

On teachers overcommitting

Anne felt she has had supportive admin staff, but she has chosen to overwork.

Georgeanna was burned out in a particular job, but on reflection thinks “I was expecting way too much of myself.”

Tom said it is hard work to keep colleagues from overcommitting. Georgeanna wondered how to find “the point of working hard, but not too hard.” Tom said it involves “a lot of mentoring and reflecting.” He said that if teachers complain of too much marking, maybe they’re overdoing marking.

Georgeanna mentioned teachers pushing themselves to do ‘amazing and new things’. Tom said this can help fight burnout, because “it’s the repetitive, unchanging stuff that gets to me.” Georgeanna said she understood Tom, but it can still contribute to lack of time.

Georgeanna and Roy agreed that the workload you commit to can sneak up on you. Georgeanna said that at first you might feel elated by the challenge and constant activity.

Alex said teachers might overcommit because they want to do a good job and think ‘time spent = performance’. Tom agreed that over-prepping and over-assigning homework doesn’t equal greatness. “Quality over quantity.”

On vacation/downtime

Anne said teaching camps involves intense periods, but the slower periods which allow recovery help a lot.

Tom highlighted the importance of vacation time – “So one can give it all AND recover, research, relax to do it again.”

Alex said that when teachers are only working, they lose time to develop. “You might know you could do better if you had time to stop and think.”

Tom said teachers can also think ‘that’s what next semester is for’:

“I’ve accepted I’ll never do the job as well as I could, but I do it the best I’m able – growth, reflection, development reward me with usually doing it better / differently next time.”

Other issues

Burnout and ‘The System’

Daniel said burnout can arise from feeling you’re contributing to problems in the system. Anne argued that all teachers do this to some extent, and asked who has the power to change the system.

Tom: “It’s certainly exciting to be able to EVOLVE a system.”

Daniel agreed about evolving – “evolving is still change, just a lot slower and more likely to work”.

Georgeanna said she has had the feeling of contributing to problems, “It’s complicated.” Daniel replied “It makes you feel like a fraud.”

Is burnout part of teachers’ life-cycle?

Alex asked Anne if burnout is part of the lifecycle of a kindergarten teacher.

Anne: “No! I really think burnout doesn’t have to be part of a natural cycle of anything.”

Roy thought that burnout is becoming normal as teachers don’t get paid for planning hours.

Are students a cause of burnout?

Alex wondered if students can be a cause of burnout.

Anne and Tom mentioned kindergarten students in humor.

Bryan said in a traditional education setting, students might see attendance as appreciation and not show appreciation in other ways.

What can you do about burnout?

Put less pressure on yourself.

Daniel: “Putting less pressure on ourselves is often important.”

Tom: “More simply: “Do less.” (David Mamet)”

Alex: “Perhaps some of the pressure could be put on to the students?”

Take time away.

Georgeanna took a semester away, then returned to her job.

Anne took a long vacation in South East Asia, “went home and refocused myself and came back to teach a different age group.”

Bryan: “Go to another part of Korea. Far enough to forget job, close enough to increase warm feelings about where you are.”

Improve exercise and diet.

-Anne, Tom, Suzanne, Daniel

Tom: “Feels good to be good to oneself…”

Suzanne: “Yoga.”

Take more naps.

-Anne.

Keep a gratitude journal.

-Anne.

Visit a batting cage.

-Alex.

Play darts.

-Tom

Take long baths.

-Roy

Play computer games.

Alex: “Computer games are awesome escapism.”

Roy: “…save money by not going out”

Spend time with friends and family.

-Anne, Tom, Suzanne and Daniel

Tom: “Yeah, aren’t relationships key? (Not sure about the booze anymore, though…)”

Suzanne: “Talking to friends and family.”

Daniel: “A good night out did used to help a little. A day at the playground with my kids works just as well w/o the hangover.”

Cry.

Suzanne: “Sometimes crying helps immensely. It allows you to get it out of your system.”

Get some ‘comfort food’ TV.

Bryan: “Especially for times you can’t sleep/nothing else available to do.”

Practice professional development.

