7 Free Online Courses in March

March is probably the most moody month in the whole year – rainy nights, windy days, sudden outbursts of sun and there is not a single day off… unless you have the luck of the Irish and celebrate Saint Paddy’s Day. For me March means a week off to stop for a while, take a deep breath and get ready for quite intensive spring (and make up for the lack of a winter break!)… and maybe take up a new course…

Naturally, if you – like me – enjoy learning new things, you will hopefully take a look at the courses below and find them really useful. I tried to look for some nice and light classes – and here they are.

Except for Mathematical Thinking – that’s a tough one…

Becoming an Expert Learner by the Northpoint Bible College

Start: self-paced

For whom: people who want to maximize their learning

The course bases on the theory of multiple learning intelligences. You will not only learn how to identify various learning intelligences, but also how to indentify your own and use them to maximize your learning. Discover how to further develop your learning intelligences. Moreover, concerning your teaching practice, you will also explore study and note-taking methods and techniques to support a variety of learners, helping each to become an expert learner.

Resume, Networking, and Interview Skills by Fullbridge

Start: self-paced

For whom: people who want to highlight their skills

This course will help you make a lasting impression on managers throughout your job search. You will learn how to construct eye-catching resumes, customize application materials, create and curate professional profiles on social networks like LinkedIn etc. You will also discuss the idea of networking, how to strategically grow and use it. It may be a great idea if you think of changing your career or teach Business English.

Irish 101: An Introduction to Irish Language and Culture by Dublin City University

Start: 4.03.2019

Duration: 4 weeks

For whom: people who get carried away with St. Paddy’s Day

This course is more than just introduction to the Irish language. You will talk about Ogham try to pronounce Irish words, especially when it comes to famous greetings, blessings and curses. You will also learn about Irish names and mythology, the Gaeltachtaí and other cultural places in Ireland etc. It’s a great course to start with your students, especially when they get into the Irish mood. Oh, and if you want to watch more, there are at least five more parts of this course!

Teaching English: How to Plan a Great Lesson by the British Council

Start: 4.03.2019

Duration: 4 weeks

For whom: teachers of English

The British Council has been releasing courses for teachers for a while and apart from educational side, they give quite a lot of support on their Facebook group – British Council Teacher Community. This course focuses on understanding the rudiments of education, from understanding learners to planning lessons, managing resources etc. If you feel like you need some revision or just fancy a nice course, go for it.

Physical Theatre: Exploring the Slap by the University of Leeds

Start: 4.03.2019

Duration: 2 weeks

For whom: teachers of English who want to enrich their classes

This course introduces you to world-renowned Russian director Meyerhold’s technique of biomechanics – a two-minute repeatable exercise used to develop balance, awareness and expression. You’ll learn about the rich tradition of actor training and the practical techniques which have inspired actors in the 1920s and is still inspiring theatre directors and actors today. If you feel like you need to work on your movements – that’s the course for you.

Introduction to Mathematical Thinking by Stanford University

Start: 4.03.2019

Duration: 9 weeks

For whom: people who want to explore various ways of thinking

Mathematical thinking is not the same as doing mathematics – fortunately! The math classes we remember typically focuse on learning procedures to solve boring problems. Professional mathematicians think a certain way to solve real problems. The key feature of mathematical thinking is thinking outside-the-box – a valuable ability in today’s world. This course will help you to develop that crucial way of thinking. You should be aware, however, that this course requires you to work at least 10 hours of study per week to complete this course satisfactorily.

Stanford Introduction to Food and Health by Stanford University

Start: 11.03.2019

Duration: 5 weeks

For whom: people who want to change the way they eat

This course will focus on more practical discussions about real food and the environment in which we consume it. By the end of this course, you will have the tools you need to distinguish between foods that will support your health and those that threaten it. In addition, you will present a compelling rationale for a return to simple home cooking, an integral part of our efforts to live longer, healthier lives.

I hope you’ll find the courses interesting and have fun studying!

Advertisements

7 Free Courses Online in February

7 Free Online Coursesin February

February is a month simply asking for a winter break. Most people go skiing or flee to some warmer spots on the map, others prefer staying in and relaxing. Whichever is your choice, I’m sure you might think of a nice and enjoyable course to enjoy during this winter month.

