Creating Material for a Conversation Course
Ana Paula Brito is from Brasília - Brazil, where she has been an EFL teacher since 2000, experience gained in teaching at language institutes. For about three years, she has been the Pedagogical Coordinator responsible for the Advanced Conversation Course and she has developed three booklets/ teacher’s guides for her school, which is a co-op, Cooplem Idiomas: www.cooplem.com. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com.
Here, your duty: a new course
When I was told I was strongly suggested to be in charge of the new conversation course, I had mixed feelings: I got flatted and worried since I had just a month to look for a book which could reflect what one of my goals for our students was: to develop critical thinking in a funny, soothing but also serious way. I figured out that I had to go for my own development by taking part in online courses, reading as many articles as possible about TBL and bang! A course was born. Despite being aware of the many adjustments I was supposed to do (and I am still), I realized that many of us (teachers) have what it takes to ‘thrive’ materials: experience and sympathy for what our students really look for when it comes to learn a language. I know…many of them don’t have a clue of what they want and that’s exactly the guide role we play in their lives.
Methodology and approach
I have used some methodologies to write the teacher’s guides: Communicative, CLIL, Problem-solving, TBL and, in a certain way, Dogme. This is an example of how I develop a lesson, as a word cloud. In this case, the lesson is about Libraries and the target language is the Embedded Questions.
Basically, in the beginning of my writing journey, I was willing to elaborate a course in which teachers would really follow the lessons guidance. However, I have been open-minded and I have always asked for feedback from the teachers and the students so that my methodology fits the course goals. At first, little did I know that independent on my materials methodology, training and beliefs, our teachers would also input their own beliefs, i.e. their approaches. On the one hand I got wary that something would go wrong. On the other hand I understood that I have been doing the same thing with all the books I have been working and of course people will do the same with my materials and it is ok; at least it means that they have been operating their function as being teaching tools.
Taking care of my toddler
It is said that we are born with our personalities ready and I do believe experiences enhance who we are, as we let them do so. Obviously, if I long to help more teachers (including myself) through developing nice materials, I must be aware of my challenges: not only will I be in the everlasting process of learning but I will also be learning by sharing and letting my writing process be adapted so as to reach our teaching aims.
How Libraries change lives
A) Ask these questions to a partner:
1 How often do you go to a library?
2 When was the last time you went to a library? What for?
B) You are going to watch the TEDtalk How Libraries change lives by Ciara Eastell.
1 Look up these words meanings:
Cross the threshold ________________________________________________________
Dazzling arrays ____________________________________________________________
Embroidery machines ______________________________________________________
To build attainment _______________________________________________________
2 Predict Ciara Eastell’s answers:
A) According to Ciara Eastell, what’s a library’s life?
B) How important are libraries?
C) Tick the circumstances a library is supposed to be closed?
( ) severe weather
( ) civil unrest
( ) holidays
( ) on Sundays
D) What is Heterotopia?
E) What is the social emotional role of a library?
F) How can libraries change lives?
G) Modernity and Libraries. How could that work?
H) Apart from reading, what else can you do at a library?
I) Do you happen to know what the most powerful thing we could do to support our library is?
After watching - Now check your answers.
Small groups work
Do we also queue waiting for a library to open?
How democratic are public libraries in your town?
Do we also have activities for kids at libraries?
Please check the How to Motivate Your Students course at Pilgrims website.
Please check the Creative Methodology for the Classroom course at Pilgrims website.
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