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Teachers of English as a Foriegn Language are asked to take into account the following recommendations from the beginning of the new school year to make great success in their career:
1. Control your teaching and make it as effective as possible by:
* Getting to know the course materials very well by reading them through in advance.
* Getting to know the outcomes of each unit sticking them at the front of your preparation notes to adjust your teaching accordingly.
* Preparing your individual lessons well.
– Preparation notes of each lesson should include mainly the following:
Objectives – Warm-Up Steps – Presentation Steps – Practice Steps – Assessment Procedures or Homework – Self-Evaluation Note.
* Making sure that you have any important information about your students; their names, level of learning, weakness & strength points, ….etc.
2. Improve your teaching and facilitate your students’ learning by:
* Learning & applying new teaching methods, techniques and activities.
* Adjusting your teaching according to your students’ level and needs.
* Reflecting on your successes and difficulties in the classroom.
* Discussing teaching experiences with your colleagues.
* Assessing your students’ progress giving them grades, marking their written work regularly and giving them effective feedback.
* Designing and using simple teaching aids in the classroom to attract your students’ attention and facilitate their learning.
* Organizing your class in different and various ways; whole-class, individual students, pair work and group work, depending on the activity being taught at different times of the lesson.
3. Give your students the opportunity for language learning and practice by:
* Creating a natural context and real-life situations to use the language.
* Giving students the chance to hear and use as much authentic English as possible.
* Using more and more teaching aids to untie your students’ tongues & encourage them to talk in English naturally.
* Contextualizing the new language asking students to put new words in sentences of their own and utilize new structures in real-life situations.
Writing is like swimming – it needs a conscious effort and repeatedly practice. We as teachers should be aware of the difficulties our learners may face on their writing tasks at elementary level.
Unexpectedly I think it is not easy for elementary students to simply copy a couple of lines without making mistakes or compose a paragraph on their own. Therefore, I suggest the following tasks that enable learners to write in English without having the burden of thinking too much about content and text organization.
Some controlled writing tasks:
1. Present a sentence to the class, then cover it and make the class write it from memory.
2. Hand out a text including some mistakes for the class to find.
3. Distribute a story in the classroom with some missing words asking pupils to write them correctly.
4. Take a story, then cut the sentences into strips and distribute them in the classroom. Pupils can work in pairs: One is writing and the second student is running to find all the paper strips in the room and then dictate them from memory to his partner. After dictating, the sentences need to be ordered
correctly and told by one of the students.
Some guided writing tasks:
1. Let students read a text and note 5 to 7 keywords. Then put the text aside and try to reconstruct the original text using the keywords.
2. Let students listen to a story and then write about the main ideas included in it.
3. Ask questions that the learners are answering based on a picture. What/who can you see? Where is it? What happened? What will happen next?
4. Expose the students to some factual information in table like city or country fact files or personal profiles, then ask them to write a new version of the text based on the given one.
Writing is not a frightening experience. By doing some controlled and guided activities learners can find a balance between rule oriented (spelling, grammar) and creative expression.
All children need to listen first before starting to produce the language. In order that pupils can speak comfortably and fluently in English, they must be exposed to some silent or per-speaking periods.
From these periods pupils can foster vocabulary and build comprehension. They can also get and store the right phonology features such as stress and intonation.
But how can these periods be like in the classroom?
1. They can be periods of listening using Total Physical Response approach:
* Giving some series of commands and pupils demonstrate and act them.
* Pupils can give commands to each other and show understanding of they listen to.
2. They can be periods of listening to tape recorded conversations for 2 or 3 times before they can answer some comprehension questions and then they can act the conversations out comfortably.
1. Relate listening to students’ interests, goals and experiences to keep their motivation and attention high.
2. Select authentic material both in language and tasks. Language should reflect real discourse using videos, audio tapes and TV or radio broadcasts of actual exchanges.
3. Give opportunities to develop both top-down and bottom-up processing skills
* Top-down activities = discussing what students already know about the topic.
* Bottom-up activities = practicing components of the language ( sounds, words, intonation, grammatical structure )
4. Encourage development of listening strategies such as predicting, asking for clarification, using non-verbal cues, … that increase the chances for successful listening.