Daniel: “#keltchat is another way to beat burnout.”

Bryan: “I think as I’m becoming more confident about my teaching, I’m getting more immune to (esp admin-related) burnout. But takes time.”

Advice for your former self

Alex asked if we had any advice to offer our former teacher-selves.

Anne: “Be less of a perfectionist. Students can do a lot for themselves that I did for them to make it look good. … Take a break during breaks. And be more minimal with paperwork.”

Mike: “Chill out…it’s not such a big deal.”

Suzanne: “Learn how to let go and not take things personally. If it’s not on the lesson plan, but works, fine. Bad days can happen. … And you can learn from those bad days as well!”

Bryan: “Don’t take everything so personally/feel necessary to convince ppl what they’re asking of me is wrong.”
(Alex mentioned SNIP – ‘Smile. Nod. Ignore. Proceed.’)

Georgeanna: “Take it easy. No need to ‘prove’ my professorlyness.”

Final thoughts:

Roy suggested a topic for next time: Why do some people view TEFL as a stopgap/fallback and not a career?

Tom: Fresh off the press – ‘How to love what we do’

#KELTChat Summary: Taboo Topics (14th April 2013)

For the full transcript of the chat: click here.

Last week’s KELTchat was moderated by Mr. John Pfordresher, who introduced our topic of Taboo Topics. John P got the ball rolling with the question: What is taboo? Answers included sex, sexual orientation, religion and politics, drugs, swear words (for elementary students), interracial and intercultural dating, anything that can be perceived to make Korea look bad.

Barry Jameson added “cultural imperialism”, and explained that “I try to avoid the arrogance of talking down and imposing my (western??)beliefs and ideals on my students…unless it’s a debate.”

Bryan Hale contributed that sometimes there were things that were taboo for him, but not his students, like talking about weight, stereotyping based on ethnicity, and homophobia.

Daniel Craig interjected to disagree that homosexuality is taboo anymore and to make the excellent point that taboos can change over time.

Anne Hendler commented that taboos might also depend on the age of the students.

The next question chatters discussed was, “Have you been a Ss in a classroom where a topic has come up? How have you felt? And as a Part 2…How do you feel the teacher handled the situation?”

Bryan recalled the discomfort of being in a class in which the teacher did nothing when a taboo topic arose. Others responded as teachers, with various ways of dealing with taboos in our classes, from laughing it off to ignoring it and moving on, to being matter of fact and providing the language the students need to discuss the topics. Barry said that he tries to tackle each situation as it occurs, so maybe there are no hard and fast rules for dealing with taboos. Mike Griffin wondered whether discussing class norms with students would be helpful in dealing with topics that are or are not okay to talk about. Barry reminded us that just because students are laughing doesn’t mean they are comfortable talking about a topic. Dan added that religious topics can cause “silent discomfort”, but Mike said that Korean students seem to be more comfortable talking about religion in a language class than Americans might be.

John wondered whether it is our duty to move on as quickly as possible away from taboo topics. Gemma Lunn answered that it might depend on the situation, but our duty is to prevent students feeling awkward. Bryan said it is important to be mindful of students who might be hurt and also of the motives and maturity of the students. In some situations engaging with the students and opening things up helps. Anne commented that taboos aren’t just limited to topics, but also extend to body language, touch, distance. Suzanne added personality factors as well. Taboos can occur on a cultural level or a personal level.

Jenny Ankenbauer contributed a big question: “What about a talk on why some subjects are discussed in private &/n public on x&x & others aren’t? Can clarify what defines taboo”

Dan: “Most of these topics are simply uncomfortable or awkward and not really taboo. I take them on a class by class basis.” When questioned, he added that he doesn’t see very many topics as being “taboo”.

Anne said she prefers to deal with all taboo topics raised by students in the open in class.

