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.
Last week, award-winning Speakout author JJ Wilson embarked upon a whistle-stop tour of Spain, delivering teacher training workshops and presentations in Madrid, Barcelona, Valencia (where he spoke at the national EOI convention) and Seville. Some of the areas he touched on were learning strategies, authenticity in the classroom and creativity and over 400 teachers attended his talks to pick up some tips.
We all want our students to become more independent and responsible for their learning, but this won’t happen without the right support. Enter assessment for learning! As opposed to assessment of learning (think end of term exams, categorisation of students, awarding a number), assessment for learning sees learning as a journey: what does my student know, where are they going, what do they need to get there? Let’s look at three simple ways that good teachers employ assessment for learning.
Idioms! Perhaps they are one of the most colourful aspects of language to teach, conjuring up amusing imagery or teaching our students about culture. I had a lot of fun with them in my advanced classes, though found I had to guard against overuse! But a question here for teachers is: which ones to teach? One tends to come across many a student of English who knows the expression “It’s raining cats and dogs,” but I am racking my brains to think of a single time in my life I have heard that idiom in natural conversation.