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Video review of week 3

A video round up of the week.
Hello, everyone. Welcome to our end of week three video. Hello, Marie Therese. Hello, Lindsay. Hello, everyone. So where have those three weeks gone? Haven’t they shot by? They have. It’s crazy. Anyway, here we are at the end of week three where we talked about speaking and writing. Absolutely, and we’ve had a lot of comments and a lot of questions about speaking. So shall we start speaking about speaking first? Yes. Let’s do that, yeah. So we had some interesting comments as we always do. You know, I have to say we learn as much as everyone else, don’t we, I think, Mary Therese, on this course? So we’re learning from you, lots, thank you very much.
Lara was saying– because we started off by asking you if you can apply what you do in the face-to-face classroom in speaking lessons online, and Lara was saying that she uses things like pictures and speaking prompts in face-to-face lessons, and she feels that they work absolutely fine online as long as her instructions are very clear and understood. And I think that’s really important, isn’t it? Absolutely. I think with the speaking lessons online, the two things that are really, really, really important is the instructions. And so, like we said before, give the clear instructions, maybe do an example of the activity in the main room before students go off into breakout rooms.
And secondly, when students go into breakout rooms, that they know how to use the breakout rooms and what to do when they’re in there, so that they know how to share their screen, for example, so they can share risk responses or feedback in activities that they’re doing. And so those two things are really important. Also, that you monitor so that you know what’s going on. Absolutely, yeah. I mean, that sort of comes on to what Lucas was saying, I mean mentioning breakout rooms. He was saying that, he was being very positive about breakout rooms, because some people worry about the fact that you can’t monitor them as closely, and we’ve talked about this in a previous video.
He was very positive saying that he thinks that actually, it is a really great opportunity for learners to take more control over their speaking. Of course, we’re not necessarily talking… we’ve had quite a lot of questions about would you put kindergarten children in private, in breakout rooms. And I think probably, no. I think it’s really older primary and above. So that’s really what we’re talking about. But he was saying, they can take more control and also, it pushes you as a teacher to be really clear about exactly what it is you want them to achieve, and so they know what you want them to achieve, so they know what the goal is.
And he was saying that the problem with not being able to monitor all the breakout rooms is that, you have these failed tasks sometimes, but what that does then, is it reminds you to avoid vague language, to be extremely clear, and going back to what Lara was saying about how instructions need to be clear.
Yeah, and I think also, if you think about when you’re doing speaking activities in breakout rooms to make sure that there’s kind of like a clear objective, that there’s an outcome, that there’s something they have to decide, or something that they have to achieve or agree about, and make, so that when they come back into the main room, there’s somebody from the group who can report back, so that the speaking task has really a clear objective. Absolutely, I totally agree. Speaking of breakout rooms then, so you mentioned the fact that we can obviously, we have to help students to understand when they’re in the breakout room, how do they work?
Do they have to use any of the tools on the platform or not. Do they have to open any documents, do they have to share any documents, and if so, who is going to share it, how are they going to share it, and so on. Are there any tips there that you– Yeah, well I think, if students are using a laptop or a computer for the lesson, then I think sending the document, perhaps sending the document so that they can receive it on their cell phone, and so that the instructions for the activity and the activity itself, might be on their phone, then they can share it that way.
Or perhaps, one of the group in the breakout room could share their screen and display the instructions or the activity on the screen in the breakout room. I think also, electing one of the students in the group to be the reporter, the person that reports back, is also a useful thing. I think also, as well, we quite often forget that when students are doing an activity, something comes up and they don’t know the word for something, and because we’re not there to help, it often sort of just disappears into the ether.
But I think if you had a person in the room who noted down every time they had something that they could ask a question about, and then you could feed that back into the main room at the end, so somebody in the breakout room would say, well we didn’t know the word for this could you tell us what that is. Because often I think those issues in speaking activities, in face-to-face classrooms as well, just disappear, because nobody’s remembered them by the time we come to it. Yeah, that’s a really good idea. So basically, assigning roles isn’t it? Absolutely. Assigning different roles, and maybe each group member has a particular role, so no one’s left out. I think that’s useful. Yeah.
OK, thinking about recording information then. So, if you want students to actually record something somewhere, obviously they can– one learner can bring up their interactive whiteboard if you allow it in your settings. And they can then write onto the interactive whiteboard with all the others looking at that. So that’s useful. And we will show you a tutorial video next week on how to use the whiteboard, and how to save it, and how learners can save it, so that will hopefully be useful as well. We had lots of questions about Google Docs, didn’t we? Yeah, absolutely. But before we talk about Google Docs there’s Padlet, as well.
