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Bespoke Courses in Southampton

1-week courses tailored to your needs

Browse our training topics to find out what we can offer you.

Contact us to discuss your needs and tell us the areas that interest you.

Let us propose a programme with your chosen topics.

We can create bespoke courses for individuals or groups of teachers. Contact us to discuss your needs and let us build a programme for you that addresses your specific areas of interest. We have listed for you below the full range of topics that we can offer you. We teach in 90-minute sessions, and typically run 10 or 15 sessions on a one-week programme. You can dedicate one or more sessions to each of the topics that interest you. Take a look at the list below and let us know what you’d like in your programme.

Choose your training topics

1. Student-centred teaching

How can we apply a more student-centred approach in the classroom? How can we translate this seemingly idealistic notion into practical teaching with realistic objectives? Where do we start? One way is to explore a particular selection of techniques that can form the basis of this approach. We look at ‘popping’, echoing, eliciting, concept-checking, gaining consensus, and other essential techniques that we claim provide a gateway into student-centred teaching.

2. Teaching function versus structure

An opportunity to look at how teaching functional language can be motivating and easily accessible to our learners – particularly those who might be ‘put off’ by grammar. By teaching chunks of language that can be applied straight away, our learners can see the immediate relevance of the language without feeling they have to work through a range of tenses to achieve communicative competence.

3. Presenting new language

We will demonstrate several different ways of teaching new language to learners. These methods will clearly contextualise the language and ensure that learners have understood the concept behind the language through fun and exploratory activities. Hint: starting with language rule explanations is not necessarily the best way.

4. Classroom layout and dynamics

The success of an activity can be attributed to a number of things, such as materials, instructions, groupings etc. However, this topic focuses on how making effective use of our classroom space can also impact positively on dynamics, student engagement and linguistic outcomes.

5. Teaching mixed language levels

We explore ways of differentiating learning within the classroom, considering learning styles and individual language development pathways. We also consider how differentiating doesn’t need to feel as though we are teaching multiple lessons at the same time – sometimes an awareness of the types of questions we are asking students is enough to adapt to their needs.

6. Error correction

What to correct? When to correct? How to correct? Who does the correcting? Should we correct? This is an opportunity to discuss the pros and cons of this important topic, and you will be able to experiment with a variety of error-correction techniques, including finger-correction, board focus, and using the IPA.

7. Teaching lexis and recording Vocabulary

Learning new vocabulary can feel like an uphill struggle for our learners when there is so much of it. What does the learner need to know about a word or expression to have truly ‘learnt’ it? How can they store and retrieve this information? How do we make lexis memorable? This topic is to help learners in their efforts to broaden their vocabulary.

8. Fun with pronunciation

This will raise your awareness of the many aspects of pronunciation which we need to consider in our teaching. We will explore different ways of making pronunciation work accessible and fun through a range of useful games and activities for your learners.

9. Reading and listening skills

The inclusion of reading and listening tasks in lessons is a good way to check students’ comprehension skills. However, it is often less clear how we can make sure that we are helping students to develop in these areas, rather than simply providing them with practice opportunities. We will explore how to deliver receptive tasks so that students are being supported in their skills development, focusing on how to make use of their top-down and bottom-up processing skills.

10. Post-method era

We will take you on a journey through the main approaches and methods used in ELT, considering our understanding of them and their practical application in the classroom. We will then explore whether there is still a place for methodologies in the 21st century classroom.

11. Applying the Communicative Approach

The Communicative Approach has been part of the English language world for many decades. We will briefly look at the history of the Communicative Approach and how it impacts on teaching today. We will try out a variety of activities and identify the features of the approach that aid learners’ language development.

12. Drama in the classroom

Inspired by our very own Theatre Express, we will show you some of the creative and dynamic drama activities which can be used both to build your students’ confidence and to improve their English.

13. Humanising course books

We provide you with an opportunity to participate in activities which we have ‘lifted off the page of a course book’. We then challenge you and your peers to humanise the course book you use. Ultimately, we aim to assist you in managing the course book and finding ways to use the material they contain more responsively. Humanising course books goes a long way towards engaging students more.

