Technologically and linguistically adventurous EFL teacher, trainer, writer and manager

Part of a series of summaries of the talks I’m attending at IATEFL Liverpool 2013. Please feel free to add things or correct me if I’ve misinterpreted anything!
These are the main points from Naomi Epstein’s talk, taken from my tweets.

Naomi shares a birthday with Helen Keller, which inspired her to study sign language.

The first law of holes: if you’re in one, stop digging. Students don’t do that “English and me are not good together”. Success breeds success, but what about those who are left behind. Teachers think it’s a lot of extra work.

1. The friendly eraser
a.k.a Friendly eraser (or Disappearing dialogues @thornburyscott/Reverse Reading @harrisonmike/Live reading passage @englishraven)
One day, there was a downpour. One student came in. @naomishema wrote “What happened to Sara this morning?” Students responded. This was the story they came up with. Naomi erased times. Students had to ask Sara to fill gaps and rewrite. Then more words. She called on students, not Sara, the key student. Finally, Sara worked at board with whole class to rewrite text. Sara was the teacher, with questions from @naomishema to help them put the text together if necessary. Giving homework online meant that Sara could get some extra differentiated homework – a wordcloud based on the story. A word of warning: don’t overuse the friendly eraser! Use it when it’s appropriate, but not all the time! And another: don’t count on your students to play along when you plan around them! Look for opportunities instead.

2. Charts
Charts are very powerful. Like this:

If we know the word she teaches us, we colour in the box on the chart for today.
The next lesson, she does the same thing, students colour in a box in the next column. They can see improvement.
This is my learning, and it felt good:

She doesn’t check how they fill in chart. Students are motivated and excited, and want to study. A course, not a test.
[note…favourite activity of the conference so far!]


Naomi gives the links from her talk

Comments on: "The Eureka moment – Naomi Epstein (IATEFL 2013)" (3)

  1. Hi Sandy, a quick question about the vocabulary chart – do you use the same words every day, as a way of recycling? Or were they the words that came up in that particular lesson?
    Thanks for all these summaries 🙂


  2. […] Thanks to Sandy Millin for posting her tweets from the talk. […]


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