Tuesday 11 March 2014
1730 - 2030 | Radisson Blu Hotel, The Gasworks, 3 Cromac Place, BT7 2JB
Belfast + LIVE ONLINE
More than just a worksheet: How to write effective classroom materials
Many teachers produce their own materials, either from necessity or to provide something more
tailored to the needs of their students. However, writing materials for a whole lesson, which really
engage the learners and focus effectively on language, is quite a challenge. Teachers learn through
experience, but are rarely given much support or training in this area.
In this session the presenter will consider how our beliefs about language learning can (and should)
impact on our materials, and start to explore what some of these beliefs might be. She will then look
at a simple recipe or template (based on Hutchinson and Waters 1987) for producing complete
lessons, and consider a variety of do’s and don’ts taken from her experience as a professional
materials writer. The seminar will comprise plenty of practical examples, and participants will carry
out a number of short tasks.
Since 1989 Rachael has worked as a teacher, teacher trainer and materials writer in ELT and ESOL
contexts. She currently spends most of her time writing, but still teaches on an ad-hoc basis. She
also has a website (www.elt-resourceful.com), and posts on different aspects of materials writing and
Corpora in the classroom without scaring the students
Corpora have a central role to play in our understanding of language. Over the last three decades
we have seen corpus-based approaches take off in many areas of linguistics. They are valuable for
language learning and teaching, as has been shown in relation to the preparation of learners'
dictionaries and teaching materials. Some language teachers have used them directly with students,
but while there have been some successes, 'corpora in the classroom' have not taken off as corpora
in other areas of linguistics have. Most attempts to use corpora in the classroom have been through
showing learners concordances. The problem with this is that most concordances are too difficult for
most language learners and as a result they are scared off. However corpora can be used in the
classroom in a number of other ways that are not based around (or do not look like) concordances.
In this seminar, after a little history, the presenter will discuss the spectrum with corpus at one end
and the dictionary at the other. He shall show how there are various points in between which will work
well in the classroom, specially for situations where the dictionary does not provide enough detail. He
will also show how we can engage students by getting them to build their own corpus, on a topic that
excites them. The presentation will use the Sketch Engine, a leading corpus tool which everyone can
access, and participants will be encouraged to follow along on their laptops.
Who is this for?
All those who are curious about objective methods for finding out about language, or dissatisfied with
the validity of what they find in textbooks, or want to enliven classes they teach with ‘language in the
1730 – 1800 Welcome and refreshments
1800 – 1855 More than just a worksheet: How to write effective classroom materials
with Rachael Roberts (live stream begins)
1855 – 1905 Comfort break and refreshments
1905 – 2000 Corpora in the classroom without scaring the students
with Adam Kilgarriff
2000 – 2030 Networking reception (live stream ends)
Attendees will also have the opportunity to discuss global job opportunities with
the British Council.
Every seminar is free of charge, however places are limited.
The British Council Seminar Series takes place across the UK, including once a month in London. The seminars are intended to provoke debate and discussion on current issues in English Language teaching and can contribute to the continuing professional development of English Language teachers based in, or visiting, the United Kingdom.
Every seminar is free of charge and includes the opportunity to network with fellow ELT practitioners.
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