Saturday, 18 March 2017

#ELTchat Summary The Best 2.0 Tools for Speaking Skills on 15 March 2017

Introduction with Tellagami

What are the best tools for speaking skills and Why?

Here are the tools that were mentioned during the #eltchat on Wednesday 15 March and the reasons given as to why they are the best.

Made with Padlet

How to use these tools

Here are the ideas that were discussed in the #ELTchat on how to use these 2.0 tools for speaking skills.

Links mentioned in tweets:

Do you have any 2.0 tools for speaking skills to add?

If you do or if you have anything to add, it would be great to hear from you in the comments below ...

Wednesday, 15 March 2017

Assessment Literacies

A New Term and a New Acronym (for me)

I decided to write this post as a follow-up to #ELTchat summary Assessing Writing after discovering the term Assessment Literacy (Literacies) for the first time and a new acronym - LAL (Language Assessment Literacy)

What is Assessment Literacy?

Assessment literacy means having a critical understanding of assessment in order to improve learning, as in these definitions: 

 ‘having the capacity to ask and answer critical questions about the purpose for assessment, about the fitness of the tool being used, about testing conditions, and about what is going to happen on the basis of the results.’  Inbar-Lourie (2008: 389) in Sheehan and Munro (2017).
‘Assessment literacy is a dynamic context- dependent social practice that involves teachers articulating and negotiating classroom and cultural knowledges with one another and with learners, in the initiation, development and practice of assessment to achieve learning goals of students’ (Willis et al., 2013: 242) in Sheehan and Munro (2017)  

Assessment Literacy demands a training...
 Assessment literacy demands a training that brings a smooth blend of assessment technical awareness, theoretical understanding, useful practical skills, and clear concepts. All these components well balanced but strongly contextualized with the clear role, practical approach and function of assessment in the field of education (Hakim 2015). 

Training and technology

Training isn't always easy to come by. However, so much CPD is available online and free.

Literature Review

Articles accessed from the internet - on my reading list:

HAKIM, Badia. English Language Teachers’ Ideology of ELT Assessment LiteracyInternational Journal of Education and Literacy Studies, [S.l.], v. 3, n. 4, p. 42-48, oct. 2015. ISSN 2202-9478. Available at: Date accessed: 15 mar. 2017.

Assessment Literacy
Available at: [Accessed 15 March 2017]

Assessment: attitudes, practices and needs Accessed at: [Accessed 15 March 2017]


The British Council has developed a series of videos on language assessment literacy  - not watched as yet but on things to watch list. 

Any other ideas, thoughts would be very welcome in the comments if you got this far...


Thursday, 20 October 2016

How can we develop teachers' digital and information literacies?

#ELTchat 7pm Wednesday 19 October 2016


@SueAnnan, @Marisa_C, @MConca16, @TeresaBestwick, @GlenysHanson, @fionaljp, @engl42, @gary10ant, @jorgeguillen, @beatrixhenkel, @TalkenEnglish,

What is information literacy?

Clarification of the term information literacy was provided by @Marisa_C and @MConca16 said the way you get/transfer/use tech for info, maybe. @fionaljp provided an additional clarifying link:
@SueAnnan said she supposed you also need to be up on creative commons and plagiarism etc, adding she thought part of digital literacy must include referencing, checking if ok to use etc. gary10ant said, 'The way you access, consume, create using technology.'

What it isn't...

@TeresaBestwick made the point that she thinks tech is another resource teachers can use effectively but it's not a necessity in the classroom.  @GlenysHanson agreed saying, 'Tech is tool to attain pedagogical objectives and may /may not be useful in classroom.' @SueAnnan added that she has colleagues who teach without going near tech and @Marisa_C agreed saying we all do, and emphasised the fact that the quality of a lesson is not connected to a lack of tech.

Why it is important

@MConca16 agreed with the above but also highlighted its importance by saying, 'True, though the world we live & work in is digital & connected.'  @SueAnnan agreed, 'WE certainly are connected through Digital tech :-) at #eltchat.'

