Professional Development Workshop for Teachers #3

ELT Professionals in Cape Town left UCT's English Language Centre a little more knowledgeable about the process of reading as well as how the ELT Publishing industry works. Thanks to those who attended!

Reading CPD | UCT English Language Centre
We held Continual Professional Development Workshop #3 on 14th September and discussed two aspects of ELT:  Teaching Reading and ELT Publishing.  It was great to discuss the skills which enable us to read, and how the ELT publishing world works.  

Focus on Reading – Understanding the Process 

When we read in our own language, we use certain skills to enable us to understand the text. These skills are automated. That is the goal in second language learning, but it doesn’t happen by chance. The knowledge we employ as readers of English (or any other language) includes: 

  • Genre knowledge
  • Discourse knowledge
  • Socio-cultural knowledge
  • General World knowledge
  • Vocabulary knowledge
  • Grammar knowledge
  • Grammatical cohesion
  • Lexical cohesion
Some of these are bottom-up processing: vocab, grammar knowledge, lexical cohesion, grammatical cohesion. And some are top-down processing: genre, socio-cultural, topic knowledge/general world knowledge. Discourse is between the two – both bottom-up and top-down strategies. 

Teachers can teach students strategies so that they can compensate for a lack of automation of these skills or knowledge. A strategy is a conscious procedure. The theory is that students need these conscious strategies to enable them to read in a foreign language.

We discussed a number of different activities that could be used to give students strategies to deal with their lack of a specific automated skill. For example, we read a short extract which had certain words converted to nonsense words, and we had to work out what the words could possibly be – using various knowledge (or skills) e.g. socio-cultural or general world knowledge, grammar knowledge etc. The aim of this activity was to develop a strategy for inferring meaning of unknown lexis.

There are many different reading subskills. A few, together with which knowledge / skill is used and some example activities, are shown in the picture above. 

For more information or to discuss this further, please contact Christelle or email us on ELC

A Peek into the World of ELT Publishing 

Sarah Gaylard gave us a fascinating insight into how the ELT industry works and exactly how much work goes into a coursebook (and all its associated books, like the CD’s, workbook, Teacher’s Book etc) and how long it actually takes from conception to final production. 

One of the most interesting points is the discussion around keeping ‘PARSNIPS’ out of coursebooks. PARSNIPS stands for Politics, Alcohol, Religion, Sex, Narcotics Isms.  What do you think about that?

Date of the next CPD workshop? 

Our next Professional Development Workshop is on Friday, 9th November 2018.  We have two sessions: 

Professional Development Workshop
Please come and support your co-teachers.  Attendance is free but please do RSVP here or email Juliette so that we know how many people are coming.

And finally, what knowledge can you share with your colleagues?  Everyone has something to share and we (as in UCT, EDUSA and ALL the language schools in Cape Town) are determined to keep raising the standard of our industry as well as networking and sharing best practice with other ELT professionals.  Please contact us if you would like to facilitate a workshop.

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