Showing posts with label presentation. Show all posts
Showing posts with label presentation. Show all posts

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Practical Ways of Developing Fluency

What do you do when a student asks:

“How do I improve my fluency?”

I attended the 2nd Alumni, CTJ, & IBEU TEFL Conference last week.  One of the speakers, Michael McCarthy, talked about how fluency is one of these terms where everyone knows what it means, but have difficulty in defining it:  Think about readiness.  Think about spontaneity.  Does the speaker have their independent ideas about the subject at hand? Fluency means “not causing strain to either the person listening nor feeling strain while speaking”.

Ok, so what does that look like? Here are some terms you need to know:
  • Speed of delivery--how many words per hour does your student speak? Casual conversation is 10,000 words per hour!  Your student doesn’t have to speak that fast when it comes to giving speeches, however.
  • Pauses--your student should not pause for longer than half a second!  A big “NO NO” is pausing when it is your turn to speak or in the middle of fixed phrases such as “You know what I mean?”  You don’t want to say “You-- know-- what-- I mean.”
  • Dysfluency--getting lost in your thoughts.  You say, “What was I talking about?”
  • Automaticity--that knee-jerk reaction when it comes to having response to fire off right away.
  • Confluence--the ability to carry out a conversation in a way where you create opportunities for your listener to understand when your turn is almost over so that they are ready to start their turn--and they provide you with that same courtesy!

Let’s go back to the original question: “How do I improve my fluency?”

Here are some of my ideas:

  • Have your student find a reading passage that they really respect or enjoy and have them read the passage.  It should be a fairly decent length so that it can’t be done in two minutes.  Have them read the passage aloud for two minutes and mark where they stop. The following week, have them read aloud again for two minutes and mark it again.  How many words did they improve?
  • Have your students keep up with current events.  A great conversationalist knows what’s going on in pop culture, sports, science, politics, and art.  Have them reflect on what they read and talk about it.  Have them share their opinions with the class. Moderate a short debate!
  • Provide them some fixed phrases, 3 word chunks, and other fillers.  Ask them to insert these a few times during class discussions.  They can be things that open phrases such as “Well, basically...” and other words that will create the end of the turn such as “.. you know what I mean?”.  They have to use them quickly (speed of delivery) and automatically!
  • Also, teach them how to stall for time such as saying “The whatcha-ma-callit?” or “thinga-ma-bob” and other phrases that native speakers heavily use when they are trying to claw their way through a conversation.  Give them works such as YEAH, OH, RIGHT, WELL, and BASICALLY and teach them how to combine them in to “Oh, right” or “Yeah, that’s right” or “Well, yeah” or “Well, basically”. Use these to avoid pauses and stall for time to think! Other great words are “actually...” and “I mean...” when used to elaborate further on what you’ve already said.
  • Great speakers don’t think about what they’re going to say next while their partner is speaking. Instead, they listen to what is being said and react to some part of that.  Model how to do this for them and have them practice.  Give them useful phrases such as "I hate to disagree, but..." and "I see what you mean..." The better they are at creating flow, the more fluent they will become.

    What are your ideas? Post them in the comments!

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

IATEFL 2013 - The Future is Now – What Tomorrow’s Schools Will Look Like

International conferences are a great opportunity to learn new things, debate controversial ideas, and check if you are doing a good job at your school. The IATEFL annual conference is especially exciting because you have teachers from all over the world sharing information on teaching English as a foreign language. So there I was, ready to take part in this international exchange of ideas.

Being a tech-savvy teacher who blogs and reasonably up-to-date on technological advances, I was quite curious by the title of this presentation by Peter Davidson (Zayed University, United Arab Emirates) on Thursday, April 11th 2013. After all, he was asking questions such as, “What will classrooms look like in the 21st century?”, “Will there be classrooms?”, “Will there be schools?”, “Will there be teachers?”. Looking for answers and for new ideas, in I went.

