Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Xmas Event 2015

Sylvia Guinan 

A Special Xmas Guest... Rakesh Bhanot 

Sylvia Guinan


Sylvia Guinan is an online English teacher, writer and blogger who facilitates professional development online. She uses brain-friendly techniques to help students and teachers around the world. She designs educational materials and runs teacher training courses. Her work is the result of much research into the psychology of learning, as well as hands-on experience with multi-media technology. She blogs and runs courses online and runs her own website. She is also Joint Web Editor for the IATEFL Learning Technologies Special Interest Group.


When Friendship Smiles Upon Learning.


Social and emotional dynamics secretly rule classroom behaviour. Yet, while social and emotional intelligence, or lack, thereof, is a force to be reckoned with in the classroom, we tend to keep our eyes on the wormhole of narrow teaching objectives, while failing to see the bigger picture. Instead of labelling children with problematic behaviour we should be tapping into the relationships that make or break our learning and teaching endeavours.

As English language teachers, we teach communication above and beyond everything else. It's the subtext of second language acquisition and it makes our work more valuable that the lesson we are teaching.

As English language teachers, we are in a unique position to harness the positivities of social cohesion through integrating fun, creativity and social learning into the common experience of children, teenagers and even adults from all walks of life. Obviously, above and beyond the satisfaction of making a difference in the lives of our students, we also get to accelerate their learning, as they are more motivated to communicate authentically. Communication is the response you get.

I will share some teaching concepts and lesson ideas using friendship; both as a topic and as a collaborative, multi-media approach to learning, where friendship and social dynamics make the lesson work.

This positive approach to lesson planning is, by default, taking into account the children who come from troubled homes, have no friends or have emotional problems. It's really about inclusiveness, confidence-building and 'being there'. Being the witness, facilitator and caring teacher who can show students that they can be strong and happy. It's all about validation.

The Christmas spirit is the human spirit. This is our message to our students. They lead and we follow their paths to friendship and learning, through friendship and learning.

The magic and Christmas spirit inherent in this multi-media appraoch to learning will take the form of storytelling, poetry, video-making, comic creation, infographics, mindmapping, poster making and lots of emotionally significant and creative activities.

Rakesh Bhanot


Rakesh Bhanot has been involved in various aspects of ELT since 1961 when he arrived as an immigrant in the UK aged 10 - with no knowledge of English. Having learnt English, he went on to teach EFL in Spain aged 21,and by the time he was 29, he was a kind of inspector for British teachers of English in NW Germany. He is the founder editor of Language Issues - the Journal of NATECLA. He says that his only claim to fame is that he won (sic.) the Failure Fest at a recent IATEFL Conference.


Teaching is a species of friendship” - “one is one but two ones make…?


I came across the first part of the title (above) in a well-known book by Chris Brumfit, and the second is something that my late mother would often introduce into a conversation when she wanted to show the value of ‘networking’ and collaborative work.

Unfortunately, both ideas are ‘under-exploited’ in education, and without dwelling on the theoretical (and possibly ethical) aspects of the above, I would like to demonstrate how they have influenced my professional work through a number of classroom activities. What happens in the ELT classroom is clearly much more than the transfer of linguistic codes, learning vocabulary or the rules of grammar; indeed, it is even more than communication as my co-presenter will argue. We do not ‘just teach English’. We do much more. As preparation for the workshop, participants are invited to make a list (max.20 words/phrases) of what they think they do - other than ‘teach’ - in the classroom, and to bring this list with them on 5th December.

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