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Business Small Talk: How to Have Good Conversations (Even When You Don’t Feel Confident Speaking English) | English with a Twist
For my students.
Continuing with the theme of guest posts, I am delighted to introduce you to yet another guest writer here on EWAT. This time I have the pleasure of welcoming Jacob Gershkovich, a fellow English teacher. In his interesting and super useful post, Jacob brilliantly illustrates how you can make a good impression and enjoy a good conversation with business colleagues even if you feel your English could be better. This is ideal for anyone who wants to feel more confident in the business small talk. Enjoy the post. *************************** Listen to the post Read the post Let’s imagine that you’re at a networking event. You see someone standing across the room who you’d really like to connect with, someone who could be really helpful to know. You want to introduce yourself to this person and begin a conversation, but you don’t feel confident as an English speaker. You’re worried that you won’t be able to express yourself properly in English, or even worse, that you’ll say something silly
There are NNEST with tremendous language proficiency and phonological ability just as there are NEST with pronunciation and grammar that few would identify as native and vice-versa.
Would you like to learn English from me?
Don’t forget, I am a non- native English teacher.
Earlier this year Marek Kiczkowiak and I gave a talk at TESOL Spain in Vitoria-Gasteiz about native speakerism in teacher training (you can download the ppt here). In preparation for the talk, I set up a survey on general issues of discrimination in ELT to get an idea of different attitudes about discrimination in general, but predominantly to look at native speakerism; that is, the prejudice against individuals based on their mother tongue or perceived ‘nativeness’. The survey features a series of ELT job adverts with examples of language which could be interpreted as discriminatory. Participants were simply asked to judge if the language was discriminatory and if it was, was the discrimination justified in the context provided. The scenarios were as follows.
- A women’s college in Saudi Arabia seeking only female teachers.
- A summer camp for teenagers seeking only teachers aged 18-30.
- A private language school in Prague…
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According to Horn and Staker, blended learning is:
“Any time a student learns, at least in part, at a supervised brick-and-mortar location away from home and, at least in part, through online delivery with some element of student control over time, place, path, and/or pace. The modalities along each student’s learning path within a course or subject are connected to provide an integrated learning experience.”
The most significant piece of the definition is the “element of student control” highlighting the flowing instructional models to enable improved student-centered learning, giving students greater than before control over the time, place, path, and/or the step of their learning tracks.
Blended learning offers a balanced approach, focused on redesigning instructional models first, then applying technology, not as the driver, but as the supporter, for high-quality learning experiences that allow a teacher to personalize and make the most of the learning.
The technology helps to supply instructors with data, expand student choices for educational resources and learning materials, and deliver opportunities for students to practice and to exhibit the high-character performance.
Broadly speaking, I am for blended learning, which means taking advantage of both traditional f2f techniques and possibilities presented by new technologies.
Flipped Classrooms generally provides pre-recorded material (video or audio) followed by classroom activities. Learners watch the video before or after the class, this happens outside F2F meetings. Thank’s to that classroom time can be used for interaction, such as Q@A sessions, discussions, exercises other learning activities.
This is the perfect way to “invert” doings in the class with activities outside the teaching space.
Flipping is not just about video and technology.
Moreover, technology does not replace good teaching. It enhances good teaching.
Flipping helps us to get the best use of class time. It is a methodology that permits the instructor to involve students intensely in the collaborative community and produce a shared problem-solving workshop.
My students very frequently have to find some info, largely online, and in class, they present materials on a specific subject. We use it as a foundation for deeper analysis and actions.
Sometimes, instead of giving lectures, I call for scholars to watch chosen PPT, videos or podcasts at home, so when we gather in the course of work, we are able to concentrate on the debate, as well as interpretation of the problem.
In my point of view, there are some significant ways to involve students during a lecture such as short demonstrations, surveyed by group debate as well as PPT lecture, followed by expounding, discussing and particularizing the material.
I am convinced that dialogue is necessary for my Polish History and Culture lectures. I take advantage of novel methods to build up active learning skills and to encourage students toward further learning, or else to mature students’ thinking skills. For most of my learners, the techniques I use are fresh. They come to study in Poland from all the Globe and the majority of them are not used to blended learning as well as flipped classes.
They have to be talked into active learning and taking the responsibility of their own knowledge. My role as a teacher is to be a learning coach, mentor and a source of support as well as inspiration.
Flipping provides students opportunities such as; interactive questioning, mind exploration, answer “why this is important for me to recognize this?” and student-created content.
During my language classes, I also use flipped methods because I believe in learning by researching as well as having fun while studying.
Wolff, Lutz-Christian, and Jenny Chan. “Defining Flipped Classrooms. “Flipped Classrooms for Legal Education. Springer Singapore, 2016. 9-13.
Study skills are not just for students. Study skills are transferable – you will take them with you beyond your education into new contexts. For example, organisational skills, time management, prioritising, learning how to analyse, problem solving, and the self-discipline that is required to remain motivated. Study skills relate closely to the type of skills that employers look for. (See Transferable Skills and Employability Skills for more.)
This week I watched a presentation called ‘Changing the way we approach learner styles in teacher education’. This was delivered at IATEFL 2016 by Carol Lethaby and Patricia Harries. If you get a spare half an hour this week I thoroughly recommend seeing it – you can access it on the British Council/IATEFL site.
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