#KELTChat: “Building rapport with students” (Sunday 6th September, 8-9pm KST)

After a summer off to gather its thoughts and give those niggling injuries a chance to heal, #KELTChat is back to take once more to the lush fields of Twitter and do battle with the ELT issues of the moment.

If you have never encountered #KELTChat before, here is a short introduction. #KELTChat is a space on the internet (and increasingly in “real life” too) for teachers in Korea and further afield to talk about issues that affect us in the classroom and the industry as a whole. We have a Facebook group but the greater part of teacher interaction takes place in our regular Twitter chats (lots of good information in that link).

The first such chat takes place on Sunday 6th September from 8 until 9pm Korea time (click here for the time in your part of the world). The topic will be “Building rapport with students”. Most teachers would agree that rapport is important, but it may mean different things to different people, and the ways that it is created will vary in each case. This chat is an opportunity to explore our own and others’ approaches to building rapport.

The chat will be structured around the following questions, though tangents and diversions are very welcome.

  • What does rapport mean to you?
  • Are there any aspects of rapport that you think might be particularly important for Korean students?
  • Are there any aspects of rapport included in common definitions that you think are NOT important?
  • How explicitly do you try to build rapport between students, and between yourself and the class?
  • What activities to you find are effective at building rapport?
  • How do you act towards students in order to build rapport?
  • Is there anything else that you do to encourage rapport?
  • What kind of timescale do you have for building rapport?
  • Is there any value in assessing rapport between students?

We hope to see you on Sunday. If you have any questions, please get in touch.

The #KELTChat Team

 

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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.

KELTChat Preview – 2nd June 2013: ELF in Korea

Morning everyone,

#KELTChat this week looks at one of the newer issues that we may want to consider as English teachers, that of English as a Lingua Franca.

Defining it isn’t easy, and there’s plenty or healthy debate in THE LITERATURE about what constitutes ELF, whether native speakers can speak it, where it happens etc. We’d prefer the chat to focus on teaching matters, so for now we’re going to run with Barbara Seidlhofer’s (2011) definition:

…any use of English among speakers of first languages for whom English is the communicative medium of choice, and often the only option.

This means that ELF tends to be spoken in the “big three” areas of education, business and tourism. It’s also probably worth mentioning that, for me at least, the key point is that this kind of communication draws its norms from being able to understand each other, rather than conforming to standard English. If you’re interested in reading more about what ELF is and isn’t, some helpful fellow recently wrote a series of blog posts about ELF. Your homework, should you choose to accept it, is to read them and the comments (#notinitforthehits):

  1. http://breathyvowel.wordpress.com/2013/03/25/a-beginner-mes-guide-to-english-as-a-lingua-franca/
  2. http://breathyvowel.wordpress.com/2013/04/02/what-does-an-elf-look-like/
  3. http://breathyvowel.wordpress.com/2013/04/09/english-as-a-lingua-franca-3-should-i-could-i/
  4. http://breathyvowel.wordpress.com/2013/04/29/elf-4-orienting-your-class-to-elf/

In the chat we’d like to keep definitions to a minimum (hence the homework) and focus more on what ELF might mean for English education and English educators in Korea. Some things we could perhaps think about.

  • Why might we want to think about ELF in our teaching? Why might we not?
  • If we want to, how do we do it?
  • What might we already be doing that’s helpful for our students in using ELF?
  • Are there any ELF activities?
  • How can we do ELF activities with monolingual groups?
  • What effect might ELF have on the future of Korean English education?
  • Where might we find materials that help us to focus on ELF in class?

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 (@breathvowel) or stop by the Facebook page and we’ll be happy to help you.

Alex (@breathyvowel)

#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 Preview 9th December 2012: Classroom Rules and Implementing Them

Hi team!

There was another clear winner in the poll this week, with Classroom Rules winning out over Ice-breakers and Job-seeking. Thus Classroom Rules is what we will be discussing tomorrow from 8pm on Twitter.

I would imagine that almost all of us face behaviour and discipline issues in our jobs at some stage, and classroom rules can help to combat this, and create a well-structured and positive environment for our learners.

Our experience of rule-making is going to be extremely important to the chat, so before we get started you might want to think about how the following questions relate to your experiences past and present, and how can they explain both successes and failures.

