Call for Contributions: Ideas & Articles

Become a Think Tank star! Here are some of the future issue topics we are thinking about. Would you, or anyone you know, like to write about any of these? Or is there another topic you’d like to recommend? Do you have any suggestions for lead-in, or just plain interesting, videos? How about writing a book review? Or sending us a story about your experiences? Contact us.

Book Review: Inspirational Stories from English Language Classrooms

In late 2020, The Association for the Teaching of English as a Foreign Language in Indonesia, or TEFLIN for short, published a series of eight free ebooks on its website. Dedicated to teacher training and development, these books cover a number of useful themes, such as task-based language teaching, cooperative learning, and materials development. All of them are worth your time and come highly recommended, but today we’ll be focusing on one that is particularly relevant to those of us who enjoy neuroscience-related material, which I assume is everyone reading this article. If not, why are you here?! Go enjoy your life!

Storytelling, for Empathetic and Cooperative Listening

“Would you like to listen to a story?” It is quite unlikely that any teacher would have to hear “no” for an answer.
In 2000, I began to experiment with oral storytelling in the English language classroom. Also by 2008, I had begun storytelling professionally and from 2011 training teachers in employing storytelling as a pedagogical tool for English Language Teaching. My journey with tours, performances, talks, and conducting workshops, across India and around the world, with over 75,000 teachers and 300,000 children has brought many insights with respect to the employment of this tool.

Storytelling Tips from a UX Designer

What do designers and teachers have in common? We both tell stories. Why are our minds captivated by stories? And how can we take advantage of this when teaching?
With the increase in multi-media devices in the classroom, educators are realizing the possibilities for storytelling are endless (Alismail, 2005). As a UX Designer (a designer who specializes in designing systems and products focused on user needs), I rely on storytelling to frame product functions in digestible ways for users; in the same way, teachers can use storytelling methods to help students engage with language. As one who has long used stories in design, I would like to share a few techniques I’ve brought in to create storytelling magic in the classroom.

Do You Want to Hear a Story? Here’s Why.

Imagine yourself teaching a class. It is near the end. You ask, “We still have some time left, so which would you rather do? Try another exercise? Or hear a story?” How do you think your students would answer?
This one is pretty easy. For the vast majority of us, it would be: “Hear a story.” But let us ask you another question. While imagining that situation did any of these thoughts lurk in the background: Doing an exercise would be serious language study; telling a story might have some learning value, but would basically just be something nice to do for the students.

The Power of Storytelling

As teachers, we constantly find ourselves in situations where we are reading, listening to, writing, or telling a story of some sort. It is in our collective knowledge that stories have the power to mesmerize an audience and change them. It has been the case since our ancestors gathered around the fire until now that we can listen to stories everywhere, be it at our fingertips on our phones or in classes in academia.

Call for Contributions: Ideas & Articles

Become a Think Tank star! Here are some of the future issue topics we are thinking about. Would you, or anyone you know, like to write about any of these? Or is there another topic you’d like to recommend? Do you have any suggestions for lead-in, or just plain interesting, videos? How about writing a book review? Or sending us a story about your experiences? Contact us.

A Quick Review of Tom Bennett’s Teacher Proof (2013, Routledge)

In 2019, I attended an international conference that was headlined by Stanislas Dehaene (of Reading in the Brain fame). A tough act to follow, that’s for sure, but one of his supporting speakers gave an address that I’ve never forgotten, because it went straight to my teacher-core. Here was a teacher-researcher, still wrangling adolescents in an inner London classroom, taking a swipe at a range of unrealistic “educational innovations” that his school had attempted to implement. This guy was speaking my language, albeit with a Scottish accent.