Thursday, October 30, 2014

Week 4 PROJECT STEP: Describe a Class Issue

Class description:

  • 19 students aged 16 - 18
  • intermediate level of English
  • multicultural background 


  • collaborative writing

How is causes problems:

  • logistical issues when two or more students work on a text together
  • the need to make endless copies on flash drives that go between students
  • no possibility to work simultaneously
  • no possibility to update drafts online
  • one student forgetting his memory stick at home = inability to share his work with his partner
  • switching back and forth between different text editors leads to formatting issues (cell spacing or tabulating distorted, images missing, ...)

Additional related issues:

  • due to the cumbersome way of working on a text or a research, students tend to lose motivation soon after starting
  • quality of work suffers
  • complaints to teacher about unreliable partners (forgotten memory stick, failure to save changes in document, ...)

Friday, October 24, 2014

Week 3: Skill-building Websites for Oral/Aural Skills

Best sites to practice speaking English

TED Talks - a list of topics

Wendy Chung: Autism

Week 2 PROJECT STEP: Describe a Class

I chose my 11th grade class for the project.

Class size: 19 students, aged 16 - 18

Type of class: paramedical section of technical high school (these students will go on to train as nursing aides, counsellors and carers for the elderly and the disabled)

English level: intermediate

Course material: New Headway Intermediate Fourth Edition (Units 7 - 12)

Cultural background: this is a class consisting of a mixed group of students where the majority are second generation immigrants from Portugal and Cape Verde, and the minority are native Luxembourgers and naturalized Luxembourgers of Italian descent. The vehicular language of the class is English, with occasional explanation given in Luxembourgish or French.

Goal: improve fluency in spoken English, expand day-to-day vocabulary, practice listening and reading skills, improve writing skills, and build job-specific vocabulary bank (related to the health care sector due to their future professions)

Class frequency: 3 periods of 50 minutes each per week

Instruction method: frontal for introductions to new topics/explanations/instructions for upcoming projects
groupwork/pairwork for reading and listening tasks
flipped classroom for grammar and vocabulary practice
independent work for research and writing tasks

Quizzes and practice on computers (

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

How it all started...

Last June, I was contacted by the US Embassy here in Luxembourg with an offer of an online course funded the American English Institute. The ambassador's representative, Ms Shaheen, explained that this course was for ESOL teachers and that they couldn't apply directly, they needed to be nominated by the embassy.

I found this offer intriguing and decided to check out what programs the Institute was offering - I had been thinking of creating a niche for myself at my school and this opportunity came at the right time. Web-based teaching skills for ESOL teachers was right up my alley, so to speak.

I enthusiastically requested to be nominated by the embassy.

In July, I received a reply and submitted a motivation letter, explaining my interest in the offered subject, and my willingness to set aside a couple of hours every day for 10 weeks to dedicate to the online class.

Then I waited for the decision: will they nominate me? Will I be accepted?

Finally, at the end of the summer break, I received an official email confirming my admission into the Fall 2014 Web Skills Online Class program.

Thank you, American English Institute and University of Oregon, for giving me this opportunity to broaden my knowledge and skills and to grow as a technology minded educator.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

1-UO AEI Webskills Fall 2014

This 10-week online training course for English Language Teachers (ELTs) is offered through the American English Institute at the University of Oregon, Department of Linguistics. 

This course is funded through the E-Teacher Scholarship Program.( )

 I teach 7 classes this year:

  • 8TEA (francophone class of newly immigrated teens) - beginners
  • 9TE (germanophone class) - pre-intermediate level
  • 9TEA (francophone) - pre-intermediate level
  • 9PO (2 classes) - beginners
  • 10PS - intermediate level
  • 11PS - intermediate level