ESP Conference ULM – October 4th / 5th 2013

I spent two days at the ESP conference in Ulm (Germany) the other week, presenting and of course getting some PD in for myself. Here are the best bits and pieces from the conference.

Session – Games to try with technical English learners – Claire Hart

Claire Hart always has creative ideas for teaching technical learners and made me ponder some questions with regard to using games in my classroom. We looked at the benefits of using games, what a game really is (or should be), and how games are perceived by both teachers and learners.

All this and a selection of activities using realia, pipe cleaners and objects around the room.

So, if you are interested in using games in the classroom, all the session information is available here: http://wp.me/p1ygCK-as

Session – Learning Styles in Technical English – Gabrielle Jones

Ohh – the first session ever to talk about the case AGAINST learning styles – very interesting!

Reasons for not considering learning styles when teaching:

1. You should not pigeon hole your learners
2. There is little empirical evidence for learning styles(!!)
3. It is an overly-simplistic way of categorising our learners
4. It encourages exclusion – will you target all styles? Are you balanced in your teaching? Do you want to target weaknesses or strengths? Has modern communication changed your learning style? Can we be flexible with our styles?

Reasons for considering learning styles when teaching:

1. Gets learners out of their comfort zone – e.g. I don’t need small talk coz I’m an engineer.
2. Useful in evaluating both the teacher and the course – Did you target all the students’ needs or pigeon hole them?
3. Learning styles are part of our experimental drive as teachers – it’s not only about the learner – we can experiment with different types of approaches and activities which meet different types of styles to develop our own teaching competencies

See Gabrielle’s blog here: http://businessenglishexperience.com/

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