Becoming a Better Teacher: Exploring Professional Development by the British Council

Starts: 4/02/19

Duration: 4 weeks

For whom: teachers who want to improve their skills

One of the more interesting courses by the British Council shows you not only areas you may improve as a teacher, but also explains the idea of CPD, emphasises the importance of peer observations and demonstrates there’s nothing as good as Kolb’s cycle for a self-reflection. I believe it’s a perfect course for February – you can still feel the tingling of New Year Resolutions, but you’ve probably experienced your first downfall (statistically – if not, I salute you). This course will put you back on the track to mastering your teaching ways,

Creating Apps in the Classroom by the QUT

Starts: 4/02/19

Duration: 2 weeks

For whom: teachers who want to discover what apps are and how they might be used

You probably use some awesome apps (if not, check my recommendations here). This course will show you the basics of creating your own application. Who knows, maybe that will inspire you to create a real breakthrough in teaching? Good luck, and remember that you will be asked to sign up for a free, online app creation site. For those with limited internet access, the software may be downloaded and used offline on a PC.

Teaching Phonics in Early Childhood by the QUT

Starts: 4/02/19

Duration: 2 weeks

For whom: teachers who want to discover the power of phonics

A friend of mine has recently said that once she hadn’t understood the idea behind teaching phonics, but since she’d started working with children it all suddenly made sense. You have an opportunity to discover the importance of phonics in learning English. You will learn about an appropriate strategy for teaching code-related literacy in early childhood settings – and this may influence your teaching style.

Testing Times in the Classroom: Challenges of 21st Century Education by the University of Exeter

Starts: now 🙂

Duration: 4 weeks

For whom: anyone interested in education

We all know education changes – and recently it’s been changing quite rapidly. Formative assessment, alternative education, even technological impact influence the educational process… however, not the system. Some thoughts, ideas and practices have remained the same or similar. This course will be a great opportunity to discuss the changes not only in the whole educational system, but also our individual approach.

Orchestrating Whole Classroom Discussion by the University of Pennsylvania

Starts: 30/01/2019

Duration: 4 weeks

For whom: every teacher who wants to encourage great classroom discussions

This course will help you inspire, start and monitor a great discussion in the classroom. You will learn how to set goals for discussion, select texts and prepare text-based questions to guide the conversation – and prepare students for the whole-class discussion. This is a great idea if you struggle with this area of teaching English.

Assessment for Learning by the University of Illinois

Starts: 30/01/2019

Duration: 4 weeks

For whom: people interested in current debates about testing

Who likes tests?

Yeah, just as I thought. This course is an interesting study of various testing systems, and the strengths and weaknesses of various approaches to assessment. You will not only try to define “standardised assessments”, but also discuss new opportunities, educational data mining and the actual purposes of assessment, evaluation, and research. Sounds quite interesting, especially if you hate your present testing system!

How to Survive Your PhD by the Australian National University

Starts: self-paced

Duration: 4 weeks

For whom: all those brave people who decided to get PhD

Having realised that between one-quarter and one-third of all research students never finish their degree, I’ve never made an attempt to get one. I know some courageous people who decided to walk the path of despair, so I think this course may be a great thing for them. You will learn how to understand the common emotional experiences of research students, help them cope with the emotional challenges of research study and even become more effective research supervisors.

Hope you’ll find the course that’s just perfect for you – enjoy!

7 Free Online Courses in January

Have you already decided on your New Year resolutions? In case you plan to focus on your self-development, I have an interesting choice of online courses you may start this month. Some of them are more demanding and others are more fun, but I’m sure you’ll find something suitable. It may look like all of my ideas are connected with changing career, but it’s a New Year – if not now, when?

Mindshift: Break Through Obstacles to Learning and Discover Your Hidden Potential by McMaster University

Start: 4/01/2019

Duration: 4 weeks

For whom: people who want to boost their career

Mindshift is a key word nowadays – you can see yourself more opened to new ideas and opportunities. If you think of changing your career or boosting it, you may find this course really inspiring. It’s always interesting to see that most obstacles are usually created in our own minds.

