sábado, 2 de mayo de 2015

Spreading the Word about the Benefits of Mystery Location Calls in the ESL/EFL Classroom

My demonstration session at the Artesol Southern Cone Conference 
Buenos Aires, May 8th/9th, 2015

My notes on the Southern Cone ArTESOL Conference

Yilin Sun mentioned Intercultural Communicative Competence , and she also talked about the need to help our students become responsible citizens, fully competent language users, critical thinkers and constructive social change agents.  Teachers play a vital role in the mission to teach English for social responsability: helping everyone in the world to communicate with each other to prevent global disaster.  It is not necessary to travel long distances to do so.  Today technology allows us to do so with a fairly cheap technological equipment and a decent internet connection.  However the idea of "Glocal" action is also important to become agents of change in our own communities first to later make an impact in the world: Global Perspective, Local Action.
I specially liked a picture she showed us about the "Alphabet taught to kids today" displaying all the technology related words our students come to learn at a very early age.
I agree with Yilin about people wanting to hear your story.  This also emerged in Mathilde Verrillaud´s plenary on how to use pop culture in the English classroom. The Humans of New York facebook page and website aims to show precisely that it is our human nature that binds us together.  If we are able to find that connection and use it to our advantage, learning will become memorable as Marge Tye Zuba also showed in her session about teachers´learning preferences.
Mathilde made use of infographics to provide students with culture rich information which they would later have to rephrase or make their own infographics to explain a similar themes in their culture.  She suggested Piktochart for this activity.  An artist I can´t wait to share with my students is  Amit Shimoni for its originality and potential for discussion with my adult students.
Yilin Sun revisited the art of formulating questions not only before but during and after reading.  Pre-reading questions activate schemata and stir predictions, During reading questions aid selective reading.  Post-reading questions refine our predictions and help us make connections.  Our universe becomes richer after reading.  I found the "Question Hierarchy Techniques" very interesting and I also realised that I have been using this technique in some of my classes.  Here is a question that came to me as I was writing this post:  Why not using the same technique for a listening piece?  I will give that a try too.
I attended Dana Poklepovic´s session on how games in the Business English classroom are a serious thing.  Management techniques can effectively be used in English as well.  When doing so we focus on helping our students become fluent and become aware of their strengths not only as language learners but also as members of a team. I was thrilled to have the chance to thank her in person after I attended the 2014 EVO Teaching Business English Session, where she moderated the topic: "Developing Interpersonal Skills" week.

Stop and smell the roses.

I always like that space that conferences provide for reflection and sharing.  It was great to be able to talk with hard working, creative people and I am already looking forward to the next one!

Artesol, Buenos Aires, May 2015