Do ESL teachers want a more democratic classroom? Perhaps the workshop description discouraged English teachers, the title seemed too bold, or the other two dozen workshops held at the same time appeared more practical.
Techniques and Methods for a More Democratic Classroom
A more democratic classroom encourages student speech, features student created content, allows student choice of assignments, reflects student interests, and includes peer evaluations. Democratic classrooms create autotelic students where we learn by making good mistakes. Handouts.
For whatever reason, my CATESOL workshop on “Classroom Techniques and Practices for a More Democratic Classroom” only attracted around 20 ESL teachers – and a few left early after taking the 12-page handout of reproducible lessons. Yet the ESL teachers who stayed asked good questions, shared examples to support my thesis, and several expressed gratitude. Consider me basically satisfied.
Several other CATESOL presenters also lead workshops and shared materials and techniques to incorporate the internet, radio, and other authentic materials into ESL classrooms. While few other presenters used the word “democratic”, many other ESL professionals noted the need to be “student-centered” and include “critical thinking.” More and more English teachers, even the pseudo-Luddites, have become aware of teaching potential of 21st century technologies – and the ability to tailor instruction to individual student needs.
I still wonder, however, why the idea of a more democratic classroom where students hunt and gather their own source materials to develop their language skills seems strange to so many English teachers. To me, it seems absolutely natural to guide students toward becoming self-directed, or autotelic, learners. Here are three handouts that I shared at my CATESOL workshop on Friday toward that goal. Use or lose. You choose.
Ask more. Know more. Share more.
Create Compelling Conversations.
This I Believe Homework Worksheet
Links: This I Believe
Please select one radio segment, based on a personal essay, and read by writers. Find a story that resonates with you. Listen carefully. Take notes. Fill out the worksheet below. You will be asked to share your selection with classmates in both a small group and the entire class.
This I Believe Title:
Who is the author?
What’s the main idea?
Why did you choose this podcast?
Did you hear any new words or phrases?
Who do you imagine is the audience for this podcast? Why?
What is your reaction? Why?
GOOD TO SEE
POINTS TO WORK ON
Please circle the appropriate overall rating 1-10 (10=BEST)
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
Getting Job Interview Advice from YouTube!
Please find an YouTube videoclip that helps people successfully interview for jobs – in English – that you would like to share with your classmates. Watch the video, take notes, and review it for your classmates.
Please describe the video.
What interview tips did the video provide?
Where do you think the video was produced? Why?
How practical did you find the advice? Why?
What was the strongest part? Why?
What was the weakest part? Why?
Who do think is the target audience for this video?
Why did you choose this video?
How would you rate this video 1-5 stars? Why?