The Four Types of Classroom Context

The Four Types of Classroom Context

Don’t fall into the trap of always choosing a realistic context.

Yes, it’s easier to pick (you just think about a situation from real life), but it gets boring for you and your students.

 I have a friend who describes this as the ‘tyranny of context’, and he’s not wrong.

 I would argue that there are four kinds of context. Imaginary, implied, realistic and real.

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What is 'Presentation, Practice, Production' (PPP)?

What is 'Presentation, Practice, Production' (PPP)?

Presentation - Practice - Production (PPP) is a lesson structure, a way to order activities in your lessons.

Whilst pretty old, and heavily criticised over the years, PPP is the probably the most commonly used lesson structure in TEFL today. It’s also still taught on initial teacher training courses like the CELTA and CertTESOL.

Most course books that you’re likely to use will structure their chapters in ways similar or the same as PPP, meaning that you’ll get a lot of exposure to this method.

As the name suggests, there are three stages to this lesson structure, which we’ll look at now.

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Scaffolding and the Zone of Proximal Development

Scaffolding and the Zone of Proximal Development

‘Scaffolding’ is help that we give learners by breaking down the task into manageable chunks.

The term itself is a metaphor for support - just as scaffolding is put around a building that’s being constructed, we provide support to learners while they work on learning.

By providing support, then gradually handing over more and more of the task to the learner, they will move from dependency to independence.

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Teaching is an Act of Persuasion

Teaching is an Act of Persuasion

In ‘Why Students Don’t Like School’, cognitive scientist Daniel Willingham says that just as an author has to persuade the reader not to wander off and do something more interesting, so a teacher has to persuade students to continue the learning journey.

When I read this, I was reminded of a few of my lessons where it took all my powers of persuasion to get my students to stay with me, as we heroically battled through a particularly boring coursebook chapter.

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Successful Language Teaching is about Connection

Successful Language Teaching is about Connection

What is language, if not a means to connect with other people? We all have an innate need to communicate, to connect with other people.

In education, this is especially important. Too many teachers communicate without connecting. They just ‘don’t care anymore’.

So why does connection matter in language teaching?

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3 Ways to Get Parents to Teach For You

3 Ways to Get Parents to Teach For You

Students’ parents are not your enemy. They can actually be one of your most powerful allies. No, I don’t mean the “If you do that again I’ll call your parents!” threat of the overwhelmed teacher. I’m talking about getting parents on your side and using them as a force for good.

What if you could get parents actively involved? Motivating students at home, acting as a guide and participant when you’re not there, and making sure homework gets done?

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4 Reasons to Value Silence in the TEFL Classroom

4 Reasons to Value Silence in the TEFL Classroom

In the TEFL classroom, silence can be golden. We tend to think that silence is worthless. That if a class (especially a language learning class) isn’t busy listening or speaking, it’s a waste of time.

Even I’ve said that if you can do it at home, don’t do it in the classroom, and we tend to think that silent activities fit this category. They don’t.

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5 Reasons Why Edutainment Classes Suck

5 Reasons Why Edutainment Classes Suck

'Edutainment' is a dirty word. Edutainment (education + entertainment) in the TEFL world is what happens when a teacher can’t be bothered to deliver a good lesson, and instead just plays games that barely meet the criteria of being educational. Entertaining, but ultimately worthless once you've factored in the time that they waste.

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