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.
Once every two years the Official Language Schools in Spain hold their national convention. This year’s event at the EOI in Valencia (this Thursday 30th March until Saturday 1st April) marks the 10th time they will come together to share ideas and best practices.
We at Pearson are also very proud to be taking part by providing three engaging workshops. Two of these talks will be given by award-winning ELT author, novelist and co-author of Pearson’s Speakout series, JJ Wilson, on the topics of creativity and authenticity in the classroom. Also on hand will be Spain-based Teacher Trainer for Pearson Michael Brand who will offer his perspective on the characteristics of a C1 user of English and how to get our students up to this level.
For more details and times please consult the information below.
How many times have you told your students that the word “hotel” is stressed on the second syllable, not the first one? Or that there is no “to” after modals?
No matter how many times we correct our students, they will make the same mistakes over and over, or at least that’s how sometimes I’ve felt. Why is that happening? Let me address these two important questions about errors in second language acquisition.
- Your students might not be ready to learn that language point, so there’s not much we can do except ignore those errors. We can also point them out, when they are impeding communication, but don’t expect your students to learn them.
- How you deal with errors in your classes has a significant effect on how your learners react to them and how likely they are to stop making mistakes. Keep an eye on this blog for a future post on “Top tips for dealing with common errors in your classes”.
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.
Integrating pronunciation into your classes
Part Two: A bottom-up approach
At its most basic level pronunciation deals with the production of individual sounds or phonemes. For many students and beginning teachers this is what comes to mind when they think of pronunciation.
The approach of learning and practicing phonemes in isolation and then using them as building blocks to construct words or longer utterances is atomistic in nature, and suffers from obvious limitations which I will touch on below, but it also has its positive points, and chief among these is something I referred to in part 1 of this series: it gets students (and teachers) to listen to and feel what is going on with their bodies when they are producing sounds.
Here are some things to think about when teaching pronunciation in this way: Continue reading
Here at Pearson we hope we’ll get the chance to see you this weekend at the TESOL-SPAIN 40th Annual National Convention, to be held on 3-5 March in Elche, at the Universidad Miguel Hernández.
We are sure you will get plenty of practical and original ideas from our workshops. Remember to go by our stand and check our materials!
Our teacher trainers Elena Merino, Michael Brand and Brian Engquist will be giving three workshops covering varied ELT methodological trends: Let’s work together: co-operative learning in the primary classroom; Exploiting video to the max and B2 Exam classes: finding the balance. Continue reading
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.
Part One: The Basics
Pronunciation. It’s often the area most avoided by new teachers for lack of confidence, and also the first thing experienced teachers leave out due to lack of time and a desire to get on with the “meatier” issues of vocabulary, grammar and skills work. But like it or not our students are aware of the importance of pronunciation and will expect us to work on it with them, so getting comfortable with it and finding the time should be one of our priorities as teachers.
The following is the first part in a three-part series outlining some basic tips for successfully integrating pronunciation in your classes.
Are you a primary teacher interested in assessment for learning?
Do you teach secondary students and struggle to find the balance in mixed ability classes? Are you juggling preparing your secondary students for external exams whilst still following the curriculum?
Are you preparing your students for Selectividad and would like to keep your classes meaningful and communicative?
If you are interested in these key issues for teaching English in Spanish schools, you can join us in this series of four 45-minute Pearson professional development webinars. These webinars will take place over two weeks in February and March and are presented by our teacher trainers Brian Engquist, Elena Merino and Michael Brand, who will share with you new ideas, activities, tips, tools and tasks to liven up your lessons!