#KELTChat Slowburn: “Using social media with students” (Tuesday, September 15, 11am-6pm KST)

As KELTchatters our enthusiasm for social media for professional development is well-documented. But what about using social media with students for their English development? In this chat we’d like to share thoughts, experiences, challenges and ideas related to using social media with students.  This post  Social Media and ELT  from the Oxford ELT blog (from 2012) is perhaps ancient in social media terms but it provides a nice overview.

This chat is a Slowburn chat, meaning that it takes place over a much longer time than regular Twitter chats. We hope people will dip in and out of the chat throughout the day as their schedules allow; we don’t expect anyone to be involved for the whole 7 hours.

Some general questions to consider: 

  • What are the benefits of using social media with students of English?
  • What challenges might teachers who want to use social media with students face?
    How might we face these challenges?
  • What do students and other stakeholders think about using social media to improve their English?
    Might we have to encourage buy-in on social media projects? How can we do this?
  • What advice would you give someone thinking about implementing social media in their classes?
  • What about the technological and educational landscape in Korea makes it a nice choice for using social media with students? What aspects make it less than a great fit? How is Korea similar and different to other places in terms of social media and tech?
  • What do you want to know or learn about social media for students of English?
  • Are there any problems or difficulties in your teaching experience that you have overcome by using social media?

More specific questions

  1. How do/would you handle privacy concerns?
  2. What would you have students actually do with social media?
  3. Do you prefer networks students already use? Why or why not?
  4. What sites or apps do you think offer the most for students?  What are the specific strengths and weaknesses of different social media sites?

We hope to see you in the chat on Tuesday.

#KELTchat on “The myth of proficiency” May 10th, 2015

It is time for another KELTchat. The next chat  will be a one hour chat and will start at 8 pm Korea time– click here for times in other areas.

The main focus of the chat is “The myth of proficiency” as discussed by Donald Freeman at the IATEFL 2015 conference. The talk can be viewed here and is not required viewing in order to participate in the chat. Also, the slides from the presentation can be found here: Donald Freeman Plenary (1). Finally, Lizzie Pinard has written up the talk here: http:// http://reflectiveteachingreflectivelearning.com/2015/04/11/iatefl-2015-opening-plenary-donald-freeman/

Regarding this topic, one teacher says, “It struck a chord because my classroom seems a long way from the ‘real world’ and I don’t really feel as if my job is really readying students to go out and speak English, more to give them a bit of a peek at what they might have to do in future.”
What do you think?
How do you see your role as a teacher with reference to proficiency and preparing students for the real world?
If we are not preparing learners for the “real world”, what else can we be doing?

In the talk, Freeman quotes Nunan who says:

“Proficiency, simply put, refers to the ability to perform real world tasks with a specified degree of skill.”
Nunan, 1987.“The ghost in the machine,”

What do you think of this definition?
Do you share this definition?
Are there any problems with this definition?

Freeman points out that proficiency is often graded using terms such as “near-native”, but this is an experiential and geopolitical concept rather than an empirical and linguistic one. He argues that this makes it almost impossible to teach or assess on this basis because the concept covers a wide and shifting range of knowledge, skills and contexts; language is like water, not ice. He argues for a much more bounded view of language and proficiency in the classroom.

How might teaching towards “native-like” proficiency impact your teaching?
How might freeing yourself from the shackles of this myth impact your teaching?
What kind of boundaries do you or could you set up in your classroom to make clearer goals?
What about learners’ voices? How can a teacher involve learners in the critical consideration of this myth in order to determine how it affects language learning goals?


Here’s a link to the storify of the chat in case you missed it or just want to re-live it.

#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 on Linguistic Landscapes (Sunday November 2nd)

The next #KELTchat will be at 8 pm on Sunday November 2nd and the topic will be Linguistic Landscapes. More specifically, we will be talking about about Linguistic Landscapes and their implications and uses for English teaching. People from all around are welcome to participate and all are welcome. For this chat we are honoured to have Michael Chesnut and Sungwoo Kim as guest moderators.

chesnut linguistic landscapes

Photos by @MichaelChesnut2

What do we mean when we say, “Linguistic Landscapes?” Scott Thornbury, mentioner of #KELTchat, offers a nice introduction in this post. The post cites an ELT Journal article from Peter Sayer on Using the Linguistic Landscape as a Pedagogical Resource. And here is an article called “The Language Lessons Around Us: Undergraduate English Pedagogy and Linguistics Landscape Research” that is focused on research and experiences at a Korean university.

A central question for the chat will be:
How can various linguistic landscapes be used in language teaching? 

and some additional questions might include:

  • How can we get started using Linguistic Landscapes in (and out of) class?
  • What challenges might you expect using Linguistic Landscapes with students?
  • What ideas do you have for using Linguistic Landscapes with students?
  • How can we use the English in Korea’s multilingual Linguistic Landscape to help our students develop their language skills?
  • How can we use technology like Google Street View to explore Linguistic Landscapes beyond Korea?

Of course, other questions and points will emerge in the flow of the conversation. We are looking forward to chatting with you!

Candid Lesson Planning: A Very Special #KELTchat Slowburn. Tuesday 2014.10.14, 10am – 10pm Seoul time.

How do you really plan lessons? This question and others will be discussed in the next #KELTchat Twitter chat on Tuesday 2014.10.14, from 10 am to 10 pm Seoul time.

This is a special Slowburn because the final hour will find us LIVE on ELT Live in a Google Hangout hosted by Jeff Lebow of WorldBridges.

Candid lesson plan CHALLENGE!
For this chat we have a (totally optional) challenge to get you started whenever you arrive from 10 am to 10 pm.
If you can, share a picture of a real lesson plan, or of your real planning process. We want to peek inside your notebook/computer/brain!
Why is this how you plan? How often do you do it? How long do you spend?
Why is planning this way useful for you?

