Easy ways to write a TEFL workshop and/ or TEFL article

By Alex Case

There is no end to the possible things you could write about or speak about if you have the whole world of teaching and language learning to choose from, but sometimes it can be difficult to decide where to start.

1. Problem and solutions
Think of one problem you had, then give the solution you used, others you tried, and any others you can think of. Discuss what other situation those solutions can be used in and/ or what you learnt from the whole problem solving process.

2. Ways of practising/ games for…
Make a list of ways of practising one particular grammar point, function, situation, type of exam question, etc, plus maybe the general principles you used to come up with those ideas or other things the ideas can be used for. This is perhaps the easiest way to start writing, as the initial ideas can come from a Google search or trawl of books in the teachers’ room.

3. Games using…
Make a list of ways of using one or more particular classroom props (OHP etc), particular toys (beach ball etc), or materials the students are given or are available in the self-access centre (graded readers etc), along with ideas on what language points you could cover in those ways. If you got some or all of the ideas from elsewhere, letting others know the sources can also be useful.

4. Good ideas from…
Pass on some highlights from a particular workshop or training course you attended, website you’ve found, teacher’s book you are using, TEFL magazine you have read, one particular TEFL author or other TEFL celebrity, one teachers’ forum etc.

5. Ideas from the world of…
Give ideas on how do adapt activities from outside TEFL, such as drama (e.g. warmers), therapy (e.g. speaking exercises), or art (vocabulary learning).

6. Sources for/ ways of finding out more about…
Talk about how teachers can find out more about particular kinds of teaching, alternative teaching methodologies, their students’ areas of business etc. without too much boredom, time or expense, starting with how you did so.

7. Alternative ways of…
Doing a textbook listening, introducing a grammar points, using a particular textbook etc.

8. Teaching … classes
Describe how to tackle a particular kind of class, e.g. large classes, mixed level classes, classes that don’t get on, very low or high level, particular age ranges, or mixed pre-experience and post-experience business classes.

9. Teaching … students
Concentrate on one particular kind of student, e.g. the very old, very young, deaf, blind, students with particular first languages, students who can’t read the Roman script etc.

10. What I learnt from teaching…
Extreme teaching situations you have been in, and what you learnt from that that has been useful in your other classes, e.g. teaching a blind student, teaching outdoors, teaching babies

11. What I learnt from…
The experience of working in a store, time management training, learning a sport etc and how it is relevant to language teaching and learning.

12. (Teaching) English is like…
One or a connected string of metaphors for teaching or learning a language being like playing a sport, walking dogs, hunting etc, with ways you can convert that into practical classroom practices

13. A reaction to another workshop or article
Talk about your disagreement with, extensions of, variations of etc an idea you came across elsewhere, plus maybe a general theory of how people should approach similar ideas and new ideas in general.

14. Variations on…
Take one well known thing and see how many ways you can come up with of changing the number of people, use of technology etc, e.g. variations on Find someone who, card games, board games, or PPP.

15. Training your students to…
Use a vocabulary notebook, make foreign friends, read a newspaper on their own, stop translating etc.

Written by Alex Case for TEFL.net March 2008
Alex Case is the author of TEFLtastic.

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