A note from the editor
Welcome to our brand new Modern English Teacher incorporating English Teaching professional. By putting the two magazines together we have managed to offer you the best of both worlds, from the practical ideas of ETp to the more research-based articles of MET. There was always a lot of overlap, we both used many of the same contributors and our values were always similar, helping teachers help their classes learn better. So I am confident that nothing will be lost by the merger, there can only be gain.
As I write this I am coming to the end of another semester teaching here in New Zealand. Over the last sixteen weeks we have had a six-week and a two-week period of live teaching and the rest of the time we have been in lockdown. Knowing my classes before we went online made it much easier to maintain the courses. They both had good textbooks which could be adapted for Zoom and most of the classes enjoyed the change of timetable and the fact that they did not need to travel to campus. There was, on the other hand, heightened anxiety as the lockdown continued and as we experienced the drop in pace which is seemingly inevitable when you teach online. The low point of the semester was a perfectly delivered oral presentation which I failed to record, meaning the student had to do it again. Was it perfect the second time? Not quite, but good enough to achieve her qualification.
January will be, therefore, a fresh start. We will probably be teaching face-to-face again but international students will continue to be taught online so this blend of teaching has slowly become the norm, not only here but for many of you too. One of the benefits of online teaching is the fact that it is hard not to notice how you are teaching – you see and hear your every word and gesture. I am sure this has led to an upsurge in classroom observation, something which can only be a good thing. I think it has also heightened our awareness of our learners’ emotional states, all those negative feelings which surround learning – anxiety, boredom, irritation, doubt and so on. By noticing them, we are keener to find ways to alleviate them, which is bound to pay off in the long run.
Since our last issue I have spoken at a conference for the first time since the pandemic started and it was great to share ideas, albeit on Zoom again, with colleagues throughout the country who have similar issues to me. The community of teachers is very welcoming and supportive and I would encourage any of you who are feeling a little isolated, to attend online webinars or workshops. My topic was fluency activities – by no means a new area, but it was good to put some ideas out there for people to consider and possibly adapt for their own classes. As a little taster for you, what do you think connects these four things; a form of transport, a prefix meaning under, a Swiss bank and another word for a flash drive? This sort of activity encourages thought, collaboration, conjecture and, above all, fun. I think as we move forward and start afresh in 2022, we should all make sure that our lessons are fun, we have all been through too much serious stuff over the last couple of years and our teaching should be the highlight of our learners’ day.
Wherever you are and whoever you teach, I hope you find support and warmth in the Modern English Teacher community. Think about writing for us if you want to – if not, enjoy the magazines and the digital resources we have available. The answer, by the way was they all use the same three letters – BUS, SUB, UBS and USB! Wishing you a great 2022.