Saturday, February 22, 2014

ELT Chat summary-Teaching English in the corporate world

#ELTchat summary (12/02/2014)

I started attending the #ELTchat on tiwtter (Wednesdays 12.00   or 21.00 GMT) after my tutor, Marisa Constantinides, suggested it. It is an hour well spent on Wednesdays, so when I was asked to write the summary of this Wednesday's chat, I gladly said, " sure!" So, here goes!

The topic
Teaching English in the corporate World: which is the best approach and which activities work best with in-company classes?
 A similar topic had been discussed before, so it is a good idea to read that summary too  as it taps into what was discussed during this chat as well.


Challenges of teaching in-company classes

"What are some of the challenges you face when teaching in-company classes?" (@Marisa_C). This was the starting point of the chat and what was discussed during the hour was connected to the answers given to this query.

Challenges of teaching in-company classes:
  1. Managers don't want to attend classes with their underlings(@OUPELTGlobal).Bosses and secretaries having sessions together, especially when the secretary's English may be better than the boss's, may not be such a great idea.

  • Random attendance,late comers (@rapple18) or no shows due to busy or not so busy schedules.
  • Motivation and mixed classes (@CotterHUE).
  • Poor assessment and people who are forced to attend these classes (@HadaLitim).
  • Working during classes (@ Marisa_C).
  • Homework or actually lack of homework.

 Ideas on teaching in-company classes & some solutions to the challenges

How should the students be grouped?
Most people agreed that it is better to group people based on language needs, topic, and position due to the fact that some employees find learning with the boss intimidating or because some managers 'pontificate' and the rest of the class remains quiet.
Words of wisdom;"Easier to do mixed level teaching than try to reconcile the irreconcilable"(@Marisa_C).

Another idea was to offer one to one classes so as to avoid intimidation and deal with different learner needs etc.

How can we avoid absenteeism?
Students need to see that what they get from classes as more valuable than work. Another idea was that companies should give extrinsic motivation and even charge students if they are absent too many times! It is necessary to keep the students engaged and motivated so as to avoid absenteeism. It is essential to show students that what you are doing with them is directly linked to their work!
  A bit about methodology
@teacherphili asked if there was a "particular methodology or approach applied to these corporate classes or if depends on the situation?" "It depends on learner expectations of education experience, but I tend to use more output-feedback" (@teflgeek).
What tasks are appropriate for our learners?
Before deciding on tasks, the importance of needs assessment came up. Teachers need to understand their learners' needs before deciding on what to do in their classes and what homework to assign.
Everyone agreed that learning in this case should be task based. The focus should be on tasks and not just exercises.
  • Role playing(@Marisa_C/@joannacre/@teflgeek).
  • Tasks applicable to work, work related. Business students do not want to waste time!(@CotterHUE).
The chat about tasks overlapped with what to assign as homework so read further on for some more ideas on tasks/homework.
What do I do about homework? 
The first question that arose was whether to give homework or not. Most agreed that it is a good idea to assign it but it is necessary to make it related to their work so that they can be more motivated to do it. Ideas regarding homework:
  •  PPT/ Prezi, which help students practise their presentation skills*.
  • Newspaper articles, which learners can read during their coffee breaks : ).
  • Pecha Kucha can help them improve fluency skills (Marisa_C).
  •  A reflection of a daily work done in the context of a job (@jankenb2)
  • Reports, emails, telephone conversations.
 * @Nouella89 asked the very interesting question of whether students are learning or playing with the technology and there was a bit of a discussion on the benefits of PPT vs Prezi and vice versa(@teacherphili: "PPT can be repetitive/Prezi style over content, mind you"/ @ Marisa_C :"Prezi can be a fun tool for presentations") .
On the whole, there was consensus on the fact that homework needs to be mandatory, something that doesn't take long, is interesting and challenging!
Assessment was briefly discussed during this chat. It is important that there is assessment and different types of it (@HadaLitim). Maybe this is something that can be discussed in another #eltchat?
My final thoughts
On the whole, this was a very interesting chat. A lot of useful ideas and thoughts were shared. I think that, in this summary, I covered the main points discussed.  I tried to include the names of  as many of the contributors to this chat as I could. Apologies if something/someone has been overlooked. This is the first time I have written a summary for #eltchat so please be lenient on the newbie : ).