@English42 remarked that Classroom (and extra-curricular) tech is becoming standard & is desirable among SS. Not necessary but inevitable. @MConca16 said, 'My main motivation is saving time, reducing paper-based resources, fun.  I look for tech that can help with that.'  @Marisa_C listed the following: 'information literacies in other words, learning how to use search tools - google and how to curate and store info, knowing what code is how to grab it and embed it somewhere (e.g. wiki) and learning about privacy and e-safety for oneself and one;s learners.' @SueAnnan added - how to store passwords and save sites for later. @MConca highlighted the importance of understanding how to use some e-learning platform e.g. moodle. @GlenysHanson agreed, 'Moodle, etc. can be steep learning curve for newbie Ts, but it's so convenient to have everything in one place.' @jorgeguillen mentioned using Google apps for education might be of help as well. @fionaljp provided a link to a video on digital literacy and why it matters:

@SueAnnan pointed out the importance of learning about sharing as well as taking. @Marisa_C agreed, 'Very important on and off-line.'  

@MConca said she
used Interactive Whiteboards or Smartboard quite a lot and @fionaljp said how going freelance meant that there was huge variation in tech availability going from one context to another.  MConca agreed that tech ranged from IWBs to no working photocopier, highlighting the importance of not being over-reliant on tech and being flexible.  @eng42 said, 'No matter what tech is (un)available, dogme method is my go-to method. 2 pens and a head full of good ideas!' However, @jorgeguillen responded by saying that current #Dogme trends have actually justified and accepted tech use. @MConca16 replied saying, 'As long as it supports and promotes learning, tech is fine.' @jorgeguillen emphasised the importance of taking risks in terms of experimenting in teaching using technology; and said many old-school teachers fret about it.  

Resistance and denial

Although @SueAnnan agreed that being an effective teacher has nothing to do with using tech or not, she said that not being open to new ideas is stifling.  @Marisa_C provided a link to a previous #ELTchat Introducing CPD to Dinosaurs highlighting the fact that issues around resistance to change go beyond tech. 

@TalkenEnglish noted that sometimes students aren't prepared for tech - 'They'll complain that their smartphones are low in battery or can't connect to WiFi.'

On the other hand, @beatrixhenkel said, 'I guess it's just the first step that is really challenging.'

How can we help?

@GlenysHanson said she'd start with discussion, 'What's in it for me the T? What's in it for the Ss?' @Marisa_C liked this saying, 'I have a lot of success stories of trainees to report but not all of them get it'. @fionaljp said that she tried to elicit from trainees what tech is available in the context of a particular CELTA course and how it is exploited or how to exploit it to support learning. 

@jorgeguillen said, 'By learning information literacies in other words , learning how to use search tools - google and how to curate and store info, and knowing how to browse information and discriminate it.' 

@MConca said, 'My main motivation is saving time,reducing paper-based resources, fun. I look for tech that can help with that.' @fionaljp suggested using QR codes. SueAnnan asked how and @fionaljp provided an example using a QR code to an audio link allowing trainees to listen as many times as they personally needed to in order to complete a matching task and provided more ideas on how to use QR codes from Nik Peachey.  @MConca concluded that the use of QR codes had supported learning and saved precious time & resources for more focused practice. @gary10ant provided some more ideas and links for using QR codes. 

@eng142 suggested a focus on tools they already use: Email (to send resources), WhatsApp (e.g. for speaking h/w), Facebook (for study groups)... @Marisa_C said, 'I  mix tech and non-tech so they can compare - paper based activs also highly satisfying if well staged.'  

Marisa_C said, 'The question we need to address is how to help Ts acquire it -  what we are doing today is one way - informally through self-help.'  @SueAnnan replied that word of mouth about things like #ELTChat don't seem to work if the motivation isn't there to start with.  @Marisa_C agreed saying, 'Very true - I was also thinking the same; how do we get people here or places like here? She went on to say, 'But we can also talk about how to help out trainees acquire the literacies on our courses - how do you do it?'; to which @SueAnnan replied,  'I wish I knew. I try really hard to share all I learn and how beneficial it is for my students but...I begin with the website and wiki for my pre-course tasks #eltchat then carry on using it as naturally as poss during the course.'  Marisa_C agreed, 'Me too - no longer do "formal" edtech sessions but practise what i preach - trainees imitate what fits …' GlenysHanson agreed, 'Teach by example rather than precept'.

