The Oxford TEFL Blog

Meet our Trinity DipTESOL scholarship winners

In December we launched a competition to win a full or half scholarship for the Trinity DipTESOL course. We are now excited to share with you the finalists videos and written tasks as well as introduce our two winners!

Congratulations to our winner Dan Pelka who has won a full scholarship worth €2600 and to Quynh Tran who has won a 50% scholarship worth €1300. We are looking forward to seeing Dan and Quynh in 2018 on this course.

We would like to express our thanks to all those who participated in this competition and who sent us some great videos and impressive written work. It was extremely difficult to choose our winners. We hope to see you on one of our courses in the future.

See below for the winning written tasks:

1st place winner - Dan Pelka

Does integrating drama activities into lessons encourage teen students to speak more in class?

What I would do

To test my hypothesis that teen students will speak more in general if I integrate drama activities into my lesson plans, I would prepare the following:

  • List what I already know.
  • Research how drama can be used to motivate teens
  • Identify how teen learners differ from other age groups.
  • Consider my learners’ perspective. What are the obstacles or reasons teens use L1 to complete tasks? (g.:embarrassed by mistakes.)
  • Gain a wider perspective via broad peer discussions and research.

Then I would test the hypothesis and put theory into practice with my A2 teen learners:

  • Experiment with different activities.
  • Journal daily.
  • Invite peer observation.

Finally, I would reflect on my findings:

  • Has there been more English spoken?
  • Can I use the research to better understand the theory?
  • What evidence-based conclusions can I draw for future lessons?
  • What are the implications of my research for other classes?

Why I have chosen this area

This is my first year teaching teens. I know my students have sufficient English ability but often choose L1 for activities. I also want to increase my own classroom confidence. Current methodology suggests we personalise lessons to make the language more meaningful, which can make students feel vulnerable. My supposition is drama activities create depersonalisation. This may reduce embarrassment because students can speak through the mask of a character. It also encourages confidence and fun in class.

How it might help me and others

Dedicating time for research and experimentation with drama activities will help me focus on my teen classroom approach. It will foster a staff room discussion culture, in which we discuss learner needs and best practices to influence future lesson planning and classroom management.

In future, I could lead a workshop on drama in the classroom and compile a list of successful activities for my colleagues. My research findings could trigger change for my peers who, like me, strive to increase spoken English in the teen classroom.

2nd place winner -Quynh Tran

Incorporating Computer-based Multimedia Presentations into the ELT Classroom

My plan is to have students prepare computer-based presentations every three weeks. The presentations will vary with three lengths. There will be 1-minute, 3-minute, and 5-minute presentations alternating through each three-week period. The 1 and 3-minute presentations will be done individually, while the 5-minute presentations will be done as a group. The variable length and group size of the presentations will help me determine the structure of presentations that will yield the best results. I plan to vary the topics of the presentations from things in the curriculum to students’ interests. I will qualitatively assess the enthusiasm for each topic and compare it to the quality of the presentation as well as the effectiveness of the learning from the presentation. The effectiveness of the presentations will be assessed through a series of tasks to measure language retention and acquisition after the presentations. These results will be compared with the results of using more traditional teaching methods to determine the efficacy of presentations.

The reason that I’ve chosen to do my action research in this area is because I believe that my goal as a teacher is to prepare my students for life and not just teach the subject matter. I think this research aligns with my goal in two ways:

  1. Doing presentations is a dynamic way to practice language skills – The process of creating, presenting, and observing presentations allow students to work on their reading, writing, listening and speaking skills in a way that accesses high order thinking processes.
  2. Computer-based presentations help build other life skills – Besides the technical skills learned from using the presentation software, students working on presentations also build confidence in public speaking, team work skills, and organization skills.

I think if this research turns up positive results, I will have a better understanding of how to effectively use computer-based presentations as an activity to improve students’ learning experience and hopefully I can convey this information to my colleagues at my learning center so that they can improve their classroom experience also.

If you would like to develop your teaching skills, advance your career in ELT and train with some of the best teacher trainers in ELT, find out more about our Trinity DipTESOL course or apply here.

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