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TEFL Masterclass – Using Real Stories For Real Results: Making The Case For Case Studies

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Rob Howard – Teacher Trainer & Joint Coordinator @ IATEFL BESIG.

Rob Howard is online as an active EFL Teacher and Neurolanguage Coach and training teachers to build their own freelance businesses. Rob is the owner of Online Language Center, managing partner at Business Language Training Institute and founder of EFLtalks – teachers teaching teachers.

What you will learn

Storytelling is compelling, engaging and extremely effective as a means of communication. Since the first English story, Beowulf, over 1300 years ago, humankind has used stories to entertain, enlighten, and educate. In the classroom, stories can come alive as tools to activate the mind and to enhance language acquisition, critical thinking, and problem-solving.

Stories in the form of Case Studies are an essential tool for business English classes. But why stop there? The methodology for using cases for business can equally be used in the General English classroom to intensify, enforce, and improve student communication skills.

This presentation will help demystify and simplify these essential tools, so teachers feel comfortable and confident implementing these critical aspects in their own classrooms and offer take-aways for teachers to better prepare students with accuracy, fluency, and confidence.

Workshop Summary

The Endurance of Stories:

Rob Howard underscores the significance of utilising real-life narratives or case studies in English teaching. He asserts that stories are not restricted to business education but have universal appeal.

Narrative Contextualisation:

The essence of storytelling is highlighted through an EFL fairy tale, spotlighting the role of narratives in illustrating real-world issues and their resolutions.

Misunderstandings of KPIs:

Rob delves into Key Performance Indicators, illuminating the pitfalls and misconceptions surrounding them. He argues that external factors can often distort these metrics, leading to misleading assessments of an individual’s true capability.

Stories’ Versatility:

Emphasising the fairy tale’s adaptability, Rob showcases how altering elements of a story can make it relevant across various fields. Such adaptations help in ensuring student engagement and comprehension.

The Essence and Structure of Case Studies:

Rob introduces case studies as detailed narratives offering deep insights into real situations. Originating from Harvard Business School, they help hone decision-making skills. Their structure closely mirrors that of stories, encompassing data, context, challenges, and solutions.

Advantages of Case Studies in Teaching:

By embedding case studies, educators can enhance real-world skills amongst learners. The benefits range from enriched vocabulary and term understanding to improved retention. Rob suggests collaborative case study analysis as an effective teaching method.

Case Studies in TEFL (Teaching English as a Foreign Language):

Case studies offer students a comprehensive structure to analyse authentic situations, encouraging teamwork and critical thinking. Teachers can adapt their creation and implementation, with sources ranging from books to real-life events. Contemporary issues serve as potent case studies, linking the curriculum to the real world. However, there’s a need for more educators to embrace this methodology, dispelling misconceptions and harnessing its rich potential for student development.

Reflective Questions

Have a quick think about the reflective questions below in order to get the most out of the workshop:

  1. What are some of the basics of Case Studies?
  2. What value is there in using Case Studies?
  3. What are some activities that can be done using Case Studies?
  4. How do you use Case Studies in your classes?

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