Better together? Assessing reading and writing

Written texts: A thing of the past?

The advent of digital technologies and the rise of the internet have altered the way we read and write considerably over the past few decades, but it has also increased access to written texts and made them easier to produce, share and publish.  And we are not just talking about posting on social media either. The rising popularity of English as a Medium of Instruction (EMI) and CLIL, or the use of English in the workplace means both students and professionals are increasingly exposed to written English.  So despite the general perception that we are witnessing the demise of these skills, they very much remain a central part of how we study, how we work and how we interact. Consequently, assessing these skills is as important as ever for us as language teaching professionals.

Continue reading

5 Christmas adverts with ideas for class

It’s that time of year again! For some, the run-up to Christmas hasn’t yet started in earnest, but for others it’s already in full flow: In Britain, Christmas adverts tend to appear on the TV from mid-November onwards, making the countdown to Christmas very long indeed! These short videos are a great resource to use with your students, who will also be starting to feel festive. The adverts often tell a story with a message, contextualise lots of Christmas vocabulary and can be used as an inspiration for student production. In this post I’ve chosen five new adverts from 2018 and added a few ideas on how to use them in class. Give them a try with your students!

ADVERT 1

Continue reading

Pre-primary English teachers: make your voice heard and win!

At Pearson, we’re committed to understanding what teachers need in order to create the right materials for your classes. That why we’re calling on all pre-primary (infantíl) teachers of English in Spain to fill out our survey.

As a token of our gratitude, all teachers who fill in the survey will be entered into a draw to win a 100€ Amazon gift voucher.

The survey is in Spanish. And if you’re not a pre-primary English teacher, but you know someone who is, feel free to forward it on to give them a chance of winning!

Don’t forget to fill in your personal details at the end of the survey to be entered into the draw. The survey closes on 25 November, so don’t delay!

Thank you…and good luck!

Our Teacher Trainers in Barcelona and Valencia this weekend

Our Teacher Trainers will be involved in two conferences this Saturday 17 November which will almost certainly be of interest to you if you are in either Valencia or Barcelona.

Michael Brand will be taking part at the ACEICOVA People Teach People Conference in Valencia with two talks, both in the Salón de Actos G.  At 11.45 he will be giving the talk Making all the right noises: a closer look at B2 speaking skills, and at 14.15 you can hear To C1 and Beyond! Hitting the high notes with advanced learners.

Brian Engquist will be in Barcelona at the 6th Annual ELT Conference put on by Exams Catalunya.  His talk, Making all the right noises: a closer look at B2 speaking skills, begins at 15.45 in the auditorium.

And if you would like to see any of our materials visit our ELT Consultant Lola Martinez at our stand in Valencia and Marta Cervera in Barcelona.

Hope to see you there!

 

Assessing speaking: an ‘inexact science’

What’s the most common collocation: do you speak/understand/read/write English?

That’s right, people tend to focus on speaking when asking this general question about language proficiency. And think of one of your classes and how students perceive one another’s level: you can bet your bottom dollar that, as well as by comparing exam results, it will be on how well they seem to speak. This blog post, the third in our series on language assessment literacy, will focus on assessing speaking.

Continue reading

Assessing listening: challenges and choices

Listening: a vital skill

One of the first things new teachers learn is that simply exposing students to lots of listening will quickly increase their ability to communicate orally.  Even beginners armed with a very limited repertoire of vocabulary and grammar can often get their ideas across provided they generally understand what other people are saying to them.  In fact, Feyton is often cited as estimating that listening makes up a full 45% of what we do in a language.  So invariably the assessment of listening will be of paramount importance in the overall evaluation of our learners’ communicative ability.  And yet it remains one of the most elusive skills to reliably test.

Continue reading

Team Up! shortlisted for the English Language Awards 2018

Do you know Pearson’s new Primary course Team Up!? If you don’t, check it out! Team Up has been shortlisted for an English Language Award 2018.

The English-Speaking Union (ESU) has celebrated the highest quality English language teaching material for almost 50 years. This international educational charity and membership organisation aims at providing people with communication skills, confidence and opportunities that help them exchange ideas and opinions.

Continue reading

GET OFF YOUR PHONE! A free video-based lesson plan

Using short video in ELT is fast becoming a must. People watch videos for fun: youtube, for example, is the most popular platform for teens, so it makes sense to harness the attraction of video in our teaching. Videos can be watched anywhere – in class, at home, or on the bus, so our students can use them flexibly. Videos provide visual clues that aid comprehension, give meaning to language and demonstrate paralinguistic features. Video can be used to contextualise grammar and vocabulary and provide a window on culture, but perhaps even more importantly, a well-chosen video can act as inspiration for student production.

In this post, I’d like to share with you a free video lesson plan on a topic relevant to teachers, students and just about everyone else!

Continue reading

An Introduction to Language Assessment Literacy

What is Language Assessment Literacy?

The original use of the term “literacy” is still commonly defined as the ability to read and write, but in its wider sense teaching professionals prefer to view it as a concept that brings together knowledge and competences in a given area of learning. We are all now becoming increasingly familiar with terms such as Digital Literacy or Research Literacy, as well as Assessment Literacy, which will now be the subject for a series of posts we are going to be sharing with you in the coming months, focusing specifically on the theme of Language Assessment Literacy, or LAL. Since the term first appeared at the start of the 1990s, there have been many attempts to define it, but we will use Pill and Harding’s simple yet concise definition from 2013, which considers LAL as a series of “competences that enable the individual to understand, evaluate and in some cases create language tests and analyse test data”.

Continue reading

Training on demand: The Pearson Academy is here!

With a motto like ‘Always Learning’, it’s not surprising that  teacher training is a central part of what we do at Pearson. Today we add another string to our bow in the shape of the Pearson Academy, a great way to access teacher training whenever and wherever you want.

Find out more about Pearson teacher training and the Pearson Academy…

Continue reading