Bulgaria - Beyond the Classroom Workshop

Bulgaria - Beyond the Classroom Workshop

This is a series of workshops being given around Bulgaria organized by Macmillan publishers in Bulgaria. It's part of an ongoing series of teacher professional development which we're all very thankful to Yordan Stoyanov for his impeccable organization. Thanks Dan!


Getting beyond the textbook and the classroom.

We looked at the quesiton - What is a 21st Century Education?

This clip answers the question

The Beyond coursebook has a lot of stuff that it says goes 'beyond' the classroom. 
These include 'Learner-centred content', multiple learning methods enhanced by digital media and communication, developing 21st century skills through English, self-directed learning opportunities, allowing for active, high demand learning.

We gave some examples of each of these objectives in the coursebook.
And we considered arguments for going 'beyond' the coursebook.

I also brought some of my own ideas on this discussion.
I'm particularly interested in diverse methods for working with content.
By this I mean the teacher including input methods which cater for different learning styles in the classroom.

Within this discussion we looked at:

Activity types for different learning styles

Organizing vocabulary
Exploiting illustrations (and other visual media)
Using realia
Giving opportunity for ‘private talk’ and ‘public talk’
Creating and doing
Using sound and song
Giving opinions, feelings
Working with text

... and we considered examples for each.


Visually representing content with learners helps them learn the content in question.

We discussed the old maxim 'you can't test what you haven't taught' with an example from a maths exam.

You can see from the example above that the first part of the question carries a very low linguistic demand on the learner, whereas the second part demands a great deal in terms of language from the learner.
Teachers being aware of the demands they make on learners, precisely what they are asking learners to do is a key to successful learning outcomes. Sounds simple, but, it's true.

We looked at other visual inputs in the classroom and this took us to graffiti, street art, Banksy and the teachers creating their own graffiti using a task from the textbook.


The teachers were very creative!

example from teachers


graffiti art from teachers

We looked at life skills too. A major part of Beyond is teaching skills for the 21st Century.
Specifically, we looked at presentation skills but there is a whole lot more.

This eventually took us to TrashedWorld and students working with partners around the world to investigate their lifestyles and rubbish.

You can find out all about this on this site.

You can also download the whole slideshow if you're interested in Beyond and skills for life
It's quite a big file, so it's available in an external folder in box.net.

More soon!