  • Who makes the rules in your class, and why?
  • What do you try to achieve through the rules?
  • How do you make the rules?
  • How are the rules communicated/displayed?
  • How are the rules implemented?
  • What are some effective strategies to deal with rule breakers?
  • What are the roles of punishments and rewards?

These questions are intended to give people a head start during the chat, but are not the limits. Please feel free to come with questions, ideas and experiences of your own. I hope you can join us from 8pm on Sunday.

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.

Cheers

Alex G (@breathyvowel)

 

#Keltchat Summary for 25/11/12 – Task-based Learning in Korea

This summary was written by @johnpfordresher, whose own excellent blog stylings can be found at http://observingtheclass.wordpress.com

Another Keltchat has come and gone, and once again a lively debate helped the collective better understand Tasked Based Learning (TBL). A quick roll call was conducted and then on to the TBL goodness.

@breathyvowel moderated the event masterfully and began by asking participants who had tried TBL and how strong a form of TBL they usually use.

  • @johnpfordresher admitted to weakly attempting it a few times.
  • @hallg has used medium strength TBL with her int/high university level “comm skill” courses and is eager to try more after the positive responses she has received from her students.
  • @GemL1 has tried to strictly stick to the tenets of TBL a few times, and loosely applied them at others.
  • @ChopEDU told the group that he first began using TBL tasks before he knew they were TBL tasks.
  • @michaelgriffin has done them strongly numerous times and received mixed feedback from his students, however the final results of his TBL tasks were “fabulous”.
  • @SophiaKhan has used them but with less structure than others
  • @yitzha_sarwono has only used TBL slightly over the years.

Asking about what negative feedback students have given teachers regarding TBL Michael Griffin reported, “We [students] don’t know what we are **LEARNing.” And not enough teacher support.

With that came the end of the first part of our discussion and our moderator moved onto asking why TBL is “not so big here in Korea?’

  • @hallg probably b/c test-taking is such a strong focus?
  • @michaelgriffin chimed in whit his typical humor “I wonder…I just don’t know it could be… umm maybe.. well I think mm what about GRAMMAR… (yeah that’s it)”
  • @sophiakhan Yes, can be scary for both T & students – less control/predictability. Students may not understand the validity
  • @GemL1 because they like to focus on grammar and prefer / r used to approaches like PPP. And teacher centered classes are more popular here.
  • @chopEDU wondered if traditional/cultural views of student/teacher roles in Korea inhibit the acceptance of TBL?
  • @michaelgriffin speculated TBL might be an approach used more if teachers were very explicit and showed students TBL was a “thing” and not made up. More to buy into
  • @sophiakhan so maybe in Korea the face validity is a big thing (showing that it is a researched and established approach)
  • @Seouldaddy notes that task based instruction is taught in teacher prep but reality sets in when they get a job

Our moderator @breathyvowel then adroitly moved the discussion forward with the following question. So my thinking is that students passive knowledge could be activated by TBL, no? Everyone readily agreed. Mr. Moderator then asked us what positives could come from utilizing a TBL approach in our classes here in Korea.

  • @hallg breath of fresh air for Ss tired of stale class life?
  • @keisenhow accomplishing a task brings confidence
  • @gemL1 gives Ss the opportunity to b creative both with language and in other ways, welcome break from normal approach
  • @michaelgriffin redresses the (un)balance that we have been talking about
  • @chopEDU TBL enables Ss to use language in meaningful ways

(On a side note @johnpfordresher asked what exactly a “task” entailed.

  • @Rhettteacher Agreed! Esp with #youngesllearners Give me a pencil task or activity?
  • @hallg basically: goal-oriented, adaptive, authentic, meaningful, etc. activity
  • @sophiakhan This is a v. imp Q. For me a ‘task’ is not just an activity. Must be real life purpose & entail a range of lang
  • @hallg – agreed!! real-life purpose esp….I always tried to tell/show my Ss how tasks reflected ‘real life’
  • @chopEDU a task is some kind of communicative (and potentially authentic) activity that has a clear outcome)

Our moderator then asked the group to think about how they have, or could, implement TBL in their classrooms here in Korea.

(This led to another side note started by @seouldaddy said, “I don’t believe that it is that valuable in the current environment. #keltchat great for developing communicative competence but that’s not the focus now. @Keisenhow disagreed and said the new NEAT test was designed specifically for communicative competence. @rhettteacher mentioned that extra curricular teaching plans are being phased out! Korea should find a more TBL curriculum.)

