I’m a bit of a Twitter addict and have been using it for professional development for some time now. Yes, there is a LOT of noise on there and it seems like everyone is arguing about <insert contentious topic here>, but it’s also a great source of inspiration for teachers. You can find lesson ideas, get access to research and even ask for advice and people will help. I really love being able to connect with teachers from all over the world at the touch of an app.
#ELTchat came up in my Feed one day and I lurked for a good while before joining in a couple of weeks ago. For those of you who haven’t heard of it, it’s a weekly chat for English teaching professionals on a chosen topic that takes place every Wednesday at 19:00 GMT on Twitter. To join the live chat, which lasts for about an hour or so, search for the most recent Tweets using the hashtag #ELTchat, then add your own questions or comments followed by the hashtag so that other participants can read them and respond. If you can’t make it for whatever reason, you can still participate in what is called a “slow burn” discussion that continues for the 24 hours afterwards. Someone offers to write a summary and then shares it on their blog, and this week that person is me!
Correction in English as a Lingua Franca – What? How?
I’m currently teaching a group that mostly uses English with other non-native speakers and it dawned on me that the way I’ve been teaching up to now – a native speaker using mostly British and American English materials, teaching native speaker chunks and correcting grammar – might not be useful anymore.
Here are some takeaways from this enjoyable and very timely #ELTchat, followed by a selection of Tweets which I hope summarise it and do the discussion justice:
- ELF is quite a new area for many teachers and a work in progress, but a very convincing one.
- Can we actually teach ELF or is it more about tolerance?
- Communication is key – no real need to correct if they can be understood but some students might still expect it.
- Make sure we know who our students are going to be using English with and plan courses and corrections accordingly.
- Check whether they actually want to be corrected or not, make them aware of what this means and negotiate the “what” and “how”. At the start of the course and then every so often to see if it’s still ok for them.
- Who we correct and how we correct them is often rooted in our core beliefs about language learning.
- Pronunciation is a key element for correction but it depends on the L1.
- Look for gaps in knowledge rather than ways to correct.
- Correcting students immediately is more beneficial according to research, but doing it in confidence might be better.
- Encourage students to identify their errors and self-correct if possible.
- Peer correction is a good way to expose them to different accents but may lead to problems.
- Having a bank of ELF materials would be really useful.
- Grammar bots are annoying!
To correct or not to correct…