Welcome to the DGENP English Teachers’s Blog! Here you’ll find several links to websites where you’ll be able to find grammar explanations, activities, resources, and suggestions to enhance your teaching practice. Feel free to explore the site; you can leave comments if you like. Please note that this is an ever-changing, ever-growing site, so it is not “finished”; we’ll make it bigger and better with your participation, your contributions, your ideas, and your recommendations.
Surely you are acquainted with the series of conferences known as TED Talks. The program is a nonprofit initiative to share valuable ideas on a wide range of subjects in the form of talks by experts of worldwide renown. Sir Ken Robinson, a British expert on education, has given two highly acclaimed talks at two TED Talks events whose videos, according to his webpage, have been seen by about 250 million people around the world. We found his talks very enlightening, thought-provoking and funny, and because of their relevance, we invite you to have a listen. However, critical thinkers as we all are, we encourage you to take his words with a pinch of salt and come to your own conclusions. If you want to know more about Sir Ken Robinson, you can visit his website here:
RedELE is an online publication by the Red Electrónica de Didáctica del Español como Lengua Extranjera. It’s a service provided by the Ministry of Education of Spain and its main goal is to disseminate language teaching research, experiences and approaches to teaching Spanish as a foreign language.
Whereas the focus of the site is teaching Spanish as a foreign language, there are articles, experiences, and suggestions that can enrich the professional practice of practically any language teacher, for there are several universal principles when it comes to language teaching, and they can be adapted to suit the needs of every teacher of any language.
Whether you are a perfectionist always looking for new and creative ways to teach language, or you are involved in projects that require that you do research, the RedELE magazine may prove to be a huge asset.
Visit the RedELE magazine here.
Here are some articles we found interesting for our line of work:
Formative assessment is the process that tells us whether learning is happening or not, and it isn’t only for teachers to design or redesign instruction, but for students to identify their strengths and weaknesses and act accordingly. As such, it is of the utmost importance to be continually formatively assessing students’ learning with the most diverse and creative techniques so this process is effective and motivating.
The West Virginia Department of Education, on his website, presents some very interesting and useful formative assessment techniques than can be used or adapted into our context.
Click here to visit the website, and while you are at it, take a time to explore the website’s content: West Virginia Department of Education
Here are some examples:
Learning / Response Logs
Peer / Self Assessment
Think Pair Share
American English site is yet another robust source of useful information, materials and ideas to improve or strengthen our practice.
The site is home to the quarterly journal English Teaching Forum, which in itself is reason enough to pay a visit. Here are some of the articles that caught our eye and might be useful for us ENP English teachers.
There is also the Resources section where not only do you get to know what other teachers are doing to teach difficult grammar or the four skills, but you will also find very well thought activities and materials ready for you to download and use. Take this Color Vowel Chart for example, which is an interesting way to teach all the vowel sounds of the standard American English accent.
Finally, you also get access to past webinars on ELT, which you can download in PDF version, too. Have a look at this one on teaching with Jazz Chants.
What about paying a visit to American English and seeing what works for you? It’ll sure prove to be time well-spent.
If you are into teaching the IPA to your students, you are not alone. Some English teaching professionals are convinced that getting your students acquainted with the IPA works for them to become a little bit more autonomous. Check this ELT author for more on this theory.
Now, suppose you decide to practice the IPA in class and you want to change a text into IPA for your students to get the hang of it. You find your words in an online dictionary and copy the IPA transcription for each of them, or you could use a reliable online IPA transcription tool than can save you a lot of time. A transcription tool allows you to turn words or small chunks of sentences into IPA code.
Here are some reliable transcription tools that you can find online. Give them a try.
An often overlooked strategy for helping students improve their pronounciation is working with the International Phonetic Alphabet. Phonetics is a website created by the University of Iowa that has been around for many years and that explains what the sounds of American English are and how they are produced. For every phoneme there is you get an interactive diagram of how that sound is articulated, audios with the sound itself, and sample words where the sound occurs.
The only requirement for you to make the most of this great tool is to keep your Flash complement updated. There is also an app available for smartphones. Learn a little bit more about Phonetics in this video.
Note: Most courses are for free, and they only charge a fee if you want a certificate they can send you. Some others have a fee, but still they are rewarding.
These are the kind of courses you will find on Coursera:
Powerful Tools for Teaching and Learning: Web 2.0 Tools
Foundations of Teaching for Learning 2: Being a teacher
The Reflective Practitioner
Leveraging Student Thinking
Lesson Planning with the English Language Learner in Mind
Foundations of Virtual Education
Do take a look at Coursera; it is worth it!