The benefits of reading in English

Benefits of reading in English 2While most learners want to focus on improving their spoken English, the other skills should not be ignored if you want to become a fluent all-round user of the language. Today we look at some of the many benefits of reading in English and offer some ideas to help you become a better reader yourself.

The benefits of reading in English

First and foremost, reading is one of the best ways to increase vocabulary and to consolidate your understanding of grammar. Not only will you come across many new words and phrases in context, you’ll also see grammatical structures laid out on the page that you may have heard in conversation but not quite yet worked out. With repeated exposure to the same vocabulary and language patterns, you’ll find they begin to make their way into your spoken English as well. In this way, reading helps speed up the normal language learning process that sees passive comprehension become active knowledge. In short, provided you’re also practicing conversation, the more you read, the more quickly your spoken English will improve. Continue reading

What type of teacher are you? Take our short quiz to find out!

What type of teacher are you Take our short quiz to find out!New research explores why people choose to go into teaching and remain there, amid growing concerns around teacher shortages. Compiled in partnership by ‘think and action-tank’ LKMco and education company Pearson, it also explores how to attract teachers to work in the areas where they are needed most.

The findings in the Why Teach report were based on a range of questions, developed by teachers and answered by over 1000 in the profession. Over the course of the project four very broad teacher types emerged.

As a bit of fun we put together the following questions to help you work out what type of teacher you might be. We do realise it’s impossible to analyse a lifetime’s teaching with only ten questions, but we hope you might enjoy taking part in this quick quiz! Continue reading

Fun Halloween activities and materials for English classes

HalloweenDear teachers, we hope you are having a fantastic school year and that you and your pupils are enjoying working with Islands and Our discovery Island. One main celebration during this term is Halloween next week and many of you will be preparing special activities in your English classes now and over the next days for this.

We have prepared lots of fun Hallowe’en activities related to the characters in Islands and Our Discovery Island and materials that we are sure you’ll be interested in: Continue reading

Using your coursebook creatively: Ideas to liven up your lesson

Using your coursebook creatively Ideas to liven up your lessonLast weekend Pearson was at the British Council ‘Learning to Learn’ Conferences with Michael Brand in Bilbao, Brian Engquist in Madrid and Elena Merino in Barcelona. We would like to thank all the teachers who attended our sessions, where we had the opportunity to share teaching ideas and get the most out of our coursebooks.

As promised, we are sharing our presentation and we hope you find it useful for your lessons. Continue reading

5 tools for incorporating the GSE as an online teacher

GSE Global Scale of EnglishIndependent tutor and digital learning pioneer Lana Friesen explains how she is combining the best programs and apps to help her students meet their learning goals…

Including all components of communication can be tricky in classrooms, especially those online. Using the GSE Learning Objectives and five other useful tools allows teachers to plan a full-spectrum curriculum for their students, regardless of the setting.

5 tools for incorporating the GSE (Global Scale of English) in online classrooms: Continue reading

What does it mean to be fluent in English?

What do we mean by English fluency, and how can understanding competencies across the four skills provide a more realistic picture of communicative English ability?

What is fluency?

fluent in EnglishAs someone who worked in dictionaries, the meaning of words has always interested me – and fluency is a particular case in point. Language learners often set themselves the goal of becoming fluent in a language. Job adverts often specify “fluent in English or Spanish” as a requirement. But what does being “fluent” in a language actually mean? If we look in the Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English (no apologies for plugging one of my own titles!), we see that fluent means “able to speak a language very well”. Fluent speech or writing is described as “smooth and confident, with no mistakes”. In general, fluency is most often associated with spoken language – but is that the goal of all language learners? And what does being able to speak fluently show about the other language skills? Continue reading

Using ESL videos: Hit play and get ready to learn!

ESL videosWhen we watch a film, we are looking at a story which interprets places, people and events. That’s why films and series are a great classroom tool to understand another culture. If the student can identify with a character in the story, follow the fictional narrative, a life story, conflicts, and events, then they will be able to humanize the film, make it more personal, and, therefore, learn from it. With film we do not only learn content–which can lead us to thought-provoking discussions, stimulating critical thinking, etc.,– but we also improve listening, speaking, writing, reading, grammar and vocabulary skills. Any sort of ESL videos can be used for the learning purpose: commercials, news bulletins, political speeches, movies, and so on. Continue reading

7 tips for English exams to help you prepare

tips for English examOnce you’ve decided which English exam to take, the next step is to prepare. Whatever the exam you’ve opted for, it’s not enough just to have the right level of English. You also need to know what the exam involves, what techniques will help you to pass it and what to expect on the day. Here are 7 tips for English exams.

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10 ways to improve your English outside of class

Ways to improve EnglishWhen it comes to learning a language, you can only do so much in class. At some point, we all need to look beyond the classroom walls if we’re to put our abilities to the test and hone those hard-earned skills. Luckily, the age we live in has no shortage of options for the motivated learner.

Here are 10 ways to improve your English outside of class:

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10 great sites with free games for practising English

Free games for practising EnglishEveryone loves to play, and any teacher knows that games and quizzes are a great way to engage the language learner. For the student who wants to improve their English at home online – or even on the move with their smartphone – there are lots of great sites with free games for practising English. We’ve picked out ten to get you going. Enjoy!

Free games for practising English:

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