Teachers often talk about the stuff that’s on paper. Grading, assessments, textbooks, the syllabus, and so on.
But it’s also important to talk about the soft skills. What does your class feel like? What’s the mood? How is everyone getting along?
David Bunker’s recent post got me thinking about rapport, not just between the teacher and students, but among everyone in the class. Rapport is essential. The perfect syllabus and materials are useless if the students hate each other and don’t encourage each other to do their best work.
Despite the various backgrounds of the students and the obvious barriers to communication, I’ve found ESL classrooms to be surprisingly easy places to build rapport. Something about learning a language as an outsider in a culture often causes people to form quick friendships.
As a teacher, you don’t want to leave that process to chance. You want to create situations that foster rapport building among everyone in the class – teacher to students and student to student.
The beginning of the semester is a busy time for teachers, so I’ll give you the good stuff right away. Below is the student questionnaire I’ll be using for my classes this coming semester. I kept it in Word so you can edit to your heart’s content.
Some quick background: I teach an adult ESL writing class at an intensive English program at an American university.
Now, if you’re interested in why student questionnaires are so important and want to know what to include in a student questionnaire for your own class, then keep reading!
Virtual reality is here and it’s only going to get bigger and bigger in the next few years.
If you don’t know much about virtual reality and don’t believe me, go to YouTube on your smartphone and search for “360 VR” (360 degrees, virtual reality). Choose a video that looks interesting and start watching, but move your phone around. That’s right: you’re controlling where the camera goes.
Now, that’s cool. But can you use VR to teach? I’m sure there’s going to be tons of apps and equipment hitting the markets, but you can already do some activities in class with VR that’s already available, and you won’t have to spend more than $20.
Introducing: Google Cardboard.