Successful Career Development by the University System of Georgia

Start: 4/01/2019

Duration: 7 weeks

For whom: people who want to succeed in their career

Being teachers, we usually got our jobs by simply applying for them. This course, however, will help you find a job that you dream of. You will explore the idea of a mentor, the importance of networking and even the ways LinkedIn works. Among other useful abilities, I think the one described as “asking for help” may be quite an important one.

Converting Challenges into Opportunities by the University of California, San Diego

Start: 7/01/2019

Duration: 4 weeks

For whom: people who feel too much pressure at work

We all – both teachers and students – live in a really competitive environment. This course will familiarise you with the concept of Design Thinking and how out-of-the-box thinking may change your attitude to life obstacles. Ever since I took a short Design Thinking course with Luiza Wójtowicz-Waga I must confess it’s changed my approach to… challenges and opportunities.

Strategic Career Self-Management by the State University of New York

Start: 7/01/2019

Duration: 6 weeks

For whom: people interested in their career self-management

My parents worked in one school for 25 years – can you imagine? We change our workplaces more and more often with constant pressure and expectations. The ability to “manage oneself” will soon be the most important skill on the market. This course will make you focus on your portable skills and build your portfolio. If you need help in boosting self-confidence and defining your skills – this course may be a great option!

Success – Unleash Yourself by the University of Agder

Start: 7/01/2019

Duration: 9 weeks

For whom: people interested in successful careers

“Have you ever wondered why some people seem to attract success while others work very hard, but do not achieve what they want? Are you interested in changing your own life and being more successful?” – the authors of the course offer you a professional journey to the place where you’ll overflow with self-confidence and readiness for changes. New Year, New Me Big Style!

Writing Winning Resumes and Cover Letters by University of Maryland, College Park

Start: 07/01/2019

Duration: 4 weeks

For whom: teachers and people looking for a new job

Sure, this course may be helpful if you think about changing your job, but I find it a great idea to use it with a group of students of EFL who will soon start looking for their first job. They will not only learn how to write good resumes, but also practise their writing skills.

Psychology of Personal Growth by the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology

Start: 8/01/2019

Duration: 6 weeks

For whom: people interested in CPD

The course will take you on a journey through the process of personal growth, starting with high hopes, through disillusionment, lack of belief and regaining self-confidence. You will focus on romantic love and explore its cultural background. If you want to explore your emotional life, this may be a good course for you.

As you see – you don’t think of changing your career, you may still enjoy those courses to boost your skills, self-confidence and motivation.

Enjoy!

7 Ideas for Engaging Homework Online

Ideas for Engaging Homework Online

Everything in moderation, including moderation, of course – that’s my motto when it comes to the idea of homework. There are those who believe in the magic of Thomson and Martinet, there are also people who prefer to teach without any homework at all. Maybe the key to success is not limiting homework or getting rid of it, but changing our approach? What about adjusting homework to our students’ needs and interests?

Teaching EFL seems much easier – at least in terms of homework – than other subjects. Students (schoolchildren and adults alike) usually understand the importance of learning the language, especially now, with the opportunities of travelling abroad, with more and more people working or studying abroad, with online games forcing people to communicate… All we, as teachers, need to do, is to shift our mindset; we live in a world where literally everything and everyone encourages people to learn English, even more – students themselves realise its importance and are mostly keen on learning after school. We must not spoil it with dull grammar drills on paper copies that are so easy to be forgotten, lost or ignored.

I believe we should share our enthusiasm, our true passion for not only teaching but using English and adapt homework to our students’ needs, styles of learning and interests. Homework assignments may be yet another way to personalise our approach and show our students the benefits of taking responsibility for their own educational process. Today, when there are many tools online ready to use, we can share them with our students, enabling them to study on their own and develop not only their linguistic skills, but also broaden their horizons.

