My Teaching Approach: DJ ELT

How will you play your lesson?

How will you play your lesson?

Sometimes out there in the blogosphere you can find such interesting ideas being shared and discussed.

I recently experienced one of these times reading a post on Jason Renshaw’s English Raven blog: What’s your approach? Mine’s called EmLT, and a follow up by Ceri Jones on her approach, SLIL. Now, I’d like to write about my approach to teaching, but I’m not sure exactly how to crystalise it into words, and I would definitely say that I am still feeling my way as a teacher. At the moment, I couldn’t clearly write about my teaching approach even if I wanted to.

But I can write about my approach to materials: DJ ELT or Disc Jockey English Language Teaching.

The seed of this idea was planted in a conversation I had earlier this year with Jamie Keddie and one I had more recently with Phil Bird, and the approach is one I’ve really started to embrace since I started tweeting and blogging.

Something happens once you become an English language teacher, a switch is flipped in your brain and everything changes. Some might say it’s a blessing, others a curse (I’m towards the former myself): almost everything could be used in the teaching of English. Newspapers, magazines, songs, radio programmes, cartoons, paintings, photos, videos, the Internet, YouTube, blogs, wikis, etc, etc. Anything could be used to teach English.

The English Language Teacher is a DJ. They decide how to ‘play’ (read: use) all the different ‘music and songs’ (resources) to their learners. And like any DJ worth their salt, they have got to find the best mix, as their learners may like different kinds of music. They have not only to decide the what, but the when, the why and the how of their English teaching resources.

Sometimes it’s tough, but sometimes it’s also lots of fun 🙂

What about you? What is your approach?

You might also like to read Marisa Pavan‘s post on her ‘FlexiMoti’ approach. And Eva Buyuksimkesyan‘s on C-ELT.

Image credit: DJ E.A.S.E. (Nightmares on Wax) by PresleyJesus on Flickr

13 thoughts on “My Teaching Approach: DJ ELT

  1. I loved the analogy Mike! Very clever 🙂 Like you I can see English resources in practically anything throughout my every day life. It’s a disease really, something like OTD (Obsessive Teacher Disorder). I am having a hard time thinking of a name for my approach ever since I read Jason’s post. It’s probably because I don’t think I have been able to define how I teach yet, to identify it. And I see myself in the DJ ELT approach, as well as in Ceri’s SLIL and Jason’s EmLT. Will keep thinking. Thanks on a fun post, great analogy. And I’ll leave with a question: being a DJ Teacher, which (if any) was the most unusual resource you’ve ever used in class?

    • Hi Cecilia,

      I like Obsessive Teacher Disorder! It is a bit like that.

      Hmmm, most unusual resource? I will have to think about that one…

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  3. I must say – I too love the metaphor / analogy! Lovely.

    Have you tried any of the karaoke I have on EFL classroom 2.0 in your teaching! It’s amazing stuff and might even make you even more of a DJ teacher…



    • Hi Bethania and David,

      Glad you like it =)

      David, I haven’t used your karaoke stuff yet, but will definitely give it a go at some point!

  4. I loved this so much that I’m not ashamed to be person no. 4 saying how cool a metaphor! And I like the others am busy thinking um..whaddamI? I suspect am a bit of a DJ too and it’s the turning that off that’s the hardest, I rarely watch or do anything that doesn’t make me think of the language involved, whether or not and who would be interested in xzy… thank goodness I’ve got a Ning to stick these things in for my ss later…

    OH! I’ve got it I’m Teacher as a Squirrel.


  5. Hi Mike!

    It’s a great post and I like your analogy. As teachers we are DJs and adapt the “music” we play to our “listeners”.
    Thanks for supporting my post! Jason has inspired us into reflection on our teaching practice and that’s a valuable opportunity.

    • Hi Marisa, I really liked reading your post about your FlexiMoti approach as well!

      Definitely agree with you that it’s a very good thing to think about and evaluate your teaching practice – best way to get better, I think =)

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  7. Hi Mike,
    I love the analogy as well (impossible not to!) – and the spin offs, Cecilia’s OTD (a godsend for lesson planning but often a curse for friends and family!) – and the idea of karaoke – I guess that’s when the students take over and make the lesson their own? and what harking back to the good old days (well before your time 😉 ) – when you could go up and make requests? or round everything off with a couple of smoochies? any mileage in analogies there – or am I just showing my age?

  8. Yey, I like this idea of creating an acronym for the teacher’s preferred style in the classroom.
    I was thinking little bit about that and SALT came to my mind – a great ingredient to improves the taste of your food, in my case the taste of the teaching and learning in my classroom S-surprise A-autonomy L-language T-teaching
    As I am teaching in the evenings I need to make sure my students won’t fall asleep after their work and as our lesson is usually only 90 mins long, I try to encourage them to work and study on their own outside the classroom.
    Thanks for nice post Mike, got me thinking about my basic principles in classroom.
    Vladka 🙂

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