John’s next question sparked a lot of conversation: “What of our duty as cultural ambassadors? Do we have that duty? How does that affect our decision making when a topic comes up?” Chatters didn’t all agree that we have a role as cultural ambassadors, but Gemma pointed out the need to be more culturally sensitive abroad than in the UK. The question of whether we have a duty to help our students be more culturally sensitive led to an issue of approach. Bryan contributed, “I find opening things up by saying ‘Well I’ve heard in __, __’ can be more helpful than ‘I am westerner, so __’” Gemma added, “i think using objective language can help e.g `most ppl in my country feel that` rather than `this is the right way`allows Ss to discuss topics without causing offence” reiterating Mike’s earlier point that it is important to teach students the language for discussing (or not) taboo topics. Jenny agreed that the language is critical and challenged the term “taboo” itself.

A couple other interesting questions arose from John P and Mike G:

“What about teachers that bring in hot topics just to get a reaction/argument/debate going?” (MG)

Responses included the suggestion that teachers walk a fine line, the need to know the students well and set some ground rules for debate or discussion, the need to be prepared to deal with myth. One teacher suggested bringing in divisive topics, not merely debate topics.

“Racism is an ugly topic that pops up all too often. What is our duty as T here? I have a hard time letting that topic slide by” (JP)

Anne responded that perhaps teachers should make the classroom a safe space to get those views out into the open and discuss them. Gemma says that she voices her own opinion, especially with younger learners.

As the chat wound down, Bryan asked, “What about taboos-in-Korea you might want to break yourself/get sick of, e.g. questioning Korean nationalism. Any experiences?” A certain island between Korea and Japan was mentioned by several teachers.

Gemma shared that her final classes were allowed to ask her “anything” and some taboo topics came up: `what do you think of gay?` `is racial discrimination a problem if we lived in england?` `do you like banana milk` oh and `when was your first kiss?!` think ill make myself a few `pass` cards!

Final suggestions came from chatters:

“Strategy: never talk about anything interesting :-)”
“Strategy 2: talk about interesting things in a respectful way that does not privilege your POV”
“teaching useful exp like `i see your point, however` might help? also bing a gd model~ respecting others opinions”
“Be wary of (but also sensitive towards) domineering Ss.”
“Beware of topics Ur prof exp Cs as 2 hot. But don’t miss spontaneous teaching opps…??? Oh, I mean use Ur ‘gut’ ;-)”

Thus ended another exciting KELTchat. Thanks to everyone who participated and thanks to those who are reading and please feel free to participate in future chats!

Useful links:
http://eltrantsreviewsreflections.wordpress.com/2012/09/28/responding-to-shocking-comments-from-students/ (shared by @michaelegriffin)

http://the-round.com/resource/52/ (shared by @bryanteacher)
“I think “52” is a great book and very reasonably priced as well.” @michaelegriffin #KELTchatadvertising

#KELTchat poll for April 14th, 2013

It’s that time again, fellow #KELTchatters!

We welcome you to participate in choosing a topic YOU would like to chat about this coming Sunday. In our last chat we discussed tech tools we should use in the EFL classroom, and there was something new for everyone.

We’d love your help in creating another positive chat experience this coming Sunday, so please vote for your favorite topic by clicking below* and then join us for the chat at 8pm KST**! Check back here for a preview before the chat starts!

Happy voting!

*KELTchat values your ideas, so we have made a small change: you can add your own topic to the poll if you have an idea. Even if it doesn’t collect the most votes this time, it may appear on future polls.

 

**This coming chat will take place at 8pm KST as usual. However, for future chats we would love your feedback. Would you like to chat at 8pm or 9pm? Click to vote!

#KELTchat preview: 17 March, 2013

Hi all #KELTchatters out there!

I hope your new school years are going well. After a long and restful winter break, #KELTchat returns this weekend with our first chat of the new semester. The topic has been democratically dictated: “Experiments I’m trying/ would like to try out this year.”

Experiments don’t have to be large and dramatic (although they can be). One theme that I have noticed coming up more and more recently is that of small changes (see @GemL1’s blog post and @breathyvowel’s recent post for a start). Small changes are another type of experiment. For this chat, we will discuss the experiments we are doing/ plan to do this year.

In preparation for this chat, there are a few questions we can think about (although we are, of course, happy for the chat to take the direction that most interests our chatters):

Why experiment?
What changes, big or small, are you making this year?
What experiments would you like to try out?
If you have been trying out something new, how is it going so far?
How will you assess the results of your experiments?

