domenica 12 aprile 2015

IATEFL MANCHESTER ON LINE 2015 Saturday 11th April Thinking about teaching Literature and more

             Saturday 11th April     2015


Ideas about    Languague  Learning  and  Literature

New technologies  have  changed  teaching : Harmer talks about the many editions of his famous book for  English  language  teachers. The new edition has just been released but much  has changed since he  published his first edition  thirty-two years ago. Virtual Learning and Mobile Learning and also  teachers  have changed and now they  are  expected to have a different profile and be  equipped with more  skills and competences.

Most of  teachers   who  have studied to become    English  Language  teachers used his famous  book : The Practice of Language  Teaching. The book was a must  for almost anyone who started teaching English,
I remember using it when I first did a teacher training course in  Kent in 1994, at that time I was a young teacher in Italy and I was  trying to become more  qualified. The training course  was based on  a lot of  peer observation and lesson planning but  the  Bible   for developing  most of the  activities   was this book.

Now let's go back to the  interview and what   I liked
A short interview with a mind, a  great mind and someone who has  been working in TEFL for many years and has seen so many  changes.

Literature?  What  ideas about   Teaching  Poems?  

"Poems shouldn't be too long,"  " they should  talk to the heart."

Yes, I agree, we can teach  poems, but it is up to us to  choose  the right  text:  we do need to find  something that is involving but not too difficult and also  easy to find.

So to sum up he suggests
-  looking for  accessible  texts
-  thinking  about  activities which can be  engaging  - Jeremy  Harmer talks about  poems  students can dive into- this is  a great  metaphor to talk about learners's engagement!
-  getting  students  write  poems



It was a pleasure to watch this interview because it focussed on some issues like Technologies ,Learning  and  Literature in the XXI century.

In a world that is  overwhelmed with  technology and our  students are working with almost any device at school and at home,  it seems to be difficult to talk about  literature and reading. But   Maley feels that Language Teachers should do this and  also do some Literature. He says  " people are losing their mind" but  he suggests teaching  reading skills and literature.

Some simple ideas for Language  Teachers are   using  extensive  reading  and   creative writing. 

His words are great for me because  I teach  a Language, a foreign Language but  I would like to have  my students  who are more  interested in the world around them, who can  reflect and think because  reading and writing are not easy skills to master but  they can improve and also  a good text by  Dickens or a modern novel or  a text by Orwell  can help us develop critical thinking skills. They will not become  writers but they will have thought about  what they have read .


After planning  and  in spite of  it   " a  good  teacher needs to  improvise " when dealing with  classes  and students : here are his tips:
How do you  respond to what  happens? 
If the students  respond to your offer, use it 

There seems to be a shift because  what is  presented here is an approach that cares for  those who are Learning, after planning and  checking  what went  wrong we can  now  say that we can also  try to use the learners' input while we are  talking with them.
Once more  we have  something new or  fresh :  students can be more engaged and teachers do not follow  the  lesson  plan but this is done for having a better Learning  process because  students  must be more active and  the  teacher remains  the  controller but  takes advantage of what the students  are doing.   The relationship between Teachers and Students can change if  Teachers can listen to them  and to their needs.

We should all think more  and  once we realize that  not  everything is working   self-reflection and  changes cannot but help our  teaching.

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