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English Language Teaching Global Blog


Harnessing the power of Web 2.0

Network cable connectors plugging into a blue Earth globeHaving considered the impact of Computer Assisted Language Learning and Computer Mediated Communication on the EFL classroom, Zöe Handley now examines how Web 2.0 technologies are changing the way students learn.

To begin, let’s look at the two main features which distinguish Web 2.0 from Web 1.0:

The first is the possibility for any web-user to create web pages for themselves without needing access to dedicated software and without learning to code in HTML. Wikipedia is probably the best known product of the ‘user-generated content’ revolution.

The second defining feature of Web 2.0 is its ‘social dimension’ – its ability to link together networks of users with common interests. Facebook is perhaps the most popular application of this type.

But what does it mean for teachers of English as a Foreign Language?

User-generated content

The ‘writable web’ (Kárpáti, 2009) has drawn attention from EFL researchers for a number of reasons. Firstly, it makes it easier for teachers and students to publish their writing, which means it is easier for teachers to set up authentic writing activities with “a real purpose and real audience” (Mak and Coniam, 2008: 438). Secondly, outside education, the ease of publication and the social dimension of Web 2.0 have encouraged users to communicate through writing; and in large quantities, too (Kárpáti, 2009). If this can be harnessed in EFL teaching, Web 2.0 technologies such as wikis, blogs, and fan fiction sites (e.g. Live Journal) have the potential to overcome one of the greatest challenges teachers face – getting students to write! Finally, technologies such as wikis, which keep a log of edits to an article, provide students with a ‘window on the writing process’ (Karpati, 2009).

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Renew the Passion and Go with the Flow!

Teach with passionJanet Bianchini gives her tips on how to re-ignite your fire for teaching if your embers have started to cool.

To teach with passion is life-enhancing. Passion is the fuel we need to achieve satisfaction in every area of life. Passion instils “flow”, or a momentum, according to Scott Thornbury’s latest insightful blog post “F is for Flow”. But what do you do if you feel you have reached a dead end? You have passed your peak? You are on autopilot? Your creative juices have withered? You lack the energy to create lively stimulating lessons? You feel that more “tech-savvy” teachers have overtaken you? The list goes on… Worry no more. Help is at hand. I will reveal 10 sure-fire ways to regain the spark and instil some “flow” back into your teaching.

1.  Age-defying

Surround yourself with passionate teachers in school and you will be re-energised by their enthusiasm and zest for life. A love for one’s job defies age.

2. Peer Observation

Request to observe a fellow teacher as part of your Continuing Professional Development and offer to be observed yourself. This could be just what you need to recharge your batteries and give you a renewed sense of purpose.

3. Sharing is Caring

Attend a local workshop or national / international conference and then implement a new idea(s) into your teaching repertoire immediately. The most important thing, however, is to trickle down to your colleagues.  Do not keep your new knowledge just to yourself. Share your newly acquired knowledge freely. Be proud and feel happy that you are helping other teachers to learn new tips and techniques. This will do wonders for your self esteem, I can guarantee you.

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Three Question Interview – Shaun Wilden

We have asked top ELT authors the following 3 questions:

1. What’s your favourite ELT book?
2. What or who has had the biggest impact on ELT in the last 25 years?
3. What do you wish you’d known when you started out in ELT?

Here, Shaun Wilden answers these questions in a short interview:

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