Wednesday, 29 November 2017

Live 'Chatting' in TP Observation

After reading Jo Gakonga's blog post  Making the most of TP observation, which is based on an idea by Marie Therese Swabey for using chatrooms in TP observation, I was so looking forward to trying it out. 

That was in October and here we are in November and I'm ACT on a CELTA course in Barcelona.  When I mentioned the idea to the MCT here, he too had read Jo Gakonga's blog and was very much up for giving live 'chatting' in TP observation a go.

I first tried it out when the trainees were observing me teach the Pre-Intermediate class in TP on Day 2.  It seemed to be an ideal opportunity to see what the they thought of the idea.  I decided to use Padlet as I thought the anonymity factor would give them some freedom. It is also so easy to use and share with no signing up / registering, no sharing of personal information so no issues around privacy and it is versatile and fun with many useful features.  I asked them to get QR code reader apps and gave them the QR code to share the link.  

They all appeared to participate and they posted some really perceptive comments, clearly picking up on classroom management issues mentioned in the input session earlier that morning.  I was really encouraged by this.

Made with Padlet

Then I realised that the new 'shelf' feature in Padlet would be perfect for TP with six trainees in a group.  I tried it out the next day in TP2 explaining to the trainees that it was an experiment and that, of course, if they didn't like it, we wouldn't continue.  However, I was thrilled to see that they really did. 

I am so excited by this as it's already such a radical change to TP observation in terms of engagement. It's trainee generated now and they really seem to be getting a lot out of it.

Made with Padlet
                                                  There are only observations for 1-5 because trainee 6 was absent for TP that day.

Well, we've finished Week 3 now and motivation has been sustained. Feedback from the trainees after TP is based on what they have posted on the Padlet for that TP session. The observers identify and expand on what they've posted on Padlet in TP feedback.

I think this is also going to provide a very useful resource for the Lessons from the Classroom assignment because peer observation is all there written down for them to refer back to and reflect on. 

SAMR framework

Using the SAMR framework to evaluate the impact of technology, I hope that I have progressed from merely substituting tech for paper and pen because I think the use of technology has provided functional improvement in that feedback is live, collaborative and engaging.  I feel we have arrived at the augmentation stage. However, I'm looking forward to progressing further.  

As suggested in Jo Gakonga's blog, I'd like to encourage the sharing of lesson plans and handouts. It is easy to see the rational in providing trainees with the tools they need to promote more efficient feedback in observation so trainees can assess how effectively the plan supports delivery and see what the students are expected to do in the lesson. I absolutely love the idea of taking and uploading photos of boardwork (this is actually happening now as examples of good boardwork are beginning to emerge). 

I would also really like to join in the live chat to direct and guide the trainees' feedback during observation rather than post-observation as this would be far more effective but this would necessitate changes to TP tutor feedback paperwork.  I think a freelance CELTA tutor would definitely need the support of co-workers to fully implement live 'chatting' in TP observation in order for it to be truly transformational.  As a freelance CELTA tutor, I do hope I am fortunate enough to be in that position in the very near future.

Many thanks to Jo Gakonga for sharing on her blog and to Marie Therese Swabey for having such an inspired idea.  

Tuesday, 24 October 2017

Monday, 19 June 2017

#ELTchat summary: Times are changing. Are teachers? How?

This topic suggestion for #ELTchat on Wednesday 14 June came from a tweet I saw by @MrCopil.

@TeresaBestwick introduced the topic with a song:

This Wordle attempts to capture the wide range of topics mentioned in the chat in reference to changes and I've used this as a way of organising the summary:


@TeresaBestwick said she thought most teachers use more tech in classes now whereas @SueAnnan said she had colleagues who do and some who don't. @seburn said that change may be individual a lot of times and some teachers make changes at different times depending on their context and needs not globally. @AdeleRaemer told us that she had discovered some great AR (Augmented Reality) tools and provided a link to her blog post Find the Hidden Treasure! @seburnt asked "how exactly are times changing?" and @Marisa_C responded by saying technology was an obvious answer.


