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!
Video’s a powerful tool: choose the right one and we’re sure to motivate and engage our learners. But video in class can take many forms and be used in many ways. Let’s take, for example, the ‘Friday afternoon video’ or the ‘end of term video’ or ‘the treat because you worked well video’. Probably a long video, perhaps a feature-length film, where our students (and, why not, ourselves!) can kick back and relax, perhaps learning a little English into the bargain to boot. But that’s definitely not the type of video we’re interested in for this blog post: in this post we’re going to be looking at short video and at how to exploit it.
A big part of being an English teacher is gauging our students’ abilities in relation to what is expected at the level they’re in. It’s not an easy task by any means, but we do seem, after years of experience, to get a certain feel for it. But the real trick is actually being able to nail it down a bit more, to point to concrete features of their spoken output that are more reliable measurements of their proficiency. Let’s take a look at what fluency looks like for our advanced C1 learners.
Often times we might find ourselves saying things like “You know you’re fluent when you dream in English” or “You know you’re fluent when you think in English”, but what does that actually mean? I don’t know about you, but if I’m giving my advanced students feedback on their speaking I want to point to something a little more specific (and professional sounding) than their dreams.
Cooperative learning is one of those buzz words we teachers should be familiar with nowadays. We might have already received some training on it in our school, read something about it or even put it into practice. There is no doubt cooperative learning is a successful teaching approach that helps our students improve their understanding of a subject as well as their interpersonal skills within the group and the class.
So in this article I’d like to contribute to the ongoing discussion around this cooperative learning. I’d also like to share a few teaching ideas into the bargain that I think your primary students should like!