Journals: week in the life of ……

I’ve had two journals drop through my post in the past two weeks.

InTuition: the journal for professional teachers and trainers in the further education and skills section. (what a title!!) and
Language Issues: the journal of NATECLA.

InTuition has visited a few table tops in my house. It sat for a while by the front door. Then it lounged lazily on the kitchen table. It had a brief trip to coffee table before heading back to the kitchen table.

Language Issues has been with us for a shorter time & has a few more adventures. It skipped the table by the front door and headed straight to the kitchen where my article (sorry for blowing my own trumpet here!!) was displayed for The Family. After the initial excitement it needed a small rest on the coffee table.

With a restful evening under it’s belt, the article by Dot Powell on What Happened in Lower Level ESOL Class was read over breakfast and then it was taken for a bus ride where Ellie Willcock’s very interesting action research project on Authentic Spoken and Written Texts was semi-digested.

I love the serendipity of life, and both these articles have given me much pause for thought.

There is a session on authentic materials on the CELTA and the Skills Assignment asks the trainees to develop a receptive skills lesson based on an authentic text. In this session it is mentioned that there are different ‘definitions’ of authenticity & if they continue with the full L5 subject specialism this will be explored in more detail, but for the purposes of the course ‘authentic’ means not made for the classroom. Ellie’s article was interesting in that it focuses on spoken texts, rather than written one, but still explores the possible variations of what we mean by ‘authentic’ and how this relates to the ESOL classroom.

Dot’s article has me thinking of various different things. Firstly about my low level 16-18 group & how I feel I’m working hard at trying to differentiate for my two very beginner beginners in with the mix of E1/E2 confident/less confident speakers/writings in the class. (And when I say trying, this is what I mean. The moments of ‘success’ feel few and far between.) Secondly, it made me think about a low level class I observed in a community centre recently. Seeing this lesson warmed my professional heart & had me reminiscing about when I first started teaching and how lovely the ladies are that attend these classes. The ladies in this class were much lower level than I ever taught but, serendipity again, with the #talkenglish program and the fact that I will be delivering the L3 Award to people volunteer teaching to pre-entry and E1 students such as this in community centres, it was a timely reminder of what they will be experiencing. Since then I have grabbed a copy of Teaching Basic Literacy to ESOL Learners* & checked out the CPD modules on the ESOL Nexus site.

Following the bus ride, Language Issues enjoyed a comfortable day snuggled in Bag, getting to know iPad & jostling with Lunch. It had a small visit to a desk top & a couple of flourishes with Other People as I once again got excited about sharing getting my name in print.

InTuition is still sat on the kitchen table. I suppose I should give it a chance and at least have a flick through it.

Spiegel, M. and Sunderland H. (2006) Teaching Basic Literacy to ESOL Learners. London: LLU+

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