Joshua Underwood

Joshua Underwood

Location Northern Spain


  • Bye everyone & thank you so much for joining us on our course and all your time and participation :-)

    Well done for getting to the end and I wish you every success in your future learning and teaching.

    Here are my final traffic light reflections for this course.

    - I'm going to (try to) stop worrying about what might go wrong (I'm still going to be...

  • That's a great experience :-)

  • Thank you :-)

  • Thank you :-)

  • Thank you for joining us and appreciating the course :-)

    And sorry it has taken so long to reply!

  • Thank you for sharing that @NurulMaulidiyahSalma :-)

  • Absolutely. I always try to clear my clutter and noise before sessions, both in my physical space and in my mind.

  • Absolutely @MichelleLewin

  • Thanks @IuliiaKytrysh :-)

    All the best for your future teaching and learning!

  • Yes, thanks for all your contributions @MarkO :-)

  • Great traffic light reflections, Claire :-)

    I'm particularly keen on your Carry On and it is one I will also be carrying on with. Recently I have really loved the Creativity series of webinars on Teaching English and have picked up a lot of ideas - the way the two presenters bounce of one another, introducing aims/objectives through gap-fills/guess the...

  • I am interested in your comment that some of the students enjoyed the responsibility of organising their work and getting their material and internet set up right. I think I have also found that to some extent and have started to look for more opportunities to give them responsibilities that I have often done for them, for example making sure everyone in their...

  • Hi @VitalinaYudina ,

    I'd agree, I find that when I am really interested in the activities we are doing and the students it tends to come across to the students and help engage them too.

  • Thanks @GuyBirch , I can see that risk and I wonder whether it might help to frame the 'bad' filling bit as 'good' because it reveals how to improve...?

  • Thanks for sharing :-)

    I like that you give a student the role of keeping the group on task. I quite often use roles, for example having one student responsible for making sure every member of the group is invited to share their opinion.

    I find the 'It's good to talk' resources here useful for helping students think about how to get the most out of...

  • If you would like to leave an audio or video reflection on week 2, you could use the flip here -

  • Thanks so much for your audio, Alejandra - I find it reassuring to read everyone else's experiences and ideas too - it helps me feel like we are all in it together and doing our best :-)

  • Thanks Guy. I like the way you say teach "through the camera" rather than "at the camera", it makes me think about how to achieve that feeling.

    I find Graham Stanley 's article a useful reminder of some of the things we can do to help achieve that kind of presence and connection: Remote teaching – how to keep learners' attention...

  • @MarkO I think I would love to have been one of your online students. The chickens, the science experiments, the homemade musical instruments - what a fantastic variety of thought provoking experiences!

    Thanks so much for sharing :-)

  • Hi @KarimaCherif

    Welcome to our course - it is great to have you with us with all that experience. We look forward to sharing ideas with you.

  • That sounds great :-)
    Can you tell us more about introducing the chickens and also the science experiments. They sound like great ways of getting attention and interest.

    I'm whether you asked your learners to do any specific tasks while you did those things and whether you can give examples?

    I can totally see the tension there is sometimes between...

  • @DeniseB you're welcome :-)

    I hope you enjoy some of those 'creative' webinars.

    I'm just catching up with the latest one on Creative Continuous Professional Development -

    I love the way they start by challenging participants to think about what the objectives for the session might be...

  • Thanks for sharing :-)

    I like the way you structure your activity and I agree with you about the increased difficulty of monitoring this kind of activity in breakout rooms and then bringing it all back together.

    I think that if you have a way to share slides with whole class, such as Google Slides, that can help. For example, you can do something like...

  • Thanks for sharing @AlejandraSierra :-)

    I hadn't seen that collection of "Changemaker" stories before - or BookSmart -
    That looks like a useful collection of reading materials and I may try to make use of some of them.

    Also, thanks @GuyBirch for taking the time...

  • Love your toy :-)
    What's the toy's name?

    My desktop and online workspace certainly need tidying and re-organising too!

  • Thank you :-)

    Do you have any ideas or suggestions you would like to share with us?

  • I agree :-)

  • I find it really important to create opportunities and reasons for students to interact with one another too.

