Compelling Conversations logo

Compelling Conversations for English Teachers, Tutors, and Advanced English Language Learners

  1. Teaching Themes Emerge at CATESOL: Use Technology To Meet Student Needs

    April 19, 2009 by Chimayo Press
    Chimayo Press

    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.
    Visit www.CompellingConversations.com

    ————————————————————————————————————
    This I Believe Homework Worksheet

    Links: This I Believe

    http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=4538138

    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.

    Student:
    This I Believe Title:
    Author/Reader:
    Length:

    Who is the author?

    What’s the main idea?

    Why did you choose this podcast?

    Did you hear any new words or phrases?
    1.
    2.
    3.

    Who do you imagine is the audience for this podcast? Why?

    What is your reaction? Why?

    ————————————————————————————————————
    PRESENTATION
    PEER REVIEW

    TOPIC:

    PEER:

    GOOD TO SEE

    POINTS TO WORK ON

    BEST PART

    WEAKEST PART

    OBSERVATION TIPS

    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!

    Student Name:
    Class:
    Teacher:
    School:
    Date:

    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.

    Video title:
    Web address:
    Length:
    Creator:

    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?

    Share

    Comments (5)


  2. Practice Might not Make Perfect, but it Does Help ESL Students in Job Interviews

    March 24, 2009 by Chimayo Press
    Chimayo Press

    More Practical Job Interview Tips for ESL Students, Teachers from Q Blog

    During these difficult economic times, English teachers should take every possible opportunity to focus on job interview skills. As blog readers know, I’m a big fan of both videotaping practice interviews and having ESL/EFL students conduct research for possible jobs with information interviews.

    The Q group, an ambitious online educational company, has a variety of solid resources for ESL students. Here is an excellent, concise list of simple practical steps for English language learners to take when preparing for a job interview – and a few post-interview suggestions worth noting. The fine article comes from the Q Blog for English language learners. It’s a fine resource. Check it out.

    Official Q Blog: How to Succeed in an Interview

    As I said before, practice might not lead to perfection, but it certainly leads to improvement for ESL students in job interviews.

    Ask more. Know more. Share more.
    Create Compelling Conversations.
    Visit www.CompellingConversations.com

    Share

    Comments (0)


  3. Teaching Interview Skills Vital for Adult ESL, University Students

    February 16, 2009 by Chimayo Press
    Chimayo Press

    How can English teachers encourage adult and university students to expand their language skills and improve their employment opportunities in a difficult economic climate?

    Personally, I’ve slightly modified my oral skills course this semester to provide greater emphasis on interviewing skills. Students interviewed each other for 10-15 minute videotaped mock job interviews for their first assignment.

    The use of videotaping students in class has gained far more acceptance in the last few years, partly due to the technological advances. OTAN, the adult education website established by the California Department of Education, even created an entire section devoted to using videotapes and videocameras in the adult ESL classes.

    Another factor has been the increasing popularity of YouTube videoclips by students seeking practical information. I’ve combined those two trends by requiring students to find and review YouTube clips on vital employment skills and speaking skills. Students found and reviewed videoclips, and emailed them in as homework. Afterwards, I combined all the student evaluations into a single email that I sent to the entire class with a few editorial comments and minor editing.

    Here is the homework sheet for that assignment. As with the reviews, “use or lose.”

    Getting Job Interview Advice from YouTube!

    Student Name:
    Class:
    Teacher:
    School:
    Date:

    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.

    Video title:
    Web address:
    Length:
    Creator:

    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?
    ————————————————

    This simple worksheet combines research, critical thinking, and language skills. As English teachers, we can use simple technology to help English language learners develop their language skills, especially when they are motivated to learn and search out new sources. Instead of dismissing YouTube searching as a waste of time, let’s turn their interests into productive learning opportunities and share insights. After all, employment interviews often serve as a real-world language tests for our ESL students.

    Let’s make sure we give them the tools to pass those crucial tests.

    Ask more. Know more. Share more.
    Create Compelling Conversations.
    Visit www.CompellingConversations.com

    Share

    Comments (1)