On the fourth Thursday in November Americans* celebrate Thanksgiving, a national holiday to celebrate the harvest and other blessings over the past year. This tradition dates all the way back to 1621, when English colonists and the Wampanoag North American Indians shared a feast and signed a peace treaty which was to last 50 years.
Thanksgiving sees families come together for a feast which typically includes potatoes, cranberries, pumpkin pie, stuffing and, of course, a turkey. Here at Pearson we’d like to wish everybody a Happy Thanksgiving! Though we can’t provide teachers with a turkey to celebrate, we can offer five common turkey-related expressions plus ways to use them in class.
Having our pupils work collaboratively makes sense on many levels. We might consider the development of higher order thinking skills like critical thinking, or the improvement in oral communication skills. Collaboration in class will go a long way to making our students socially competent people and looking further afield, the ability to work together is held in very high esteem by prospective employers, so we’re sowing the seeds for a successful future. And if pupils work collaboratively on a regular basis, they will start to see one another as resources, as opposed to looking only to the teacher to answer questions.
The advent of bilingualism in many Spanish schools has presented challenges and opportunities for teachers – both English language teachers and teachers of other subjects who now teach in English. Let’s talk about Content and Language Integrated Learning (or CLIL)!
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.
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.
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!
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.
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!
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?
Last week I taught some classes with preschool aged children (aged 3-5) and, in honour of World Book Day and Sant Jordi, did some storytelling (as if you needed an excuse to tell stories to young learners!). As teachers we know that children who read for pleasure tend to do better in school than their less bookish peers, so trying to engender in our learners a love of reading by telling them stories from a young age can have far-reaching benefits.
However, even with very young learners, we’re only scratching the surface if the only thing we do with a story is, well, to tell it. Stories become really powerful, both as a motivational and as a learning tool if we can allow our pupils to become protagonists in these stories and this blog post will look at some ways to do that with classic stories. The ideas are relevant for pre-primary, but also primary too where we might expect more in the way of student production.