Say hi to the summer school students!

Before the start of the summer school, we're going to be giving students access to a special website called Online Academic English, a place where students can access some practice materials, ask questions in a forum and introduce themselves. To help them introduce themselves, we've created a virtual noticeboard on which tutors and students can upload a picture of themselves and write a short profile. At the moment there are only tutors on the board as we haven't sent out details of the site to students, but will be doing so in the next few days. If you are teaching on the summer school, it would be great if you could add your picture and write a few sentences about yourself. All you need to do is go to the link below, double click on anywhere that isn't a profile and you'll be given the option to write something and add a picture. When you finish this will then be added to the page.  

Teaching 'with an attitude': critical discourse analysis in EFL

Recommended by Anastasios Asimakopoulos and - in his words - 'not as heavy as it appears', an excellent article exploring the role between language and social influence and what that might mean for our teaching. You can access it here, though you'll need to be signed into your Sheffield account to make sure you can open and view it.

Use Text Analysis Tools to enhance your lessons

There are many excellent websites out there now that use corpora to help you and your students analyse texts and words and learn more about their usage, form and meaning. We have written a user-friendly guide to the four most helpful sites for doing this and you can read it here.

Comparison of the effectiveness of dictionaries versus online corpora

This article by Charles Mueller and Natalie Jacobson looks at whether students benefit more from using dictionaries or online corpora. Interesting read with some interesting conclusions, you can download it from here.

Grammar Flip

Grammar Flip is a website to help you 'flip' the classroom, by that we mean providing engaging and interactive content outside the classroom so you can focus more on helping the students inside. This website focusses specifically on grammar.

Create lessons from TED

TED is a very popular site with teachers (and with good reason). But did you know there is a special site where you can create interactive lessons based on TED videos? It's called TED ED and we've written a lovely guide for you to read here.

Why not have a good read?

If you scroll down the page, you'll notice we've added a Good Reads section with a couple of shortish articles on EFL/EAP theory or practice. Some of these are blog posts, others more academic articles, we'll try to find decent stuff from around the web that you might have missed and post a couple of articles each week. If you want to recommend an article then just let us (David, Nick, Erin or Jo) know and we'll add it to our weekly posts. Also, remember to add comments to the post if there's any point you want to make about the article. To do that, click on the title of the article and then add your comment in the text box.

Vocabulary Size and Text Coverage by Paul Nation and Robert Waring

A more academic read this one looking at the issue of how many words students need to know to be able to understand a text (or at least a part of it). Huge implications for activities such as guessing in context. Not a long read so well worth a skim through, click here to read and remember to make a comment if you have something to say!

Misapplied Linguistics by Leo Selivan

An excellent blog post by Leo Selivan, an EFL teacher working in Israel. Some fascinating insights into the mismatch of theory and practice in our discipline as well as some surprising research findings about lexical sets. Click here to read the article and remember to add a comment to this post if anything interested you.

Interactive Afternoon

On Wednesday, 24th February there will be three tech TD sessions aimed at showing and trying out some easy-to-use tools that can make your classroom more interactive. David and Nick will be leading the sessions, but Anastasios will also be there to talk about how he's used some of these tools in AEPC classes. Tea and coffee, maybe even biscuits, will be provided at the midpoint, so to help us gauge numbers, please add your details on this form. As ever, this is not a firm commitment on your part, just something to give us a general idea.

Great video lessons with Zaption

Zaption is a wonderful web tool for creating lively video lessons, you can take web video from YouTube and elsewhere and easily add your own questions. We've written an extensive guide to help you get started, click here to read.

Oxford Words Blog

If you're looking for a site that provides students with quirky, interesting facts about English, try the Oxford Words Blog It's updated regularly and often reflects what's in the news. Recent posts have included words that come from people's surnames (e.g. Pilates) and a quiz on who's V whose. Good to share on Google Classroom or use as the basis for a lesson.

Flip your classroom with VideoAnt

VideoAnt is a web tool where you can take a YouTube video and then make as many questions or annotations on it as you like (bit like margin comments in a book). You can then share your creation with others so they can respond to your annotations or make their own. We've written up a guide to help you use it more effectively with your students and you can read it here.

Use Quizlet to develop student vocabulary

Quizlet is a wonderful website/mobile app for developing students vocabulary through word lists, flashcards and games. We've written up an extensive guide for it that you can find here.

Reminder about using and booking Chromebooks

The Chromebooks are really popular and it's very common for all of them to be booked out at the same time by teachers to use in class. However, there's been a few occasions when teachers didn't have their full allocation to take to class because other teachers had taken individual chromebooks to use themselves. If you need to book out a laptop for individual work, can you please speak to the tech team first to identify what device would be best for you? We do have several general laptops that can be booked out for use and we'd prefer teachers to use these rather than Chromebooks. If you feel you need to have a Chromebook for an extended period of time for work-related reasons, please come and speak to me (David Read) to decide how that can be arranged. Please do not just take a Chromebook without letting anyone know that you've got it.

Use Padlet in class

Padlet is an excellent virtual noticeboard that can be used for brainstorming, lesson review or error correction. We've created a guide for it to make it easier to use and you can find it here.

New book stand for ELS, DLP and WAS

There will be a new book stand going up shortly in the resources room with books specifically for the language support programmes. Please see the linked PDF below for details. new book stand Jan2016

Have your email replies open in a separate box

It's a small thing, but annoying. When you compose an email, it opens in a new box, making it easier to refer to older emails when writing it. But when you reply to an email, this doesn't happen, instead the box is on the same page and when you go back to your inbox, it saves as a draft. But this doesn't have to happen, you can open replies in a separate box. Here's how. First, click in the reply box at the bottom of the email you want to reply to. Then click on the small down arrow next to the email address you are replying to (see 1 in picture). You'll get a dropdown menu and from that menu, select pop-out reply (2 in picture). Easy, eh?   pop out reply

Get tech literate with TechBoomers

Do you ever hear people talking about Whatsapp, Dropbox, Pinterest and Netflix and wonder what the hell they are talking about? Techboomers is a handy little website that provide free mini-courses explaining what each of these sites or apps do and how to use them. And if you don't find this useful, you could always recommend it to any elderly parents/friends you have who are a little technologically challenged!!

Google Classrooms for the new term

As last term, we'll be using Google Classroom as the VLE on the ELTC-based courses. We've created new classrooms for PAE and invited teachers to them, and will do the same for AEPC once class numbers have been finalised. This may mean that returning students have to join a new classroom, but this is easily done by giving them the code for the new class. The benefit to teachers of our setting up  new classrooms instead of kicking you out of old ones is that you will be able to reuse any assignments or announcements you made in the previous classrooms, complete with attachments. To see how to reuse posts, see the guide here.