  •  @hallg suggested we revise or create one task based on book focus/content…& try it out…revise strategy & expand. One ‘real life’ task I did was to get Ss to participate in panel discussion…b/c my students were likely to do something like that in future. I’ve had Ss introduce how to make a presentation or how to design & edit a video.. real-life for my classes, too
  • @GemL1 suggested TBL doesn’t have to be a whole lesson, can just be an activity. most people have probably used TBL without realizing / calling it that. Ideas: planning trips, planning a dinner party, job interviews, making a documentary
  • @seouldaddy WebQuests are a nice problem-based approach. Many of the examples online aren’t aging gracefully, but the approach is solid.
  • @breathyvowel asked “In some forms of TBL, the tasks are graded & designed to push students to the language they need. Anyone ever tried doing this?
  • @michaelgriffin I have designed tasks to meet language needs of students, which are discovered through prev. tasks. I don’t really have much to say about implementation aside from try it out and be brave and ready to justify decisions. #justdoit
  • @rhettteacher implementation is a evolving process. It changes each time you teach. Teach Students, not classes.

@GemL1 noted it is difficult to assess using standard tools which led our moderator to ask about for participants to share any experience with self-assessment that they have had. @rhettteacher mentioned his elementary assessments in my class often get a smiley face for successfully participating in the “task”

As time was drawing to a close our moderator asked participants if there were any drawbacks to using TBL in our classes.

  • @breathyvowel Downside – monolingual classes may use a lot of L1 when completing the task
  • @michaelgriffin Downsides include students not seeing/feeling progress (suggestions include making sure they can). Students might feel lost without T input. Potential Solution: Lots of feedback. Ah, another tip: Realize and express to students the teacher realizes that this is different! Help them feel that it is an (planned!) adventure. More advice, Forget bout Ellis/Willis/Ect and make it your own for something that works for you and your students.
  • @hallg yes feedback is so important. Also, helping Ss along the way with scaffolding. For example, when doing int vids, I model how to approach Subjs & ask for perm to interview & record
  • @GemL1 – potential downside – some Ss may dominate and contribute a lot more than others, solution: assign specific roles
  • @leoselivan I like the idea with specific roles and perhaps rotate them too

@michaelgriffin I didn’t even vote for this topic and I don’t have much to say.

And with that the chat came to a close.

A whirlwind of an hour it was, I hope this summary has helped to piece together the many lines of thought brought out by Mr. Alex Grevett. A great thanks to him for expertly moderating and helping all of us work out the ins, outs and what have yous regarding TBL in Korea.

Some confusion lingered throughout the chat as to the definition between TBL and PBL. Perhaps this would be a good topic for a future discussion? Do you have any ideas for our next chat? If you do, add them in the comment section below, or find us on Facebook at #Keltchat.

Links

–Write up on strong form TBL – http://kevingiddens.posterous.com/teddy-bears-bookmaking-and-publishing-ceos-ta

–A TBL idea mentioned by @hallg and @gemL1 – http://fiftypeopleonequestion.com/

–Michael Griffin shared a review of “widgets”- a different type of coursebook- http://eltrantsreviewsreflections.wordpress.com/542-2/ and http://www.widgets-inc.com/teacher/tblt.php

–The great @Kevchanwow talks TBL- http://theotherthingsmatter.blogspot.kr/2012/04/4-approach-challenge-or-attempt-to.html

–Six things all language teachers should know about tasks – http://sixthings.net/2010/06/25/six-things-all-language-teachers-should-know-about-tasks/

–@GemL1 shared a good example of a TB grammar lesson which can be found here-  http://www.onestopenglish.com/grammar/grammar-teaching/task-based-grammar-teaching/

–@leoselivan shared this link to “From tasking purposes to purposing tasks” by Anthony Burton- http://www.eltj.org/ELTJ%20debate%202003/bruton1.pdf

–@leoselivan defends TBL – http://leoxicon.blogspot.kr/2012/05/in-defence-of-tbl.html

–@keisenhow mentioned “Rod Ellis has a clear and concise slide show on TBLT on Slide Share- . http://www.slideshare.net/search/slideshow?searchfrom=header&q=task-based+language+teaching

–From Marisa Constantinidies- “Here is a good page from the Willises” – http://www.willis-elt.co.uk/taskbased.html