A year in review – Part 6

Hannah Tuck

The end of the year is always a good time for reflection. When asked the question “so, what is it that you actually do at work?”, it’s often easy to overlook some of the great projects that go on in ELT, both in our Cambridge offices and overseas. Having only joined the Press earlier this year, the World of Better Learning offered great insight into the wider body of work we do as a publishing company. The blog is a platform you can get lost in for hours – if you have the time – as you delve deeper into the world of teaching, pedagogy and linguistical analysis. For those of you with a few minutes spare today, here’s my round-up of what I think are this year’s top posts:

Reality versus the virtual world: using mobile phones as teaching aids

It’s an ongoing debate that will no doubt carry on long into the next year and beyond – should we be encouraging the use of mobile phones in the classroom?

At Cambridge, we are keen to embrace developments in technology. At our last Better Learning Conference, we demonstrated the use of Virtual Reality as a teaching tool and we often like to incorporate QR codes into our products, too.

In this post, Thierry Jullien – an experienced English teacher with a background in both public and private education – uses his skills in digital learning to demonstrate scenarios in which mobiles could be incorporated into a lesson plan, to aid the learning experience and not hinder it.

What is Virtual Reality?

For the technophobes among us, talk of bringing phones into classrooms is one thing, but the realm of virtual reality is a whole new interactive world to get to grips with.

Thankfully, Paul Driver, an educational technologist at Anglia Ruskin University, decodes what it is and why we would use it in this interesting blog entry. If you have a spare few minutes, why not try the embedded tour of the universe that can be found in Paul’s post?

Virtual reality and Augmented Reality are more than likely just the start. We will undoubtedly be introduced to more ground-breaking technologies in the near future. Many young people are fascinated by these modern advancements and so we feel it’s our responsibility to embrace the positive aspects that they can bring to education.

What I learned at the Better learning Conference 2018

Insights shape a big part of what we do at the Press, so it’s no surprise that the Better Learning Conference has cemented itself as one of the stand-out events in the Cambridge ELT calendar. Planning is already well underway for 2019.

We love to welcome guests from around the world; to share our research and learn new teaching methods from those who matter most to us, our customers.

At this year’s conference, there were talks on a range of interesting topics such as: virtual learning, the working memory, the need for teacher-led classes, bilingualism and best practice. We asked one of our ELT trainers, Matthew Ellman, who attended the conference, to reflect on his stand-out moments from the three-day event.

World Teacher Survey – The results are in

Over the last couple of months, I’ve been lucky enough to be involved in presenting the findings of our biggest piece of teacher research to date, the World Teacher Survey.

We wanted to know your thoughts on the profession – your reasons for teaching, the challenges, the highs and the lows – and you answered in your thousands! In fact, we had over 10,000 responses from over 150 countries.

You can read all about the results and download the report for yourself here on our blog. It was fascinating to read up on what you had to say. It’s opened my eyes to the challenges that teachers face daily, and the findings will no doubt have an impact on the way we work to help and support teachers in the future, so thank you to everyone who had their say.

“How do fireworks work?” Festive CLIL lessons for young learners

The World of Better Learning not only gives great insight into the latest research and topical discussion, but also provides you with a wealth of teaching tools that can be used in your classroom.

To get you in the mood for the New Year’s celebrations, I’m highlighting a recent post from Justyna Matwiejczyk on festive CLIL lessons for young learners. In this post, Justyna features the ‘Guess What’ fireworks lesson plan and video. This example demonstrates how you can build an area of study around a topical theme. It even incorporates a clever ‘safety first’ message, too!

Creating thematical lessons can help your class to relate their learning to an external context, which applies to their home life, perhaps. Hopefully it will enthuse them enough so that they take what they’ve learnt home and carry on the discussions with family and friends.

This really is just the icing on the cake for what has been a busy year for us all at Cambridge. If you’re keen to reflect more on our 2018 – and just in case you missed the first in this series of ‘A Year in Review’ blog posts – why not spend a few minutes exploring Jasmine Short’s top picks?

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