ESOL staff training day

Fortune Teller
Attribution: Image: ‘Fortune_Teller_ 004′ Found on

Firstly, completely gorgeous to spend a whole day with my lovely ESOL colleagues. It has been many years since I have had the opportunity to attend this annual ESOL event – a tradition that I was involved in starting in my role as Senior Tutor many moons ago.

To be completely honest it has been a mixed day of eager, stomach-churning, start-of-term-new-class-to-come anticipation and heavy-hearted dispondancy.

I guess it will be of no surprise to find that the excitement has come from networking with fellow professionals, discussing students and teaching and sharing ideas. I’ve come away with some interesting origami-originated ideas from the lovely @estbook. The frog was not quite the same as this one, but pretty similar and she told us how she had used this in a maths for ESOL class, where the students followed the instructions to make it them measured the distance travelled, made a table and compared results. Ideas that I want to consider trying are:

  • make a timeline. Jump the frogs along the line and the time they land on students have to say something about their daily routine
  • create a target with different points within it. In teams students compete to get the highest scores
  • use different coloured frogs as tokens for a board game
  • have a variety of words and when the frogs ‘jump’ on them students need to make a sentence

We also made an origami fortune teller like this. Ideas for this included:

  • having a noun on the outside, a verb on the inside and a tense in the middle. Students make sentences or questions.
  • days of the week on the outside, time on the inside and possible daily routines in the middle.

In the 16-18 session it was useful to discuss the importance of class rules and being consistent within the team. It was really interesting that myself and my colleague who are used to teaching adults had much ‘softer’ approaches to lateness than those experienced 16-18 tutors. After much discussion it was agreed that if students are more than 5 mins late without prior notice would have to knock and wait to be let in. This sounds harsh to me, but as the newby I am willing to take the advice of my more experienced colleagues.

The down side of the day also occurred in the 16-18 session when there was a discussion on being more ‘effective’ with the eILPs. The college has a very high success rate for the 16-18 ESOL students, so is clearly doing something very right for them – but because the right boxes haven’t been filled in on the college prescribed eILP system it something that needs attention. It is so depressing.

Technology also let us down today. The Internet Explorer on the PCs was an out dated version and so the newly updated Moodle didn’t work properly. For me personally, not such a big deal. I know I can explore the VLE at another time. But for other tutors, it is just another barrier in place, that as an ATLC I will have to work out how to resolve. So very frustrating.

To end on a positive note, this technical hitch did give me a chance to catch up with my colleagues and I have organised to be in a ‘teaching triangle’ with two of my oldest colleagues who I haven’t worked with for many years. Our first ‘observation’ has been organised and a meeting arranged with other 16-18 colleagues to do some co-planning. Feeling slightly less nervous and a bit more excited about first class next Monday.

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