Welcome to the ELT Digest. This is our second monthly round up. This time, we share what we enjoyed in November, what we’re looking forward to in the coming month and recommend some non-ELT content. If you missed October’s edition, check it out here.
What’s going on with you these days, Matthew Noble?
This month we held our second ‘What’s going on with you these days?’ session. This time was with Matthew Noble, an extremely thoughtful guy who brought some interesting and varied discussion points. We also had a fun time making terrible puns about hip hop artists and ELT. If you want a recap of the first part of the session (we don’t stream the discussions), you can see it here.
Tough times for teachers in the UK
This post takes a look at how the pandemic has affected teachers in the UK. It seems like this year has affected the profession very differently in different countries, so it is good to inform yourself about what is going on. While some of this article is pretty grim reading, there is also a little room for optimism in terms of the effect unions can have.
Dogme: Still relevant in 2020
This month Tim has been taking a course on Dogme ELT with Scott Thornbury through ITDI. It was very interesting to have a look back at the approach with the man himself. One of the interesting ideas that came out of the course was that Dogme should not be seen as anti-coursebook. Instead, we should think of it as pro-text and pro thinking about what kind of text we use in class. Other strong points were thinking about online Dogme teaching, finding short texts like (instructions from teabag packets!) in the wild and, best of all, the hour-long chats after each session. It sounds like this course could run again, so if you’re interested, tweet at ITDI to tell them you want it.
How should teachers talk to teachers?
Mike enjoyed this talk about communicating with teachers (if you want a recap, you’d be better off checking this version which has more of the talking points). People often talk about communicating with students, but less often with teachers, so this summary is an interesting read. There is a lot to think about here including what medium is best, if you need an email or a meeting and how to give feedback well. While this post is somewhat aimed at managers, it’s useful for teachers too.
Tim is helping to organise organise the second online excitELT conference which is taking place on the 5th and 6th of December. This time the conference is in collaboration with two academic groups studying English as a medium of instruction (EMI) and World Englishes. While these topics sound academic, they’re very important for teachers. EMI is when English is used to teach other subjects in schools. This is often assumed to be a good thing, but in fact, this can lead to all sorts of problems in terms of who can access these courses and what happens when they do. While EMI is by definition not ELT, the issues raised by EMI are ones English teachers should think about. World Englishes is about what types of English we should be teaching in schools. This is another issue teachers need to think about and one that is, thankfully, being discussed more and more these days. The conference is ‘pay what you feel’ and will be mostly discussion-based. More information is available here.
A little more conversation, a little less teacher action
On Sunday the 13th of December. Tim will be running a Talking Shop session on ‘What Is Conversation and How Do We Teach It? This is going to be based on a talk Tim gave in Cambodia this February but with more of a focus on teaching online. Conversation is an area which has a bit of a ‘What do I actually teach?’ problem. If you feel this way, this talk will be of interest to you. While we’re hoping to sell some copies of Conversation Coursebook from this talk, we’ll be giving away enough of the ‘secret sauce’ in this talk that you won’t really need to buy it. We’ll be sharing links through the mailing list, so if you haven’t yet, please consider joining.
Content Consumer Corner
Since making lots of ELT/hip hop crossover puns in our Talking Shop session this month, we’ve been listening to a lot of old school hip hop. Mike enjoyed this video of two people listening to ELTW favourite ‘Scenario’ for the first time. These reaction videos are always fun, but especially when it’s with a song you love.
Tim has been binge-watching two shows this month. The Crown’s latest season deals with Thatcher and the marriage of Prince Charles and Diana. There are quite a few pretty shocking events in here that Tim had no idea happened. The Minions of Midas is a Spanish language show about the owner of a media group who is being extorted. Tim insists that if he stays up till 2 AM watching it he is ‘up late studying Spanish’ and not ‘up late watching TV’.
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Thanks for linking to my talk. Glad it was useful!