By Judy Thompson
Who knew teaching speaking could be so straight forward?! No IPA, no grammar... this is a formula anyone can use to start teaching speaking effectively tomorrow. TESL Ontario's Contact magazine published Teaching Speaking Online A Technophobe’s Journey to Online Teaching based on my TESL Ontario presentation from October 2014. It is loaded with content, materials, technology and guidelines for generating a viable career teaching English in the 21st Century.
During our weekly Sunday chat (4Jan) I gave a short presentation about squeeze pages and how to make one. Judy suggested that I put it out there to share with the world, so here it is! If you are a squeeze page neophyte, then this quick presentation is for you!
I repeated my 30Nov2014 presentation at the Google in Education Portugal Summit this afternoon for my Webheads in Action friends. Being a presentation about Google apps, titled "Google, a world within the World!", the only natural thing to do would be to present in a Google Hangout. It was my first ever experience as a presenter in a Google Hangout On Air.
As is usual with Webheads, we experiment things in advance and that’s what I did yesterday evening with my husband. And again late this morning. The strategy was to have all the pages I needed to show open in different Chrome tabs and, while screensharing, move from the presentation slide (also open in a tab) to the other different tabs in a seamless way. Just by clicking each tab. It worked.
Ten minutes before starting time, I commented with Vance Stevens that when testing the presentation with my husband, every time I started screensharing, I’d leave (lose touch with) the Hangout and be faced with only the presentation slide or tab I was in. However, my voice was heard and I could hear my husband.
That's when he told me that, in order for me to stay inside the Hangout while presenting and see exactly what the attendees were seeing, as well as be able to follow the text chat, I needed to have my presentation and tabs open in a different browser when screensharing. Hmmm… That was a first for me. I’d never heard of that before, though coming from Vance I didn’t doubt it for a minute.
Having to make a very quick decision, I decided on taking the risk of adopting my tested strategy: have everything open in the same browser as the Hangout. Webheads are risk-takers by nature. If things didn't work, we'd solve the problem, as we usually do.
It worked. There was no glitch. What a relief!
And what a fabulous 90 minutes I spent with friends, presenting, answering questions and just socializing at times: Fernanda Rodrigues (Portugal), Jennifer England (Spain), Marijana Smolcec (Croatia), Nina Liakos (USA), Robert Wachman (Philippines) and Vance Stevens (UAE). In another platform, following the stream: Peggy George (USA), Rita Zeinstejer (Argentina) and Svetlana Obenausova (Czech Republic). Quite an international group!
Later I understood that Vance had to do some juggling with my thumbnail in the Hangout so that the attendees could see my presentation and my video image. Is that right, Vance?
I’ll be trying Vance’s process in the next few days, because I need to understand how all this works. All I can say is “Thank you, Vance, for inviting me to share my presentation with the Webheads and to take the risk with me!” All’s well that ends well!!! :-)
Six seasoned English teachers from six different countries found each other on social media and discovered they had something extraordinary in common. They had each developed radically simple, effective methods for teaching English. In 2012, these radical teachers met f2f at the Lydbury English Center in the UK and decided to formalize their affiliation to become Radical English.
Over the past two years we have created a Website, www.radicalenglish.weebly.com, a Facebook page www.facebook.com/radicalenglish2012 and a Twitter account @radicalteachers. Today we are unveiling our new baby, a YouTube channel!
The Radical English YouTube channel is your opportunity to be a fly on the wall and eavesdrop on what Radical Teachers talk about when they are hanging out. October 11 & 12, 2014 five of the original six teachers got together at the English Laboratory in Spain. Someone had the brilliant idea to capture the rich, academic conversation on video. While the resulting clips are not professional videos they showcase some of the best English teaching content you will ever find.
The first segment in our Eavesdrop on Radical Teachers folder is Rita Baker talking about how simple phrasal verbs are once you understand there are only 13 particles that define them. As Rita says, "You have to think of a group of uneducated, illiterate people namely Anglo Saxons - trying to express abstract ideas."
Blog posted by Judy Thompson. Video by Peggy Tharpe
I was no spring chicken when I started teaching ESL. I was nearly 40, a single mother of four, training horses on a small farm outside of Toronto in Canada. Farming was a great life, but when my youngest child got on the school bus for his first day of kindergarten, it seemed like the right time to look for an indoor job.
The local employment office gave me an aptitude test that said I should teach ESL and I said, “What’s that?”. When they explained, it seemed like a fine idea. I had a BA in English, I went back to school for TESL training and was fortunate to land a plum job with the local Board of Education. I loved the students and revered my co-workers, but I didn’t have any idea what I was doing. The information I received at TESL school wasn’t the least bit useful, but when winter came I was grateful to be working inside.
Every teacher starts with the Literacy class and that is where I started. I loved it. I could have cheerfully taught that level for the rest of my life. But as new teachers started, I was bumped up and up the line. For extra excitement I’d teach Pronunciation for the advanced students in the summer. At my school only students at the Advanced level could register in a Pronunciation course because IPA was so difficult. ??##!! Not much about how English was taught made sense to me.
My moment of brilliance that triggered a lifetime of rebelliousness came in the hall one day as I walked to my regular class. I realized the long ‘e’ sound was in the word Green and short ‘e’ was in Red. Huh. I kept rolling with it. Short ‘a’ was in Black. Long ‘u’ was in Blue! Oh my goodness! If I could find a correlation between sounds and something meaningful, it would help students because nothing told them how pronunciation works. I gave my wonderful students a reading assignment and told them not to bother me.
Over the next 20 minutes the Thompson Color Vowel Chart was born. At first I used it with IPA because that was my training, but it didn’t take long to develop a simpler, more logical phonetic alphabet that any student could use. An entire speaking course quickly sprouted from this solid foundation.
With my revolutionary new teaching system I no longer fit into a traditional education environment and I was asked to leave my beloved job. Fortunately for me, Sheridan College was open to progressive ideas and I got a new job immediately teaching my own program. Pioneering a groundbreaking language methodology was a lonely road. I didn’t find like-minded, game-changing English teachers until I enrolled in social media. On LinkedIn I found Rita Baker, Peggy Tharpe, Judit Tarczy, Teresa Almeida d’Eca, Jennifer England and other teachers pushing the English teaching envelope and developing programs head and shoulders above current grammar-based or applied linguistic models.
In 2012 Radical English met for the first time and the rest is history. We meet regularly on Skype and our most recent f2f meeting was in October 2014 at Lleida in Spain. Radical teachers are much more powerful together than any of us was on our own. Together we are changing every aspect about the way English is being taught. If this sounds like you or something you’d like to be involved in, we’d love to hear from you.
Radical English members collectively contribute blog entries based on our passions!