    I sometimes use games to create that kind of opportunity but more frequently I use short 'creative' and collaborative tasks, like making picture slides about some topic in a small team, proposing solutions to a mystery, or creating a short 'play'...

  • Hi @petraReichel ,

    I try to use interest and age relevant reading and give choice as much as possible when there are libraries of books or magazines available, online that might be possible if working with institutions with subscriptions to digital libraries.

    With teens for shorter texts, as opposed to books/readers, I use:

    LearnEnglish Teens...

  • Hi @petraReichel ,

    I haven't personally used Edmodo for a while and have only just heard about it closing. These days I tend to use Google Classrooms, Microsoft Teams, and Moodle because those are the tools that are used by the institutions I usually work with.

    I also like Seesaw but haven't used it recently and I think I heard they have had some data...

  • @petraReichel yes, I try to have relevant extension tasks ready for groups that finish early. Sometimes I might just ask them to organise themselves to present what they have done to the rest of the class when we come back together.

  • @DohaShaar yes :-)

    I think making progress and learning 'visible' or 'tangible' for learners (and parents) is really important. I try to also encourage students to look back at previous work of theirs and encourage them to start to identify how they have progressed themselves.

  • I can't find an open access version or pre-print, sorry :-(

  • @petraReichel I like the idea of reading and listening too because of the associations and I think you can also do this the other way round, as it were, by putting same language subtitles on with films/TV/video.

    There is quite a movement for switching subtitles on on TV -
    I was also quite surprised to read recently that...

  • That's great to hear :-)

    I hope it works for you and would love to hear your reflections after using that.

  • Totally, and very sad he is no longer with us :-(

  • @petraReichel feedback is important or at least recognition of your activity.

    That's one of the reasons we try hard to make replies to as many participants as we can :-)

    Thanks for your contributions!

  • It's one of my favourites. I find children like to repeat it and also like to invent their own similar stories.

  • I like that approach. With my primary students I have recently tried directly addressing the importance of asking for help when you need it through stories, giving 'points' for asking for help, prompting them to reflect on whether they think it is good to ask for help, etc.

    I've been quite surprised by the reasons some of them give for not asking for help...

  • @petraReichel good point. I think another approach is to frame the 'failures' as positive identification of 'opportunities to learn.
    So, something like "That's great! You got 7 completely right and we found 3 opportunities for you to learn more" :-)

  • Yep, great idea @CoraSchochardt, thanks :-)

    Thanks for sharing! I guess this idea (link below) about having virtual desks, which can have traffic lights on them, is kind of similar and useful if you can't see all your students on video. However, I really like the idea of physical objects to hold up and that gives another reason to have the cameras on...

  • I love the idea of framing language learning as discovery :-)

  • Me too. I think it is great for embodied learning but also that particularly in online classes it is good to build in some movement anyway.

  • I love using simple songs too :-)

    One of my favourites for primary is The Solar System -
    I like to use that as part of a 'solar system' project. Usually, I then get small groups of students or individual students to produce and present a poster about a planet. They do some reading to find out more information about their chosen...

  • I think that's great advice :-)

    I like to share my own experiences with my students and also think that it is only fair to do so and demonstrate that we are willing to do what we often ask and encourage them to do - share their experiences and opinions.

  • Hi @SomyaSharma ,

    I really like you the way you express that - "learning is all about the amalgamation of difficulties and joy" :-)

    I think that encapsulates the need for tasks to be both difficult enough to require some learning in order to complete them successfully and feel satisfaction, and also for enough help to be available, from the teacher or...

  • Hi Elma,

    It's great to have you on the course with us and I love your purpose - "spreading knowledge and goodness" :-)

    I wish you every success in your studies and very much hope you will find this course useful.

  • Hi @DeniseB ,

    I like that you say 'in a creative way' and I think you might be interested in this series of webinars, which I also shared on Step 1. They are about creative teaching and development and also about helping students be more creative.

    The next session is on 22nd September. You can find out about it here -...

  • Thanks @DohaShaar, I agree that all of these are things that online learning can potentially provide. However, I think that sometimes online courses are not designed to exploit these opportunities.

    I think that being aware of these and other opportunities and designing learning experiences to exploit them and to suit your students is one of the 'additional'...

  • I share your feelings and look forward to reading your ideas :-)

    Welcome to our course!

