Upcoming webinars for ELT educators | Mar & Apr 2018

Upcoming ELT webinars

Here’s a round-up of webinars scheduled over the next two months. I’ve been told that I neglect webinars provided by North American platforms although I’ve always included ones from Tutela – I’m going to try to cast my net a bit more widely but do let me know if I’ve missed any.

Academic skills and EAP

Approaches and techniques

Business English 

Coaching

Corpora

Critical thinking 

Inclusive education

Pronunciation

Psychology 

Research

Speaking skills

Teacher identity

Technology 

Teens

Young learners

Well-being

The following webinars are from a series organised by International House. Many thanks to Sandy Millin for sharing the link.

Other topics

Shelly Terrell runs a webinar every Friday at 4 pm Eastern time. The topics are usually announced through this Twitter account. More details here.

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Upcoming webinars for ELT educators | Jan & Feb 2018

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A lot of teachers I work with say they don’t have time for professional development but these webinars are just an hour long and are perhaps a good way of kicking off your development for the year. I have my eye on the TDSIG Web Carnival and John Hughes’ webinar.

Here’s a round-up of free webinars for January and February 2018. An * means that you need to register. Let me know if I’ve missed by leaving a comment.

Technology

Problem-based learning 

Teacher development

Varieties of English 

Mixed ability

Life & global skills

Miscellaneous

Shelly Terrell runs a webinar every Friday at 1600 EST. More details here.

Teaching Business English with Snapchat | Webinar summary

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I use a fairly wide range of social media tools but Snapchat isn’t among them (I just don’t get it) so I was intrigued by Shelly Terrell’s recent webinar on teaching Business English with Snapchat. There’s something wrong with the audio in the middle bit of the recording so I sort had to decipher it using the slides and an accompanying article.

The crux of Shelly’s case for using Snapchat with learners is that it’s very popular and the number four app download (According to Forbes, it has 160 million users and reaches a plurality of users in the 18-24 segment in the US) and the fact it has lots of features that allow users to focus on the four skills: reading, writing, listening and speaking in a communicative way.

Snapchat features: adding friends, subscribing, photo chat, lenses, filters, stickers, draw, video chat, group chat, stories, snap map, custom stories, discover, our story

You can see where she’s going with this, but what about Business English? Shelly suggests that because Snapchat is international, learners can follow global events and look at snaps from people in a particular area and get insights. The example she shares involves studying non-verbal communication to get to know business stakeholders in Japan more effectively by exploring examples through people’s snaps.

She also believes that Snapchat promotes reading in segments with popular media channels like the Wired, Newsweek and Washington Post which apparently have interactive multimedia articles. Because of Snapchat’s format, media outlets are compelled to use small chunks of text with interactive images and video.

Some of the other benefits she cites include:

Learn from entrepreneurs

Study business culture in real time

Inside scoop on news and trends

Byte-sized authentic English

Understand the role personal branding

Connect with companies

Shelly references this article to suggest that following (some really obscure) business gurus on Snapchat might be a good idea but even the article introduces the topic by suggesting that well known business leaders like Elon Musk are unlikely to be on Snapchat. Some of the other things she suggests include how workplaces might be different, watching global conferences that business professionals you’ve followed may be sharing and exploring how organisations brand themselves on Snapchat. Shelly also touched on how HR Recruiters are using Snapchat to recruit potential employees – of course this is true for social media in general and not just Snapchat.

I tried to give Snapchat a go and attempted to follow some of the business-oriented media outlets such The Economist and WSJ that Shelly lists in her article.  I tried searching for these on Snapchat (which has an awful search function) but I couldn’t find most of them. So I tried looking for them in Google and adding them from there but this is the message I got:

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When I accessed the Discover feature within Snapchat, I got an extremely limited selection of generally tabloid-type media outlets to follow:

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I tried looking for Harvard Business Review, Strategy+Business, Deloitte, Bersin, Boston Consulting Group and Mckinsey but none of them seem to be on Snapchat. I did find a handle for Deloitte Singapore but it doesn’t look like it’s active.

I’m not convinced that Snapchat can be used to teach Business English or if it can, it’s still early days because there isn’t enough business content available on it yet. I see Shelly’s point about the immediacy of Snapchat content but it’s too random and unpredictable – it’s not like following a thought leader on Linkedin or a hashtag on Twitter. However, I think some of the Snapchat activities Shelly shares might be fun and effective in a General English course.

