Pearson workshops at the British Council events across Spain

Pearson British Council speakers

The annual Teaching for Success conferences, hosted by the British Council for ELT teachers are a great way to start the year and Pearson will be in attendance at the events across the country: in Madrid and Bilbao on Saturday 23rd September and in Barcelona and Valencia on Saturday 30th. Whether it’s to attend one of our new workshops to get some original, adaptable ideas, or to drop by our stand to have a look at our materials, we’d love to see you there!

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Ask a Stupid Question Day

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When you saw the title of this post you probably thought that this is just the latest example of a world gone crazy with yet another apparently random silly holiday.  Better think again.

Ask a Stupid Question day, far from being a pointless unofficial holiday, was created in the 1980’s by a group of teachers with a very specific purpose in mind: encouraging their students to participate more in class by asking questions. They knew that most of them had lots of questions but believed they kept many to themselves for fear of being laughed at.

It takes place on the 28th of September, but it’s commonly celebrated on the last day of class this month. Since its creation, this has been an annual tradition in American schools, and has recently become popular in Britain and India.

So how might we English teachers take advantage of this date at the beginning of the year to foster a more participative classroom which focuses on the needs of our learners? Continue reading

September Giveaway: Picture your Back to School

Don’t miss the chance to participate in our September Prize Draw on Facebook. A Back to School Giveaway for English Teachers!

september giveaway

We know you’re excited about this Back to School and so are we. To help you start planning and keeping things organized all year long, we’re giving away 10 of our  Pearson Diaries!

If you’re an English Teacher living at Spain or Portugal and you want to win one of our Pearson Diaries 2017-2018, all you have to do is follow these 3 simple steps:

1. Make sure you’ve liked our page on Facebook (@PearsonELTSpainPortugal)

2. Give us a ‘Like’ on one of the prize draw posts

3. Upload a picture to Facebook that represents your Back to School (it can be anything you want) and mention us @PearsonELTSpainPortugal on the post

We’re looking forward to see all your pictures!

For more information, please read the Terms & Conditions.

Great icebreakers for the first day back

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Welcome back! It seems only yesterday that we were blogging about well-earned rests and mojitos on the beach, but September has arrived and for us that means the start of another school year. Many will have new classes: for the teacher this means getting to know their students, for the students it means getting to know their teacher and of course each other. In our first lesson back we may look at course requirements, rules and expectations and so on, but it’s important our students leave the class with a smile on their face and a spring in their step: just as with a good mojito, we’ll need to break the ice.

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School’s out for summer!

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It’s that time of year again: School’s out for summer!  It’s time to say goodbye (albeit temporarily) to lesson planning, marking and exams.  And it’s time to say hello to sun, sea, and, because you’ve earned it, a glass of sangria.

Teaching can be a hugely rewarding job, but also challenging and tiring, and the chance to recharge our batteries is most welcome.

Here at Pearson we’d like to wish you a fantastic summer and we look forward to seeing you all back again in September.

5 ways for students to watch video more effectively at home

Video in ESL classroom

One of the most common pieces of advice a teacher will give to a student wanting to improve their listening (and quite possibly their vocabulary) is to “watch films in English.”  It seems like a sensible enough suggestion on the surface.  After all, it couldn’t do any harm could it?  But perhaps the question is: Does simply watching films in English translate into any real improvement in listening and vocabulary, or does it perhaps require a bit more effort than that?

My own experience of learning Spanish tells me that watching films or television is indeed extremely helpful, but I also remember that most of the time I spent in front of the TV in my first months in Spain was spent in the company of the family I lived with.  I could easily ask them questions to check the meaning of words or concepts and instantly check their reactions to what was happening on the screen to see if I was following the thread.  In short, I had something very similar to teachers on hand.

So, what tips can we give our students to get the most out of their viewing?  How can they make time often spent alone in front of the TV less passive, and actively take control of their learning on their own?  Here are a few tips:

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Practical tricks for mixed-ability classes

mixed-ability

Let’s face it, teachers of mixed-ability classes have a lot on their plate. Weaker students may give up on work assigned to them and stronger students often finish very quickly. Both groups can switch off and start messing about. Nobody would disagree that ‘Every child matters’, but for a teacher with eight classes of thirty children, responding to each child’s needs can sometimes seem a challenge to put it mildly.

The glass is half full!

Although challenging, mixed ability classes also have many advantages. First off, they represent a microcosm of society: we’re likely to get varied input and ideas from students and these classes lend themselves to developing values like respect, tolerance and helping others: they encourage co-operative learning. Also, they may require creativity on our part, but that makes us better teachers!

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Five things to love about teaching English

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No two people have quite the same experience of teaching English.  My own history includes mostly private sector teaching to adults and teens (so this post might not reflect your situation exactly).  But regardless of the context you teach in, many of us, and this is undoubtedly true of any profession, might get to a time when we question why it is that we are doing it, or maybe we forget why we got into it in the first place.

For native speakers there is the added “I’m JUST an English teacher” issue to face as well, as in: I’m JUST teaching something that I didn’t have to put any real effort into learning myself, or Am I JUST taking the easiest option?  Shouldn’t I be more of a go-getter in world of increasing “go-getting.”  I would bet that this thought has crossed the minds of a fair number of you out there.  Perhaps if you are a NNS (non-native speaker) of English you haven’t had this same feeling, and the things listed below are somewhat more obvious to you.  If so, scream and shout about them!  Kick up a fuss about your profession!  And get your colleagues stoked about their job!  Because there are a great many things to love about being “just” an English teacher.

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5 ways to practice English over the summer

summerAt the end of every school year, my adult students have this same query: “What can I do to practice my English during the summer?” After 13 years of teaching experience, I should be ready for this, but often the only answer that springs to mind is to watch movies and read in English. However, neither I nor my students are very happy with this less than original answer. I am sure they are expecting a bit more from an ELT professional. But I’m not letting that happen again this year and that’s why I have prepared the following short list that I’m sharing with you in the hope that it could be useful for any age group of students you are teaching. Continue reading

Top tips for the First (FCE) writing exam

For English Teachers it’s time to skill up – and celebrate our success - Ilustration by Tang Yau Hoong

Preparing our students for high stakes exams can be a daunting task. We want them to know the exam inside out, we’ll need to give them plenty of practice and we still aim to keep our lessons engaging and fun! This post is concerned with Part 2 of the First writing exam: what should we teachers bear in mind?

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