* e.g. using videos:
When sound off, students make predictions and answer questions about setting, actions, interactions, …
When sound on, students confirm or modify predictions.
5. Teach activities not test them:
– Don’t focus on memory rather than on the process of listening.
– Don’t give practice rather than help students develop listening ability.
e.g. * having students listen to a passage followed by true/false questions might focus on the learners’ ability to remember rather than help them to develop the skill of determining main idea and details.
– Pre and post listening activities should help students focus attention on what they listen so that they can transfer the listening skill to the world beyond the classroom.
The EFL teachers can teach a listening lesson easily if they do eight steps in the following order:
1. Determine a reason for listening ( Assign a simple task to be done during listening) .
2. Give a general idea of the topic ( Say the title & introduce the topic ).
3. Identify the type of the speech (conversation, radio ad, passage, …) and the functions included in the text (persuade, request …)
4. Present and practice the lexis included in the text.
5. Ask students to predict the information they will listen to.
6. Activate background information & build some more knowledge related to the listening text.
7. Show & point to a visual support to assist the meaning.
8. Elicit the answer for the pre-assigned task and then give some more exercises or activities to check students’ understanding of the information included in the listening text.
1. Decide who you want to work together and tell individual students their partners.
2. Gesture with your hands to students who sit beside or near each other to work together.
3. Divide students according to their birthdays, height or any other criteria.
4. Give each student a card with a word or letter or phrase and ask students to find their partners by connection of the cards.
5. Give each student a number and ask who have same numbers to sit together. You can do that with letters or words. This is a nice warm-up for the start of the lesson.
Students benefit from working in pairs in the classroom by:
1. having the opportunity to speak to each other in English. This maximizes their talking time and minimizes the teacher’s talking.
2. interacting socially using the language so that the stronger student can help the weaker.
3. brainstorming more ideas and practicing more language.
4. building up their rapport and independence
5. focusing more when learning the language while the teacher is just monitoring their performance.
6. sharing opinions and experiences with each other.
7. personalizing the lesson and adapting its content to their needs.
8. feeling safer when participating in discussion especially shy students.
1. Create a supportive environment where students are respected and feel a sense of belonging.
2. Believe in the ability of each student to learn.
3. Set up clear classroom rules from the very beginning and appreciate who follow them.
4. Be aware of the strengths of each student and focus on them not on their weaknesses.
5. Use your students’ interests, talents and goals to encourage them to learn.
6. Maintain disciplined, organized and calm classroom to increase your students’ concentration.
7. Vary your teaching methods and make the lessons interesting and enjoyable.
8. Adapt your lessons to your students life and needs.
9. Let students be aware of the objectives of each lesson so that they can realize the feeling of achievement.
10. Teach your students how to prepare and study their lessons, help them acquire good study habits at home.
11. Always provide positive feedback. Never embarrass or ridicule a student.
12. Assign homework that is specific and clearly related to the objectives of each lesson.
13. Emphasize cooperation rather than competition; support pair work and group work to create opportunities for students to help each other.
14. Teach students how to find solutions to the problems they may face.
15. Avoid practices or exercises that can cause frustration, instead adapt them to students’ level.
16. Provide rewards for unusual effort and success.
17. Establish a close relationship with students’ parents to assist their children in forming good habits at home so that they will be ready to learn at school.
18. Give your students the chance to lead a classroom activity.
19. Treat each student fairly, show no favoritism.
20. Discover your strengths, learn from mistakes and concentrate on doing your best.
There are three main ways of giving feedback to students when using process approach to writing. They are as follow:
1. Teacher editing:
This is more suitable for beginner students who start writing. The teacher should do the editing and the proof-reading with students to provide more guidance and set an example.
Here, the texts should be interchanged and the editing is done by other students. Students exchange their papers and comment on each other’s papers as it is common for writers in the real life to ask their friends or colleagues to check their writing for any mistakes.
It is very common for writers to miss their own mistakes so it is recommended to leave their texts for a night, empty their mind and deal with some other work then they return to their papers with clear mind to start the process of self-editing. In the classroom environment, we can have students write their essays one day, collect the papers and provide students with the checklist of the editing and proof-reading features. The next day the teacher can have students edit and proof-read their texts themselves or in pairs or with the help of the teacher if they are beginner students.