  • The T sets up a class account and gets students to add stories to it.
  • Students keep a vocabulary journal – Shelly’s idea is that they’d save snaps with Business English phrases but I think the probability of coming across those sorts of snaps is quite low. It might work for lexical items in general though. I’d adapt this idea to have students use vocabulary they’ve learnt in class by creating a snap that demonstrates real life use.
  • Annotation: Students can annotate a snap such as an article from CNN with text, emoticons, media etc. This might be an interesting way for them to process and/or respond to a news item. However, Shelly’s example with CNN wouldn’t work for me because like almost everything else in the Discover feature, it’s not available in my region.

From a first mover perspective, there are some interesting ideas in this webinar but I’m not sure how practical they are at the present moment. There are other apps such as Instagram which have similar features and have a stronger presence from the business community.

Upcoming webinars for ELT educators | Oct-Dec 2017

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Webinars to keep you occupied for the last three months of the year. Lots of interesting ones from IATEFL. An asterisk (*) means you’ll have to register. Do let me know if I’ve missed any.

Technology

Pronunciation 

Grammar

Research

Skills

Creativity

Business English & ESP

Other

Upcoming webinars for ELT educators | Aug– Sep 2017

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Here are some webinars to keep you occupied over the next couple of months. I’ll keep updating the list as and when I find new links. An * indicates that you’ll need to register.

Technology 

Pronunciation

Materials writing

Miscellaneous

Image attribution: Bryant Park, late Apr 2009 – 21 by Ed Yourdon | Flickr | CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

Upcoming webinars for ELT educators | Jun – Jul 2017

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My list is a bit spartan at the moment but I’m hoping to squirrel around and add some more. A *  means that you’ll need to register to attend.

Edtech 

Lesson planning

Materials writing

Business English 

Pronunciation

Other

Image attribution:  CC0 1.0 Universal (CC0 1.0)

 

Teaching English in large classes: a sociocultural approach | Webinar summary

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Many of the teachers I work with have classes of between 40 and 80 students so I reckoned this would be a useful webinar to document. Jason Alexander has worked extensively with African teachers who are frequently required to manage large classes.  I did, however, envision something more prescriptive. After having watched the webinar recording, I see Alexander’s rationale for not presenting attendees with prêt-à-porter type strategies, as well as his interesting subtext – a sociocultural approach.

Alexander suggested that the challenge was not just teaching large classes but using an imported methodology conceived for small class contexts. He went on to expand these challenges with areas sourced from Shamim & Kucha:

1. Classroom management e.g. giving instructions, maintaining control and
discipline, organising groupwork)

2. Whole class teaching (e.g. explaining new concepts, question and answer
strategies, using the chalkboard)

3. Working with mixed abilities (e.g. differentiation, getting learners to help
each other, mixed-ability groupwork)

4. Conducting summative assessment (e.g. end of term exams)

5. Limited resources (e.g. coursebooks, posters, easy readers)

6. Providing opportunities for practice (e.g. speaking
practice, using audio equipment, library for reading practice, etc.)

7. Providing feedback/formative assessment (e.g. marking written work,
correcting spoken errors, giving individual help, etc.)

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Teaching English in Large Classes: A Sociocultural approach. Jason Alexander (2016)

Alexander’s recommendation is to seek answers from other teachers within the institution particularly from non-language teachers as well as the larger community. He suggested that the most viable solutions might come out of the social and cultural context that the classroom sits within, rather than ostensibly expert advice from elsewhere.

He went on to outline an approach, a strategy and an activity that have worked in some contexts but pointed out that he wasn’t suggesting that these would be best practices for everyone’s classrooms.

An approach: Activity based learning

This approach was conceived in the Rishi Valley in India (I did not know that) and involves each student moving at her own speed through the curriculum, completing activities and learning completion tasks. ABL is really popular in some Indian states such as Tamil Nadu where children work autonomously using special activity cards. The teacher’s role is to monitor and support learning, rather than present content.

A strategy: think pair share

This strategy comes from non-language subjects. The teacher asks a question but doesn’t immediately accept answers. Learners think silently for a few seconds and tell their partner. The teacher then nominates learners to share their answers.

An activity: Back translation

This activity is inspired by studies into translation (I think Philip Kerr covered it in his insightful talk  – the return of translation) and is potentially useful for writing classes.

  • Learners study a model text in L2.
  • Learners translate the text into L1.
  • The model text is hidden and learners translate their L1 text back into English. If the text is on the board, ask learners to turn around so they’re no longer facing the front of the class.
  • Learners compare their English text with the original model text, noting differences, self-correcting errors and assessing work.

Resources

Two free booklets on the topic. Both seem really rich and interesting:

The webinar presentation  is available online and you can have a dekko at the presentation’s references.

Finally, here’s Alexander’s article for the British Council’s Voices magazine: What to consider when teaching English in large classes

Image attribution: Classroom by GioRetti | Flickr | CC BY-NC-SA 2.0