Ayat Al-Tawel uses ETpedia with students of all ages. We asked her 10 questions to find out how it helps her.
1. What’s your name?
2. Where do you work?
At the British Council, Cairo, Egypt.
3. What type of school is it?
It's an international cultural and educational institute that has been in Egypt for more than 75 years now. Teaching English and delivering UK qualifications in Egypt is one of its main activities.
4. What are your main day-to-day responsibilities?
Teaching General English, conversation and business English courses and young learners. Besides teaching, I do some speaking placement testing, design assessment materials, and keep a record of students’ performance. I also try to develop and share new activities and materials with my colleagues.
5. Who are your students?
Adults ranging in age from 18 to 60+ and in level from beginners to advanced including university students, employees, fresh graduates or business men. My younger students range in age from 6 to 18 with different language levels and background.
6. What aspect of ELT are you especially interested in at the moment?
Using technology in teaching.
7. How is ETpedia helpful in your work?
It is a great companion as I keep moving from one section to another every day according to my lesson aims, students' needs and time. It guides me from the moment I am planning for a course, through all classes and even after I finish teaching a course to what I will do for my own professional development. It saves hours of planning time and opens opportunities for variation, adaptation and even creating my own materials inspired by the ideas it offers.
8. Which section of the book has been especially useful? Why?
All sections of the book are very useful at different times. However, I like the section on resources as it goes beyond using a course book or the everyday classroom resources in the usual way. It inspires teachers to use all possible objects around them to generate language in the classroom; starting from images and videos to Cuisenaire rods, board games and other objects in the classroom.
9. Which activity in a unit have you tried that worked well?
The unit on speaking was particularly helpful for me when I started teaching conversation classes as you have to always engage students in interesting topics that generates authentic discussion. I use the News discussion activities from ETpedia (Unit 26, activity 2 and Unit 32, activity 6) as warmers by dividing the students into groups to discuss the latest news they have watched or read during the week. The film discussion is another activity I used more than once (Unit 32, activity 8) which most of the students found very useful as they could learn and share useful phrases, expressions, and idioms that help with their fluency.
10. What’s one more teaching tip or activity that you would add to ETpedia?
I sometimes use Skype to hold mystery interviews with classes in other countries. Once we start a Skype call, students start asking each other questions about their currency, flag colours, language, famous sights until they find out where they are. After that, we can extend the activity to asking more detailed questions about each class and the culture of their countries. As a follow on, students can write what they have learnt about the other country in a chart or a poster.
Thank you to Ayat for answering our questions. Do you use ETpedia in the classroom? Let us know how you use it.