About Elena Merino

Teacher Trainer for Pearson. I lived 1 year in Ireland and 3 years in the USA, where I fell in love with the English language. I’ve worked as a teacher for twelve years in different contexts and with different age groups. PhD in Communication and Multilingual Education, I’m concerned about meaningful real-world tasks that get students to communicate, in other words, how can teachers facilitate learning and engage students in the English classroom?

Top games for helping our Spanish-speaking students’ pronunciation (Part 1)

If you have taught English to Spanish speakers for a while, I’m sure you already have an idea of what the main pronunciation problems for them are. As a teacher of English and native speaker of Spanish, I have not only experienced those problems myself but also have always tried to help my students with effective and engaging techniques that I will be explaining in this post.

Below, you can find some of most problematic pronunciation areas for Spanish speakers (take a look at the Speakout Study Booster for Spanish speakers)  and how to get around them in class by using games.

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Effective ways to work with euphemisms in the classroom

Have you been offered a career change? An early retirement opportunity? Well, I’m sorry but I think you have been fired. But saying the first two sounds harsh or too straightforward, doesn’t it?

A euphemism, also called doublespeak, “makes the bad seem good, the negative seem positive, the unnatural seem natural, the unpleasant seem attractive, or at least tolerable”. So how are our L2 students going to understand such nuanced language? Continue reading

The art of questioning. Helping our teenage students to become critical thinkers

In today’s world, where news spreads like wildfire, it is not uncommon to find our teenage students taking things for granted and believing whatever is “on the internet”. As teachers, we want our students to become critical thinkers so that they can make sense of this VUCA world. Helping our students to develop strategies for asking (good) questions will not only prepare them for their future but also help them develop critical minds that will maximize their learning experience across disciplines.

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How to gamify your primary classroom: practical ideas

How often do you play games in your classroom? What for? Do you keep track of your students’ results after a game? Most teachers in primary (but not only!) rely on games because we know that kids learn through play (and it is fun, isn’t it?).

What games do you play in the ELT classroom? Do you assign points / badges / rewards? Do your pupils have an avatar? Keep on reading if you want to know how gamification can bring your lessons to life.

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Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year

Like most of you teachers, ELT Learning Journeys will be taking a much deserved break over the holiday season.  We hope that your time will be filled with family, friends, plenty of good cheer and a healthy dose of rest as well.  And may the New Year find you refreshed and recharged.  We will be back with a fresh post on the second week of January.  All the best…

 

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

3 e-ffective ICT tools to boost speaking

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Teachers are often overwhelmed by the wealth of choices provided by the digital world so when trying to apply technology in their classes, they are often understandably confused about which tools might work and which might not.

It is tough job, I know, so today I will show you 3 tried and tested digital resources that will foster your students’ speaking skills. In addition, I will illustrate a few e-ffective tasks that will surely engage and improve your learners’ outcomes.

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Top tips for dealing with common errors in your classes

errorIn a previous post, we pointed out 5 common errors Spanish speakers make in English. We also stated that errors could be ignored if they are not impeding communication. However, there are times when error correction exercises are needed for the students to make progress in the language. Here are five top tips for dealing with common errors that will help your students to 1) become aware of their own mistakes and 2) make them responsible for their own learning. Continue reading

5 common errors Spanish speakers make in English

errorHow many times have you told your students that the word “hotel” is stressed on the second syllable, not the first one? Or that there is no “to” after modals?

No matter how many times we correct our students, they will make the same mistakes over and over, or at least that’s how sometimes I’ve felt. Why is that happening? Let me address these two important questions about errors in second language acquisition.

  • Your students might not be ready to learn that language point, so there’s not much we can do except ignore those errors. We can also point them out, when they are impeding communication, but don’t expect your students to learn them.
  • How you deal with errors in your classes has a significant effect on how your learners react to them and how likely they are to stop making mistakes. Keep an eye on this blog for a future post on “Top tips for dealing with common errors in your classes”.

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