Is the iPhone the Private Language teacher’s IWB?

Posted on August 15, 2010. Filed under: My Portfolio |

For a few years now I have been using the IWB  (interactive White Board) in my classroom and, like many teachers who have used it for some time, I understand the benefits a tool linked to the internet can bring. IWBs also contains tools to record your students and also, move and change language on ‘screen’. Apart from teaching in a private school, I am happy to say I specialise in private teaching with high level government officials of the Brazilians government.

Teaching privately is quite different from classroom teaching. 1-to-1 classes demand a different approach which is individual to that specific learner’s needs every second you are in there company. Demands placed on the teacher can be just as great as when you have 15 students in front of you. The main difference is that 1 to 1 classes are usually tailor-made and not set in a traditional classroom environment but usually in a learners office, meeting room or places such as airports or shopping centres (I’ve even given classes in a car a few times before a Minister flies off to a foreign meeting). So as you can imagine a teacher has to be flexible to say the least.

The other day, I was with one of these students and we were talking about how public administration could persuade Brazilians citizens to use public transport in Brazil. One issue came up and the student wanted to know what was ‘crenças’ in Portuguese, so i got my recently purchased iPhone out and looked it up on Babbel fish, the online translator, as i couldn’t bring it to mind át the time. After this I then remembered the Fun Theory clip on youtube which had changed peoples concept of taking the stairs instead of the escalator when they leave the underground. This was to illustrate a point of changing behaviour when using a public service. I didn’t plan these activities beforehand and kept in conversation with my student as I touched my iPhone to bring up these tools. This is similar to what I do in class with an IWB.

In my next private class I recorded the student’s voice on one of the Iphone´s application for him to listen to himself and how he pronounced some phrases. This is another option the IWB has. Of course, I still used a pen and piece of paper to note down words and corrections to give my students some visual feedback on their performance. This is just like in class when you use the IWB as a normal board in a more traditional way.The thing is, I didn’t buy my iPhone for my classes but it suddenly brought a whole new dimension to how I teach which benefits my students ‘ learning. Could we say then that the iPhone (or even the iPad) is the private teacher’s IWB?

P.S. By the way. I wrote this post on my iPhone while waiting in a car park for my next student.

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One Response to “Is the iPhone the Private Language teacher’s IWB?”

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totally agree! I do not have an iPhone but an iPod Touch and it works just as great! In fact, there are a lot of Apps even if you have Symbian or Android! Smart phones are very powerful computers. Ive been using business dictionaries (search for business dictionaries on iTunes), Skype, correcting essays and a lot of other things that once were only seen possible to use within 4 walls! Technology is no longer a tool. It’s practice!


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