Posts tagged ‘ESOL’

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. Read more ►

Taking a Reflect Approach



Our class wall

Five weeks into the new year and I finally took the plunge to try the Reflect Approach with my E1 group.


We’d done some work the week before on countries and nationalities and this week I wanted them to focus on the geography around their home countries. I’m very fortunate to have a wide range of nationalities in my class so I organised the four groups to each have a least three nationalities in it.

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countries and languages

Well that was a crazy busy 2 hours – I have been completely over planning queen today.

Spelling tests: these are taking up a good chunk of the beginning of the lesson and I need to think carefully about the how these can be done more effectively and efficiently. This has only been my fourth class with this group, and only the third week with a spelling-test opener.

Last week I introduced a tracker sheet that I have used in classes before, so students can see a record of their scores over the weeks and a record of the spelling they still need to practice. But it was a bit of a nightmare, I struggled to help them understand the purpose of it or how to fill it in, so didn’t even broach it today.

This week I created a differentiated sheet for the weaker students, I have two students who aren’t confident in knowing the alphabet and haven’t got any of the spellings correct this week. They had to identify the correct spelling and then copy this. I will certainly try this again.

I’d like to introduce peer spelling tests, and may think about how to do this next week.

Recap: making a link to last week’s lesson I had students find a partner by matching country-language and we drilled the sentence ‘In xxxx they speak xxxx, Then as a class I wanted them to stand in line for what they could remember about the common languages video. This took quite a while, and although there was some good discussions/disagreements the stronger ss did dominate here. Although it was a good opportunity for them to be repeating the countries and languages as vocab items.

After we watched the video again, I then confused things a little by asking them to write the countries down, but in alphabetical order. In hindsite, what I should have done was have them write them in the order of the video, and then use the cards to arrange them by alphabetical order.

The group are starting to work together a little more. I’m not sure if this is because I had the tables arranged differently this week (in groups rather than the horse shoe), if my encouraging is starting to pay off a little or if it’s just natural as they get to know each other that they can work together more confidently.

Really love this class.

a video-tastic lesson for the European Day of Languages

September 25, 2012ESOL,

‘ve gone a little You Tube crazy for class tomorrow. I start with a prediction task: watch the video & guess what you think class will be about.



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First ESOL classes – planning decisions


Resources for class, and not a photocopy in sight

I’m very excited about going into my first ESOL class this morning, and pretty much as usual I have lots and lots of ideas and now it is decision time as to what to include. I think making these decisions about choosing, ordering and linking activities is what makes ‘planning’ the challenge that it is, and not having met a group this adds to that challenge.

My first decision is around whether I think it’s more important to share some information about myself so the students can get to know me a little, or whether to go straight into name games. I think I will start with a quick Q & A: I’ll write the following on the WB:

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first class reflections

September 12, 2012ESOL,

I have had a very lovely morning, and of course didn’t get through all my planned activities. The group are lovely. They are from Bangladesh, Pakistan, Iran, Iraq, Poland, Nepal and China and have been in country from between 1 ½ years up to 30 years! We did lots of ‘organise by alphabetical/numerical order’ activities giving opportunity for everyone to learn each other’s names. I think I just about have everyone’s and some of the stronger students could remember everyone’s too, but it was challenging for some of the students. Need to recap this next week, for me definitely although for them they will have met 3 more times before then.

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Sharing an ESOL class


Picture from @sandymillin


Woo hoo. Very excited about having an ESOL class again this year. I’ll be sharing the group with the fabulous @tferguson . She’ll be the personal tutor for the group and meet them three times a week, I will be the second tutor who meets once a week.


It’s the ESOL staff development day today & I gate crashed Sam’s session on ‘sharing classes’, where lots of great ideas were shared about how to overcome the ‘no time/not in the same office’ communication barriers. Thea and I have agreed that in the first two weeks it’ll be inductions, getting to know you activities and diagnostic activity & our first meeting has been arranged to them discuss how to move forward with the class.

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#mml12 reflections 1: CPD, technology & gender issues


The Mystery and Magic of Language, a great title for a great conference. I thoroughly enjoyed a weekend surrounded by interesting and passionate ESOL practitioners. However, not surprisingly maybe, the key themes of the conference for me have been around the Magic and Mystery of Learning – my own, experienced teachers, new teachers as well as language students. Whilst trying to decide what the key themes of the conference have been for me, I’ve found that I’ve been challenged to ask key questions.

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Reflections on the No.1 Ladies detective Agency

no 1 ladies detective agency

Having this class reader has been just the best idea for this final term. After preparing a bunch of stuff for the second class and then finding out that only one person had read chapter 2 I have since planned things that would incude those who hadn’t read it as well as those that had. I’ve seen the group twice since half term and have based both lessons around the book using minimal resources. Ideas for the lessons have come from my colleague, ELTChat links or a blog that I follow. Thanks to my PLN for some great ideas.

No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency – a class reader

no. 1 ladies detective agency

The way that I have undertaken having a class reading with my L1 group is such an example of my sunshine yellow-ness. With the start of the new, and final, term I decided we needed something to keep attention (and attendance) for the final 7 lessons that we had. So I created the ‘Final Term Challenges’. I presented this at the first class and the students got to vote on which challenge they would do for the first week.


Background to the choice of No 1 Ladies Detective Agency comes from discussion I had with my friend and fellow ESOL teacher, James McGoldrick, who used this book with his L1 group who agreed to read a chapter a week and spend 30-40 mins in the lesson looking at the chapter. I was pleasantly surprised when all the students enthusiastically and unreservedly agreed on a class book, and that this seemed a more popular choice than going to the library to choose a graded reader.

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