5 poems for the English language classroom

all the world's a stageFrom puking babies to philosophical pigs, today we take a look at 5 poems for the English language classroom. Poems can be a great resource for both the teacher and the learner. Not only are they an ideal way to practise the stress and intonation patterns of the language, they also lend themselves to a whole range of accompanying activities, from predicting the content to discussing how they make the reader feel, or even, with younger learners, illustrating different scenes.

5 poems for the English language classroom:

With higher levels, you might want to introduce your learners to some lines by the most celebrated poet of all, William Shakespeare. Although his 400 year-old English can often be intimidating, especially as it was never written to be read on the page but rather heard in the theatre, there are still many accessible passages, even for English learners. Continue reading

7 recommendations for teaching English to children

teaching English to children (2)Hands up at the back, fellow TEFL teachers, if you’ve ever found yourself in a foreign classroom with a gaggle of overexcited little children getting gradually out of control. You’re at the board trying to get them to pay attention, they’re climbing all over one another and doing everything but speaking English. Teaching kids, while very often a great deal of fun and incredibly rewarding, is one of the most challenging types of EFL class to execute successfully. Nevertheless, it’s a part of the job that’s increasingly called for by many schools and academies. Today we offer 7 recommendations for teaching English to children to help ensure that your lessons work smoothly both for you and for them.

Recommendations for teaching English to children:

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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

Looking for a lesson idea? Try Cockney Rhyming Slang!

Bus London - Cockney Rhyming Slang

Would you Adam and Eve it? The trouble and strife’s on the custard and jelly!

To the uninitiated, and almost certainly to most Americans, such a phrase sounds like gibberish, but your average Brit would understand the expression of disbelief (Adam and Eve: believe) that his wife (trouble and strife) was on the telly (custard and jelly), slang in itself for TV. Welcome to the world of Cockney Rhyming Slang!

Where is Cockney Rhyming Slang from and how does it work? Continue reading

5 ways to use dictation in class

Dictation

Using dictation in class has suffered some bad press over the years, having been criticised as being uncommunicative and teacher-centred:  surely the days of teachers being trained to be dictators are long gone! However, could it be making a comeback? There are many non-traditional ways to use dictation and there’s a lot to be said in its defence: it’s a multi-skilled activity, it’s useful in large or mixed-ability classes and, believe it or not, dictation can be fun!

In this article we look at 5 ways to use a dictation in class:

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ELT Ideas for Primary Teachers

ideas for Primary TeachersWhat a month! We’ve been travelling all over the country sharing ELT ideas for Primary teachers. Madrid, Zaragoza, Valencia, Sevilla, Málaga…and we’ve met amazing teachers everywhere. Teachers that never lose their passion, their commitment, teachers that after working hard the whole day decided to spend some time with us to share their experiences and expertise.

As promised, we are sharing  our presentations with all of you. We really hope that you find them useful! Continue reading

10 common errors Spanish speakers make in English

10 common errors Spanish speakers make in English

There’s no path to fluency in a second language that does not involve making lots and lots of mistakes, but as a teacher it’s worth knowing why your students might be making some of the same ones over and over. Here are 10 common errors Spanish learners of English tend to make.

  1. Possessive adjectives

Given that Spanish su, as in su libro can mean both ‘his book’ and ‘her book’, depending on the context, and that all Spanish nouns have either feminine or masculine gender, it’s little wonder that Spanish speakers often mix up his and her. Combined with a tendency to mix up he and she as well, this can lead to some very confusing anecdotes being told, in which you’re not sure if it’s men, women or both being talked about. It’s worth drilling the difference again and again. Continue reading

ELT Ideas for Secondary Teachers

Pearson Evens for English TeachersFollowing our visits to Zaragoza and Valencia last week for the Pearson Evens for English Teachers, Elena Merino and I would like to share our presentations with you as promised.

We hope these ELT Ideas for Secondary Teachers come in handy, and we certainly appreciate the thoughtful participation of all of those attending.  Your comments helped us to come up with a few new ideas as well! Continue reading

Speaking and Secondary Students

nextmove_teensHow can we get our teenage students to communicate in English? Is there any way in which we can motivate them to speak?

 

This week I will be presenting a talk for our Pearson Events for English teachers called “Secondary Students can communicate in English” which aims to present practical examples, including ICT and other traditional interactive tasks that teachers will be able to put into practice right away. Based on Next Move 3rd Edition for secondary education, a course ready for the 21st century students, I will look into different ways of exploiting speaking exercises in a fun and creative way. Continue reading

Making the most of lyrics in class

Lyrics in classLike many ELT teachers, you may already use songs in class, perhaps as a fun way to end the lesson. But how often do you really exploit the lyrics in class in the way you would exploit any other piece of text? The obvious choice of activity with a song is the good old-fashioned gap fill, with students filling in the missing words as they listen along. But this is not the only possibility, and certainly not the most resourceful or productive. Here are some other ideas you can try.

1. Prediction by rhyme

Most English lyrics rhyme, which is a great way to get your learners thinking before they listen. Gap out the second word in each pair of rhymes, have the learners predict the missing word based on rhyme and meaning, then have them listen to check. They’ll listen much more attentively if they’re trying to check their own ideas, and they’ll also have a chance to focus on the text before hearing it. Here’s a silly made-up example (the answer is below):

Hip hop artists, when they sing /  Often wear a tonne of ___________ Continue reading