@TeresaBestwick tweeted that teachers are becoming more comfortable talking about taboo topics and there was more awareness-raising at conferences. @MarjorieRosenbe agreed saying this was even evident  in the interviews at Glasgow online.  She also said projects such as the NO Project deal with human slavery and there were more presentations at IATEFL on LGBTQ issues. @seburnt wondered whether these have played a role in teaching practice - more so in the last couple of years. @MarjorieRosenbe thought it was a good question but said she only knew they were coming up at conferences and people were working to make them more visible now. @TeresaBestwick said She thought LGBTQ issues were happening in other areas so it was having a positive effect on education too. @SueAnnan said topics and books are a bit more real, true to life, for example Keynote with Ted Talks. @MarjorieRosenbe told us about @Wayzgoose_Press who have a book with photocopiable activities on social issues. @fionaljp posted a link to New Internationalist - a resource for global justice issues in easier English @tesolmatthew asked whether we were post-PARSNIP.

wellness mindfulness


@vbenevolofranca told us that one of the things that is changing in Brazil is the market, from language course to English in schools - this affects teachers. @Marisa_C agreed that this was the same in Greece but thought this related to bad economic situation and parents' cutbacks @TeresaBestwick also said this was true in Spain with many bilingual Primary and Secondary courses in Spain and that there is a definite exam focus, which was less prevalent before. @David_Broughton said in Mexico, he was starting to notice students being more disappointed in language centres - more aware of what good teaching programs are. @MarjorieRosenbe mentioned the trend in recognising the multilingual classroom to which @Marisa_C said "Very true - much more so also in Greece where monolingual classes were the norm.''  @MarjorieRosenbe remarked that another change was that we also accept that using the first language of the learners was OK. @SueAnnan highlighted the fact that online courses are booming.

top-down bottom-up

@SueAnnan said she though a lot of change that  eminates from management is not respected by staff and is difficult to keep up. 


@Marisa_C said that another change was the shift to teacher reflection and teachers thinking more about research, though sadly research is an expensive sport.


There was a lot of discussion around different types of research. 

@fionaljp posted a link to ELT Research Bites @ResearchBites in response to @David_Broughton's question and @SueAnnan recommended IATEFL ReSig


@fionaljp posted a link to a forum on approaches to developing reading skills that suggest alternatives to the presumed norm.


@seburnt tweeted about changes he likes:
He explained the second point as cross-discipline collaboration, isolating language classes in his context to skills across disciplines, with collaboration with other types of content- saying it works well in EAP contexts.


@fionaljp responded by sharing her experimentation with Edmodo - learning on an online pilot course for teachers.


@AdeleRaemer asked whether Higher Order Thinking skills were big in #ELTchat circles and @SueAnnan responded by saying, 'Books are concentrating more on this now and critical thinking too.' @Marisa_C noted that thinking about education (including Bloom) is more evident now, not in ELT syllabuses, but covered nevertheless.


CPD / tech

@SueAnnan asked:

@Marisa_C said that having this daily contact on Twitter across the globe was a change and @fionaljp agreed saying 'Yes, this is the huge change - availability / opportunity of personalised CPD.'  @SueAnnan asked, "How do teachers stay abreast of changes?' and @fionaljp responded, 'by not staying where they are - by avoiding doing the same thing all the time.' However, this didn't really answer the question as @SueAnnan replied that some teachers rely on top-down CPD.  @Marisa_C asked if this instant information gratification produced better teachers? @fionaljp replied that teachers can be more informed and aware - great way to update skills and knowledge. @NikkiFortova responded by saying, 'information and knowledge are different things - so I'd say no, it doesn't mean better teachers.' @Marisa_C said that connecting with other teachers has made reflective  teaching or the pursuit of excellence more visible.  This resulted in a discussion about passion from @SueAnnan and @AdeleRaemer:

I think @MarjorieRosenbe's question below and some of the replies would be a good way to conclude the summary:

It was a very interesting, very lively #ELTchat and I hope I haven't missed out anything major or mis-quoted anyone - here's a link to the transcript for reference.

Sunday, 23 April 2017

#IATEFL2017 #IATEFLOnline Developing Teacher Talk

Jamie Keddie’s 3 suggestions 

      1. Let’s stop calling it Teacher Talk Time
       Let’s call it Teacher Talk
      2. Let’s embrace storytelling
      3. Give out the TT(T) mantra [if you’re 
          going to use it] with a post script:

Teacher talk is an essential skill for any   teacher. It is about speaking less and using your voice sparingly but that doesn’t mean teacher talk is inherently bad.  After the CELTA course, you’ll have to constantly work on classroom communicative skills. You’ll have to hone the effectiveness of your teacher talk.

A joy to watch and a serious issue to consider:  Not to stifle trainee teachers’ development by saying (or by implying) TT(T ) is bad but to develop teacher talk instead. One way Jamie suggests doing this is by embracing teacher-led storytelling.

Monday, 17 April 2017

#IATEFL 2017 Outside in: bringing new technology perspectives to ELT

This is an absolutely fascinating interactive discussion with a panel of experts talking about technologies from the perspective of their individual area of expertise.

Starting with a quote to highlight why it is important to embrace new technology:

Digital learning is learning facilitated by technology that gives students an element of control over time, place, pathway and pace.

