Keith’s Blog

Lingro- The Coolest Dictionary Known to Hombre

Have you ever noticed how much time it takes to look up a word from a website you are reading?
Depending on your method, you need to open up a new page, copy or type the word into the dictionary, and then go back to the original site to reexamine the context.
Super timesink!
Now imagine that same scenario when reading in a second language?
Most of us might give up depending on how many words we don’t know.
But what if there were a faster way…
That’s where comes in. Continue reading “Lingro- The Coolest Dictionary Known to Hombre”

Research Spotlight- The effectiveness of drama as an instructional approach for the development of second language fluency, comprehensibility, and accentedness

It is that time of year at my school- English performance.
Walking around the building, you will definitely hear the grumbles of teachers lamenting why we engage in such a “time-wasting” and stressful activity.
“C’mon! We aren’t drama teachers!”
While one cannot dispute the stressful nature of a yearly performance in front of parents, colleagues, and administrators, research by Galante and Thomson (2017) challenges the notion that our drama performance is a time-waster and also raises questions about our roles as (English) teachers. Continue reading “Research Spotlight- The effectiveness of drama as an instructional approach for the development of second language fluency, comprehensibility, and accentedness”

Extempore- The Speaking App I Have Been Waiting For

For the last few years, I have collected all homework assignments on online through sites such as Edmodo and Google Classroom.
While these sites make collecting and grading homework easy for me, and my students and parents love the convenience, there was always one type of assignment I couldn’t figure out how to do easily- speaking assignments.
Even in 2017, I have anxiety about whether my students will be able to record an mp3, save it, and then upload it. I worry their computer won’t have a microphone or they can’t figure out how to use an app on their phone.
Perhaps these fears are unfounded, but they are a result of the shock I had when I first started taking students online. Sure, they know how to play video games on the computer, but that’s about where it stops.
I had always wished Edmodo or Google Classroom could implement a recording mechanism within their apps so I could collect speaking samples easily from my students.
That day has yet to come (or I am uninformed). But recently, I came across an app that solves my problem. The app is called Extempore. Continue reading “Extempore- The Speaking App I Have Been Waiting For”

Research Spotlight- Ways to promote the classroom participation of international students by understanding the silence of Japanese university students

Anyone who has taught EFL in an Asian classroom has likely experienced moments of dead silence in the room.
You ask a question and…nothing.
While the common assumption is that silence is a culture issue, many researchers have presented arguments that factors other than culture are the stronger influence.
One such study that questions the relationship of culture and silence is Ways to Promote the Classroom Participation of International Students by Understanding the Silence of Japanese University Students by By Soonhyang Kim, University of North Florida, (USA); Burcu Ates, Sam Houston State University, (USA); Yurimi Grigsby, Concordia University Chicago, (USA); Stefani Kraker, Queens College, City University of New York, (USA); Timothy A. Micek, Ohio Dominican University, (USA). Continue reading “Research Spotlight- Ways to promote the classroom participation of international students by understanding the silence of Japanese university students”

Notice & Note Applied to Oxford Bookworms

In EFL reading classes, a lot of instruction time is dedicated to vocabulary development and reading comprehension.
And that is where it often stops.
While many feel that it is sufficient for EFL students to only be able to read and understand the meaning, I feel we should go beyond this surface-level understanding and encourage our students to think deeper about the texts, even at a beginner proficiency level (CEFR A1/A2).
One novel method of going deeper in a text is Beers & Probst’s Notice & Note. Continue reading “Notice & Note Applied to Oxford Bookworms”

3 Great Books About Classroom Management

What do a first-year teacher and a 30-year veteran have in common?
Both experience classroom management frustrations.
Many may dismiss classroom management as a rookie issue, but even teachers with years of experience need help with classroom management.
That being said, the help that a new teacher and an experienced teacher need is quite different. While one needs to build fundamental skills, the other can benefit by a reframing of perspective.
The following are my favorite books on classroom management. Because different teachers need different things, I have separated the 3 books by category: New Teacher, First Three Years, and Veteran Teacher. Continue reading “3 Great Books About Classroom Management”

NCAA March Madness- Bringing Together Your Staff

March Madness is here!
It has been reported that “distracted employees cost businesses about $4 billion per year” ( I buy into this statistic because for the next few weeks, I will be glued to ESPN, checking the updates, and constantly questioning the decisions I have made on my bracket. I am definitely part of the problem.
Many would argue that if brought into schools, the lack of productivity could be disastrous for student achievement. If teachers are focusing on their brackets, they are not focusing on their lessons. This means students will not be taught and may not learn.
So then why would I suggest that March Madness belongs in schools if clearly there are negative effects?
While I can see why people would be hesitant to promote March Madness in schools, potential gains are being overlooked. I feel that bringing March Madness into schools has a huge upside-improved school climate. Continue reading “NCAA March Madness- Bringing Together Your Staff”