As promised in my self-indulgent review of my own posts from 2013, I will now look at some of the posts I’ve read that were produced by other people…
In 2013, I read dozens of interesting, well-written blog posts that inspired me to try out new things in the classroom and to respond with reflections of my own. For my first post of 2014, I’m going to attempt to pick out my top 5. (Choosing 5 out of so many was a difficult enough task, so I’m not going to attempt to rank them! 😉 )
- Ways of exploiting lexical self-study material in the classroom part two: some things we can get students to do. This is the second post in a series written by Hugh Dellar, on his well-known blog. I first became aware of this series of three posts when a member of my PLN tweeted part 2 of the series (as linked). Of course I then also read part 1 (and part 3 when it later came out!) Bursting with helpful ideas, these posts really got me thinking and indeed experimenting in the classroom. I drew on part 2 when I did my first observation in my current job and opened up a key area to develop within my practice, which was (and is) very exciting. I really recommend reading these posts if they’ve slipped beneath your radar thus far…
- The case for: 6 reasons why our language learners should get homework. This post by Adam Simpson was brought to my attention by another member of my PLN, this time by way of Facebook. It particularly resonated with me because I’m working in a context where giving homework is compulsory, and I’ve tried really hard to make the homework as meaningful and relevant to the learners as possible, as well as trying to use it as a tool to help them become more autonomous. What I particularly like about this post is the inclusion of questions for us teachers to ask ourselves when we are thinking about setting homework. These are questions I want to return to regularly this year, as I continue in my mission to make homework really worthwhile for my learners.
- Teacher Dereliction Anxiety Disorder Yet again, I became aware of this post by Kevin Stein as a result of a member of my PLN sharing it via social media. (Are we sensing a pattern here?? 😉 ) It is the second in a series of posts about extensive reading, on a blog called The other things matter – which I think is a fantastic name and concept, by the way! Don’t you agree? The “other” things really do matter, in teaching. The post contains a lot of useful ideas for getting learners reading extensively whilst combatting teacher anxiety at using class time for “such things”. Although in my current context, contact time is too brief for a lot of what is suggested, the concept of using time for things other than teaching <insert language point here> is far from lost on me: my current learner autonomy development and extensive reading projects require brief but regular use of class time to maintain – time that I would argue is well spent.
- Writing journals with students by Sandy Millin is one of the many posts that I read on her blog last year. In this post, she tells us about how she used journals with various of her classes in Newcastle, and the benefits this had for both her and the learners. The activity may need a little adjustment/adaptation to work in contexts with less contact time available but nevertheless it’s another shining example of the wonderful “other” things teachers do with their learners, so if you haven’t read it yet (unlikely – everybody has read Sandy’s posts, I think! 😉 ) then get on over to her blog and have a squiz.
- Can teachers do research? is by Marisa Constantinides. She talks about a research project she carried out and then goes on to discuss the question in the title, providing suggestions to help teachers get started with action research. I like this post because I strongly believe that doing classroom-based research is a great way to develop and can also be very motivational for teachers: instead of getting bogged down in a rut and doing the same thing, in the same way, time after time, it allows you to explore and evaluate different ways and new ideas for doing things. I’m currently in the middle of some small-scale learner autonomy-related research projects with my learners, as a result of which I’ve done fair bit of reading of relevant literature and reflecting over this break and am keen to continue working with my learners, and see where the project takes us next. (Just as well, as the holiday is all but over!) Maybe 2014 could be the year for you to start researching in your classroom too? Have a look at Marisa’s post for tips on how to go about it…
So, that’s my top five. I could have kept listing posts ad infinitum, but, instead, over to you: It would be fantastic if you could comment on this post with a link to any one (or two or three..) blog post that caught your eye and inspired you in 2013. 🙂 I look forward to seeing your comments and visiting the posts you recommend…
Delighted to have been included in this great list alongside some of my favorite bloggers.
Have a great 2014, Lizzie.
You’re welcome, Adam and happy 2014. Look forward to reading more of your posts. (I’ve already much enjoyed the one on motivation, about which I’ve been reading a lot recently.) What others of yours or anyone else’s would you recommend? 🙂
Thanks a lot for including my post on the list, and for reminding me to take another look at the other posts on the list. I’m trying out journals with a couple of 121 students in Sevastopol, so I’ll let you know how it goes.
Happy New Year!
You’re welcome, Sandy – thanks for drawing my attention to a number of these on the old social media machine! 😉 Now, what other post of yours/anyone else’s would you recommend?!
Hi Lizzie and thank you so much for giving the nod to my ER post. I’m glad to hear that it made an impression and very honoured to find myself along side Sandy, Adam, Hugh and Marisa, all of whom I admire as teachers and bloggers. Looking forward to 2014 and what the ELT blog world will have to offer.
You’re welcome, Kevin. I was very pleased to discover your blog last year. All the best for this year and look forward to reading more! 🙂 PS What other blogpost of yours (or anyone else’s) would you recommend? 😉
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Many many thanks, ευχαριστώ πάρα πολύ, dear Lizzie. I am honoured to be included in your top five and happy to see some valuable members of our PLN being featured – you got me reading some great posts and many thanks for that, too!
Have a wonderful new year blogging, connecting and developing
You’re welcome, Marisa – happy blogging to you too! 🙂
PS And what other post of yours or anyone else’s would you recommend?!
Just another thank you for mentioning my posts there Lizzie.
You’re welcome! Which other blog post(s) of yours would you recommend? 😉
Really useful post Lizzie – thanks. Just read Hugh’s piece on exploiting texts (some great take-away ideas) and i look forward to checking out the others at the weekend!