Till next time.....
Links shared during the chat:
Mixed ability teaching:   (@teflgeek)
Pecha Kucha:  (@HadaLitim/ @Marisa_C)
Presentations software:

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

The 11 blog challenge

The 11 Blog Challenge

I was asked to take part in this blog challenge by my sweet friend and colleague, Ageliki Asteri, and I am really excited to be a part of this challenge.
How this works:
1. I need to acknowledge the nominating blogger.
2. I share 11 random facts about myself.
3. I must answer the questions the blogger who nominated me asked.
4. I will list 11 other bloggers
5. I post eleven questions for the bloggers I nominated. I must let the bloggers know that they have been nominated (that actually took some time) and I cannot nominate the person who nominated me.
I got all this information from the Datenglish blog (Deborah Debovich):

So, here I go!
Eleven Random Facts about myself.
1. I grew up in Sydney, Australia, and left when I was 12. I have not been back since then.
2. I love the UK, which is one of the reasons I go there during the summer and teach pre sessional EAP courses. I always get asked, "You leave the sun and the Greek beaches to come to the rainy UK?". Yes, people I do, cause I like it and I can!
3. I hate bridges!
4. Dream holiday? I really want to go to New York City... hopefully I will one day : ). My most romantic city in the world (out of the ones I have visited that is) Strasburg. So pretty. Seriously.
5. I do not really cook, but I really like going to fancy restaurants and trying out food from all around the world.
6. I have never had tasty fish and chips in the UK. Too greasy. I will pass.
7. I once boiled a spider and without knowing it drank tea out of the pot (with the dead spider's remains). After that I was anxious to find out if, in the UK, spiders were poisonous. I guess not cause I live to tell the story : P
8. I find teaching people from around the world both challenging and stimulating. I have learnt so many fascinating things from my Chinese students whilst in the UK. My online teaching job has given me the chance to learn a lot about the French and German. It is mind blowing how you can use a computer and teach someone, somewhere else in the world.
 9. My favourite colour is pink... oh and I am colour blind so.. yeah.. go figure.
10. I love crumpets. They are so tasty!
11. My facvourite song and motto Should I stay or should I go-The clash.

Now let's see Ageliki's questions
1. Can you tell one weakness of yours?
I am not spontaneous enough.
2. What do you most enjoy in life?
Travelling and having fun with my friends and family.
 3. How do you deal with injustice in life?
I don't like it. If I have the opportunity, I say what I think.
4What flowers do you like and why?
Pink roses. They smell nice.
5. What book have you read recently?
Eap essentials. I do not have time to read novels and stuff. Most of my reading is work related.  I am reading a lot about BE and online teaching at the moment cause I am presenting at the TESOL Greece conference   and Belta day
6. Why do you teach and what part of teaching do you enjoy the most?
I studied the language at university so it was only natural for me to teach it to others. I love it! I like everything! I have been teaching for many years and as my friend, Lia, said, "got my fingers in many yummy pies" so cannot say one specific part.
7. What do you do to help the unmotivated student?
I try to make the lesson memorable. I also try to find the reason why he/she may be unmotivated.
 8. What are two things in teaching that have problematized you in particular?
Students who are not motivated.
 9. What do you do to develop as a teacher?
I am doing the Delta. I will also start a course for teachers of Business English. I am currently looking into a second MA.
10. What have you found interesting about blogging?
I love it! It is like talking, writing a diary about teaching. I hope someone apart from me reads what I write and finds it interesting too!
11. What is your view on social media and professional promotion?
It is fascinating how the internet allows you to meet people from all around the world. LinkedIn and twitter, especially #eltchat on twitter,  have given me the opportunity to meet lots of interesting people from around the world.
My questions to the bloggers I have nominated:
1. Describe a good teaching experience you have had.
2. Describe a difficult teaching experience you have had.
3. Do you have a teaching mentor? If yes, can you tell me how this person has affected your teaching?
4. Where do you see yourself in ten years from now?
5. How do you deal with students who dominate the sessions?
6. How do you deal with shy/introvert students?
7. How much time do you spend on you work and how much on your personal life?
8. If you won 1 million euros, how would you spend it?
9. What's your favourite food?
10. What do you hate doing around the house?
11. Describe your ideal day.

Look forward to hearing from you guys.
Till next time........

Bloggers I have nominated:
Sally Fryer
Deirdre McKenna
Chara Machairianaki
Christina Malefaki
Ola Bakri
Evangelia Kallianos
Marina Daskalaki
Maria Mihelaki
Eri Mihelaki
Angela Fradelaki
Georgia Psarra