It’s nearly Christmas! In truth, if the presence of Christmas decorations in shops or Christmas adverts on TV is anything to go by, then it’s been nearly Christmas for a while! But Advent, which begins on the fourth Sunday before Christmas, sees the start of a more ‘official’ countdown.
This Saturday, December 2 Pearson will once again be participating in the annual People Teach People Conference put on by the Association of Language Teaching Centres in Valencia, ACEICOVA. Now in its third year, the conference draws in hundreds of English teachers from the Valencian Autonomous Community and beyond interested in sharing best practices and thus maintaining and improving the quality of language teaching in their classes.
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.
Pearson is once again honored to be participating in ACEIA’s annual conference in Seville this coming Saturday, November 11. This year’s event, titled People First, promises to be yet another great opportunity for teachers and other professionals in the English language teaching environment to come together and share ideas, observations and best practices. More information on the conference, as well as the programme, can be found here on their website.
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.
Despite having been around for a while mobile devices are still rather slowly finding their niche in most of our classes. There are the rather obvious applications that many of us teachers have finally seen the usefulness of, like allowing students to use them to look up a word or research a language point or topic area. Many of us have started to add some fun and competition to our classes with the popular quiz tool Kahoot. And at long last language teachers are beginning to see the value of getting students to record their spoken output to share and analyze with the class. But using a mobile device does not necessarily translate to implementing mobile learning. So how can we use mobile tools to actually extend learning beyond the school and into the community at large?
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)!
With all of the demands on us as teachers to help our students improve their English we can sometimes lose sight of the fact that language is not the only thing going on in our classrooms. As important as improving students’ linguistic competences is, we know we are also getting them ready for using that language in the real world. And take a look around – the world is a pretty chaotic place (VUCA if you will) which can put a strain on the most resilient of us. Though no one is asking us to be professional psychologists, taking into account some of the principles of the Emotional Intelligence movement is a good idea if we want to help our students become happy, productive and resilient in addition to linguistically proficient members of society.
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.
Stuck for something to talk about in class? Well here are ten useful expressions in English to stretch your students’ vocabulary plus a quick activity to get them chatting as well.
Teach the expressions anyway you see fit. You might start out by putting the word “talk” on the board and ask students to think of different ways of talking, or as many expressions with “talk” as they know. You can then include the expressions you want them to learn and have them guess at the meaning and use a dictionary to check, or have them match expressions to their meanings.
Here are my ten (but you can use others if you like):