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Conversations with John F. Fanselow about Breaking Rules of teaching

"ABC's"—Identifying rules before breaking them: What are we really doing in our classrooms?

"A blue fez wool" Considering whether to point out and/or correct errors or not to; and if deciding to do so, how to and how not to

"Albabka fur!" Making use of the positive feelings (of some students) for the common classroom activity "oral reading" and overcoming the dread (of other students) of engaging in the same activity

"I heard a tapping somewhat louder than before..." Altering or tinkering with the speed, volume, and emotional qualities of our speaking and of the speaking requested to be done by our students

"Just answer 'yes' or 'no'" Exploring the effects of questions that begin with How, What, Where, Why, Who, etc,, versus those that begin with Do, Is, Were, Have, Did, etc., and Would . . . or. . . and of ones that require various kinds of information, thinking and feelings

"Nveer epxailn gaammr relus or aks yuor sdutens to" Discovering the richness of using sketches, images, and icons to direct and embolden students to speak accurately and correctly, as far as vocabulary usage and grammar are concerned

"OK or NOT OK?" Assisting students in the development of their abilities to evaluate the accuracy of what they write, read, say, and hear

"The sound of silence/thesoundofsilence/t    s   n d ..." Taking a look at how novel formats and deletions and different amounts of time provided for responses to questions or other solicits affect, i.e. hinder and/or help, language production, practice, and, by implication, learning

"The weather, a soccer game, a conversation at dinner, a panel discussion, or your class?" Going over some examples of and tips and reasons for transcribing

"Twose key words other understand" Looking at the act of transcribing in the 16th and 21st centuries and considering how and why to use it in our teaching and learning

With John, explore ways to ...

• Identify and break the unconscious rules, habits and beliefs that stifle
    our teaching
• Sharpen classroom observation, transcription and analysis skills
• Make very, very small changes that have a very, very large impact
• Tap your natural curiosity and that of your students

Why? Because...
"Unexamined teaching is drudgery"

Your ESL/EFL classroom can be a place of creativity, excitement, and genuine learning, not just a job site. Your first step is to learn how to take a look at your own routine classroom behaviors, to understand how these "rules" may or may not facilitate learning, and to consider how you might explore other options. Great teaching is the destiny of every dedicated teacher, not the achievement of just a few. Innovative and effective classroom activities are critical, but the essential factor is your cultivated expertise in creating a moment-to-moment learning partnership with your students. "When this happens, the end of a class will find you and your students more energized than at the beginning."

Comments from course participants:

"John challenged me to try turning conventional teaching practices on their heads and analyze them, criticize them and change them into something better ... I've gotten more out of this course with you that I have out of dozens of other courses combined."

"In your course, you gave me a great opportunity to change my teaching style and philosophy because you taught us how a small change in our teaching can make a big difference in our students' learning ... I learned practical skills and methods of analysis of my teaching, which will help my teaching for the rest of my career. Invaluable experience!"

"John has a very open mind and acutely sought our opinions and views. While sometimes his classes could be confusing, once I got used to his unique style of teaching all was fine, and I enjoyed the course in the end and found it exhilarating."

"He suggested that we have doubts about every teaching way or style from the viewpoint of whether it really 'works' in our classrooms. He taught us not to have blind belief about any 'established' theory or idea. In that sense he may be called a pragmatist in the good sense. Conclusion: I think I have been lucky to have a chance to learn from John F. Fanselow, a Thinking Giant."

All 5 live lessons plus support material for $99. Payments handled by PayPal

Email us if you have any questions or want to apply for scholarship.

Return to the Breaking Rules Live information page.