skills

Delta Assignment 1 – Developing Storytelling Skills

I started my Delta in early 2012 and did a face-to-face intensive Module 2 over eight weeks. There are four assignments, or LSAs, one needs to pass in order to pass Module 2, two of which need to be skills-based and two systems-based.

I thought I’ll start easy and chose to focus on skills for my first LSA. I thought I could teach speaking but I was quite surprised that I was expected to plan a whole 60-minute lesson focusing on speaking skills.

Until this point, I had only taught speaking as an incidental part of teaching reading, listening, writing, grammar, or vocabulary lessons. But speaking to our amazing Delta tutor, Beth Grant (if you get a chance to work with her, jump at it), I thought I could take this on as a challenge and learn to teach speaking not just in the brainstormingactivating schemata, or post-reading/listening discussions, but as a rightful skill in itself that deserved focused teaching of its various nuances. Come to think of it, this is why most students go to language centers or freelance teachers – to learn how to speak – and yet, most ESL teachers do not know or realize the value of teaching speaking as a skill in itself.  (more…)

Top Mobile Apps for English students

In class, we ask our students to put their them away but not surprisingly, smartphones become the most powerful tools for students to continue their language learning outside the classroom.

In recent times, more and more students have approached me to ask for app recommendations. There are hundreds of apps in the market and while it is true that not all provide good quality instruction, it is also worth keeping in mind that different apps cater to different learners and learning styles. Therefore, it is important to make students familiar with a variety of apps so they can choose the one that works for them.

One way to do this is to design a simple task on the first day of the course. Divide students into small groups of 3-4. Give each group a list of 3-4 apps to download, play with, and rate according to a set of defined criteria. Ask students to make a list of 3 pros and cons of each app. Then reshuffle students and in their new groups, students present all of their apps, the pros and cons, and the one they liked best. (more…)

CELTA Assignment: Language Skills

Most of the students in my elementary teaching group are students who have come to San Francisco for a few weeks or months to study English at St. Giles. Many students eat out regularly at cafes and restaurants. It can be a challenge to find a good place to eat everyday – a place that is inexpensive and in the neighborhood.

Yelp.com can be a useful resource for students to help them decide where to get the next meal. To develop their reading and comprehension skills, I chose to introduce students to reviews on Yelp.com. I chose the reviews of a neighborhood restaurant that all students will be familiar with. An authentic text will help students develop and practice their receptive skills while exposing them to written English used by native speakers.

With the chosen text, students will be able to practice skills such as skimming for gist, reading for comprehension and scanning for information. (more…)

CELTA Assignment 3: The story

The third assignment we did during CELTA was also fun. We had the choice of doing the assignment on either Reading Skills or Listening Skills. Since we also needed to reproduce the materials for the assignment, everyone obviously chose to do it on Reading Skills. Much easier to just copy, paste text from somewhere than get listening material. I wonder why they even give us a choice.. haha!

We also had the choice of picking reading material straight from the book or choosing an authentic text (text that has actually been published – online or on paper – and not been graded to the reading level of the ESL students). I definitely wanted to an authentic text.. I was bored to death with the awfully boring stuff in the ESL textbooks, and I thought students must find authentic texts more interesting, even though it can be more challenging and may contain words they haven’t come across. (more…)