In conclusion, it seems the best way to help teachers develop digital and information literacies is by sharing best practice and resources, and teaching by example. 

Monday, 16 May 2016

What's being said... and What to do...?

What's being said...

There is a lot being said recently about debunking learning styles and the learning styles myth, which is good.  However, as a CELTA  teacher trainer, I'm really not sure what to do...

On the last couple of CELTA courses that I have been involved in as ACT, I have opted not to do the Learning Styles input session as I don't wish to promote something in a way that I don't believe - i.e. in terms of promoting the value of learning style preferences.  This inactive approach is clearly unsustainable: being neither satisfactory nor professional.  An input session including a focus on preferred learning styles has to be included as it is in the CELTA syllabus as a specific learning outcome that is assessed on the Focus on the Learner assignment -  see Cambridge CELTA Syllabus and Assessment Guidelines  on pages 6, 15 and 17.

What to do...?

This creates an issue.  What to do...? As the situation currently stands, I think it can be said that the whole learning styles preference issue is under debate and therefore, belief or non-belief in the value of such a focus seems to be personal and unresolved.   As a professional teacher trainer, I don't wish to impose my personal views on trainees, but neither can I continue avoiding the problem.  

Today I have been proactive in doing the following:


  • removing all material that promotes the value of learning styles preferences from my CELTA    
  • writing this blogpost asking -
Is it OK to raise awareness in CELTA input that the value of learning styles preferences is an issue currently under debate; and is it OK, on the other hand, to highlight the need for continued analysis of preferred learning styles for the Focus on the Learner assignment until this issue is resolved?

If you're a CELTA teacher trainer, how are you dealing with this issue?

Thursday, 28 April 2016

My CELTA eBook

eTextbook Teachers

In January I took part in the Electronic Village Online (EVO) eTextbook Teachers six-week session to create the first chapter of an eBook.  Actually, it was my second time on this fantastic course designed and moderated by Shelly Sanchez with 15+ additional moderators.  

EVO sessions are free professional development MOOCs with a wide variety of topics and moderated by professionals in their fields. They are open to everyone, all you need is internet access.

The first time I participated on the EVO MOOC I had the original idea of creating an eBook for CELTA trainees and on the second session I continued working on this concept. I completed the second session with an amended draft for the first chapter and an overall idea on how I'd like the book to be structured.


I wanted to create a CELTA ebook for trainee teachers that is supportive from before the course starts until after it finishes without overloading or complicating an already intensive 4-week course. 

My ideas evolved further after watching an interview with Jim Scrivener on IATELF online.  I wanted to encourage unassessed reflective practice and after watching this session I realised the weekly collaborative Padlet idea was not appropriate. Reflection needed to be personal and authentic in that it encouraged the kind of reflective practice individual trainees developed themselves in a format they felt comfortable with and, because of that, could encourage ongoing reflection after the CELTA course. I also wanted to simplify rather than overload so 'decluttered' by removing the Pre-course: Resources page.

I wanted to create an eBook to address the following issues:


The choice of format needed to be something trainees could access on any device.  It needed to support images, links and video.  It also needed to be easy to update and customise for individual courses.  

I chose Google Slides to create my template  as it fulfils all the above and has an interactive pdf sharing option that can be downloaded to Kindle or iBooks for sharing.

Although the ebook needs to facilitate customisation, i.e. the Pre-course section pages: Welcome and Introduction, I wanted to ensure that the eBook design required minimal supervision by CELTA tutors overall.  In order to accommodate this, I removed the original idea for interaction using Padlet at the end of each section for Any questions? Suggestions?  However, I kept the Padlet for Introductions as this doesn't need supervising by the tutor - it is up to the individual trainees as to whether they exploit this option or not.  

My CELTA eBook

Here is the updated version of 
My CELTA eBook

When you access the above link, click on the  icon in the right-hand corner to load slides...


I would really appreciate any feedback on My CELTA eBook.  I look forward to hearing in the comments below...

Sunday, 17 April 2016