  • Hi @RamyaH ,

    Welcome to our course. I noticed you mentioned 'creative' ways of teaching and it reminded me of a fantastic series of webinars available on the TeachingEnglish website. They are about creative teaching and development and also about helping students be more creative.

    The next session is on 22nd September. You can find out about it here -...

  • Welcome to our course @NurulMaulidiyahSalma :-)

    I like the way you express that - sharing our knowledge in interesting and fun ways.

  • Perhaps because we have learnt so much over this period?

    Not just about the necessary technology but also about how to engage with one another more effectively online.

  • Thank you for showing your appreciation :-)

  • Hi @FatimaAqeel

    Thank you for spending your time viewing it and for your appreciation :-)

    I find making appreciation visible really helps make online courses more positive, both for teachers and students.

  • Yes, patience and tolerance are very important and can be hard under stress. I think it is important to encourage empathy and talk about the difficulties we all face and what we can all do to try to help one another overcome them with students.

  • That sounds like a positive activity @SofiaDhanani and @MaríaBarrios good ideas, the other students could give feedback and also ask questions to push one another to think and explain more about why they want to do this in the future.

    Maybe this could also connect to what they are studying (English?) and why this might be useful to them. Link what we are...

  • You may be right about 'being human' :-)

    I think here we meant not getting so caught up in trying to manage the lesson and the technology as to forget to really listen to, relate to, and genuinely show interest in and interact with students.

  • Hi Claire,

    Loved your cool background :-)

    Here are my traffic light reflections -

    We look forward to reading, listening to, or watching other participants' thoughts :-)

  • Here's something I watched this week and found very useful - ten tips for designing 'blended learning' from Russell Stannard.

    I take blended to mean courses that involve a mix of non-digital (probably face-to-face) synchronous activity (e.g. classes) and digital (likely asynchronous and maybe independent) online activity. All the same, I think the tips are...

  • Thank you for joining us on the course :-)

  • Thank you @FatmaDabboussi

  • Good point, I think it is important to model how we want students to engage with these activities including the kind of language we want them to use. For example, my students became very fluent and good at saying things like 'Could I have number 7 please, Josh?" and other variations on polite requests through playing Bamboozle games -

  • Laughing and learning is great :-)

  • Those are good ideas :-)

    I think you can also get learners to give one another feedback about the ways they are interacting and whether these are helpful or not and also ask them to self-assess their behaviours.

    For example, students can use the prompts in the 'Talk Detectives' activity on p9 of this...

  • Thanks for the recommendations. They are all apps I have used at some time but don't use that much currently.

    Can you say anymore about how you use them?
    As I remember:
    - peardeck is great for making slide presentations more interaction, you can insert questions participants can respond to etc...
    - educaplay is good for adding interaction (questions,...

  • Hi @MaríaBarrios ,

    I really do hope you find more tips and ideas that you think are interesting - and please do share your favourites from what you find with the rest of us :-)

  • Thanks for sharing your experience @IuliiaKytrysh I'd agree with the importance of building relationships with parents and students.

    Do you just use Telegram for communication or also for teaching?

  • Hi @EsraaElshahed

    Thanks so much for your lovely message and suggestion. Live micro-teaching practice sessions is such a great idea and I'm wondering how that might be supported in a course and community like this. I would love to hear participants' suggestions.

    I know that what I and other colleagues have done and still sometimes do is arrange a time...

  • I'm still learning too, I think that is always the case :-)

    The connection going is so frustrating and I there is very little we can really do about that. However, I guess if we know that losing the connection is a risk and fairly frequent we can perhaps establish some routines about what we and the students do while we try to resolve problems or wait to be...

  • @Dr.GarimaKirola thank you.
    I hope other participants will be encouraged to try some collaborative yarn spinning with their students :-)

  • That's fantastic to hear - I hope you and your students are enjoying your online classes :-)

  • Thanks for joining us in the course @CristinaMorenillaCamuñas and all the best for your online classes :-)

  • All the best for your work helping students to pursue their dreams :-)

  • Thank you for joining us and contributing :-)

  • Hi @IuliiaKytrysh ,

    Thank you for joining us on this course - we really hope you will find it useful :-)

  • I'd agree and I think that particularly by 'making things meaningful' and 'being human' our intention is to foster students' motivation and create an environment in which they will want to engage and learn with us.

