I was invited – being a member – to the Cambridge English Teacher Seminar in London. Cambridge English (www.cambridgeenglish.org). Cambridge English according to its ethos, ‘Cambridge English is a unique approach to teaching, learning and assessing English. It combines the experience and expertise of Cambridge English Language Assessment and Cambridge University Press.’.
The seminar was a great insight into new methods of teaching language through technology. As well as meeting and networking with other teachers it was an opportunity to discuss current issues and challenges we language teachers face. There were some common issues especially those that work in schools, one raised the issue of paperwork, and the pressures of exams to pass students, others more positive, gave insight into the vast array of students they meet, which is what makes teaching languages unique.
The seminar provided great links, resources and of course freebies! Some of the information was very new to me, such as a new concept developed by Cambridge English, where students can practise their writing skills, the computer then automatically checks their work, highlighting the errors so they can correct. It also shows the student their approximate level according to the CEFR scale. This new technology is fascinating and provides a quick and accurate response. Although in the initial stages, and free (at the moment) I will definitely be trialing it out with my students.
Seminars included the new Cambridge English Framework http://www.cambridgeenglish.org/teaching-english/cambridge-english-teaching-framework/. This concept which encompasses stages such as, learning and the learner, teaching, learning and assessment as well as proffesinal development. It enables you to use the framework, and see where you are in your development – and think about where you want to go next. Using the tracker on their website, through a series of questions the results with show the teacher where they are at each category.
The practical teaching tips and what makes a good test! were very informative seminars that provided us with information on effectively using learning and technology to enhance student involvement. The, what makes a good test, showcased examples of good formative and summative assessments and how to effectively handle both with language students, especially at a time when language exams are being more and more in demand.
I have posted some links below to show some of the tools discussed for use during the seminar, some I will definitely try out. Most are easy to use and implement. I am glad I was able to participate in the event and it does show that CPD, is a vital aspect of developing in one’s career whether experienced or a novice.
http://www.thinglink.com make your own picture dictionaries.
http://www.draw.io make stories, mind maps and collaboration
http://www.riddle.com used for polls, quizzes
http://www.diigo.com free annotation tool
http://www.visme.com for flashy presentations
http://www.cambridgeenglish.org/learning-english/free-resources/write-and-improve/ This one was the big one for me, write and improve, I will try it myself first and get my Level 1 (B2) students to use it.