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(VIDEO) Demo Lesson: Elementary Level Speaking/Pronunciation/Vocabulary Focus

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I always struggle with finding meaningful ways to teach pronunciation. I think this guy has some really good ideas. Of course, this is an elementary English class, and things get trickier when you teach higher levels. But during CELTA, the lowest level that we work with is pre-intermediate, so this can be a helpful demonstration of how to effectively communicate without using much language.
I love the way Bill checks meaning in various places - and rarely expects the students to say much more the the very minimum ("one to five - which is awful?" "very good or very bad?"). He continues in this vein with the word stress - instead of asking 'where is the stress' he asks "two syllables - stress on one or two?"

Bill also uses some super visualizations, which the students appear to pick up instantly: finger counting, palm thumping, waving hands, use of board, visuals etc. Note: student involvement in such madness rarely works (and it didn't for Bill either when he tried).

Other key points: pair work (set up with open-pair example), error correction, freer practice and not echoing students.

As an aside, Bill trained me up to be a tutor and played the guitar as my fiancee walked down the aisle at our wedding (yes, wife now) so I might be a bit biased.

Ryan
Thank you for posting this! I truly enjoy and admire the musicality of Bill's teaching style. He is warm, funny, and very engaging. I found myself participating and calling out answers along with the students. Lovely.
Not sure how Elementary this was but very good tips. I feel the need to speak a bit slower sometimes but do try and incorporate hand gestures, pictures, body language and noises when needed. I just might use a few of his ideas! Thanks!
The way he narrows his questions to a pseudo multiple choice format and his use of nonverbal language allow the students to participate without using much language. This seems to be an effective method for students at the elementary level whose comprehension may be more advanced than their expressive language abilities at this stage.
The lesson was very clear and had very good student feedback. He was very professional, I definitely aspire to teach a great lesson like that.
Just the teacher himself here is a really dynamic guy. It was fun just watching him. As a student, I don't think I would have been able to not be fully engaged just on that level, which I think is important to have as a teacher. Really cool to see.

I also liked a lot of the specific techniques here. The levels in the sentences, both visually and with the whistling, I thought, were effective. The students got that very easily. I think visually showing the levels of good and bad also helped here, because its sometimes hard for students to grasp the connotations of certain words, and hard for them to understand which word is better or worse. Really cool to watch, thank you!
One of the things that made this lesson successful was Bill's very clear intonation and use of vocabulary. All his instructions to the students were brief, clear, and free of extraneous or confusing words. He controls the classroom through the use of very simple commands like "Listen" or "Repeat" or "One of you answer." In many cases, this language use could be seen as rude, but Bill's general warm attitude and amiable personality make the lesson anything but unfriendly. The ability to maintain this tone seems like a crucial skill for an ESL teacher. I'm very impressed by how he commits to teaching and draws the students into the lesson.
The combination of multiple senses in the lesson seemed wonderfully effective. Using movement, visual, and audio cues to prompt and facilitate responses is something I think about when trying to teach to a group of people who may learn differently and this lesson showed them all integrated quite nicely.
I think he has some really good ideas here, and I like the way he integrates different learning styles and approaches into a single lesson. I especially liked the brainstorming section. It really gave the students a chance to incorporate words they knew into the current lesson, and offered opportunities for them to make connections between vocabulary that might not have been made yet.
I liked how the lesson covered multiple skills - vocabulary, pronunciation, stress, and question formation - while seeming very simple. Teaching vocabulary by comparing words to each other is probably very helpful for students both in class and, more importantly, when they actually use English outside of the classroom. He had all of the students engaged in the lesson both by having pair work and by calling on students at random. Something I really liked was that he didn't echo the students; he chose the student that had called out the correct answer and had that student repeat it for the class to hear. This lesson really had the students doing the work with more non-verbal than verbal cues to help them along.
His method of teaching what words convey what emotions is really interesting. It seems very simple but effective and was able to involve the class in a hands on activity. I also liked that he kept breaking down the structure of a basic sentence in more engaging ways (finger tapping and sound effects) than just explaining the 5 word sentence over and over. It seemed like the class was interested throughout the video and able to learn from their mistakes quickly and without any hassle.

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