Why Students' Cell Phones belong in a Shoe Bag!

Are cell phones a problem in your classroom?  Do you find that students are easily distracted because of their phones?  I accepted a 7 week EAP contract at a local college a few weeks ago.  It has been more than a year since I taught young international students studying English in Canada.  I am not sure if students are becoming more addicted to their cell phones (and can't put them away for even a minute) or I have less tolerance for the constant distraction of phone use and texting.  

I spotted a former colleague in a classroom last week and popped in to say hello.  I noticed a shoe bag hanging on the wall near the door and asked about it.  She said that she set up a system of using the shoe bag for cell phones and it has worked like a charm.  If I do return to the EAP class in the summer, I will be bringing my shoe bag with me!

She also said that she uses this Breaking News lesson plan ...

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Why our Students Could Benefit from Checklists

Welcome to my blog post - Weekly Wisdom from 20 Years in the TESL Trenches. Thank you to all my new subscribers this week. Please connect with me on social media and forward this blog post to other teachers.

Why our Students Could Benefit from Checklists

A recent book review of The Checklist Manifesto - How to Get Things Right  http://amzn.to/2jAfcC3 by Dr. Atul Gawande caused me to think about the use of checklists in teaching and learning and how they can benefit our students.

Most likely you have never given much thought to checklists however author and medical doctor Atul Gawande has.  In his book Gawande discusses a simple but powerful tool used to reduce medical errors – the checklist.

Maybe you are wondering what medical errors have to do with teaching or learning English.  There isn't a connection however I think that checklists can be useful for our students.

Let’s look at what Gawande has to say about checklists. He...

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12 Reasons Why Teachers Should Use Warm-up Activities (they are more than just fun & games!)

Do you use warm-up activities before you start teaching?  Warm-up activities are more than just “fun and games”!  My most popular download is my free Top 20 Warm-up Activities so many teachers are interested in using warmers as part of their lesson.

https://patrice-palmer.mykajabi.com/products/top-20-warm-up-activities-for-esl-efl-teachers (Vol 1). 

 Here are some comments from teachers who have downloaded this FREE resource:

"Thank you so much !! They are great to use in my class and very creative! :)" Gabriela

"Thank you for sharing. It means a lot when an ESL/EFL teacher is willing to share ideas. These especially help new teachers and those who have exhausted ideas or keep repeating the same activities over and over again." Rashida

"Thank you for sharing this material. Amazing. I really appreciate it." Andriati

"This is EXACTLY what I need! Thank you so much Patrice! I am so impressed with this resource!!!" Adrienne

 

What is a...

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Six Ways to use Rubrics as Teaching Tools

I just completed teaching an online university course offered in the Spring semester.  One of the assessments included grading student participation in terms of their online postings each week.  A rubric was provided for this assessment so instead of just using it myself, I thought it would be useful for students to use this rubric as a self-assessment tool. For the most part, students graded themselves lower than I did.  Just a few students had what I thought were unrealistic and over-exaggerated beliefs of their participation (the online platform logs the number of visits by each student) so it is hard to argue with those numbers!  Many students actually thanked me for the opportunity to self-assess!

Getting back to rubrics…Rubrics may not be the most exciting topic in English teaching but I suspect that most teachers use them.  In Canada, rubrics are used as early as primary school.  Did you know that the word rubric comes from the...

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Reflections from the Field: ACPI-TESOL Costa Rica

I had the privilege of attending and presenting at the ACPI-TESOL National Conference in Costa Rica last week.  Although it was a relatively small conference (under 80 participants), the organizers were able to attract presenters from the U.S., Panama, Chile, Colombia, Mexico and UAE (and me from Canada). A special thank you to Ana Madrigal Rímola.

I believe that teachers can always learn something new no matter how many years we have been teaching.   This conference was no exception in that there were many new insights from the presentations about teaching English.  However before I provide some of the conference highlights, I wanted to talk about my experience trying to navigate in a Spanish-speaking country as a non-speaker of Spanish.  (I did take some lessons a few years ago but I didn't have enough language skills to function!)  I forgot how it feels to be unable to communicate – even a simple request!  The last time I...

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Teacher to Teacherpreneur: An Interview with Jose Torres

In this week's blog posting, I took a different approach by interviewing a teacher. I have been interested in "teacherpreneurship" for the last year, and I am currently developing an online course called - Teacher to Teacherpreneur: How to Monetize your Professional Skills which should be ready in the next month.  

As language teachers, I am sure you share my delight when new words are developed and become part of the English language.  Words such as “edupreneur” and “teacherpreneur” are two great examples.

 

There are several definitions for edupreneur/teacherpreneur:

“A classroom teacher or school based leader who is both educator and entrepreneur; an educator who works a flexible and/or freelance schedule; and/or an educator with a “side hustle” that supplements their income” (Porter-Isom, 2015).

“They manage their own incomes, colonize and create new learning environments, create their own content and taste...

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