Mastering the Mystery Skype

smartphone-call

Here is a great selection of materials from Microsoft (in fact, it is a small online course in its own right) about an interesting feature they added to Skype to help education. You can find other teachers around the world and connect your classrooms so that the learners can play a guessing game (guess where in the world they are, or play ‘Mystery animal’ or something similar if the location is too obvious). There are a lot of useful materials and tips: for example, you can download a pdf with students’ roles. Even better, there is a template for the teacher’s professional development bingo – I’m definitely going to use this one!

I think this feature is just asking to be used in ELT: let me know if you decide to experiment!

 

Train the trainer: professional skills in Dubai

What’s the best thing about working for an international organisation? There’s always so much going on, so many opportunities to learn something new and to meet like-minded people – just like last week, when I had a chance to take part in a workshop for trainers of professional skills.

dubai_breakfast

dubai_camel

I won’t give you all the details, but here are my biggest takeaways:

  • a lot of teacher training skills and techniques can be transferred to professional training
  • that said, we should be careful not to call trainees ‘students’: the training room is not a classroom after all
  • there are things happening outside traditional young learner and adult ELT that are just as exciting

And a traditional link: a website recommended by the course tutors. It’s a great resource for workplace training sessions, with a lot of activities that can also be used in Business English classes and ESP: games, puzzles and more games!

Pens of different colours and other desirable difficulties

felt-tip-pen

Here’s a great post by Claire Hill about introducing retrieval practice, interleaving and other so-called ‘desirable difficulties’ (a term coined by Robert A. Bjork, as I understand) into English (language and literature) lessons. A lot of it can borrowed for ELT, for example, planned recall sessions, completing knowledge organisers from memory and then adding the missing information with another colour of pen – very interesting indeed. And the outcomes are: better learning, easier tracking of progress, saving time in the lesson and for the teacher.