Tuesday, 6 May 2014

The Present Simple 1 - Back To Basics

I am very proud to announce that this post has been awarded the 'Teaching English Blog Award for Innovative Teaching Ideas' by the British Council.

I would like to take this opportunity to thank Teaching English  for their support and thank everyone who voted :-)

This post is the first of a series of three, on the topic of the Present Simple tense. It contains a printable infographic covering the basics of the Present Simple and three printable worksheets.  

Getting back to basics:

If you've been following my blog, you'll know that I've been on a journey of discovery, concerning using technology to create materials and using technology to teach and study.  

A few weeks ago I began teaching a group of 12 adults face-to-face.   I was excited to get back into the classroom, I mainly teach online today, and try out some of my new creations on a group. I checked the equipment: I had a computer and projector, a fast internet connection and a full class.  I was ready and raring to go.....
We have had three lessons so far and I must say I'm thoroughly enjoying teaching the group.  It's a pleasure to teach face-to-face and a challenge to teach adults at this level; it's really great to get 'back to basics'.  This experience has reminded me that although using technology to teach is amazing, it's not always appropriate.  As teachers we shouldn't allow it to distract us as I did, from what is really important, 'the students'.  The truth of the matter is, the tools we use are far less important than the way we teach.

The minute the lights went out, the atmosphere changed in the classroom and I felt the tension rise.  One student couldn't see well, another said the writing was too small, another said she was getting too hot from the projector.  I had made an extremely basic mistake. The group's native language is Amharit, they have all had to learn Hebrew, so English is a third or for some of them a fourth language; at beginner level, the experience of a first lesson with a new teacher was daunting enough, without adding unfamiliar technology and teaching methods. Most of them don't have smart phones and for this group, this method, at this stage, was just not suitable.  So I switched off my overhead projector, sharpened my white board pen, dusted off my flash cards and reverted back to traditional methods.  

I have been working with the group on the topic of places in a town and shops.  I highly recommend using the lesson materials from the British Council's Teaching English website, my students really enjoyed them.  In our next lesson I'm going to use the language that we've worked on to introduce the Present Simple tense. I have created some printable materials in order to do this: 

Click on the link below to print or save: