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.

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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!

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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…

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Summer has landed (or Five ways to say Have fun!)

The marks are in the system, we’ve made our reading lists, we’ve said our goodbyes to our students: summer has landed!

At Pearson we’d like to congratulate all teachers on a job well done!

So, all that remains for us to say is:

Have fun…

Have a good one (sometimes shortened to ‘Have a good ‘un’)…

Have a blast…

Have a ball…

Have a good time…

this summer.

You’ve earned it!

Once upon a time: 10 story activities for the primary classroom

Children love stories! Stories appeal to their vivid sense of imagination and appetite for fantasy. They help children understand and accept their own feelings and are a vehicle to teach values and about other cultures. And from a language perspective, they are a rich source of vocabulary and structures in context and lend themselves to both serious and enjoyable learning for our pupils.

In this blog post we will consider 10 classroom-ready activities to use alongside stories in the classroom. These are divided into three sections: before reading, while reading and post-reading

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Happy World Book Day! 10 English book-related expressions

The 23rd of April sees the celebration of World Book Day, a festival organised by UNESCO to promote reading and publishing. The date was linked with books long before World Book Day came into existence (in 1995) however, with ‘La diada de Sant Jordi’, a special day for romance and literature in Catalonia. The 23rd April marks the death of both Cervantes and Shakespeare.

Apart from exchanging a rose and a book to celebrate, how about checking out these 10 book-related expressions in English, complete with examples?

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Equal opportunities in ELT: putting native-speakerism to bed

Recently, we shared an article about native / non-native speaker teachers (NST / NNST from now on) on the Pearson ELT Spain and Portugal facebook page and it sparked some quite lively debate. There were polarised arguments in the vein of ‘Natives don’t know their own grammar’ to ‘Non-natives can’t pronounce properly’ as well as more nuanced arguments in between and the aim of this blog post is to delve into this issue which remains a thorny one in our profession.

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5 fantastically fun ideas for the primary classroom

With the Pearson Teacher Training Department for Spain and Portugal having delivered a large number of sessions around primary learners so far this year (and with many more to come!), the aim of this week’s post is to share five of the practical ideas we’ve been looking at. These activities have fun and engagement at their heart, as well as including the language practice our students need to make progress.

1) Sing a welcome song

Songs are a great way to learn English and thankfully for us, most primary-aged pupils are only too happy to sing. We often use songs as a way to contextualise a grammar point or some vocabulary – a catchy song will help this stick. But what about beginning our lessons with a welcome song? This is a great way to set a positive climate for learning and to calm and focus our students. Here is an example of a welcome song:

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Fostering the 4Cs in the primary English classroom

We English teachers do so much more than teach English.  I won’t attempt a definitive list for fear of breaking the internet, but one of the other things we do is to teach our students transferable skills which will be useful to them wherever they end up. The 4Cs of Critical thinking, creativity, communication and collaboration have been recognised as the ‘learning and innovation’ skills that separate students who are prepared for life in the 21st century from those who aren’t: how can we help nurture these skills? In this blog post I’d like to begin to take a look at these questions which I will be looking into in more detail in my webinar on the topic. Continue reading