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Innovation in course design

May 30, 2006

Are the days of the static classroom numbered?

Hello again,

Curiosity about a job ad led me to investigate the website of a Czech school. English, the school claims, is taught in a dynamic, creative way rather than in the stereotypical classroom. Music, intensive ...

...immersion weeks in the country are used to render the language learning experience more personal and vital. I started to wonder about what would tempt me to take a foreign language course. I have a smattering of Italian and Spanish, self-taught for the purposes of tourism. I would love to be more proficient but the thought or retuning to a traditional classroom is a deterrent. But if I had the chance to combine language learning with a practical or artistic activity: pottery, painting, cookery, archaeology, then I would definitely be interested. So what about English courses? How many schools are thinking about new ways of invigorating the classroom?

Let me know if your school does something really interesting.
Bye for now,

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  1. Susan Kaden Says:

    I am excited to read about immersion in teaching language as I believe it has a place in the future and certainly for ESL with less literate students such as refugees or lower socio-economic groups. For example there is always an interest in their own culture and they are often good with their hands so in teaching art, craft, cooking, music the language can be understood because students are hopefully happy while being creative and not aware of text books. I hope to work like this in the future as my major is Art and if you know of any places looking for such an EFL or ESL teacher I would be delighted. I now study Second Language teaching as I wish to be an ESL/EFL teacher not an art teacher directly. Thanks Brenda

  1. Irene Says:

    I do completely agree with the article published. In my country everybody is used to learning in the traditional way ie with a textbook, activity book and the like. We have decided to implement a new short course for kids between the ages of 3 and 5. We have decided not to follow the traditional way and we´ve just advertised in a local magazine this course but with an emphasis on the Arts. We are going to teach students through theatre, music and crafts and the classes will be with a native speaker. We have not lauched it yet but we hope people start changing their minds and willing to learn in a different, utterly motivating way.
    On the other hand, we have been teaching EFL teachers of English how to teach English to Spanish speakers and to think the way they think and learn. We do believe this will contribute to make native TEFL teachers a real asset for the School that takes them on. Sometimes Spanish students of English complain that some native teachers (TEFL/TESOL) don´t understand them or are not able to explain how to produce the different sounds in English. Understanding the way your foreign students learn makes them feel more confident and learn the language in a more motivating environment. Thanks Irene

  1. alan g Says:

    We seem to have common interests: I am a college teacher of English lit., creative writing, and ESL. I also have a blog www.inthetext.com(and another blog which is an episodic novel). I currently have a post about disgruntled college teachers (with a link from the Christian Science Monitor newspaper) who are finding that students in the classroom are using their laptops to send e-mails, instant messaging, etc. What is thought of as a technological innovation has unintended consequences. If you find my blog of interest and relevance, would you like to exchange blogroll links? I update my blog everyday with issues of interest in education.

  1. Dave Field Says:

    Textbooks are boring. That's the bottom line.
    I work in a girl's high school where the students do not get marked on my class, so evidently, it's not easy to keep their attention.

    When I open a class with a music video, then I get their attention.

    It is their culture to sleep in the class. Go figure. Totally acceptable. I'll never get used to it. But when they play scrabble, nobody is sleeping.

    It's all about keeping it real. Authenticity is the key. They want to learn through authentic material. The truth is, I like teaching authentic material too.

    When I first started teaching here I tried teaching them through the traditional textbook English lesson plans. Then I put a book together myself, which included alot of dialogues. I found that dialogues are a good way to get a classroom full of shy girls to speak. It worked alright.

    But the most interesting and exciting classes I have are authentic material.

    Music videos are a hit. Girls also love shopping and fashion. Girls like boys and movie stars.
    Keep it real and you'll keep their attention

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