Welcome to Talking Shop’s roundup. In this monthly digest we’ll be sharing what caught our eye in last month as well as looking what we’re looking forwads to in the future.

Looking back

A more inclusive textbook

It’s always shocking to both of us how backwards some ELT materials can be. This month both Mike and Tim have been diving into Raise up!. The textbook aims to present a more diverse view of English. What is especially dope about this is they’ve reflected diversity in not only the language but the people using it in the book. We’re looking forward to getting to use these materials.

The joy of asynchronous teaching

This blog post from Hana Ticha got a lot of heads nodding in agreement at ELTW. There isn’t a a whole lot to add on this one except that we agree with a lot of what is said here. If you’re interested in this area, do check out Mike’s Talking Shop event below. 

The end of International House Barcelona

The closing of International House Barcelona was a big shock for both of us. IH Barcelona had a reputation as a centre of good practice that we can both attest reached at least as far as Korea. What’s worse, the treatment of the workers there has been quite shocking. This article outlines some of the issues workers have been facing since the closure

The first of many ELT Workshop events

This month we held our first online event: ‘What’s going on with you these days, Michael Griffin?’ For this event, which we’ll be repeating with different guests each month, we asked Mike to discuss what has been going on with him recently. Based on Mike’s talk, we had a discussion that centred around teaching online. Lots of our favourite teachers from Twitter showed up, so in many ways the event was like hanging out in the dream staffroom. We’re looking forward to finding out ‘What’s going on with you these days, Matthew Noble’ on Wednesday the 25th of November. If you want to see a bit of what went down, it’s available here.

Content consumer corner

This month on the ELT Workshop hi-fi, Tim has been playing this rare 1975 album from Japanese folk songstress Yoshiko Sai. Whatever else you think about YouTube, their algorithm makes some very good suggestions of things you’d otherwise have no business coming across by chance.

After a hard day’s teaching, there’s nothing Tim likes more than to grab a good meal and put something really trashy on the telly. This month, he’s been binge watching The Boys. It’s silly, gory and features the worst British accent in recent history. It’s also very funny and a good pastiche of capitalism and the excesses of the superhero genre. Meanwhile, Mike has just finished watching Modern Family and is getting started on Narcos: Mexico.

Looking forward

A conference on underdiscussed issues

The IATEFL Teacher Development SIG is hosting an online web carnival on ‘race and queerness in ELT’. This is going to begin with November being a community of practice month dedicated to sharing content about race and queerness in ELT. This will culminate in a conference in the first weekend of December. We’re really excited for this conference as race and queerness are two issues that aren’t talked about enough at conferences. Having a whole conference dedicated to these issues is fantastic.

Talking Shop in November

We’re also looking forward to our two Talking Shop events in the coming month. On Sunday the 8th of November, Mike will be leading a session on ‘Exploring Beliefs about Online Learning’ which you can read more about below. On the 25th, we’ll be hosting friend of the Workshop, Matthew Noble for a casual hangout session. We’ll be hosting both of these sessions on Zoom and we’ll be sending out the links to Talking Shop subscribers.

Exploring Beliefs about Online Learning
An online workshop with Michael Griffin – 8th of November

“Online classes must be synchronous” and “Students must show their faces at all times during online classes.” These are just two of the beliefs circulating (perhaps uncritically) in the current discourse in ELT worldwide about online teaching. Back in the previous century, in 1999, Kathleen Graves wrote, “Most teachers don’t have opportunities to make their beliefs explicit because the institutions in which they work do not generally ask them to articulate their beliefs nor do they place a value on such articulation.” This might be even more true in the current era and an aim of this session is to carve out a time and place for such articulations, in this case related to online teaching. Through considering and discussing a range of statements about online teaching and learning participants will have a chance to make their beliefs explicit and in doing so gain a deeper understanding of their own (perhaps unconscious) thinking about online teaching. By encountering and examining statements of belief topics such as homework, motivation, synchronous vs. asynchronous classes, rapport, teacher presence, grading, and teacher well-being participants will be able to uncover their own beliefs on these issues. Participants can expect to walk away with a clearer sense of their own beliefs along with some questions to consider about their beliefs in relation to online teaching practices.

What did we miss from our roundup? Leave us a comment and let us know.