Jim Scrivener has observed a lot of English language lessons over the past few years - and what he's seen has led him to promote a rather different way of doing things.
Demand High learning, as he calls it, isn't about the teacher finding ever more entertaining ways of keeping students occupied. It's about concentrating on the material in hand, and encouraging the students to properly engage with it.
His approach has become so popular that Jim has been asked to provide the opening plenary at the English UK Teachers' Conference in London in November, where he'll be giving some pointers on grammar teaching and encouraging students to achieve more.
Jim, a consultant and trainer, says: "I'll be showing that you can get value out of the material you're using without doing extras like running around and doing supporting activities. It's just exploring what's on the page and trying to push a little bit more, rather than rushing through and on to the next thing.
"There's been a lot of methodology pushing teachers into being entertainers, constantly bringing something new. What's happening in lots of lessons is that the students never come into any deep contact with the language because they're running around playing games. I aim to show that they can find deep enjoyment working with the language. I want to show a few ideas which will help students and make it interesting."
Jim says he realised that teachers were using a lot of energy in lessons on all the extras, and that students might think they've done a great class but wouldn't actually know the language any better as a result of it - and would then be told to read the relevant pages of their textbook. Instead, he'll show different activities which teachers can do with students to improve grammar, using the book as a starting point for asking them to do activities to properly learn the material.
The conference, which takes place in Prospero House in Borough High Street, South London, on November 1, also includes plenaries on professional development that works and the English UK Action Research scheme and major sessions on identifying what kind of teacher you are, using performing arts, teaching teenagers, creative language practice and much more. Teachers at English UK member centres are eligible for a discounted rate: details are available here.
Find out more about the English UK Teachers' Conference 2014.
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