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Here Below you can check out the feedback (for one of our units) of one of the 16.000 students that last year took an online course with ITTT!
Whereas the previous unit was about teaching the receptive skills of listening and reading, this unit is about the productive skills of speaking and writing. All are equally important and should be given attention in the classroom, although it was noted that most students prefer to focus on their speaking skills. It is therefore up to the teacher to creatively weave all of these skills into the lessons while at the same time meeting the needs and goals of the students.
Regarding productive skills, the difference between accuracy and fluency was explained, and how to successfully practice both within the ESA structure. From my own experience in foreign language classrooms, I understand what a too-dominant focus on accuracy activities can do to a student: it can make a student timid and afraid to speak for fear of making mistakes. I was this way once. So, being sure to integrate fluency activities, especially in the Activate stage, is so very important. Furthermore, being positive with my feedback instead of focusing on mistakes will help students to gain confidence. Any recurrent errors can always be addressed in a later remedial class, but damaged confidence can be very hard to repair.
Attention was also given to special considerations regarding writing: handwriting, spelling, and punctuation. Something that I've already noted but that was brought up here, is that as an American English speaker, I need to be as consistent as possible with the English spellings that are being used in the school/country that I am teaching in. If the students are used to British spellings, then I need to be aware of that in order to prevent confusion.
Finally, the section on games in the classroom encouraged me to start thinking creatively about ways to have more fun in the classroom. I was thrilled that one of my favorite games to pass time on car rides, alphabet relay, was actually mentioned back in Unit 3.