Friday, October 12, 2018

Create Your Own Rubrics with EssayTagger

This tool could be of some help to all teachers especially if they are keen on developing their own rubrics. As a fact, this free online tool helps teachers devise their own rubrics, according to the level of the students and the targeted subject. Besides, once they finish designing the rubric, they can download it for free.

Help teachers know about this free online tool by sharing this post. Thank you 😍😊

Tuesday, February 27, 2018

Be Creative with QR Codes


      QR codes could be very motivating to learners in an ELT classroom. This is my third post about using QR codes in the classroom because I witnessed through the analytics of the traffic to my blog a huge interest in QR codes. So, I thought of sharing with you almost all the creative ideas I found on the net about QR codes. Hope you will find the links below inspiring and you will adapt them according to the needs of your own students. 

        Hope you find these links useful! 

Saturday, February 24, 2018

QR codes in ELT ? Pedagogical tool?

        QR codes could add much stamina and motivation to any classroom even for low-tech classrooms. It is not a must that every student has a mobile phone. One phone among a group of students is enough. How can we use QR codes to motivate our digital students?
Interestingly, QR codes need much preparation from teachers , and once they are in class, it is rather the students' task to scan the codes and do the activity. The teacher is the facilitator, in the classroom. 
QR codes could be used in a variety of ways during the three phases of any lesson, whether the Pre-, the While- or the Post-... 

*QR codes in the Pre- phase: The students are asked to:

  •  Scan QR codes which are mainly pictures that are related to the topic of the lesson
  •  Scan QR codes of words/ lexis related to the whole topic of the lesson and then they are asked to use that same lexis in a gap-filling paragraph, conversation, cloze text
  •  Scan QR codes that contain a short listening text and then they are asked to answer some questions
  •  Scan the QR codes which are short captions and students take turns to read the captions and think of a possible topic that is related to these codes 

*QR codes in the While- phase:While reading/listening to a text, students are asked to:

  •  Read the questions by scanning the QR codes and to answer them
  •  Reorder the scrambled parts of a short text/poem/song which are in the form of QR codes
  •  Scan the QR codes and decide which ones do relate to the text 
  •  Scan the QR codes and match the words with their corresponding definitions 
  •  Match the quotes with their corresponding authors 
  • Find out the possible answers for some QR codes of Riddles 
  •  Dictate to each other using QR codes (One student scans the code , then he/she dictates the short text to the whole group) 

*QR codes in the Post- phase: The students are asked to:

  •  Scan and dictate to their peers the hints the teacher provided them to the writing/speaking activity
  •  Reorder the instructions after scanning the QR codes ( Each code is part of the instructions. Each group is given a set of instructions and the whole class cannot get the whole text if they do not cooperate in peers to gather the whole sets of sentences) 
  •  Work on a set of codes provided to each group to reorder the sentences to make a paragraph. Each group is allotted a different set of sentences. 
  •  Remember a set of target vocabulary words that were given a special focus during the lesson , via definitions of these words
  •  Decide which images go in tandem with the topic of the lesson and give appropriate reasons 
  • Decide which summary is the appropriate one.
  • Scan a set of questions on a cube and reply 
  • Scan a set of words an re-order them to make a coherent conversation
  • Scan the codes displayed on the walls and try to find out the answer to each question ( which is part of the lesson) so this could be used as an evaluation of how far the students assimilated the important lexis/ grammar of the whole lesson

Don't forget to scan the codes ;-) 😉

Thursday, February 22, 2018

Using QR Codes

During a training session with teachers , there was an activity with QR codes. My aim was that teachers could use QR codes in their classrooms. The activity was much fun and I observed how this activity motivated teachers to move around, use their mobile phones and find out the quotes about reflective teaching. If you wanna discover these quotes, just use your mobile phones to get an idea about it . 
Happy scanning! 

Wednesday, February 7, 2018

Reflective Teaching

      Twitter has always been my favourite Professional Development haven. It's thanks to Twitter that I connected with like-minded professionals and one of the most professional moments that I took part in is #ELTchat. Not only did I take part in the chat; but also suggested the topic of last week's #ELTchat. And what honours me, is that I was invited by Marisa Constantinides to sum up our chat. I would like to share with you all this summary and not forget to thank Marisa and Sue for their unfailing support. Thank you for everything.

                                               Title: Reflective Teaching


This ELTchat took place on the 31st of January #ELTchat and I am extremely pleased to be the one who suggested this topic and help a little by doing the summary of this chat.

The chat kicked off with some discussion related to clarifying our terms and why we need to be reflective teacher practitioners.

Reflective teaching is always a current topic and it is part and parcel of a teacher’s toolkit of 21st Century skills.