I found it hard to summarise this session as it's packed with interesting insights so I decided just to choose a selection of quotes from the experts.

Outside in: bringing in new technology perspectives to ELT by Fiona Price
I really recommend, if you haven't already, that you watch the IATEFL Online session yourself.

Friday, 7 April 2017

#IATEFL2017 Infographic summary of Let's Listen to the Learners by Brian Tomlinson


Here is an infographic summary of Brian Tomlinson's presentation on Let's Listen to the Learners, some of the resources he referred to on how to involve the learners in their learning and, if you haven't already watched it, a video of the recorded #IATEFL 2017 session.  
Let"s Listen to learners by Fiona Price

Here are some of the great resources referred to in the session:

Made with Padlet

If you missed the session, you can watch it here and go to IATEFL Online for the associated documents.

Wednesday, 5 April 2017

#IATEFL2017 Infographic Summary of Plenary Session by Gabriel Diaz Maggioli

I've decided to practise what I preach - 5 reasons to use Infographics - and continue developing my digital literacies by using infographics as a tool to post some summaries on #IATEFL2017 sessions as an IATEFL 2017 registered blogger.

This is my infographic which attempts to summarise Gabriel Diaz Maggioli's plenary session: Empowering Teachers Through Continued Professional Development: Frameworks, Practices & Promises

Empoweringteacher development by Fiona Price

If you haven't already, I really recommend watching this empowering plenary which includes lots of practical ideas - colleagues helping colleagues - for in-house PD within a differentiated framework:


 Visit IATEFL Online for details on the plenary session by Gabriel Diaz Maggioli and to see the supporting plenary documentation with illustrations by LucĂ­a Pascal.

Monday, 27 March 2017

5 Reasons to Use Infographics in ELT & Some Ideas on How

I had a go at creating my first infographic recently - #ELTchat summary Assessing Writing.

I used Canva infographic templates and it was fun.  I decided to have another go to explore:

    • What is an infographic and why use them in ELT?
    • How can they be used in the classroom?

    5 reasons to use by Fiona Price

    Made with Padlet

    Saturday, 18 March 2017

    #ELTchat Summary The Best 2.0 Tools for Speaking Skills on 15 March 2017

    Introduction with Tellagami

    What are the best tools for speaking skills and Why?

    Here are the tools that were mentioned during the #eltchat on Wednesday 15 March and the reasons given as to why they are the best.

    Made with Padlet

    How to use these tools

    Here are the ideas that were discussed in the #ELTchat on how to use these 2.0 tools for speaking skills.

    Links mentioned in tweets:

    Do you have any 2.0 tools for speaking skills to add?

    If you do or if you have anything to add, it would be great to hear from you in the comments below ...

    Wednesday, 15 March 2017

    Assessment Literacies

    A New Term and a New Acronym (for me)

    I decided to write this post as a follow-up to #ELTchat summary Assessing Writing after discovering the term Assessment Literacy (Literacies) for the first time and a new acronym - LAL (Language Assessment Literacy)

    What is Assessment Literacy?

    Assessment literacy means having a critical understanding of assessment in order to improve learning, as in these definitions: 

     ‘having the capacity to ask and answer critical questions about the purpose for assessment, about the fitness of the tool being used, about testing conditions, and about what is going to happen on the basis of the results.’  Inbar-Lourie (2008: 389) in Sheehan and Munro (2017).
    ‘Assessment literacy is a dynamic context- dependent social practice that involves teachers articulating and negotiating classroom and cultural knowledges with one another and with learners, in the initiation, development and practice of assessment to achieve learning goals of students’ (Willis et al., 2013: 242) in Sheehan and Munro (2017)  

    Assessment Literacy demands a training...
     Assessment literacy demands a training that brings a smooth blend of assessment technical awareness, theoretical understanding, useful practical skills, and clear concepts. All these components well balanced but strongly contextualized with the clear role, practical approach and function of assessment in the field of education (Hakim 2015). 

    Training and technology

    Training isn't always easy to come by. However, so much CPD is available online and free.

    Literature Review

    Articles accessed from the internet - on my reading list:

    HAKIM, Badia. English Language Teachers’ Ideology of ELT Assessment LiteracyInternational Journal of Education and Literacy Studies, [S.l.], v. 3, n. 4, p. 42-48, oct. 2015. ISSN 2202-9478. Available at: Date accessed: 15 mar. 2017.

    Assessment Literacy
    Available at: [Accessed 15 March 2017]

    Assessment: attitudes, practices and needs Accessed at: [Accessed 15 March 2017]


    The British Council has developed a series of videos on language assessment literacy  - not watched as yet but on things to watch list. 

    Any other ideas, thoughts would be very welcome in the comments if you got this far...