14. Writing your own materials

Often the course book just isn’t enough. Here we encourage you to think about creating your own activities and materials to suit your students’ personal development needs, giving you the opportunity to practise with guidance and support. Let your creative thoughts flow.

15. Exploiting materials

This will give you the opportunity to consider the broad range of tasks and language focus that can be taken from one single piece of material. By exploiting our materials as much as possible, we are able to reduce the quantity that we use in class, whilst providing students with some quality language development opportunities.

16. Using and adapting authentic Materials

Authentic materials include texts (e.g. magazines and brochures), videos, television programmes, and any other sources of language that have not been specifically designed for language learners. They are naturally created, so to speak, for ‘real’ world consumption. We explore ways in which we can utilise these materials to engage students and help prepare them for this ‘real’ world of communication.

17. Being creative with Cuisenaire Rods

Cuisenaire rods are an extremely adaptable resource for language teaching, and we will explore a range of creative uses of these colourful rods, from grammar focus, to storytelling and pronunciation work. These are a great way to engage your learners in interactive, hands on tasks.

18. Using songs in the classroom

There are many ways to use songs in the language classroom, and tasks should not be limited to listening gap-fills. Here we will look at a number of different types of activities that can increase student engagement through effective use of songs and music.

19. IT in the classroom

Discover exciting digital tools that will engage your learners! We’ll explore Internet-based resources to use on a whiteboard, web-based project work for the computer room and the use of video, both in terms of exploiting existing videos for language learning, and encouraging your students to make use of video recording technology themselves.

20. Live classroom observations

There is a lot to be learned from observing other teachers, but unfortunately time constraints do not always make this possible in our day-to-day environment. Observe our language teachers at the Lewis School of English from the back of the room, while they deliver General English and/or exam courses to adult learners (16+). You will be provided with an observation form which will encourage you to observe approaches, methods, techniques and procedures relating to the skills explored on your course.

21. How to observe effectively

There are many different reasons for observing other teachers in the classroom, and this can be done for the benefit of the observer, the teacher being observed or both. It is a vital step in a teacher’s development. For many, the word ‘observation’ may have negative connotations, but with a fresh outlook, and through careful management, they can be experienced as a positive contribution to the teacher’s development – one that you will find very, and often surprisingly, rewarding. We show you how.

22. The art of feedback

This is related to ‘How to observe effectively’. When observing for the development of the teacher being observed, we need to be able to give constructive feedback. Feedback starts with self-evaluation, where the teacher reflects and the lesson observer listens. Here, we also consider recording feedback, how to identify development needs and strengths and most importantly the language of feedback.

23. Learn a language!

Have a taste of what your students are experiencing! This is a chance to learn a ‘mystery language’ new to you. It gives you the opportunity to observe and comment on a language teacher in action. You’ll take away a variety of modern methods and techniques, and reconnect with the feeling of learning a new language. An insightful experience.

24. The good learner

We are often able to identify the good learners in our classroom and pick out those students who are struggling. However, what makes a good learner? And are we good learners? Here we will focus on the traits of a good learner and encourage us to think about how we can both model these traits and advise our students on how to become better learners.

25. Language acquisition theories

How do we acquire language? Is language acquisition innate or do we learn it? We will have an opportunity to reflect on first language acquisition and compare and contrast it to second language acquisition. All of this has implications on a number of methods in the classroom.

26. Teaching the brain to learn

This topic allows us to look at a variety of learning theories and consider their application to the classroom, as well as to individual learners. We will also discuss classroom techniques that support learning.

27. Exploring grammar

We explore different approaches to helping learners understand grammar, and interesting and memorable ways of presenting it in class, such as contextualisation and personalisation.

28. IPA & pronuncation

The International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA) is a wonderful tool for helping learners with their pronunciation. The English language spelling system is quirky. The IPA helps overcome the mismatch between spelling and pronunciation. Explore features of your learners’ L1 and consider some practical tips on how to help them with their pronunciation in English.

29. Reading and writing activities

Reading and writing can be skills that ‘isolate’ students, as tasks are generally completed individually, and those that lack confidence can find these skills daunting to put into practice. Here we look at ways of making reading and writing activities engaging and collaborative, to build students’ confidence.

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