In this week’s Industry Voices, Anette Igel, IHWO’s coordinator for German, talks about the book she co-wrote with James Thomas, a freelance teacher trainer and author, called ‘Out of Your Seats’. The book gives tips and ideas for practical, interactive and creative language teaching activities for all levels and ages that aims to get learners out of their seats.
About the new book
Well the initial idea was to write a book on TPR [total physical response], but then actually we realised that it wasn’t really what we wanted to focus on, so it become more and more a book about how to get your students out of their seats, literally ‘out of their seats’. All of the activities in the book involve physical movement. The book has two parts – the first part contains activities which can be set at any time during a lesson, at any stage, and can be adapted for any type of language, while the lesson plans stretch further and have a clear language content as well. There are often varieties, so you can choose different points. We’ve tried all of the activities – lots of them come from my time working as a drama teacher so there is a big variety. Some are more physical than others, so you really have to run around and move things, and other are a little bit quieter for the people who don’t want to run around.
My favourite activities in the classroom
One [activity] I learnt from Ana Perez in Portugal, and that was based on the song ‘The Lion Sleeps Tonight’. We actually started with her idea and expanded upon it, inventing new things around it. And then there’s also ‘Dance My Sentence’ which was first introduced to me by Kylie Malinowska and Giovanni Licata at the IH Brno Young Learners Conference, so we’ve also created something around that. Those are probably my favourites.
The experience of writing a book
It was quite funny because we did most of the writing online. We spent a few days together starting the book, and that was when we wrote 15-20 activities in three days, and then we started working online because I live in Hamburg, James lives in Brno, so we always had to wait for the other to respond, and work with Google docs, etc. There are times when I thought, ‘Oh no I don’t have any ideas, I can’t think at the moment’, but then the next minute you have loads and the book starts writing itself, so it’s quite funny. It took us from September 2017 until April 2018.
My advice for anyone considering writing a book
Get someone to work with you. It’s good when you push each other. It really, really helps. I’m thinking of maybe writing a book on my own, but I know that in part I will work with James again on it, because although I’ll write most of the content, I need James to push me.
'Out of Your Seats' by Anette Igel and James Thomas is available to buy online here.
Anette chatted with IHWO at the IATEFL conference in Brighton, UK in April 2018.