In addition to the challenge, please feel free to add your own questions and issues with planning and prep.

Some other questions to consider might be:

  • Are there any limitations about your planning you’ve been thinking about?
  • Is there anything you’re thinking about trying out regarding planning?
  • How is you planning similar and different than when you first starting teaching?
  • Who sees your plans?
  • What is an essential aspect of your plans or something you need to do?
  • What is your favourite part of lesson prep? Least favourite?
  • How/when/why do you throw away your plans during teaching?
  • Do you keep plans? Do you come back to them later? Why?
  • What sites, ideas and resources are helpful for you as related to lesson prep?
  • Have you heard any good quotes that can be related to lesson prep?
  • What aspects of preparing for classes take the longest for you? Do you have strategies for streamlining the preparation process?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Here are some blog posts on the IATEFL talk:

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

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

And here are some posts on the TESOL talk:

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

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

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

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

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

#KELTchat Slowburn on Student Confidence and Anxiety (Tuesday, March 25th 10 am-10 pm)

It is time for another #KELTchat. The time for another #KELTchat Slowburn™ is upon us. If you are not familiar with the Slowburn™ concept, it is basically the same as an hour chat but it is spread out over 12 hours. Please feel free to dip in and out of the ongoing conversation as your schedule and interest allows. We are hoping it will be something of an event, but a slow and steady one throughout the day. You can see what is happening by checking out the #KELTchat hashtag throughout the day.

This time the topic was brought to us by the benevolent junta high atop #KELTchat towers. We hope and believe it will be an interesting, useful and and important topic for #KELTchat-ters to discuss.


This page on Learner Anxiety might be a good start for those interested in learning more about the topic. And, this (1986) piece seems to be an oft-cited and important one about foreign language anxiety. 

It is no secret that English can be a source of stress and anxiety for many students here in Korea. What do you think are the sources of this anxiety?

How have you seen this anxiety manifested in class?

How do you think most of your students would score on the FLCAS
(Foreign Language Classroom Anxiety Scale)?

Speaking of tests, any thoughts on their impact on anxiety?

Are there ways to make assessments that cause less anxiety?

What are some teaching practices or techniques you think are more likely to cause anxiety? Are there alternatives to these?

Is it our job as English teachers to combat this anxiety? What are some strategies we can use to do so?


A related topic is the issue of student confidence. What are ways, we as teachers, can help promote student confidence?

Have you had any success stories in helping students improve their confidence?
What activities or advice can you suggest for other EFL teachers?

Of course, please feel free to bring along your own questions and thoughts and the above are just some possible starting points.

If you have any suggested links or readings related to this topic please feel free to share them in the comments (or on Facebook or on Twitter).

We are looking forward to chatting with you! 


Miss the chat? Check out the transcript here

#KELTchat Slowburn 3 (Tuesday, December 17th 10am-10pm (GMT +9)

The topic for the next #KELTchat Slowburn is:
Some Macro Strategies for Language Teachers
[**info on the Slowburn concept is below]

The 10 macrostrategies suggested by Kumaravadivelu are:  

1. Maximize learning opportunities;
2. facilitate negotiated interaction;
3. minimize perceptual mismatches;
4. activate intuitive heuristics;
5. foster language awareness;
6. contextualize linguistic input;
7. integrate language skills;
8. promote learner autonomy;
9. ensure social relevance; and
10. raise cultural consciousness.
(The suggested topics for this chat are in bold and are explained below)

  • Maximize learning opportunities: This macrostrategy envisages teaching as a process of creating and utilizing learning opportunities, a process in which teachers strike a balance between their role as managers of teaching acts and their role as mediators of learning acts.
  • Foster language awareness: This macrostrategy refers to any attempt to draw learners’ attention to the formal and functional properties of their L2 in order to increase the degree of explicitness required to promote L2 learning.
  • Promote learner autonomy: This macrostrategy involves helping learners learn how to learn, equipping them with the means to self-direct and self-monitor their learning.
  • Ensure social relevance:   This macrostrategy refers to the need for teachers to be sensitive to the societal, political, economic, and educational environment in which L2 learning and teaching take place

A good place to look if you are interested in reading more is Chapter 2 (“Understanding Post-Method Pedagogy”) on this .pdf (which is the first chapters of “Beyond Methods: Macrostrategies for Language Teaching.” Additionally, this 1994 article from TESOL Quarterly also covers much of the same ground. 

Questions to consider:
(and possibly then chat about):

  1. Are these strategies relevant to your teaching context? When might the strategies not be a good match for teaching contexts in Korea? When might they be a good match?
  2. Do these strategies match with the your role as a teacher is perceived by students, yourself, admin and other stakeholders?
  3. Do these strategies already inform your day-to-day teaching? How?
  4. What advice might you give to a teacher that wants to employ these strategies? How might they get started?

The Slowburn concept

The concept of Slowburn is very similar to the original #KELTChat one hour Twitter chats. We will set a topic (above) and encourage people to tweet their thoughts about it using the #KELTChat hashtag. This time, however, the chat will take place over 12 hours rather than one, allowing people to dip in and out, think and the discussion to diverge in more interesting ways. We also hope that this will allow more people in Korea to play a part, as well as taking in most other time zones.

If this sounds like your kind of thing, but you’re not really sure how to go about it, click the “about and how” tab above for a link to a handy guide. There is also a quick guide here. Friendly advice is also always available at the #KELTChat Facebook group, or in the comments section below.

We hope you’ll enjoy the next #KELTChat slowburn. See you on Tuesday before #KELTchat hibernates for winter.