Hawthorn-Melbourne runs two Professional Development days a year: one around March and the other in November. The days focus on skills and knowledge for teachers and general staff, including teaching, admin, accommodation, marketing and admissions. Following a recent successful PD day, three academic staff involved in the design and running of the day shared reflections on key sessions and takeaways.
Here’s how the day looked:
In the short video below, Kristin Walters, Margot Palmer and Nick Philippou explain more about some of the teaching-focussed sessions and how teachers responded.
For a quick overview, here’s what they cover in the video:
Pragmatics: research and practice
Teachers may already have latent awareness of pragmatics (how language is used in social contexts and situations) but language classes may still tend to focus more on grammatical competence and vocabulary. These two sessions aimed to raise awareness of what teachers are already doing in this area and how they can extend these activities.
- Session 1: Research in pragmatics (research with Hawthorn students) – run by a Masters student from the University of Melbourne, this session presented the theoretical side of pragmatics with a focus on interactional competence
- Session 2: Teaching speaking (developing pragmatic competence) – Hawthorn-Melbourne teaching staff transferred the theory to a practical session where participants talked about their current classroom activities, and took away examples of how they can further develop pragmatic skills in both General and Academic English
Writing feedback: three approaches
In response to observations that giving effective feedback to students can be incredibly time-consuming, Margot Palmer took Michelle Cavaleri’s work on video feedback as a starting point, and delivered a session on how to fine-tune current practices to make them more effective. The three approaches included:
- Whole-class feedback
- Recorded verbal feedback
- Recycling feedback
The session was well received, with teachers keen to understand how to use the tools and put the techniques into practice.
Listen to Nick, Kristin and Margot sharing reflections on the day:
Hungry for more?
Look out for upcoming sessions on writing feedback and pragmatics, coming soon on the Events page.
You can also explore more on pragmatics via the references below:
- Mark N. Brock, Carson-Newman College, Tennessee, USA, Yoshie Nagasaka Kobe, Japan; Teaching Pragmatics in the EFL Classroom? SURE You Can! TESL Reporter 38, 1 (2005), pp. 17-26 17.
- Kasper, G. (1997). Can pragmatic competence be taught? (NetWork #6) Honolulu: University of Hawai’i, Second Language Teaching & Curriculum Center. Available at http://www.nflrc.hawaii.edu/NetWorks/NW06/
- LeGros, N. (2012) ‘What did you just say?! The perils of pragmatics’, Western Teaching Support Centre. Available at https://www.uwo.ca/tsc/resources/publications/newsletter/selected_articles/what_did_you_just_say.html [accessed 13/3/2017]
Or try some resources with ‘pragmatics’ tasks:
- Pragmatics lesson plans and blog posts: http://www.macmillandictionary.com/learn/pragmatics2014.html
- Functional language games and worksheets: https://tefltastic.wordpress.com/worksheets/functions/
- Pragmatic activities for the speaking classroom, teaching techniques and more: https://americanenglish.state.gov/resources/english-teaching-forum-volume-54-number-1