Teach and learn
I'll start by saying that the third week of our course was full of discoveries for me, as well as the first two weeks. I think that the motto of the course could be the words I've chosen as a heading for this post: Teach and learn (with the word teach used instead of live, as we are used to hear it). To my mind, the profession of a teacher is not only about teaching, but also about learning. That is because no matter how good your teaching skills are, you still have to explore the limitless opportunities the fast-moving and constantly developing world provides us. At the moment the object of exploration for me is the Internet, which can serve not only as a source of information but also as a teaching tool.
This week I became acquainted with delicious.com, a website used for saving links. The site is a real salvation for people who bookmark webpages quite frequently and need an access to the list from different computers. And that is the case with me, because I have a lot of *favourites* and keeping them on a website is very convenient, because it means I can find a needed link whenever it is necessary. No doubt, it will take me some time to transfer links from my browser to my delicious page www.delicious.com/stacks/annette757, but next time I come across something really interesting and useful, I will save it on delicious.com straightaway. Also, I am really excited by the fact that now I can share the links with my colleagues and have access to what they consider useful and deserving attention. Another way of using delicious.com is directing students to your page and saking them to find a certain link and give them assignments on the website they will be redirected to. Or you could ask students to create their own delicious pages and save their favourite links. One of the assignments could be: look at one of your groupmate's delicious pages and write/ speak about his interests or describe one website which interested you most. It goes without saying, the idea will only work for intermediate, upper-intermediate and advanced students, since it requires different developed skills.
Another weekly assignment was to read an article on Teaching aural/oral skills and look at one of the offered websites providing us with authentic listening materials. I must say I enjoyed doing this task, because listening something we have to deal with at every lesson. The fact is, listening activities are a very important part of the ELT process. I read an article Developing Listening Skills with Authentic Materials. The author describes the importance of developing listening skills and gives examples of how Radio, TV/Video and the Internet/CD-rom can be used. Listening exercises are divided in to three parts: pre-listenings, while-listening and post-listening activities. The author of the article gives detailed examples of how we can work with Radio, TV and the Internet. I chose to explore esl-lab.com, which turned out to be an amazingly structured website with convenient interface. There's a table on the main page, which is divided into three columns in accord with the difficulty of tasks: easy, medium and difficult. One can find different topics, from Meeting to World news stories. And the best thing is, each recording has a set of activities for different parts of listening and vocabulary exercises. I studied a recording about sightseeing http://www.esl-lab.com/travel/travelrd1.htm and I liked it a lot! And I'm sure that my students would enjoy it as much as I did.
The project task was to read a final project, written by participants of previous courses. In my opinion, it was an extremely useful assignment, because now we know what our final projects must look like. We can discuss them on Nicenet and see what projects other people have read and what they think about them. It is very nice to have different opinions.
To conclude, I'd like to thank all the participants for collaboration and for the opportunity to teach and learn with them!