Indeed, how can we teach effectively if we do not take time to reflect seriously and deeply on our daily practices ?

Reflection on its own may not be sufficient. Following up with a well considered action plan should be a necessary part of the process.

We would then be in a better position to introduce some changes, in the light of what we have pondered over.

#ELTchat participants then discussed some of the useful tools that could help teachers become both effective and efficient in their classrooms.

Useful tools for Reflective Practice
  • Keeping a teaching journal
  • Recording / filming lessons
  • Reflection diaries
  • Blogging
  • Reading blogs
  • Going to webinars
  • Going to workshops
  • Peer Observation

Creating a quality Circle: to talk about one’s teaching with trusted colleagues, a sine qua non of effective reflective practice

Some thought on how to reflect on one’s practices or how to support a colleague in their attempt to improve by providing them with feedback.

Introspection which is non-judgmental, but rather a recording a facts, the description of classroom events and teacher/learner actions, by jotting down observations of one’s lesson.

As Marisa Constantinides‏ (@Marisa_C) suggested, it might be useful to review these facts and them think about changes: “focus on three crucial points: things to keep, things to skip, things to change.”

Sharing one’s thoughts with a trusted peer: In order not to be hard on oneself, as Sue Annan‏ (@SueAnnan) pointed out: “it’s good to share one’s observations , or reflections with a “trusted colleague”.

Putting heads together and thinking of new possible alternatives to implement, that could improve both teaching/ learning

Creating an Action Plan - An action plan involves describing steps of how you can go about attaining your goal - what you should read, what you should focus on “Action point, trailing, consistency and reflection again! The circle of reflection” as Georgia Papa (@Papamihailidou) suggested.

⇰ Reflection may not be successful and efficient, if we do not take it as a never-ending cycle. The process is rewarding for both teachers/ learners

Key points to consider in Reflective Teaching

Some words of caution

Reflective teaching can lead nowhere , if it is done on its own and is not followed up by an action plan.

Choose one point of focus, such as the idea that Elizabeth Jackson (@@MoreMsJackson) suggested : “I had some free choice "Skills" lesson with elementary level students so I chose a pronunciation focus. My journal was mostly focused on how the activities went, the students' responses, notes for the next lesson, notes on how I'd improve the lesson next time.”

Reflection without knowledge is pointless

It’s important that it should continue beyond one’s training on a course (such as the CELTA) but do all teachers keep it up? A good question!

“That’s the million dollar question. I do see the use of it, though. Lately I’ve been having more teaching-related conversations with colleagues and even that has helped bring things to my attention. It’s easy to go on autopilot.” @ Este Coetzee tweeted in response to this

Does technology foster reflective teaching/ learning or not?

Some views , during our ELT chat, came along to cast doubt on the usefulness of technology in fostering and encouraging the practice of reflection on our lessons, something which would need some quality research to shed light on.

Yet, for teachers to start blogging and journaling publicly, a lot of courage is needed on the part of the teacher to expose one’s teaching, thoughts and reflections to the world.

Nevertheless, reading blogs, attending webinars, going to conferences would foster the teachers’ sense of critical thinking and help them build a repertoire of ideas and knowledge as well as alternative techniques and practices to try in their classes.

Moreover, videotaping and recording lessons could be of great help to teachers to go back to their lessons and think objectively and critically about what went well and what needs improvement. However, teachers need to be cautious about filming their students and they have to stick to the regulations of filming students by having the parents’ authorisation.

By and large, I hope this #ELTchat summary would motivate many of you to join this wonderful bevvy of caring teachers and voice out your views.

I am honoured I joined you and I am very sure many of you would join us all, in our next #ELtchat. Thank you Marisa from the bottom of my heart for editing my work. Your help has been very invaluable. Thank you Sue for your precious support.Last but not least, the company of wonderful educators from all over the globe is a priceless experience. Do not fail to join!

Contributors to ELTchat

Marisa Constantinides‏ @Marisa_C
Sue Annan‏ @SueAnnan
Georgia K. Papa @Papamihailidou
ESTE COETZEE‏ @este_moscow
Glenys Hanson @GlenysHanson
Elisabeth Jackson‏ @MoreMsJackson
Russ Mayne‏ @ebefl
Mike Harrison‏ @harrisonmike
Faten Romdhani @Romdhanifaten

As Marisa and Elisabeth Jackson‏ (@MoreMsJackson) drew our attention to the paucity of materials written in this field (teacher reflection) where most of the background literature has been written for the general education class, not English Language Teaching, we need to share with you the few links and titles shared during our #ELTchat:
Beyong Training, JackC.Richards (C.U.P 1998)