I was recently lucky enough to attend the International House Younger Learners Conference. It was great to watch sessions given by such enthusiastic, experienced and knowledgeable teachers, fantastically hosted by IH Malta-Gozo.
Here are the highlights of the sessions that I got to watch…
Alan Marsh kicked off the conference by focusing on rhythm and rhyme. He told us a story and acted it out while we listened and got ourselves in the mindset of 7-year-olds. Next, he told the story again while we did the gestures. Third time round, we retold the story in groups, each taking on a character from the story. It was really memorable and fun – great for this age group!
Kylie Malinowska made an excellent point about going back the principles behind YL activities. She suggested that by using our favourite activities over and over again, we can sometimes lose sight of why we’re using them. Team up with colleagues now and again and when you’re sharing ideas, think about the linguistic aims of your activities.
Anna Hasper presented the new ‘Our World’ series of coursebooks. Her points included the importance of polarisation with YL groups, raising awareness of world cultures, and the use of videos to support learning outside the classroom.
Jon Hird addressed the issue of dyslexia in the classroom. This was a real eye-opener for me as someone who doesn’t know much about the issue. He showed how, by following some simple steps we can make learning much easier for dyslexic students. See his blog for more.
Glenn Standish took us back to using postcards and setting up penfriends for students. He showed us how this retro idea had gone down really well at IH Torun.
Katarina Ule showed us how the students at IH Mint Ljubljana, students had been having fun using Lego® to build storyboards. Photos of these were then turned into colourful books, with students adding dialogue to the characters.
Sally McAndrew from IH Riga focused on drawing in the classroom. We created characters to build language around, made our own booklets and also drew representations of idioms. We certainly had fun, so definitely something students would enjoy!
Thanks IH Malta-Gozo for a great conference!