Wrapping it up

Published on 29th June, 2011 in Global Bloggers by Scott Shelton

Eight weeks have passed and it’s been a unique experience sharing snapshots of classroom practice using the Global coursebook and a brief insight into my experience of living and teaching in Hanoi.

I’d often considered keeping a journal of what I do in the classroom as a way to reflect on what I do and how my students react to the learning opportunities created within the lessons. It has been a useful exercise for me, and exciting to share this with readers around the world.

There has been a lot of discussion over the years regarding the approach and packaging of course material for a ‘global’ audience of English language learners, and if it is really possible to do so in such a way that genuinely meets learners’ needs in so many diverse learning situations around the world. While this is likely to be impossible in all cases, this is where I believe teachers are able to step in, using their own teaching and learning experience, intuition, and knowledge of local needs and expectations.

What seems to me to be one of the overriding advantages to Global, is that it is a coursebook written by very experienced teachers and trainers, informed by much of what has been researched in recent years in ELT, and their own varied teaching background as well.

I’ve enjoyed using it, and my students have reacted well to the new material. So, in keeping with the idea that all good things come in sixes, here is why I’ve enjoyed using Global.

• The texts, tasks, and engaging themes, and the way the material is organised in the lessons, allow me to choose, blend and develop them to fit the needs of the learners. A lot of the content, as well as the language, is quite meaningful and attempts to accommodate a range of learning styles.

• A lot of the listening material is natural and unscripted with examples of different accents including non-native speakers, reflecting the ‘global’ use of English. There is a single page dedicated to writing, giving it the separate focus it needs and deserves.

• The teacher’s books are useful, with tips for extra activities, further explanation and suggestions for alternative approaches to using the material.

• The DVD video component is a fantastic resource. There is a mix of both authentic BBC-type clips and scripted acting from brilliant actors which are humorous illustrations of language or topics from the lesson.

• There is a strong lexical thread running through the lessons, and the grammar focus is usually brief and to the point. Lots of guided discovery techniques, task based and process approaches. Reading and listening skills are nicely dealt with and there are a range of task types.

• The e-workbook and (IWB software) bring us up to date and offer learners autonomy and choice in taking a more active role in their own journey towards improved English proficiency.

I’d like to wish all of the teachers who may read these entries the best of luck. Ours is a demanding job, but it’s been said that, ‘you teach best what you need to learn most’. And I’m still learning …

Thanks for reading!