1 Online grammar exercises

There are many useful websites for students to do their drills and doing them online may give them result immediately after they finish, without waiting fr the teacher to correct their work. You may create a padlet with all the useful exercises and tell your students your next graded test will be based on those exercises, thus motivating them to work after class.
Examples: englishgrammar.org, perfect-english-grammar.com

2 Videos

Everyone likes watching videos as homework – so why not use it more often? You can pick an interesting video summing up the lesson or introducing the next topic, you may also ask students to write a composition referring to the video. Here you may base on your students’ interests, changing boring homework into fun activity.
Examples: ed.ted.com, www.ted.com, youtube.com, truetube.co.uk

3 Listening

Listening exercises aren’t very varied in the classroom, mostly referring to the coursebook content, so we may assign a song or a podcast as an interesting homework activity – this may be their contact with “real” English, not the somewhat strict classroom environment.
Examples: lyricstraining.com, elllo.org

4 Mobile applications

Asking students to use a chosen application on their mobiles on a regular basis may prove to be a true homework of a 21st century. We may ask the whole group to use the same application in a manner of year-ling competition, or adapt various apps to our students’ individual needs, enhancing individual approach.
Examples: memrise, knudge.me, 6 minute English, various applications by the British Council

5 Tests

Apart from having fun in the classroom, you may assign a test as homework – be it a ready-made grammar test or a self-designed vocabulary check. There are many various online test applications, however for teenagers I recommend quizizz as it’s free, funny and you can use various memes.
Examples: quizizz, kahoot, quizlet

6 Class blogs

This form of a schoolyear-long project may be a great idea for a focused class of students who are already familiar with self-assessment. You may decide various topics the blog should be written about – school life, books, film, celebrities etc., but why not design a blog on classroom notes from English lessons? That would be a great help for absent students, not to mention general help before tests.

7 HiNative

This application is designed for students learning foreign languages (not only English). You may ask questions about language and culture to native speakers around the world – and get the answer, and what is even better – you may be asked questions about your native language as well. This may be a great tool for students who want to learn more about culture, or those who need to try communicating with native speakers but are somewhat shy.

It seems quite obvious, that with such availability of online sources, we should feel encouraged to use them on a regular basis, not only in the classroom, with the help of IWB and other tools, but also as homework activities, giving our students the chance not only to feel more at ease with the idea of extra activities, but also actually enjoy them.

The full post was first published in “The Teacher” nr 5(159)/2018

How to Organise Phrasal Verbs? (book review)

How to Organise Phrasal Verbs_ (book review)

One of my most vivid memories from summer schools in England is the Arrival Day, when new students were picked up by young and happy people (usually 18-22 year old native speakers) from the airport and transported to school. Often it was an experience baffling for both parties – foreign kids couldn’t understand English teens and the latter couldn’t understand the fact someone didn’t get them. They thought they were perfectly understandable, but for those kids “alright, pick up your stuff and move along” was not the English they were used to.

Admit it, teaching phrasal verbs isn’t the most pleasant experience in the classroom. First of all, there are so many of them, they tend to be so illogical and a different preposition changes the whole meaning of the sentence. It makes learners believe the best way to deal with the wretched phrasal verbs is to avoid them, but we know that won’t do.

We need to be brave, though – we, the teachers, are meant to teach not only the adorable Present Perfect or crime-related vocabulary, but also the phrasal verbs. And if you – like yours truly – are not the greatest fan of those expressions that seem to be randomly mixed words with an extra weird meaning, I have a great solution for you!

Phrasal Verb Organiser is a great book written by John Flower who had apparently seen too many students suffering because of this ridiculous phrasal-verbish-conundrum… or maybe he had seen too many teachers struggling? Whatever inspired him to write the book brought us one of the most useful books ever.

Who is the book for?

Originally the book was designed for students, especially those who learn English on their own (“it is better to do a little at regular intervals, rather than a lot at one time, and then nothing for weeks”). However, I got myself a copy when I was a teacher and I found it a great help when teaching students on B2 level – it has helped me to provide the appropriate amount of phrasal verbs to help them move beyond the learning plateau.

How is it organised?

Surprisingly, you don’t start with the exercises – first you get started with the whole idea of a phrasal verb, with some sweet lies like “it is often possible to understand what a phrasal verb means by looking at its particles”.

As if I didn’t know that phrasal verbs are fragments of an ancient ritual of summoning demonic creatures from the deepest abyss of hell!

And then you may enjoy nine chapters titled e.g. verbs with down/up/off/out/two particles etc. Then you may enjoy common verbs (be, get, go etc.), phrasal verbs with nouns or adjectives and even phrasal verbs by topic (business, feelings, travel or even colloquial expressions). If you’re not sure about the meaning, the book provides a useful mini-dictionary.

