Every learner is different and a good teacher should be able to not only identify those differences, but create teaching content and apply teaching methods which will cover the needs of all the students in class.
The variety of learning styles was not only discussed by George Topalis and Emmanuel Kontovas, but also by one of our plenary speakers, Marjorie Rosenberg, which further underlines the importance of the issue.
It came as an unexpected reflection that it is not only our students that learn based on their own learning styles, but that we, teachers, also teach according to our own styles.
How can we cater for the needs of everybody in the classroom? Variety is the key word. The presenters recommended a number of techniques which will spice up every classroom and engage every student.
Music is a classic choice. Have you tried instrumental music, though? According to the presenters, it has an affective nature, brings out emotions and acts as a key to imagination. Music creates mental images and using songs generate optimal circumstances for effective language learning. A perfect example is that of the song "Friends will be Friends" which can be used as a springboard for a discussion on friendship and a great source of ideas for creating relevant materials.
Using photos in the classroom to introduce new vocabulary and generate discussion is another fantastic idea. I am sure all the participants remember the two chameleons.
The speakers reminded the audience about copyright issues involved in using images available on the Internet and recommended a site with free copyright-free images available to all http://www.gettyimages.com/
Storytelling was among the popular themes during the convention. It is a great way to engage your students. Whereas our plenary speakers, Alec Williams and Andrew Wright, talked extensively about the art of storytelling, George and Manolis recommended a couple of practical tips regarding the use of storytelling in the ELT classroom. If in search of free audio stories, visit http://www.storynory.com/
We are living in the video age and short video clips are more popular than ever. Why not integrate those elements of the digital revolution into our teaching? A short video with the title "Knick Knock" available at https://goo.gl/O8RbZA which is engaging, fun to watch, and a great springboard for in-class discussion at the same time was an interesting recommendation.
The presentation closed with the projection of a short video in which children expressed their views on education and made us realize how happy they are when there is variety in learning.
By Margarita Kosior