10 weather expressions and ways to use them in class

Every cloud

Spaniards and Brits are different in many ways, but we also share some similarities. I’ve always thought that a self-deprecating sense of humour is something we have in common and I believe another is that we both like to talk about the weather – it’s almost a national pastime. Watching the 3 o’clock news on Sunday, there must have been a good fifteen minutes dedicated to the weather. It included a feature on the Indian summer that Spain is currently experiencing with short sound bites from holidaymakers on the beach (“Hay que aprovechar el buen tiempo y tomarse unas cervecitas” (there’s another similarity)) and smiling hoteliers, pleased at the unseasonably hot weather resulting in full hotels.

Both languages are rich in weather expressions and in the post, we are going to look at 10 of the most commonly used in English, followed by some ideas on how to use them.

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Ten expressions (with talk) to get your students talking

speach bubbles

Stuck for something to talk about in class?  Well here are ten useful expressions in English to stretch your students’ vocabulary plus a quick activity to get them chatting as well.

Teach the expressions anyway you see fit.  You might start out by putting the word “talk” on the board and ask students to think of different ways of talking, or as many expressions with “talk” as they know.  You can then include the expressions you want them to learn and have them guess at the meaning and use a dictionary to check, or have them match expressions to their meanings.

Here are my ten (but you can use others if you like):

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Enter the Pearson ELT Teacher Award to win a trip to IATEFL or TESOL 2018!

Happy World Teachers’ Day!

The 5th October is World Teachers’ Day, a celebration on which we remind ourselves of the vital contribution that teachers make to education, development and society in general. Our warmest regards to teachers everywhere!

As a token of our recognition of the fantastic work done by teachers, Pearson has launched the second annual ELT Teacher Award. The six lucky winners of this award will win a paid trip to an international teaching conference in 2018: TESOL (US) or IATEFL (UK). It would be great to see a winner from Spain or Portugal!

To enter, all you need to do is submit a short video (not longer than two minutes) in which you answer the following questions:

Q1: How do you know when students are making progress in English?

Q2: What’s the best thing about being an English teacher?

Watch the video below and click here for more information and to enter the competition. The closing date in 31st December 2017 and the winners will be announced 25th January 2018.

Good luck!

Integrating pronunciation into your classes

As we get back into the swing of things this new school year we look back at our three part series on an area which can be problematic for teachers and students alike.

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Part One: The Basics

Pronunciation.  It’s often the area most avoided by new teachers for lack of confidence, and also the first thing experienced teachers leave out due to lack of time and a desire to get on with the “meatier” issues of vocabulary, grammar and skills work.  But like it or not our students are aware of the importance of pronunciation and will expect us to work on it with them, so getting comfortable with it and finding the time should be one of our priorities as teachers.

The following is the first part in a three-part series outlining some basic tips for successfully integrating pronunciation in your classes.

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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

Interrobang

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

growing tree

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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