Well, I've had my presentation proposals accepted and I'll be heading back to Korea to present a couple of seminars at the Korea TESOL (KOTESOL) International Conference on October 24-25.
I've actually lost count how many KOTESOL ICs I've attended, but this will be the first time in almost four years that I haven't been there as a guest of Pearson Education (and subsequently the first time in quite a while that I'll be presenting on something other than the Boost! Integrated Skills coursebooks!). The price of going as an independent presenter this time is compounded by the fact that I'm jetting into Seoul all the way from Melbourne this time, rather than getting a 30 minute flight up from Kimhae Airport in Busan. It's going to cost a bit between the airfare and the accommodation, but it is an excellent conference and I'll be able to catch up with a lot of old friends.
Here are the abstracts for my two presentations, in case you happen to be at the event and want to come along and say hello!
How to Make TOEFL Speaking Involved, Interesting, and INTERACTIVE!
Unfortunately (and curiously), the majority of test-preparation materials on the market for the TOEFL iBT speaking section are rather uninspiring and – in many cases – just downright boring, for both students and teachers! They also tend to target single users preparing for the test on their own, which creates complications for classroom and group-based students preparing for the test together with a single teacher. In this presentation and accompanying workshop, Jason Renshaw will present a unique approach to TOEFL speaking preparation that focuses on three essential criteria. These are that the students should become personally INVOLVED in the tasks; they should find the content and applications INTERESTING; and – most importantly – the activities should promote genuine INTERACTION. In addition, Jason’s approach to classroom-based TOEFL speaking tasks promotes the idea of teachers being facilitators of practice rather than just “checkers”. Finally, the tasks presented also encourage whole-class participation rather than isolated performances. Whether you are a student preparing for the TOEFL speaking section or a teacher responsible for preparing learners for the test, you’re likely to find some ideas here to inspire you. This will be a very hands-on workshop, so be prepared to participate!
Creating an Adventure-based Reading Approach for 9-14 year olds
Part of our professional practice as English teachers(and materials writers) is to explore new approaches to teaching and learning. “Adventure-based” Reading is an example of this creative process borne out of classroom experience, designed by Jason Renshaw. It specifically targets first and second language learners aged 9-14 who are ready to move on from standard levelled-reading approaches, and seeks to incorporate priorities such as extensive and voluntary reading, reading fluency, and integrated and content-based reading. It also targets global issues, a values-based curriculum, and the combination of non-fiction elements within an imaginative fiction-style format. Central to the approach is the idea of the reader him/herself becoming the main character in the story and controlling the direction of the plot to experience a genuine adventure! Adventure-based reading also addresses the tricky issues of mixed-ability classrooms and reader motivation. It is flexible enough to be used as a whole-class or independent reading application. In this presentation, Jason will explain how and why this new approach was developed, and give attendees a taste of Adventure-based Reading so they can experience it for themselves.
Jason Renshaw is a veteran teacher of English as a second and foreign language, having taught the language for more than 17 years in countries on three different continents. He is a graduate of the University of Melbourne and his Korea-based experience amounts to 10 years teaching in private institutes, culminating in a position as visiting professor in the English Education department at Kyungpook National University. He is the author of the acclaimed BOOST! Longman Integrated Skills Series, and is the founder/webmaster of the well-known teacher resource website www.englishraven.com. He has also developed considerable specialization in materials design and test preparation for TOEFL, TOEIC and IELTS. Currently, Jason lives in Australia and works from his home next to the beach as a freelance ELT materials writer and tutor for his own online school: www.English-iTutor.com.