Conference presentations

‘Teaching grammar for all the right reasons’. International Publisher’s exhibition. Thessaloniki and Athens 2018

I have used this title for workshops at different events, but this was the first time I have used it for a talk. During this 50-minute presentation I  discussed why it is important to include a focus on grammar in language courses before providing a brief overview of current trends and techniques and the principles underpinning them. I then looked at some issues with pedagogic grammar rules and using material from my book, ‘Teaching grammar: from rules to reasons’, I discussed the value of working with learner-generated descriptions of language instead.  I  finished by discussing why ‘reasons’ are more appropriate, usable and memorable for L2 learners than the existing rules, and shared examples from classes taught in a range of different contexts and countries. The slides and bibliography can be found below.

Teaching grammar for all the right reasons.

Presentation bibliography

Details about the exhibition can be found here. The link to an article that accompanies the talk can be found here How to move from rules to reasons.

‘Exploring learner-generated reasons in different teaching contexts’. IATEFL 2018

In this workshop, I demonstrated how teachers working in different contexts encouraged their students to work out why writers and speakers were using specific forms. We looked at a range of different techniques, such as using parallel texts and mobile devices, and explored the learning outcomes and the opinions of some of the students. I also introduced the page on this website where I would like to share lessons in which students have explored reasons. The first two lessons can be found by following the ‘lesson share’ link at the top of the page. The PPT and materials from the workshop can be found below.

Exploring learner generated reasons in different teaching contexts

The materials from the talk can be found here IATEFL 2018 texts.

 

‘From rules to reasons and other little tweaks’. IH Barcelona ELT conference and ELT Ireland 2018

 

            Poster                 ELT Ireland Annual Conference 2018

This is an extension of the workshop I gave at ETp Live! In this session we discussed some of the limitations of comprehension questions, rule discovery exercises and controlled practice activities and looked at how they often stifle genuine discussion, limit opportunities to interact with texts and stop students making genuine discoveries about language, even at lower levels. We then tried out some creative alternatives and explored why focusing on reasons rather than rules can lead  our learners to greater understanding of language items and provide extensive opportunities for more meaningful and communicative practice. This version of the talk is structured in the same way as the one I gave at ETp Live! but there are more examples from classes.

From rules to reasons and other little tweaks

After the conference I was interviewed about this workshop by Dirk Lagerwaard for his excellent NovELTies vlog. You can see the recording here.

See here for Chia Suan Chung’s review of the IH Barcelona ELT conference.

‘Encouraging discovery and discussion with lower level students’. English UK Academic Conference and Teaching House Presents 2018             

In this workshop I drew on research by Diane Freeman (2014) to suggest that materials for lower level students do not provide enough in the way of engagement and cognitive challenge. I also discussed the fact that limited opportunities for genuine discussion reduces the possibility for teachers to work with emerging language. I then expanded on ideas from previous workshops to discuss creative alternatives which I demonstrated  with materials from 3 lessons taught by me and CELTA trainees studying on the MA TESOL at King’s College London.

Encouraging discussion and discovery at lower levels

I repeated this session at a Teaching House presents event on 21st February, where I was the warm up for John Hughes, who spoke about personalisation. You can watch a recording of the workshop here

To see Diane’s research see Freeman, D. (2014). Reading comprehension questions: the distribution of different types in global EFL textbooks.  in N. Harwood (Ed). English language teaching materials: content, consumption, production.  London: Palgrave Macmillan pp. 205-238

English UK

 

‘From rules to reasons and other little tweaks’ ETP Live! 2017

ETpLive        In this workshop we discussed some of the limitations of comprehension questions, rule discovery exercises and controlled practice activities and looked at how they often stifle genuine discussion, limit opportunities to interact with texts and stop students making genuine discoveries about language, even at lower levels. We then tried out some creative alternatives and explored why focusing on reasons rather than rules can lead  our learners to greater understanding of language items and provide extensive opportunities for more meaningful and communicative practice. This version of the talk is structured in the same way as the one I gave at IATEFL in 2016. However, the material we used is from Speak-out Elementary (first edition), so the focus is on lower levels.

From rules to reasons and other little tweaks ETP

In this collection of videos, Chia Suan Chong interviews ETp Live! speakers about their talks. Speakers include Jason Anderson, Katherine Bilsborough, Chris Rowland, Dale Coulter, Lindsay Warwick, Ben Beaumont, Alex Thorpe and of course Danny Norrington-Davies.

ETp Live! speaker videos

‘What we learn when we listen’. The Future of ELT 2017

This presentation outlined some simple techniques and tasks I used to help The future of ELTnew and less experienced teachers to hone in on what their students were saying and explore what they learnt about their classes in the process. We will also look at what I learnt as a teacher educator about classroom observations and teacher beliefs, and I made some suggestions for future practice in this area.

What we learn when we listen

The materials from the talk can be found here.

