by Nina

As an English teacher, I have always leaned towards non-traditional, conversational, playful way of learning. I used to organize movie nights, lessons in pubs and city trips, but I still taught from books when in the classroom. Then, when my daughter was born, I had time to reconsider my somewhat traditional approach in class and decided to quit. I am a freelancer, my own boss, I can afford to do this, so why not?

I don´t want to be a "teacher" any more, I never saw myself as one anyways. I want to be a guide, a helping hand and a true manager of my students´ progress!

So, I restructured my lessons and set up a brand new course - English Without Books or "Kurz zážitkové angličtiny" in Czech. Please, read more about it in my previous blog post. Here´s how the first lesson went.


I couldn´t wait for the course to start, I could hardly sleep the night before and my stomach was so small I couldn´t eat lunch the day we were supposed to have our first lesson. But there was really nothing to worry about, the first meeting turned out better than I  had expected and I was quite happy about my lesson plan coming out well. The students were very easy-going, open-minded and enthusiastic to be part of this. And my teacher friend Glenn was a great help (thank you!).

I am not against all books, just the traditional coursebooks!


Since the students didn´t know each other, the main aim of the lesson was to give them a lot of opportunities to speak to each other. I couldn´t be more surprised to watch complete strangers, all Czechs, speaking English to each other with such an ease. I helped them with a few hints what to talk about and let them mingle. I think they would still be talking now if I didn´t stop the activity after 30min, they didn´t need me at all. There was no correction, no interruption and there was a lot of laughing. All they needed me for was to pour more tea in their cups.


I also wanted to help the students understand goal setting, so that they would know how to set their short-term and long-term language goals. We first played a fun game "If you had any money in the world..." where they dreamed about being able to afford any car, house and holiday. Visuals always help, so I had cut out tons of pictures from magazines. After they chose their dream cars/homes/holidays, I hung them on the board for everyone to see. I then asked them to think what they are hoping to do within 1 year, in the same categories - maybe buy new speakers for their car, a better sofa for their living room or go on holiday to Paris. 

And then we switched to language dreams. You can dream big about your language skills! Maybe you want to be able to read Shakespeare in the original or speak to your favourite musician without blushing or write and give a speech at an international conference. Reading, Writing, Listening and Speaking. Write your big dreams down! And then go small and think short-term.
This video can help writing the goals down.



1) Session 1-6: focus on starting them think independently
    - helping them set their language goals
    - intro to the self-study process with the EOT programme
    - help them start working with English Central, English Attack, etc.
    - intro to the online/offline English speaking world
    - two native speaker events
    - one soft-skills lesson

2) Session 7-12: focus on leading them through
    - diving into the EOT programme
    - making them feel more comfortable talking to their convo partners
    - two native speaker events
    - learning with video


3) Session 13-18: focus on setting them free
    - they are able to work independently,  know how, loving it
    - two native speaker events
    - evaluation of the course
    - final garden party with announcing the best student

This is the students´ feedback on Facebook:

Tina: "It was great today! I'm looking forward to our next sessions!"

Zuzka: "I enjoyed our fist lesson and I am looking forward for the next one and to start using Englishcentral.com :)"

Zdeněk: "That was wonderful lesson girls :-).I'm delighted at study English with you. I'm looking forward to next Wednesday. Let's go on http://www.englishcentral.com/ !

Lenka: " Hello Nina, I had a great time with you as well:-) I am looking forward to next Wednesday."

Léňa: "Hi Nina, it was the great start of your course. I am excited. It was great fun, I met wonderful people and I look forward to the next leason to all and of course to use Englishcentral.com:-)"

If you want to know how we will evaluate the students and measure their progress, follow this blog. We will start making videos, photos and voice recordings and catching our language dreams!

Any comments or questions, please post them here or on my Facebook page.



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Glenn at English Třebíč said...

Nina, the world needs more teachers like you who have passion for the subjects they teach combined with a desire to use the 21st century resources and tools the internet has to offer. The English Without Books program is something I would like to adopt for my Czech students in Trebic. You have truly shown me a different way of thinking about English and I look forward to participating in your program as a native speaker, English teacher, student and friend. Great blog post!

- Glenn

JasonOutThere said...

Hey good stuff Nina! Thanks for using EOT...looking forward to talking to some of of your students once they have done an EOT lesson.

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