  • Yes, I think so too. When designing our lessons and materials we need to keep our students in mind and this requires an understanding of them, their needs, and their contexts. I think this is why I have found a background in 'human centred design' useful for my teaching. There are many techniques and approaches for human centred design that help designers...

  • I do the same and see this as being somewhat like what Kahoot refer to as Blind Kahoots.

    Rather than me presenting key information, introducing new knowledge, I try to use something students generally find engaging (like a video-clip or a game) to get attention and do the presentation form me.

    Introduction to Blind Kahoots...

  • Thanks for sharing good advice :-)

    I have changed the way I frame this kind of peer support and rather than talking about correction I like to talk about it as helping one another to do even better.

    How do others set up this kind of work?

  • Thank you for appreciating them :-)

  • I like your point that songs are useful not only for language work but also because they help create a friendly atmosphere.

    I'm often surprised by how well putting on some appropriate music works for calming down my classes too. I also remember some online training sessions I have been in in which presenters have used atmospheric music to influence...

  • Thanks for all your participation and thought-provoking comments @CristinaMorenillaCamuñas :-)

    Coincidentally, I was reading an article on giving 'feedback' to teachers on their teaching this morning and it describes a similar way of framing for improvement rather than any kind of evaluative, corrective feedback.

    Have a look here if you are interested:...

  • Me too, my understanding of 'being human' is centred around that kind of empathy and understanding.

  • I love that you draw your own mind map too. It's great to be able to show a model and also to show that you are prepared to do the tasks you ask your students to do :-)

    Do you share mind maps and allow students to revise and improve theirs after seeing others? And if so, how do you organise this sharing? e.g. in pairs, small groups...?

  • I like the sound of 'Spin a yarn' :-)
    Can you tell us more about how this works?

  • I think many of us share many if not all of those challenges.

    It is hard to do much about low bandwidth and problematic internet connections at 'teaching time' but possible to design learning so as to make interaction in that kind of setting easier. I think often that might mean using asynchronous communication and chat but also audio and or video...

  • Thanks for sharing @AnnaD :-)

    That sounds like a great way of supporting your student's understanding and language production and gradually building up to (scaffolding) more independent speaking.

    Do others reading this comment have similar accounts to share about how they have supported students understanding and production?

  • That's great that you enjoyed it and appreciate your positive attitude :-)

  • Great idea, @vivianalazzo :-)
    Can you tell us anymore about your students' dictionaries? Do they make these on paper or are they digital? And how do they use them?

    I sometimes like to use the 'glossary' in Moodle to help students collaboratively build up a collection of words and phrases and discuss these -...

  • That's great to hear, thank you for letting us know :-)

    I think that for internet safety adapting activities from the UK Safer Internet Day resources is still one of my favourite sources.

  • @CassiaRocha that's an interesting question.

    I think attitudes have changed a lot over the time I have been teaching. Personally, I think there can be good reasons to occasionally use students' first languages (if teachers know them) and also to sometimes explicitly compare grammatical structures and ways of expressing things across languages. However,...

  • Thanks for reminding me about map activities, I haven't done any for a while. Students directing on another around maps can be great for interaction or even getting others to draw a map they describe and then comparing with the original :-)

  • I definitely agree it's best to work with books the children love :-)

    I'd like to hear about websites participants use for reading materials, digital libraries, etc. For short reading, I use the LearnEnglish Teens and Kids sites and also sometimes CommonLit.

    I also agree about using pictures to prompt writing. There are good sites for that too. Some...

  • @CristinaMorenillaCamuñas yes :-) and it is great if they can listen to the particular songs they personally like and maybe then explain what they think they are about to other students.

  • I like to introduce students to LyricsTraining too, I hope some of them then start using it themselves to listen to and start to understand the lyrics of the songs they like.

  • I hope that went well :-)

  • I've seen quite a few participants mention viber on this course but I've never used it. Is it similar to WhatsApp, Telegram, etc? Does it have specific advantages other than being popular in your region?

  • Thanks for sharing @YunaNordvik , I love those ideas :-)

    I find really useful for helping students with rhyme.

  • I really like whisper activities too and ask students to try to express themselves through the tone and manner of their speaking.