How can I use it in the classroom?

Each chapter has the same organisation – you start with matching verbs and particles so that they can be used in sentences; there are also funny pictures illustrating some of the verbs. You can always check your answer with the answer key, so no worries! If you need a greater challenge, after each chapter there’s a summary where you need to use one phrasal verb matching a couple of sentences.

You can simply use it in the classroom once in a while, bringing in random chunks of phrasal verbs (“this week we’ll work on the verbs with up“).

Ideas for extra activities

But wait, there is more! If you want to create a real combo, you can use one of the ready-made tests (seriously, tests on phrasal verbs – that is evil!). You can also use the verbs in some classroom games (bingo?) or races. I found the topic-selected chapters really useful for my adult students, but I guess you might use the book in many creative ways (using a meme generator and making one meme per day with a phrasal verb sounds like a great idea for a competition!).

Recommendations

The book practises over 700 phrasal verbs with more than 1000 meanings. Truth be told, I don’t think I would be able to recall all of them, so I admit I still find it useful, not only for my students, but also for self-study. If your students are just a wee bit too formal, or if you feel your language skills are soon going to be used by the BBC – go for it!

And have a blast!

7 Free Online Courses in October

7 Free OnlineCoursesin October

Finally – summer is over, we can enjoy autumn with its colour, winds and long evenings! I love long, dark evenings which I can spend with a book (have just finished Hellboy series) or a controller (Persona 5 at the moment, a really nice game). My September was the most hectic month ever – I travelled the whole country training new Disney English teachers, so now I’m ready to enjoy some rest and, well, online courses.

As usual, I picked a set of nice courses for you to enjoy during October evenings.

1 Ignite Your Everyday Creativity by the State University of New York 

Start: 1st Oct, 2018

Duration: 6 weeks

For whom: people who want new and better ideas for professional and personal lives

If you look into the details of the course, you will find its description as creative as the subject it introduces. Look at it Another Way, Visualize it Richly and Colorfully, Enjoy and Use Fantasy – these are the techniques used throughout the course to practise own creativity. If you’re already tired with your school duties, you might enjoy learning a new viewpoint!

2 Teaching Impacts of Technology: Workplace of the Future by University of California, San Diego 

Start: 1st Oct, 2018

Duration: 4 weeks

For whom: people who want to explore the impacts of the technology on the workplace

The course will explore fundamentals behind database storage and access that helps match people to possible jobs. You will also see that technology and the Internet are changing not only what kinds of jobs we can get, but how we can stay trained and train for new jobs our entire life, something that may be useful not only to you, but also to your students.

3 Negotiation and Conflict Resolution by the MGSM

Start: 14th Oct, 2018

Duration: 4 weeks

For whom: people who want to improve their negotiation decisions

Being a teacher means solving conflicts on a regular basis, be it among your students or during parent-teacher meetings. This course will show you a range of negotiation strategies, label different phases of a negotiation and demonstrate what to do in each phase. It may be a good course for those who have just started teaching younger students.

4 Race and Cultural Diversity in American Life and History by University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Start: 15th Oct, 2018

Duration: 5 weeks

For whom: people interested in the ideology of race and cultural diversity in America’s past and present

The primary focus of this course is on the historical and social relationships among European Americans, Native Americans, African Americans, Latino/as, and Asian/Pacific Americans. You will learn about how race, ethnicity and cultural diversity have shaped American institutions, ideology, law, and social relationships from the colonial era to the present.

5 English in Early Childhood: Language Learning and Development by the British Council

Start: 22nd Oct, 2018

Duration: 6 weeks

For whom: parents and educators

The way children acquire the language is different to the educational process by the adults. This course explores how young children learn inside the early years classroom. If you have just started working with young learners, this course may be a great idea for you.

6 Preparing to Network in English by the University of Washington

Start: self-paced

Duration: 4 weeks

For whom: those who want to expand their business network and professional connections

Research shows that many jobs aren’t officially advertised. Many companies rely on connections with people, which makes networking so important. This course may be a nice idea not only for you, but also for your students, especially when you teach a Business English class, or when they plan to move to another country and want to learn how to catch a dream job opportunity.

