By Denise Parker
The National Geographic Learning Symposium aimed to educate teachers on instilling the English language structure in the classroom at Phoenix College Sept. 30 from 8:30 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Many of the teachers specialized in adult education, including Academic English, Grammar, Communication, and English as a second language (ESL).
Christien Lee and Dr. Keith Folse, the two speakers invited to talk about changes that can be made to improve classroom learning, offered innovated ways to teach in the classroom and made the lessons relatable to students.
Christien Lee, the first speaker, debated about the benefits and the drawbacks of using Technology, Entertainment, and Design (TED) talks in the classroom. He offered solutions to overcome these obstacles. One problem he noted in using TED talks is the vast selection. He also advocated to avoid the online talks featuring Yet Another White Male (YAWM). He encouraged teachers to include a diversity of speakers between gender and ethnicity.
His speech also included the use of TED speaker Sebastian Wernicke and his talk “Lies, damn lies and statistics (about TEDTalks).” Wernicke overviews what comprises the best and the worst TED talks. He also brought the usage of TED-PAD, a method in reverse engineering in how to give the best or the worst TED talk. Lee has had his own students use the program with great success.
Dr. Keith Folse, the second speaker, wrote a textbook underneath the National Geographic company. He has taught abroad and understands the differences between teaching grammar to Native English Writers (NEW) and ESL students. His main topic was to rethink what grammar professors impart. He asked the attendants why they teach grammar. Folse believes that sentence structure should be taught for the ability to write a paragraph.
“If you speak with an accent, why can’t you write with an accent?” Folse said during his speech.
He argued that teachers should not only focus on correcting linguistic errors but on finding improvements in writing. He promoted focusing on students’ needs, and said that different teachers see different pictures. He also noted the problems teachers have when forming their syllabus. He proposes that teachers make the mistake in forcing themselves to include all lessons included in a textbook. He believes that teachers should emphasize what needs should be covered and not containing all lessons in a single semester.
The two speakers were available after the panel for further questions.
Nichol Clark, Senior Education Consultant for Adult and Academic ESL, hosted the forum. She had a set of grammar and English writing textbooks. They were available for attendants to take home.
“People coming here (to the Learning Symposium) and walking away purposeful,” she said about what she liked about these seminars. “Getting something useful and use it in the classroom.”
For more information about National Geographic Learning and its textbooks, contact Nichol Clark at firstname.lastname@example.org.