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Πέμπτη, 22 Μαρτίου 2012

Jamie Keddie's interview in IATEFL Conference 2012






I had heard of Jamie Keddie and his lesson plans in www.lessonstream.org in the past, but  I attended one of his seminars for the first time a couple of weeks ago, in the TESOL Macedonia-Thrace Convention, in Thessaloniki.

I was impressed by his liveliness and energy, the way he used his body as a resource in the classroom, trying not simply to “deliver” the material as a postman (this was the topic of his presentation there) but to demonstrate how we, teachers, can actually mediate between the teaching content and the learner. In addition I had always been interested in teaching with multiple modalities and I was fascinated by the way he integrated visual prompts in the EFL classroom so as to teach lexis and pronunciation in the most motivating way.

So, as soon as I traced his IATEFL interview with Nick Peachey and Kirsteen Donaghy I wanted to hear him talk..His interview revolved around two main topics: Video story telling and quality Teacher Talking Time.

Video story telling is a way of bringing together traditional story telling and videos by deconstructing them. Jamie’s presentation focuses on the idea of Courage and putting your life in danger, by using a video regarding a rugby team of disabled people in wheel chairs, who are getting ready for the Paralympics.

Two are the main issues discussed: the content on one hand and the medium on the other. Content wise, the teacher can explore stereotypical representations of disabled people as objects of pity as well as introduce and practice topic-related vocabulary. The question raised by N. Peachy is to what extent there is a place in the language classroom for such issues. Well, “language works in multiple levels, not just the lexical one”, Jamie claims; therefore not only is there space for such topics but also children can be helped to develop critical thinking in a stimulating way. However, we, as teachers, should be careful when dealing with such matters.

Regarding the use of the video itself, Jamie claims that motivation increases due to the fact that none of the students has seen the video, which is delivered through the medium of the teacher himself. Also teachers are given the opportunity to grade their material and adapt it according to the age and level of their students, modifying, simplifying it or changing the focus. The magic of it is that the pictures stay the same but the language changes!

Jamie’s next topic is how to make teacher talking time more valuable for the learners. Teachers are often reluctant to talk too much in the classroom for fear of conducting monologues. What Jamie suggests is constructed dialogues, well prepared in advance, which are rather beneficial for their learners as along as they include talking with and not to our students. Teacher talking Time should not be kept to a minimum as long as it is quality time!

You can enjoy the full interview in the video above!

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