Joshua Underwood

Joshua Underwood

Location Northern Spain


  • 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.

  • It's great to chat with colleagues to get new ideas and I also find 'switching off' completely, going for long walks, and just relaxing in the holiday means my mind becomes more ready to embrace new ideas :-)

  • I think you can do something similar online depending on what kinds of technologies you have available.

    You can use something like wordwall or wheeldecide to make a random question chooser and get students to spin to choose a question to ask a partner (or have a second spinner to choose a student at random to ask).

    Here is an example that someone has...

  • Absolutely, and we can take those 'mistakes' as excellent opportunities to learn and improve :-)

  • Hi @EpelengMampa ,

    Thank you for joining us on this course and for your wonderful positive introduction :-)

    I really do hope you will find useful materials and enjoy interacting with the global teacher community of this course - good luck with your teaching English online adventure!

  • I'd agree that meaningfulness puts the emphasis not just on successfully communicating messages but also that those messages are ones we/students can relate too.

  • Good tips for helping create a happy, friendly environment :-)

  • I hope you do get the chance to try similar activities and do adapt them to your own situation and what you feel comfortable with - good luck :-)

  • @CristinaMorenillaCamuñas an alternative way to frame this is rather than looking for mistakes students look for opportunities to improve one another's texts.

  • @CristinaMorenillaCamuñas I think popcorn reading can mean the same as 'round robin' reading, when students take it in turns to read aloud from a text in class. There are reasons why other approaches to classroom reading may be preferred. For an explanation and alternatives see...

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

  • Here's my Aha for the week ending 09/07/2022 -

    It's about using randomness to connecting ideas and constraints to help scaffold student creativity and have some fun. It's very related to some of the ideas shared in a webinar in the Creativity Series on Teaching English -...

  • This week I'm going to share a link to a forthcoming event - a webinar on Creative Feedback on Wednesday 27th July.

    That should relate well to the Week 3 topics on this course -

    It's the fourth session in a...

  • Hi @TetianaMaiboroda ,
    Welcome to our course :-)
    I really hope you will find some of the ideas useful and enjoy sharing and learning with others on the course.

  • Preparing good materials certainly takes time but we can save some by sharing with others and reusing one another's work.
    Fortunately a lot of teachers are very generous about making what they produce available to others :-)

  • I tend to agree but I sometimes find it difficult to be relaxed... even so, I try to smile and make things fun and that tends to help me relax - as well as being well-prepared.

    What do other course participants do in order to help themselves get into a relaxed state?

  • I love that you emphasise the relationship between teacher empathy and student readiness to learn :-)
    I think creating a positive learning environment is essential and being human is key to that, for both teachers and students.

  • Absolutely :-)

    I'd love to hear more about the techniques you (and other course participants) use to help motivate your students.

  • There some great TED talks and short videos to work with, thanks for sharing :-)

    I'm interested in your 'what if' activity. What does that involve? Perhaps, imagining alternative endings, settings, etc?

    A colleague introduced me to 'The Pixar Code' recently, and I think this works quite well as a way of helping...

  • Definitely - I know I'm always learning while teaching :-)

  • @ClaireRoss thanks for sharing - I hadn't seen that before :-)

  • Such great feedback "someone who actually knows her and listens to her" - to my mind that is a big part of what we mean by 'be human' :-)

  • Oh dear, that sounds really difficult :-(

    I have been in similar situations, it's really difficult to stay calm and fix technical problems while simultaneously trying to keep an eye on face-to-face and online students.

    I try to stay calm, set a task that is likely to engage and keep one group busy (probably the ones in the classroom with me), then do the...

  • I hope you find the course useful and that you soon will gain experience in online teaching :-)