7 Creative Problem Solving by the University of Minnesota

Start: 22nd Oct, 2018

Duration: 6 weeks

For whom: people who want to to develop multiple ideas and concepts to solve problems

This course will help you understand the role of creativity and innovation. You will be prompted to challenge your own habits and routines in order to understand that creativity is based on societal norms, and that by its nature it will be discouraged by society. Starting with “eat something different today” you will be encouraged to question your way of reasoning.

I believe at least one of those courses will prove a good companion during those lovely autumn evenings.

Enjoy!

7 Free Online Courses in September

Seven

I believe you’re not as ready for school as you wish you were – I myself was far more excited with September as a student than as a teacher. But after two years of teaching in a primary school I quit and ever since my little ritual on the 1st of September has been drinking coffee on the balcony, watching children and teens slowly going back to school and revelling in their misery.

I’m not Evil Mistress in the World for nothing.

However, September mood makes me feel like studying – so here I am with my monthly list of awesome and free online courses you may enjoy this month:

1 English for the Workplace by the British Council

Starts: 3.09.2018

Duration: 4 weeks

For whom: non-native English speakers who have studied English to at least pre-intermediate level (approximately A2 on the CEFR)

This course may not be challenging for you as a teacher, but it may be perfect if you want to show your lower-level students that they can actually learn not only English but also IN English. I’m sure this course will be a great confidence boost to your students and will keep them motivated for a long time! And those of your students who think of looking for a new job will certainly enjoy it.

2 Fundamentals of Graphic Design by California Institute of the Arts

Starts: 03.09.2018

Duration: 4 weeks

For whom: all the teachers creating their own materials

Creating own materials is quite common, and this course will teach you the fundamental principles of graphic design: imagemaking, typography, composition, working with color and shape… foundational skills that are common in all areas of graphic design practice. Applying the knowledge you’ll gain during this course will make your self-made materials absolutely stunning. Sounds great? Definitely for me!

3 Inclusive Learning and Teaching Environments by the University of Southampton

Starts: 3.09.2018

Duration: 3 weeks

For whom: teachers and educators interested in inclusive practices

This course is designed for people working with students with disabilities. You will explore the barriers experienced by disabled students and learn how to overcome these barriers through inclusive practices. This course will help you learn about different aspects of inclusion and digital accessibility experienced by students, teachers and support staff. I think this may be a really valuable course for everyone.

4 Indigenous Canada by University of Alberta

Starts: 03.09.2018

Duration: 12 weeks

For whom: people who want to know more about Canada

I love Lucy Maud Montgomery and her PEI stories, but obviously there’s far more to Canada than her books – and this course explores key issues facing indigenous people focusing on national and local Indigenous-settler relations. Topics include the fur trade and other exchange relationships, land claims and environmental impacts, legal systems and rights, political conflicts and alliances, indigenous political activism, and contemporary indigenous life, art and its expressions.

5 Understanding Research Methods by University of London, SOAS University of London

Starts: 03.09.2018

Duration: 4 weeks

For whom: people who require an understanding of research approaches and skills

This course is about demystifying research and research methods. It’s perfect for all students as they often have to do some research, but I believe each of us, living in the times of post-truth, may find it extremely useful. The course focuses on what makes a good research and a good researcher, various approaches to literature etc. In 2015, the course was nominated for the prestigious Guardian University Award for its innovative approach to online learning.

6 The Art of Photography by RMIT University

Starts: 09.09.2018

Duration: 4 weeks

For whom: people interested in photography

Photography is becoming more and more popular – a lot of teens are interested in it, so you can either take this course yourself or recommend it to your students. You will learn about photography as a visual art practice, explore the work and concepts of various artists, and learn some of the practical skills required to explore photography in exciting and creative ways. The course will also help you grasp some ideas connected with post-production knowledge and techniques.

7 Teaching Adult Learners by Central Institute of Technology

Starts: 09.09.2018

Duration: 4 weeks

For whom: teachers who start working with adults

If you’re to change your teaching environment, you may find this course particularly useful. It focuses on the importance of working in a safe and accountable learning environment. You will learn how to examine the working factors of teaching adults, identify elements of instructional design and evaluate your experience.

I hope you’ll find the courses really useful and have fun learning something new.

Enjoy!