We look forward to seeing you at 8pm on March 17th! Happy tweeting!

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, @johnpfordresher) or on our Facebook page.

#KELTchat Poll for 9 December, 2012

Greetings #KELTchatters and friends,

Last November’s chat on Task-based Learning provoked a lot of discussion – read Mr. Pfordresher’s summary here. This week we’re back on Sunday at 8pm and we would love your input on the topic! Click below to vote and help us select the topic democratically. Then keep an eye out for a preview before the chat begins. We look forward to hearing from you all.

Vote early and vote…. ahem… Please vote!

Summary for #KELTchat Pepero Day: “Bringing L2 Output into our Classrooms”

Last Sunday’s #KELTchat fell on the Korean holiday of Pepero Day, a day reserved for the giving and receiving of chocolate coated crackers in the form of sticks. In spite of the holiday, #KELTchat forged ahead with our topic of “Bringing L2 output into our classrooms”. (See the preview here!) The chat was co-moderated by Alex Walsh and John Pfordresher.

After a brief roll-call, a hash-tag reminder, and some banter the chat began with Mr. Pfordresher’s question: “it’s said the maj of daily Eng comm is L2->L2. How do you think your Ss will be using Eng outside the classroom? #keltchat

Answers ranged from “Maybe they won’t” and “right now, they probably aren’t at all, and in the future, I have no idea how they’ll use it” to “multicultural societies mean they are likely to meet people from other countries, Eng likely to be common language” and “My SS will likely use English for work and travel.. Realistically, in ELF contexts”. Other #KELTchatters agreed that students would use English for work, travel, business meetings and be exposed to English on TV, radio, movies as well as business and friendships. Some have students who want to be flight attendants or who want to emigrate to L1 countries or study abroad.

English, it was pointed out, is the language of the skies and also of the majority of the internet, especially since many online games are cooperative and English is the default – and as one chatter pointed out, some teachers use Second Life as an assignment for their students for that reason. Other chatters talked about the importance of computer-mediated communication and the interaction hypothesis (which states that L2 proficiency is promoted by face-to-face interaction). Students might also be interested in English-language comic books or video-games, or want to understand English songs or dramas. In Korea, students might find themselves needing English to communicate with stray lost foreigners.

The topic then turned to what goes on inside the classrooms: “perhaps next we could think about why using L2 output [summariser’s clarification: output from English learners of other L2s as input] could be beneficial? or a drawback? for our Ss #keltchat

Some answers included:

@breathyvowel: My big point would be giving ex. of successful communication, creative language use that may be NS non-standard.

@JohnPfordresher: how about confidence? many Ss, esp in Korea, idealize American accent…many don’t realize the varied acceptable forms

@GemL1: what exactly do u mean drawbacks of using L2 output? Difficulties…?

@AlexSWalsh: exposure to culture of other l2 users i think also important
<There was a lot of agreement on this point.>

From this discussion a couple new questions arose:

@JohnPfordresher: “in terms of benefits: motivation is big in our field. could bringing L2 into our classrooms aid in terms of motivation? How?”

Some answers:

@AnneHendler: “motivation: students won’t feel like they have to be perfect.”

@AlexSWalsh: “i think the interest it creates can be intrinsically motivating if used correctly, esp’ regarding culture”

@breathyvowel: “I think if you can achieve some kind of connection to other L2 English users it could be hugely motivating.”

@languagebubble: “perhaps in raising awareness & acceptance, self-confidence in own output can be pos affected”

@ChopEDU: “Agreed. Ss can have unrealistic output expectations. Eg. speaking accuracy: achieved lang goal? = success IMHO”

@JohnPfordresher: “I’d agree. hyper focus on accuracy limits my Ss communicative competence. IMO”

@AlexSWalsh: “also hearing other l2 users and u/s them might make them more comfortable using l2 themselves”

