We all like to feel included. To feel that we belong, and that people care about us. To feel that we’re listened to and to feel that we’re represented. To feel that we have the same opportunities open to us that others have, regardless of our circumstances. And our students have a right to all these things.
Inclusion has been on the agenda in education for many years. Consider the names given to Educational laws and acts: The ‘No Child left behind Act’ (2001) and its successor the ‘Every Student Succeeds Act’ (2015) in the USA, or ‘Every Child Matters’ (2003) in the UK. The right to education of every child in accordance with the UN Convention was set out back in 1989 and Quality Education is the fourth of the 17 UN sustainable development goals.
Inclusion in education is already well embedded here in Spain and is one of the five pillars of the new education law, the LOMLOE, which is coming into force.
In this blog post we’re going to look at what inclusion means and provide resources that will help us be inclusive in our teaching practice.
Spain’s new education law, the LOMLOE, brings the country in line with global views and goals regarding education and sustainability. The second focus of the law is:
Ensuring gender equality, preventing gender violence, respecting diversity and ensuring an inclusive and non-sexist education.
This is directly linked to the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals of the United Nations, of which Spain is a proud member. Sustainable goals number 4 and 5 outline inclusive, quality education and gender equality. These are important goals for all nations of the world, and the best place to start these initiatives is in school. In this blog post, we’ll look at what we can do as teachers.
The climate crisis is real. Recent developments in government legislation with the introduction of the LOMLOE means it will now be compulsory for schools to tackle issues surrounding climate change: indeed, one of the five guiding principles is an increased focus on sustainable development and global citizenship. In today’s post we are going to look at the changes the law introduces and how you can adapt your classes to meet them.
What does the law say?
Doesn’t time fly? It seems only yesterday that I was putting my kids to work on the front of a pedalo while sunbathing on the back, but September is almost upon us and that means it’s time to go Back to School.
As Will Rogers said, ‘You never get a second chance to make a first impression.’ Now, this isn’t a blog post advertising my latest shampoo range and we can and should make continuous improvements, but the quote does broadly hold water for our context as the first few lessons set the tone for the rest of the year.
These are some of the vibes I like to try to give off at the start: “Hello! I’m your teacher. I’m fun. I care about you as people. I’m organised. I have high expectations of work and behaviour.”
As far as I can I want to establish a climate in class in which students feel safe and at ease with me and each other and that they know where they’re going.
With the above in mind, in our first lessons back we may include 1) ‘Getting to know you’ activities 2) Rules and expectations 3) Course content and goals. This blog post will deal with these three areas.
Change. It’s something teachers everywhere are well-versed in, particularly given the events of the last 18 months. Another change coming into focus for teachers in Spain is a new Education Law, the LOMLOE. The stated aim of the law is to ensure the provision of a quality education with equal opportunities for all and one all. The Law aims to help equip young people with the necessary competences to meet the demands of the global and digital world of today and tomorrow: to meet the demands of societal change.
In the blog post we’re going to look at the reasoning behind the new law and the key competences that it outlines. In future blog posts, we’ll look at what the law means for the English curriculum and look at what we can do in the classroom to develop the competences the law outlines.
The summer is almost here! In our previous blog posts, we gave you some tips as to how to help your students practise their grammar, vocabulary and reading over the summer. However, it is impossible for them to work on their speaking and writing without the help of a teacher. Or is it?
It may be that the best way for your students to improve is to have the guidance and feedback of a teacher, but there are actually quite a few ways for them to continue the work when you are not around. There are also great ways to simply incorporate ways of expressing themselves in English into their everyday lives. Let’s have a look at some of them!
Summer is finally approaching, and teachers and learners everywhere are looking forward to a well-earned break. However, lots of students will be preparing for language exams during this time or will want to catch up on lessons they missed during the pandemic and work on their grammar and vocabulary over the summer. In this blog post, we have collected 5 tips to practise their vocabulary and grammar in an autonomous way, even when we are not around to guide them:
Find expressions that are relevant for you
During the academic year, most teachers have to follow a syllabus and prepare students for tests and exams, which can often feel quite limiting. However, in the summer, students can get the chance to practise language that is relevant for them, personally! If your students enjoy reading about make-up, video games, yoga, climate issues or any other topic, encourage them to do so in English. Only in texts that truly interest them will they find expressions that are relevant for their interests.
A great tool to learn vocabulary from such texts is Readlang. It is a plugin that you can install into Google Chrome and after a 5-minute registration process, you can start collecting vocabulary items. Select words (or chunks) that are new to you in any text online and click on them to get the translation in your mother tongue. The words you look up will be automatically saved to your collection and can be used for practice later. I especially like it that the expressions are saved with the whole sentence, which can help students recall them later. You can even export the vocab items to Quizlet or your preferred flashcard application!
Summer’s (nearly) here and the time is (nearly) right, for dancing in the street! After what’s been a challenging year in so many ways, teachers and students alike are looking forward to a well-earned summer break. But before we dismiss our class, we might set them a task or two to keep up their English: summer’s long over here! Last year I wrote a post with ten top tips for summer activities. In the coming weeks, my colleague Anita Derecskei will be looking at getting our students working autonomously on their writing and speaking and then grammar and vocabulary. But today, I’d like to suggest that classic summer activity: reading a book. And I’d like to share five of my favourite stories to suit different tastes and levels. But this is just the tip of the iceberg – click here to see more!
This Roald Dahl classic is one of my son’s favourite books, I must have read it to him a dozen times, I never get bored of it and neither does he. It’s hilariously funny and The Twits are deliciously evil! Imagine putting a ‘Skillywiggler’ in your wife’s bed and telling her ‘It’s got teeth like screwdrivers!’ We repeat this line every time we see a big insect in the countryside. Give it a go with your young learners: you won’t regret it!
Grammar lessons sometimes get a bad press. Perhaps that’s because in the past the lion’s share of the grammar class has been devoted to an explanation and mechanical practice activities. Those things are necessary, but redressing the balance with more meaningful communicative activities can lead to our students coming to our grammar lessons with more of a spring in their step…and they’ll learn the grammar better too!
In the blog post we’ll consider a procedure to teach grammar (Part 1) and move onto five top activities to practice the grammar taught (Part 2). Let’s begin!
Being able to understand and give an opinion is crucial in communication. It makes our connections with each other stronger and our dialogue richer. This important skill is also tested a lot in reading and listening exam tasks, so it’s important that we pay attention to the variety of ways in which a writer or speaker can do this, and help our students to recognise and use it themselves.
As we can see from these GSE descriptors, this skill starts to be developed and is expected at an A2 level:
and continues well into C1:
It’s a skill we can help our students with in general, and also for exam preparation. This blog post is going to take a typical listening text you find in a course book and provide ideas on how to teach it, and then provide further activities for you to use in class to help your students to recognise and use the language used to express opinions.