It’s been a while since my last post, but Christmas holidays don’t really give you too much time for things other than eating and lounging around on the sofa, with your brain half switched off. So, in a way I’m glad the festive slumber’s all over (and I think both my liver and my stomach are too).
I was thinking about the best way to restart the blog in the new year, and I’ve decided that the most appropriate, if not the most imaginative, would be with some New Year EFL resolutions.This blog has given me a great chance to express myself and to reflect on my teaching practice, and I think I’ve benefited a lot from posting regularly.
This year I’m going to:
do a bit more of what I preach.
This is not to say I haven’t, but I think my eyes have been bigger than my stomach. Now that I look back at the posts, there are many activities and ideas I was meaning to introduce to my classes, but never did. Lack of time. Laziness. Conformity. The usual excuses. But I’m going to be better. Perhaps I’ll write less. Or write more about things that I can immediately put into practice. Or that are more relevant to my day-to-day teaching practice.
plan my classes more thoroughly.
Ok, don’t get me wrong. I do plan my classes, as I imagine any English teacher does. However, I’ve become rather slack. Probably the last really through lesson plan I wrote was for DELTA LSA 4. Of course, you can’t write a 10 page lesson plan for every class. But more than a running order on a loose piece of paper is needed. One of the things I need to focus on more is anticipating students’ problems better. I should also be more thorough when planning how to clarify meaning. A good starting point are the tips given by Adam Simpson here.
read at least one EFL blog post a week and reflect on them by either implementing the ideas in my classes or/and blogging about them.
Since I became a freelancer and set up the blog, I’ve been slowly discovering what a treasure trove of EFL ideas blogs and the Internet in general can be. But I can be a bit slack and there are so many great blogs I would like to read (apart from the regular non-EFL reading that I’d also like to do), that it can be a bit overwhelming at the beginning. So that’s why I’ve set a low target to start off with. If I read too much, it might just go over my head. Or be forgotten too quickly. And just reading is not enough, I think. Unless I put the ideas I read about into practice, I won’t know if they work. Or even worse – I will just forget about them. So I’m going to try to reflect on every post I read either through blogging about it, or through putting it into practice.
teach my students HOW to study.
To somebody who’s a teacher and a language learner, all the good learner practices might seem so obvious that we fail to notice that to some of our students they sound Greek. I’ve got students who clearly have no clue how to study a language effectively. So they struggle. But not because of the language content. The basic mechanics of studying and learning go beyond their heads. I need to build some basic learner training into my teaching routine. At times, something as simple as asking the student: WHAT did we do and WHY did we do it? might just do the trick and make them more aware of the learning process. The first thing I’m planning to do is to teach some of them how to be more gritty.
learn from my mistakes.
Do you find yourself falling into the same trap over and over again? If your answer is now, then you’re lucky. And I envy you. I’ve noticed that more often than not I am able to notice my mistakes, but I don’t pay enough attention to them and the next time round I’m likely to fall into the same pitfall. It’s quite irritating. Especially the second or third time round. So, I’m going to write down the mistake(s) I’ve made in my lesson planning/procedure/clarification/instructions/etc. and make a conscious effort to avoid them/it next time. I might use a post-it note and place them somewhere visible for me during the lesson, e.g. the lesson plan/running order.
Ideally, I would like to find time to comment and self-reflect on theses resolutions at least twice during the year by writing a post. And I’d love to hear from you about any teaching resolutions you’ve made and how you’re planning to put them into practice.
Happy New Year!