Problems -> Questions -> Solutions: Addressing Classroom Difficulties

The problems teachers face in large-class, low-resource classrooms have received more attention in recent years, for example in work led by TELCnet – the international Teaching English in Large Classes research and development network – which was founded following the SPELT conference in 2007 – and in the book International Perspectives on Teaching English in Difficult Circumstances (eds. Kuchah & Shamim, 2018). However, in the continuing absence of teacher training and in-service teacher development opportunities which directly address the challenges, teachers still remain largely unsupported.

In this paper I illustrate the value of teachers taking matters into their own hands, individually or collaboratively, making reference to my work with TELCnet, with Teacher Associations in Africa and South Asia and to projects and workshops I have carried out with the British Council in Latin America and South Asia.

I start with a list of common challenges which have arisen from this work. Then I illustrate how teachers can assume agency by converting such problems into questions ­– firstly, ‘How can I …?’ questions which can lead to advice-seeking within local communities of practice and, secondly, exploratory questions which, when pursued, can be particularly generative of transformative insights. Finally, I present findings, showing how teachers have taken action to explore and to discover appropriate solutions.

Richard Smith: R.C.Smith@warwick.ac.uk
(University of Warwick), co-founder with Fauzia Shamim of TELCnet (Teaching English in Large Classes network), was also coordinator of IATEFL Research SIG (2011–2015). He has led teacher-research initiatives in Chile, India and Nepal, producing British Council books including Teaching in Low-resource Classrooms: Voices of Experience and A Handbook for Exploratory Action Research. More information: http://www.warwick.ac.uk/richardcsmith

Moderator: Huma M. Thaver

Top Technological Tools for English Language Teaching and Learning

In recent years, technology integration has been exponentially popular for language teaching and learning. The incorporation of technology reaches out the global learners in the form of virtual and blended classes, making language development plan well-thought-out and comprehensive.

I designed a free 5-week online course for Cambridge English Language teaching after completion of MOOC ‘Transitioning to Teaching Language Online’ from the University of Minnesota, USA. This course which was conducted for the language teachers of my city served as an active research project. I investigated the technological tools that worked well with the entry-level-tech teachers for carrying out interpretive and presentational activities. Furthermore, many of them had never experienced learning asynchronously. The results of the study were encouraging and enlightening. This webinar aims to emphasize the impact of top technology tools that strengthen learners’ engagement and facilitate entry-level-tech teachers. It will highlight the learning strategies that developed a suitable context for instruction through the incorporation of technological tools. Furthermore, the challenges that the e-learners (teachers) and instructor (I) encountered during the course will be presented along with their solutions.

Saima Abedi has been an English language teacher for the last 17 years. Besides multiple master’s degrees, she has a number of international certifications. She has been engaged in developing ELT materials, training teachers, carrying out action-research and presenting in conferences nationally and internationally.

E-mail: saima_abedi@hotmail.com

Moderator:  Muhammad Talha Khan

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