7 tips for teaching writing in the EFL classroom

teaching writingMany students shy away from writing in English as they feel it is either difficult or boring. At the same time, it can be tempting for the teacher to tackle the skill by setting simple compositions with little structure or purpose. However, writing is not only a necessary language skill, especially for students hoping to use English in their work or studies, but also a great way to improve their level overall, and it need not be boring. We look at 7 tips for teaching writing in the EFL classroom.

Tips for teaching writing in the EFL classroom:

1. Know the aim of text and the target reader

Perhaps the two most important things to bear in mind when teaching writing (and when writing oneself) are the aim of the text and the target reader, as these will dictate the type of language used and the organisation of the text itself. Writing an informal email to a friend to let them know your news requires a very different approach to writing a report for your boss about the progress of a project you’re running. Equally, it would be just as odd to give titles to the sections of a letter of complaintMy Shock on Discovering the Item Didn’t Work, How This Has Inconvenienced Me, Here’s What I Want You to Do About It! – as it would to open a love letter with ‘To whom it may concern…’ Continue reading

7 easy warmers and fillers for the English language classroom

nice and nasty - 7 easy warmers and fillers for the English language classroomEvery 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

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