By Peter Dawes - @P_Dawes
One Friday in January I spent the day in the snow sledging with my kids down the slope behind the village primary school.
The following Sunday morning I was exiting the arrivals area at Bangkok Airport, welcomed by 33 degrees of heat. Such is the life of an itinerant Dragonfly trainer…
For the week beginning 24th January I ran a series of EAL themed courses at Harrow International School, Bangkok, covering a range of topics from grammar to raising boys’ attainment via traditional methods through Web Tools, Interactive White Boards (IWBs) and iPads!
The facilities were certainly very conducive – both smart and spacious – and with a glorious view out over the lake back towards the main school campus (braver souls than I went canoeing, but I was put off by talk of the “snake in the lake”).
The courses were extremely well received with feedback later revealing 49 good or outstanding ratings compared to just the one disgruntled customer. The whole thrust of the sessions was to encourage an active learning approach. To this end – and you’ll see this in the accompanying video clips – delegates experienced a range of hands-on activities where they actively participated themselves.(Naturally, no embarrassing, pointless role play was foisted on anyone!).
Several delegates were impressed at the imaginative, but simple, ways in which an IWB or iPad could be integrated without becoming the sole focus. In fact, we went to pains to show how the methods could be applied equally using “normal” IT, word-processing, or even paper and mini whiteboards. So the generous helping of course resources given out were nearly all in parallel digital/printable format.
Support material illustrating theoretical aspects underpinning EAL teaching and learning was not neglected, and this constituted a large chunk of those resources. However, at Dragonfly we prefer not to just project PowerPoints and read them off the screen. Rather, we summarise the content and leave you to read the finer detail yourself if you so wish, saving valuable time for constructive activities has proved a popular approach among our delegates.
The main area of controversy was inevitably English usage. Is it “None of my friends EAT marmite” or “None of my friends EATS marmite”? Well, we must have spent more time thrashing that out, than discussing anything else all week! And no, don’t expect a definitive answer from me – but I’ll offer a strong opinion if you care to ask.
The trip back was 12 hours to Amsterdam. (Only 10hrs out – could a kind geographer or physicist explain that one to this easily-confused linguist?).
The lengthy flight offered a good chance to catch up with some films and reading, though. In case you’re interested; the latest Batman: hideously long and outstayed its welcome. Perks of a Wallflower: surprisingly engaging and one to see with your teenage daughter.
Bangkok: A Place that’s impossible to forget
Anyway, enough about me. I hope to see you on a future Dragonfly EAL course!