‘‘You have to believe in magic to find it’’, Roald Dahl.
Roald Dahl was without doubt one of the most magical of children’s writers working in the twentieth century. Today his magic still infuses our popular culture and his stories have been translated into scores of languages and adapted into blockbuster films. Our English language students can also experience the Dahl magic via the Pearson English Readers.
Roald Dahl was born 100 years ago in Llandaff, Wales on the 13th of September and this year marks his centenary. His writing career started in the United States with short stories and magazine articles for adults. Roald’s first venture into children’s fiction was the short-story Gremlins, which he wrote for Walt Disney in 1942. Gremlins wasn’t a success, so he returned to writing for adults producing the best-selling short story collection Someone like you in 1953. Continue reading →
September is for many of us the start of a new academic year, back to work and back to school. New students bring new challenges and objectives for both teachers and learners, and the first thing we need to know is: What level of English do they have? And secondly: How can we measure their ongoing progress?
Here are five ways to identify the level of your students ranging from informal home-made observation classroom activities to more scientific commercial products which have been carefully designed to identify levels of English. Continue reading →
Teaching English to teenagers can be frustrating and fulfilling in equal measure. They can be full of energy and ideas that add a real buzz to the class, but they can also be sullen, self-conscious, reluctant to work together and difficult to engage. However, if you approach lessons with teenagers with the right ideas, materials and tricks of the trade, there’s no reason why they shouldn’t be a great success.
Here’s our list of indispensable teaching skills for working with teens:
***Do group project work***
Group projects come in all shapes and sizes and work well with teenagers. They increase motivation, promote learner autonomy, have clear, achievable objectives, involve all four language skills, and can be managed in a way that lets everyone in the group take on a role that’s best suited to them. They also make a welcome break from routine and can be run over several classes, with a section of each lesson allocated to them. You’ll find plenty of examples of project workhereandhere. Continue reading →
Grammar exercises, vocabulary tests and pronunciation drills are all very well, but at some stage our learners are going to be out in the real world, calling upon the knowledge and skills they have learned in class to navigate a host of everyday situations, using English to explain, persuade, justify, cajole, describe, discuss and even argue. One of the most engaging ways to give learners the opportunity to practice such English is, of course, to have them act out real-life situations. Why not get your students really working with the language with these 4 great EFL role plays? Continue reading →
Word games are an engaging way not only to practice vocabulary and spelling in class but also to hone important language skills such as defining and describing. They’re fun, too, make ideal warmers and fillers, and generally don’t require much preparation – especially if you get the students involved in setting them up. Plus, many work well as competitions and can easily be adapted to suit different ages and levels. Here are 6 easy word games for the English language classroom. Why not give them a try?
Persuading students of the usefulness of watching English-language movies at home isn’t hard, but there are many things you can do to bring films into the classroom as well.
Here are 5 great activities for using movies in theEFL class.
Half in half out
Choose a scene from a movie that you’d like to work on, preferably one with lots of movement and lots of dialogue. Divide the class into two groups, A and B. Send group A out while you show group B the scene with the volume muted. Then, bring group A back and send group B out. Play the scene again, but this time only let group A listen to the dialogue – don’t let them see the screen (if you have an IWB you can simply turn the screen off, if not just have the students face away). So you now have one group that have heard the scene and one that have seen it. Bring group B back, put students into A/B pairs and have them reconstruct as well as they can what they think was going on. Then show the full scene so they can see how close they were. Continue reading →
Every lesson needs a warmer and there are few that go by that don’t have an odd five or ten minutes that need filling with something to keep your students on their toes or to give the class a change of pace.
We look at 7 easy warmers and fillers for the English language classroom.
Nice and nasty
This super-simple warmer is guaranteed to get your students chatting and is a great first day activity. Have students divide a sheet of paper into two columns, one they label ‘nice’, the other they label ‘nasty’. Tell them you’re going to read out a list of words, each of which they have to write in the column that expresses how they feel about it. Your list should include of a variety of people, places and things that are likely to divide opinion (for example, hip hop, spicy food, winter, Sunday evening, ironing, tattoos, English grammar, Michael Jackson, department stores). Once you have finished reading out the list and students have written the items down, they compare their answers in pairs to see how similar or how different their tastes are. Continue reading →