Saturday, November 27, 2010

Back to Basics

This past Saturday, I attended the Daejeon/Chungnam Kotesol conference, conveniently hosted at my own uni.  I will talk about some of the presentations in a couple posts.  But to start things off:

My first presentation was someone talking about motivation uncovered using surveys and blind variables and why students study English and how their motivations correlate with grades and high level and low level students and what differences there are in time studied outside class and if the teacher is handsome matters. that a most confusing sentence?  Yes?  That's what the presentation was like. 

Anyway, not much to take away from it, but since I make it my goal to extrapolate something from every single presentation I go to, I've kicked my brain into overdrive and come up with the following: people that do presentations like this seem to have way too much time on their hands.  Teaching ESL/EFL is a pretty simple thing.  A book (or not).  A blackboard to write on.  Notebooks and pencil.  Some handouts (or not).  To me, doing all these surveys and extrapolating all this data just wouldn't seem that helpful to me. 

And going along with this, I attended a session from Joshua Davies about Powerpoint's good and bad.  There was a lot of bad.  And you know, actually I never use PPT in my classes.  I could (and have in the past) but it just doesn't seem that helpful.  Like, I don't want to be competing with what's written on the screen.  And, I generally write very little text during a class anyway, so can write it on the board very easily.  Josh pointed out though that for some things, a visual can say it like words never could.  So, perhaps I will start to integrate more video or pictures into my classes next year.  We'll see.  But for now, no more nagging guilt feelings that I'm being a bad teacher by not using PPT.  I have a feeling that the students are doing fine without out.  Sticking to the basics works for me, due to my sparkling personality and beautiful-ness. Hahaha.  It's probably just the little stamp I give them in their books.


Jason said...

I use power point for the following reasons.

1. Saving myself the time and energy needed to write out things (especially if students are low level and I MUST have the written aid).
2. It's insanely easy to get pictures into power points to wake them up, motivate them, and get them interested in the lesson content, or whatever is going on.
3. If I'm lecturing I can add pics and make things a little more 'real' for the students.
4.Many students are visual learners and the visual cues I can use like arrows and other custom animation items work well with their visual information processing tendencies.
5. If you have poor hand writing on your board work (I don't)that can help you avoid problems for students being able to read your board work.
6. You can embed short video clips, audio clips, into your power point for learning exercises and activities.

And more . . .

But I would add that I also like doing classes where I don't use power point at all, and the focus in on what the teacher and students co-produce through dialogues and whatever we're doing in each stage of a lesson....


Jackie Bolen said...

There are many ways to skin a cat. Isn't that the saying?