So you know, when they’re in their breakout room they could open a Padlet and they could record, literally record onto Padlet using the recording tool, or make a video, or write something. But I think one of the most useful ways of dealing with writing lessons, as well as recording things in breakout rooms, is Google Docs. So Lindsay, you’re going to show us how to do that, right? Yeah, I am. So the best thing to do is to just search for how to open a Google Doc, and it will show you online. It will give you some very clear instructions.
Once you’ve opened your documents, you need to first title it, because you can’t share it unless you’ve given it a title. And then, if you click here on Share– at the moment, it’s just private to me, but if you click on that, it will give you a page where it allows you to type in people’s email addresses so that they have access to it only, or you can get a link, and you can make that link accessible to anybody who has the link. And that’s what you really want. So when you open that page, you need to click on the link that says change– Get Link and change to anyone with the link.
And this is what it looks like, so here. So at the moment anyone with a link, so you can share this link with your students in the chat box, and anyone with that link can now access this document. But at the moment they can only view it. If you want them to comment on it, then they can change it to Commenter, and if you want them to edit it, which means everyone can write on it, then you’ll change it to Editor, and that means that all of your students with that link can access it and type onto it.
Right, and you just put that in the chat box, and then I would open that, and then I’m on the same page as you, and it means all of the students are writing on the same document. It’s a real advantage of technology. So if you’re in a face-to-face classroom, everyone can open a open a document on their device, but if you’re online, you can use one document, everybody’s writing on it. So it’s one of the few, kind of real– things that are better about online teaching. Yeah, I agree. It is really useful. And of course, that brings us onto writing, doesn’t it, because we did talk about that in the second part of this week.
Speaking and writing and Google Docs is really useful for collaborative tasks that you were talking about in the comments. Thank you for that. I think we had a question about pronunciation. We had a few questions about pronunciation, actually. One of them was asking why I mentioned about showing the position of your mouth, and another question was around using the phonemic scripts. If I do the position of your mouth questions.
So one of the benefits I think of, and I think I’ve mentioned this before, is you can get quite close to the camera and you can show the position, so you can show students that if they have problems with their “vuh” and their “buh,” “vuh,” volleyball, volleyball, then they can see the position very closely, more so than in a physical classroom, because if you go up to someone really close, they’re going to think you’re a bit strange. So showing the jaw how, for example, we say “eh,” “ah,” “eh,” “ah,” and also how our lips are spread. So, “eeh,” “ih,” “ah,” “ooh,” for example. And someone who is really useful is Adrian Underhill.
If you want to know more about that, then have a search for him on YouTube. There are lots of sessions there by him. Absolutely, and the questions about the phonemic charts, as well. I personally, when I’m teaching, I don’t teach students the symbols on the phonemic chart. I might use individual sounds. I particularly use the schwa, because I think that’s– it’s the most common sound, and also it’s the one that appears in almost every word that we ever use. And when we’re doing– you’re speaking naturally, you’re making contractions and you’re using aspects of connected speech, and I think the schwa is really important.
I think students have enough to learn with learning to read and write and speak in English than having to learn another set of symbols as well. But I think it can help if you have particular nationalities that have particular problems with particular sounds, then just showing the symbols sometimes helps. Yeah. I think I follow a similar strategy to do. It’s not to say that the phonemic script isn’t useful, but I tend to avoid using it too much, for the same reasons. I think that brings us to the end of our end of week three video, so thank you all again for your participation. Have a great weekend. Absolutely. One week to go. Good luck, everyone. See you next week.
Bye bye.

We’ve come to the end of the third week of the course and, in this video, Lindsay and Marie Therese look back at some of the main talking points of the week. The video will appear here on Friday 20th November 2020.

Preparing learners for their English language assessments

Visit Cambridge English Resources for Teachers for more online lesson plans to help you prepare learners for their exams: A1 Movers, A2 Flyers, A2 Key for Schools, B1 Preliminary for Schools, B2 First for Schools and C1 Advanced.

You can adapt exam preparation materials in the same way you would adapt other resources for online teaching. You can use your exam syllabus or coursebook to guide your lesson activities and supplement with online resources or learner-generated resources like images and vocabulary quizzes. Some exam preparation is better suited to independent study, for example doing a practice test, reading, or doing extended individual writing. You and your learners can use your online lessons to discuss difficult questions, share useful strategies and, for example, do collaborative work, speaking practice or group writing.

This week, here are two example lesson plans to help you prepare learners for their Cambridge exams in an online classroom:

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