This plenary by Chris Roland took place at the online Future of English Language Teaching Conference (FOELT), organised by Trinity College London and Regent’s University London. You can learn more about the annual event at trinitycollege.com/FOELT.
Watch the video
This session lies at the very nuts and bolts end of methodology. Proponents of systems theory tell us that it is only when a given modus operandi proves ineffective that we adopt alternative behaviours and approaches. Perhaps, though, we need not go as far as full-on failure before identifying adjustments that will help our teachers.
By questioning some of the default settings ingrained in our practice and by re-examining some of the blueprints we have inherited from our own collective experiences of the classroom, I will suggest ways that teachers might tweak, tune and recalibrate their instruction, streamlining it here or fragmenting and embellishing it there. I shall be talking from the perspective of the individual practitioner who, through some reflection and self-analysis, wishes to give better language classes. The strategies covered will also all be compatible with more structured teacher education programmes and qualifications. The end goal of all the techniques discussed will be to help keep language education in groups a viable and attractive teaching medium moving forwards.
We shall touch on some key aspects of language teaching which include: planning and preparation, monitoring, student participation, teacher-learner dynamics, going over exercises, and how we might unwittingly create tension in the classroom. Sometimes the less questioned the assumptions we run on in our lessons, the more profoundly felt can be the mini-revelations that occur as we start to question why we do what we do, from moment to moment, day to day and year to year.
There will be examples and anecdotes from my own lessons. The session will be suitable for new teachers and seasoned veterans of all levels and ages, as well as trainers, directors and anyone else in the business of supporting teachers and their craft.
About the presenter
The presenter, Chris Roland is a teacher, trainer and methodology writer based in Seville. He has worked in Spanish mainstream education and the private academy sector and held positions with the British Council in Barcelona and in Damascus. He has published a number of methodology books for teachers through Pavilion Publishing & Media, UK, including Understanding Teenagers in the ELT Classroom (2018) and Structuring Fun for Young Learners (2020). Chris works with teachers across a wide range of contexts including as trainer for Pilgrims and tutor on the Trinity DipTESOL for Oxford TEFL. He is particularly interested in classroom dynamics, the decisions that both learners and teachers make and the dialogue that happens between them.