#TLT16: Final keynote

Lindsay Skinner invites us to consider teacher presence in the classroom.

Think about what moves a lesson from a cover lesson to a lesson: the teacher. Focus on the voice, the body, the person. What is it that makes one person someone the kids want to listen to? Clear, fluent, emotionally engaging: eloquent.

Eloquence tends to be referred to in formal situations. Are our lessons formal, or everyday events when we forget about eloquence?

Attention span. Lower at the start, then rises as you become engaged with the speaker, then falls and rises again at the end, in anticipation of it. Use that: put something at the start to catch attention (an anecdote?) and recap the lesson content at the end. Break up the learning to re-engage attention.

Speed of speech. Conversational English is 5-6 syllables a second; newsreaders speak deliberately slower because they are transmitting important information.

Choose your words: go for a more formal phrase. Realise I do this: the difference between calling attention with, ‘Guys’ and, ‘Year 9’ is a big one. I use the latter when the former doesn’t work.

Give instructions in the correct order. ‘Use key words’ should come at the start, not the end, for example. Begin sentences with an imperative so your instructions are clearly to be follows: don’t give students the opportunity to opt out.

Beginning with a personal anecdote humanises you to your students and gets them on board.

This was engaging, funny and the perfect end to the day. Great conference.

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