There is really something to be said for feeling prepared. When I know I’m ready, I worry less. I can spend my time focusing in my lesson or the task at hand. When I don’t feel ready, I lose focus, and in the end, I lose confidence in myself.
I spent last weekend in Seoul with Tana Ebaugh and Kevin Giddens, preparing for our upcoming KOTESOL National Conference presentations at KAIST in Daejeon on Saturday, May 14. As you can see, we were into some pretty serious stuff. As one of us stated, “we were really geeking out.”
Geeking out aside, we got ready for our presentations by one of the best methods we know how: with a little support from each other. Sharing what I had already planned, Tana and Kevin were able to see where my presentation had strength, and where it needed more clarity. Without their input, I may still be struggling to create something that I’d feel proud of. Now, having seen my presentation through their eyes, I have a better idea of how I can make a stronger connection with the audience.
As we brainstormed and planned, I thought of my participants who are also going through their own form of preparation these days. Starting last week, they are all having to plan microteaching lessons. Before their microteaching day, I encourage them to do a run through with their partner so that they can catch any gaps in their lesson plans. By addressing these holes, the participants can feel more confident that their lesson will connect to their students.
Kevin and Tana helped me find my own holes. Now I feel more prepared than I did last week, and as time progresses, I feel more confident about what I’m going to present. I wish all teachers could feel this sense of preparedness. If they had more time to plan their lessons, they may also have more time to focus on their students. Being able to connect to their students, in the end, I’m sure they could walk away from class feeling more confident in themselves. Wouldn’t it be nice to have confident teachers teaching students?
I will be doing two presentations on the 14th. One will be with Tana:
What Teachers Say: What Students Hear
“You can do better than that” and “It’s OK” may seem like words of encouragement, but is it possible that these expressions could decrease student motivation or hinder student learning?
What we say as teachers in the classroom may not be what our students hear. The message we intend to send to our students may be distorted by the words we choose to use. The presenters believe that certain types of language that teachers use to talk to, and about students, can reduce learning, and create a state of classroom disharmony. The language we explore is the language of “classroom English” as presented in published handbooks and textbooks for Korean teachers of English and common expressions we have heard in our training classrooms.
During this presentation we will explore these expressions, examine the effects of language choices used by teachers in the classroom, and with the audience, develop harmonious solutions.The audience can expect to leave this presentation with a new awareness of their language use.
And the other will be on my own. I will be presenting as a representative of the KOTESOL Reflective Practices Special Interest Group:
Blogging: Creative Interaction
We all know the benefits of reflective inquiry: it brings clarity to our teaching practice and helps us define our professional goals. But how many of us really practice reflective teaching? At the end of a long week, the thought of writing a lesson analysis onto a stark white piece of paper, or a blank Word document can seem like an uninspiring task.
This is why the presenter began blogging. In the blogosphere, the canvas for reflection is colorful. The possibilities for creative interaction range from meaningful play with photography and video, to passionate personal dialogues with readers. It is through this multimedia, and through peer sharing that the presenter has been able to increase her teaching confidence, as well as develop a clearer vision of her pedagogical ambitions.
The speaker will present the evolution of her blog (www.throwingbacktokens.com), and how blogging can impact the audience’s reflective practice. The presenter would love to see her audience leaving her presentation with the idea that the reflective blogging community may be also be a circle they would like to join.
Hope to see you there!