New things I’ve tried this month (April)


I realise with shame that this post is not only late (as it is 5 days into the new month already) but also I have tried significantly fewer ‘new things’ this month than I did previously. In my defense, it’s been a busy month!

Some of my forays into the unknown have included:

Using storytelling in the classroom.

It seems slightly ludicrous that this is a first for me, given that I’m far from new to teaching. In previous years I’ve taught predominantly pre-teens, teens and adults, and although I’ve used extracts from short stories and novels in class, they’ve never really struck me as a prime candidate for ‘stories’. My YL heavy timetable this year though means that I’ve taken my first steps into using actual storybooks as part of a lesson. My littlies really enjoyed The Gruffalo and it was great fun for me to see them so engaged in something, especially understanding and enjoying something not intended for EFL learners.

Overcoming a fear.

Sometimes it seems as if this is something I do almost every week – teaching challenging students, navigating something in a foreign language, taking risks in the classroom without being certain if they will pay off. I do, however, have a somewhat embarrassing fear – my childhood phobia of anything to do with Ancient Egypt (including, but not limited to mummies) has followed me through to adulthood and creates challenges every time I encounter it in a coursebook. I’ve been known to skip that lesson, or conveniently brush over it in order to focus on something else – suffice it to say that those lessons have always been at best uninspired and invariably far from my best. This week, however, my grade 4s faced the seemingly inevitable topic of Ancient Egypt – and this week I decided to grit my teeth and bear it. I found some great interactive whiteboard resources over at the Manchester Children’s University and my students really enjoyed trying to write each other’s names in hieroglyphics. Ancient Egypt will never be my favourite coursebook topic, but at least I proved to myself that I’m more than capable of teaching a topic I dislike, and overcoming my own prejudices for the benefit of my students.

Outside of work…

Not ELT related in the slightest, but it’s significant enough to be worth a mention. As I discussed in a previous post I will be participating in the Prague Color Run at the start of June. In my desire to not die (and to be able to run the whole course) I’ve been training – aiming to run 3-4 times a week. School trip aside, I’m excited that I’ve managed to stick to it so far, and I’m already seeing a definite improvement in my fitness.

What new things have you tried this month?



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