‘Teaching grammar for all the right reasons’. IATEFL 2017/English UK Teacher’s conference 2016      

   iatefl-glasgow      Teaching grammar for all the right reasons

In this workshop we looked at some of the issues with working with pedagogic grammar rules, and using 2 lessons from my book, ‘Teaching grammar: from rules to reasons’, we explored the value of working with learner-generated descriptions of language instead. We then discussed why these ‘reasons’ are more appropriate, usable and memorable for L2 learners than the existing rules and looked at implications for creating lessons and course design. I also ran this workshop at the St.Giles Tuesday Teacher’s club in May 2017.

 Texts for the workshop

Image result for English UK teachers conference 2016

‘Leaping before you look’. International House AMT conference 2017

Leaping before you look AMT

When I proposed this workshop I planned to explore how inexperienced teachers and teachers-in-training can be encouraged to work with emerging language in their classes. I would also outline techniques they can use to help them do so and discuss how teachers can use this experience to plan for future lessons. This would make the workshop very similar to the one I gave at IATEFL in 2014. However, me and the teachers I worked with made some interesting discoveries not only about learner language but learner behaviour and competencies. I repeated this workshop at the Future of ELT conference in London in 2017, but this is something I really want to explore in much more detail in the future. Watch this space.

‘From rules to reasons and other little tweaks’. MATSDA 2017/IATEFL 2016/English UK Teacher’s conference 2015

Birmingham_Logo_270x270

From rules to reasons and other little tweaks

In this workshop we discussed some of the limitations of comprehension questions, rule discovery exercises and controlled practice activities and looked at how they often stifle genuine discussion, limit opportunities to interact with texts and stop students making genuine discoveries about language. We then tried out some creative alternatives and explored why focusing on reasons rather than rules can lead our learners to greater understanding of language items and provide extensive opportunities for more meaningful and communicative practice. As well as the conferences above, I also ran this workshop at the excellent teaching and learning conference run by Brasshouse Language Centre in Birmingham.

‘Once upon a time there was a short completed action’. ETp Live! 2015

Once upon a time there was a short completed action

ETP live 2015

This workshop was an early version of ‘Teaching Grammar for all the right reasons’. It was also where I met Fiona Richmond and the team at Pavilion Publishing, who went on to publish my book. In this session we explored an alternative to using the pedagogic grammar rules found in course-books by looking at ones generated by L2 learners in their classes. We then looked at how these personalised rules can be used creatively in text replication or transposition activities. I also ran a version of this workshop at the British Council 2nd International Conference in Oran, Algeria in 2015.

IATEFL 2015/English UK Teacher’s conference 2014

Topics texts and tasks and a stolen packet of sweets

iatel-2015-150In this workshop we looked at how teacher developers can encourage teachers-in-training on pre-service courses like the Cambridge CELTA or Trinity Cert TESOL to design their own lessons from the very start of the course. It also explores the positive impact this approach has on teaching, classroom interaction and lesson planning, both on the course and afterwards.

‘Leaping before you look’. IATEFL 2014

Leaping before you look

harrogate logoThis talk drew on some small scale research to explore how teachers-in-training on pre-service courses like the Cambridge CELTA and Trinity CERT TESOL can benefit from responding to emerging language and how they can use the experience to help them plan for future lessons. It looked briefly at why newer teachers were nervous about working with emerging or unplanned language, but how doing so proved to be a positive experience and one that enabled them to use skills they didn’t know they had.

‘The effect of visualisation on L2 learners’ recall of texts’. MATSDA 2014

MATSDA    The effect of visualisation on L2 learners’ recall of texts

In this talk I presented findings from my dissertation, which investigated the effect of guided visualisation on text and language recall. Similar to the workshop I ran at IATEFL in 2011, it also outlined ways in which you can encourage L2 learners to create and share mental images and how this can lead to greater enjoyment of literary texts and short stories.

 

‘Puppet masters and puzzle solvers: a match made in heaven’. IATEFL 2013

Puppet masters and puzzle solvers          

In this workshop I suggested that after students do communicative tasks, teachers frequently choose to focus on the outcomes rather than the strategies students used during the task, e.g. code-switching, peer-scaffolding, meaning negotiation, meta-talk and private speech. We therefore looked at ways in which teachers can use feedback to show learners how they successfully negotiate tasks and solve linguistic puzzles, and how they can exploit these strategies to further their development.

You can find a a brief summary of the talk on HancockMcDonald ELT. This is an excellent hnacock mcdonaldsite where you’ll find free classroom materials and downloads on pronunciation, listening skills and other topics, blog posts, ELT articles and information about their books.

‘Don’t tell the police. They’re not important’. IATEFL 2012

Don’t tell the police they’re not important

This was the first workshop I did that introduced the idea of looking for reasons rather than rules, though I didn’t use the term ‘reasons’ back then. It focused mainly on the IATEFL 2012problem with the pedagogic grammar rule for the passive. You can find an article based on the talk here. A shortened version can be found in the IATEFL 2012 conference selections.

 

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