Variations on a theme

Description de l'atelier


Participants come away with some new activities to use in their teaching, the starting point being several tried and true activities from my own experience.


One answer to the question ‘quels changements pour demain’ is that we mustn’t throw out the baby with the bath water or to put it less metaphorically: there are tried and true ways of teaching that must not be forgotten. They should be passed on from generation to generation by older teachers, like me, to younger teachers who, I hope, will be amongst the participants in this workshop. It is possible to use these tried and true ways of teaching as the basis for new activities. In fact, it is something that happens quite naturally in lots of other domains of activity.

In music, for example, one of the ways of creating something new is by taking something that already exists and changing it. Various aspects can be modified, but the main aspects to be varied are tone, notes, rhythm, and tempo, as well, of course, as the instruments used.

In this workshop we will take several tried and true teaching activities and treat them like pieces of music. First the participants will experience them from the point of view of a language learner; then they will create a new activity by varying the theme.

Here are some of the activities that I plan to use: dictation, information gap, rituals, cadavre exquis, inside-out, song cloze.

Leonard Adkins

B.A. Classical Studies, Middlebury College, Vermont
M.A. Linguistics; University of North Carolina
M.A.T. with a specialization in ESL and FFL, School for International Training, Brattleboro, Vermont

I've spent the past 20 years teaching ESL, mostly for the HES-SO in Sierre, and training teachers for the Ecole-Club Migros in the French-speaking part of Switzerland (1996-2005). I also initiated and organized the Language Symposium at the HES-SO in 2008 and 2010, and give regular seminars for DIDAC (HES-SO’s service for continuing education).

My interest as a teacher and teacher trainer is more in how things happen than what happens. I find that if we can shake things up a little, get people moving and create a little chaos, the result is usually interesting.


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