Peter Davidson started talking about the factors shaping education at the moment, some of which are economics, globalization, research, and technology. Going on to the topic of curriculum and tools, He mentioned blended learning, online learning (MOOC), laptops, tablets, and phones. After cruising through web tools, he got the audience to discuss the role of the teacher in the future. Will we be facilitators, enablers, guides, mentors, gurus, or just bystanders? 

Finally, the session went onto the future of education. Whether education will be challenging, frustrating, chaotic, fun and exciting, Peter Davidson concluded that teachers need to not only be aware of the changing face of education, but they need to embrace this change and help to shape it. This change needs to lead to more effective learning. According to him, and I fully agree, teachers and educators need to shape the future of education – not Bill Gates and Steve Jobs. 

The important question here is, “Did I learn anything new by watching this presentation?” The answer is no. However, what I would like to emphasize is how rewarding it is to know that Casa Thomas Jefferson is one of the frontrunners embracing this change. We, as teachers, have been using web tools for several years. Online and blended learning are already part of our reality. Computers and tablets in class are our daily routine. Even living in a developing country facing a never-ending economic crisis, we are not bystanders. Into the future we boldly stride.

Monday, April 22, 2013

IATEFL Conference 2013 Ed Tech Highlights

IATEFL was just some days ago, but things get so hectic when we get back that it seems that it was so long ago... The highlights of an international conference like IATEFL is always related to the people you meet and talk to and the networking that takes place everywhere, on the streets, on Twitter, in the Convention Center corridors, during break time. It's always time to connect, talk, discover, experience.

If you ask me about specific things I've paid attention to and took notes, here are they in my Notes:

Learning Technologies Pre-Conference Notes

Notes Day 1

Notes Day 2

Notes Day 3 and 4

Also, there were some amazing bloggers who would post the summaries of the presentations almost real time.

Graham Stanley's summaries mainly related to Learning Technologies.

Chia Suan Chong's summaries

And the grand finale with our wonderful App Swap. In the corridors of the Convention Center, we exchanged fun and serious apps for personal use and for the classroom. Ana Maria Menezes did a wonderful job compiling all of them!

Amazing days of learning and connections.

crossposted at 

Friday, April 19, 2013

TESOL 2013 - Acquiring and sharing knowledge – Lessons learned from TESOL experiences

Conferences are great opportunities to keep in touch with the latest trends in ones working field. As an EFL teacher, I had the opportunity to attend TESOL conferences in three opportunities, first as an attendee and later as a presenter. In each of them I had something to learn and share with my colleagues.

At the first time I attended a TESOL conference, everything was new and I was overwhelmed with so many sessions which dealt with the most diverse aspects of the teaching life. The attendee experience really helped me and my coworker Erika Oya to have the guts and apply as presenters on the following year.

Being a presenter on an International Conference, such as TESOL, brings a new perspective to the professional development path, since you really feel as being part of the ESL/EFL teaching community. That is, from the moment we have the experience of presenting internationally we are showing the world our work. Thus, it is really flattering to receive, later on, an e-mail from someone who lives in Saudi Arabia complementing you for the nice presentation and asking for further information about the teaching aspect you presented. It is, also, at that moment that you start to build a professional network that will help you, back home, to keep in touch with the EFL community around the world.

Therefore, on my third time attending TESOL I could see that our Institution is well recognized among the TESOL community and people who see someone holding a presentation under the bi-national center CASA THOMAS JEFFERSON are guaranteed to experience great works and excellence in presentations. Once again, I could feel the power of exchanging teaching experiences with the community and I also confess that I felt more at ease this time.

Exchanging teaching experiences and sharing knowledge among colleagues from all over the world are, in my opinion, the greatest lessons learned by attending and presenting on a TESOL Conference.  After such experience, we do not see things inside our small world anymore. There is an entire world to explore and share and it is part of our job to keep updated so our students can also profit from the experiences we had. 

Carolina Piacenti