Archive for March, 2016

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

The Value of a Multi-Generational Teaching Staff

heyer_picBy Sandra Heyer
ESL Teacher and Author of the textbooks True Stories Behind the Songs and More True Stories Behind the Songs
Songs and Activities for English Language Learners

When I walked into the classroom of my 24-year-old colleague, a popular song was softly playing – but the music didn’t seem to have anything to do with the lesson. The students were hunched over their desks, filling out a worksheet on irregular past tense verbs. When I looked at my colleague quizzically, she explained, “I play music when they do worksheets – otherwise it’s too quiet in here.”

“Really?” I thought. A quiet classroom would be undesirable during, say, a class discussion. But is a quiet classroom always undesirable? I grew up in an era where music and TV were not life’s constant backdrop, so the song in the background struck me as distracting. But when I looked at her students, all adults in their 20s and 30s, I couldn’t deny that they looked focused, yet relaxed. Perhaps they, like my younger colleague, were more comfortable in settings that were not “too quiet.”

I teach in a small community-based Adult ESL program with a multi-generational staff. Two teachers are in their 20s, one is in his 40s, and I am in my 60s. I think both students and teachers benefit from this range of ages: Younger teachers tend to bring fresh approaches that are particularly effective with students close to their age, and older teachers tend to bring insights that come with experience.

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Monday, March 7, 2016

The Gift of Gab? – Part 5

TamaraJonesBy Tamara Jones
ESL Instructor, Howard Community College
Columbia, Maryland

If you’ve been reading this blog lately, you know that the past 4 posts have focused on a struggle that is common to many teachers, reducing the amount of time we talk in the classroom, also known as TTT. This is something I readily admit to struggling with, but I found that by considering several scenarios containing examples of problematic teacher talk, I’ve learned a lot about how I can reduce the amount of class time I spend talking and increase the amount of class time my students spend talking.

Scenario 7

Scenario 7

This scenario, a version of which I found in Walsh (2002), contains an example

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