Outside of the motivation factor, How can L2 input aid learning: @breathyvowel “Well, it’s often delivered at a slower rate, less idiomatic, and perhaps less connected speech so more comprehensible … and so perhaps a better chance of uptake/acquisition?” @JohnPfordresher: “i personally have seen greater noticing, and higher motivation to communicate. helps w/ ENG as only vehicle to comm” @languagebubble: “& offering a range of prosodic diffs can help listening comprehension & interpretability in general” @ChopEDU: “I believe classroom activities that focus on output should have a meaningful, communicative purpose – just sayin … …however, there’s a time and a place for output-focused instruction – Eg. Pronunciation”

A final stage of the chat focused on using L2 output as input in our own classes and activities to do so:

@JohnPfordresher: “moving into the final phases of our chat tonight…if L2 output were readily avail…how could you use it in your classrooms?

@seouldaddy made his entrance with the reminder that L2 output is available: TED is full of useful talks by non-native speakers.

@seouldaddy: “Big fan of using Ss own output for class materials.Peer editing in writing classes, presentations/recordings in speaking classes.”  @JohnPfordresher: “how about ideas? L2 input tasks…and or L2 output tasks utilizing L2 output from sources outside the classroom?”  @seouldaddy: “certainly. these are how i’d use video sharing sites and some listening sites.” @ChopEDU: “How about drawing attention to common L2 errors by activities that promote ‘noticing’ in learner’s own output?” @AlexSWalsh: “again, I think that wud be a very important &effective task, teaching a St to correct themselves cant be overstated IMO”

Many ideas for using L2 input arose from the discussion:

@JohnPfordresher: “ideas – transcribe and decode…transcribe and determine ?/topic/subject matter … linking classrooms with ESL classrooms around the world…delayed interviews…” @languagebubble: “gonna try to step this up with Google Hangout to try to bridge that smart phone barrier” @AlexSWalsh: “i think imp’ aspect of activities has to be focusing Ss on understanding meaning of non-native english”

A popular idea was poster presentation: @michaelegriffin: “Poster presentations! just like make a poster (with a partner) and stand there and talk about it while others mill about. Then change roles” @languagebubble: “nice one… I’m trying Ss making board games this week and then playing each others games”

@annehendler: “idea: modifying output to be understood by international audience.” @JohnPfordresher: “idea- decode L2 output…try and improve it…”

Other ideas included the learners’ output library, L2 English interviews, penpals, language exchanges, and of course Facebook and Twitter.

@AlexSWalsh: “also it would be a shame not to mention the ESL Learners’ Output Library and take any questions you have for John or myself about it” @GemL1: “One Stop English have some good authentic listening interviews” @seouldaddy: “penpals is an old idea, but one that is still perfect for this topic.” @AlexSWalsh: “ye, i was thinking cyber penpals” @seouldaddy: “Epals is an old penpal site that’s still going strong” @GemL1: “yep and Ss can do this thru chat tools or even video chats.” @languagebubble: “To get output out there interculturally and interantionally, how about online lang. exchange? (Lang-8, The Mixxer, etc)  This also could be used as the portal to connect classrooms around country and world” @michaelegriffin: “Facebook? Twitter?”

And the #KELTchat closed with the astute reminder of why L2 input (and output) has a place in our classrooms – it shows that it is okay to make mistakes.

@ChopEDU: “Closing thought on output: mistakes in output might actually be a sign of learning progress!”

See the transcript for this chat at Storify!

 

Useful links on L2 output as input:

 1.usa.gov/RQhWZf ← Intercultural approach to EFL teaching and learning by Zofia Chlopek

Vimeo ← Authentic L2 English

Short of the Week ← another website for L2 videos

Wingclips ← another website for L2 videos

A Life Goals lesson on elllo ← see also the new post on The Breathy Vowel

Malcolm Gladwell on cockpit communication culture ← English in the air

http://web.ku.edu/~idea/northamerica/usa/massachusetts/massachusetts.htm ← accents and non-standard English

Elllo ← Recommended place to find video materials

ESLLOL ← Excellent resource for L2 output

One Stop English ← Another resource

Epals ← Penpals

Magicians RPG ← A language learning RPG (shared by @hallg)

Tale Crafters ← #KELTchatter @dbr_wn ‘s classroom RPG