Beyond Borders: Crafting Holistic English Language Learning Experiences

In today’s global context, ELL teaching transcends traditional boundaries. It’s about empowering students to navigate the world confidently in English while nurturing their role as proactive global citizens. Including examples from Your World, the Pearson coursebook for teenagers, this blog explores crafting impactful learning experiences that blend language mastery with environmental and emotional intelligence.

Embracing Emotions: It’s Essential

 

Understanding emotions is crucial in our learning journey. Acknowledging and expressing feelings like frustration or sadness is vital for mental wellbeing. By integrating emotional literacy into ELL, we promote resilience, aiding students in articulating their experiences and building emotional strength alongside language skills. While it’s important we find solutions to problems it’s also important we allow ourselves time to get through negative emotions before moving on.

Using Role-Plays for Deeper Learning

Role-plays about common, and sometimes painful, dilemmas, such as a lost phone, serve as springboard for broader lessons and greater scope for empathy when considering world issues. These scenarios encourage students to articulate feelings, and solutions in English.

Practical Example: The Broken Phone Scenario

  • Problem Identification: A student expresses the frustration of losing a phone, discussing immediate feelings and their root. Also look at potential impacts like the environmental toll of manufacturing one mobile phone.
  • Sustainable Solutions Discussion: Shift focus away from the broken/lost phone to eco-friendly resolutions, while acknowledging it’s incredible annoying to break a phone, what are the next steps? Could repairing or recycling be viable options? This conversation fosters critical thinking and eco-consciousness. It also focuses on finding a solution from within rather than simply “buying a new one”
  • Mental Health Benefits: Having a broken phone and an enforced digital detox for a few days can do wonders for your mental health. Perhaps take the chance to plan a few “phone free” activities students could do it their phone was broken for an entire weekend!
  • Role-Play Expansion: Students brainstorm and role-play scenarios offering sustainable solutions, practicing English while embedding sustainability in their thought process.
  • Global Impact Reflection: Conclude with a discussion on how individual choices, like opting for repaired or second-hand electronics, contribute to global sustainability efforts. Remind students there are many ways they can make a difference in the world. This is just one tiny solution.

Celebrating Diversity: A Europe day Celebration

After engaging with the Europe Day Competition from the workbook, a natural progression is to host a Europe Day celebration in the classroom.

This event can serve as a celebration of the European Union’s cultural diversity. Imagine a classroom transformed into a mini-Europe, where each corner represents a different member state, adorned with national flags, traditional costumes, and homemade replicas of famous landmarks. Students could share insights into each country’s contribution to environmental sustainability, highlighting how these nations are pioneers in renewable energy, waste reduction, and conservation efforts.

Europe Day Celebration:

  • Team Formation and Role Assignment: Students assess their strengths and interests. It’s important that everyone has a chance to present how they want to present. There’s a chance not every student will want to stand in front of a class and read a powerpoint. Look for other presentation options and roles.
  • Research and Presentation: Each group selects an EU Member State. They will beyond flags cuisine and capital cities. Allow students to look into areas like language, and cultural expressions though art. Assed to that encourage deeper research into climate policy and other areas related to the Sustainable Development Goals.  It only take a second to find out how much energy is produced by using renewables in Iceland. (Spoiler alert, it’s 99%)
  • Cultural Exchange and Reflection: Students prepare and share their presentations, engaging in a rich exchange of cultural knowledge and language practice. This activity not only enhances understanding of diverse cultures but also fosters a sense of European unity and global citizenship.

This celebration would not only solidify students’ research and presentation skills but also deepen their understanding of the interconnectedness of European cultures.

Through activities like a “taste of Europe” food fair or a collaborative art project depicting Europe’s scenic diversity, students can experience the joys of cultural exchange. Such a celebration reinforces a shared commitment to fostering a peaceful, inclusive society. It’s an opportunity for students to practice empathy, appreciate diversity, and understand their role in the global community, all within the enriching context of learning English.

What next?

We don’t need to reimagine ELL, we don’t need to reinvent it. By integrating emotional literacy, environmental consciousness, and cultural diversity into our curriculum, we’re not just enhancing language skills—we’re empowering students to make meaningful contributions to the world. This holistic approach prepares them to face future complexities with resilience and empathy. It ensures students leave our classrooms ready to enact positive change. Together, we’re shaping a generation that values sustainability, emotional wellbeing, and global unity.

New Year’s Language Goals and Resolutions

When you set yourself an impossible New Year’s Resolution for January 1st you could be setting yourself up for failure. For that reason it’s always good to wait a while and take a measured approach to your resolutions. Set some realistic goals and lay out how you’re going to achieve them.  In this post we’re going to look at some language resolutions you could make and how you can stick to them throughout the year.

The Power of Goal Setting

Why is January such a pivotal time for setting language learning goals? Unlike the fleeting enthusiasm that often accompanies resolutions made in the thrill of New Year’s celebrations, goals set in January tend to be more grounded and realistic. This is because they are made with a clearer understanding of what the new year looks like, allowing for more tailored and achievable objectives.

scissors and two paper clips beside opened spiral notebook

For language learners, this means setting attainable goals that align with their current lifestyle and responsibilities. Whether it’s dedicating a specific number of hours each week to language study, or aiming to reach a particular proficiency level by year’s end, the key is to make these goals as specific and realistic as possible.

Benefits of Learning a New Language

The benefits of learning a new language extend far beyond the ability to communicate in another tongue. Socially, it opens doors to new cultures and friendships, allowing learners to connect with people across the globe in a more meaningful way. Professionally, bilingualism is an increasingly sought-after skill, offering greater employment opportunities and potential for career advancement.

On a physical level, studies have shown that learning a new language can improve cognitive function, enhance memory, and even delay the onset of dementia. The mental workout required to master a new language keeps the brain agile and strong, much like physical exercise benefits the body.

brown brain decor in selective-focus photography

Strategies for Effective Language Learning

Successful language learning is not just about setting goals, but also about employing effective strategies and tools to achieve them. Here are some tips for staying on track:

  1. Consistent Practice: Dedicate a regular time each day or week for language study. Consistency is key to progress.
  2. Immersive Learning: Surround yourself with the language as much as possible. Listen to music, watch films, or read books in the target language.
  3. Speak and Practice: Don’t be afraid to speak the language, even if it’s not perfect. Practice with other speakers of the language as well as fellow learners.
  4. Track Your Progress: Regularly review what you’ve learned and celebrate your milestones, no matter how small.

Leveraging Mondly by Pearson for Language Learning

Mondly by Pearson is more than just a language learning app; it’s a comprehensive tool that transforms the traditional learning experience into something interactive, engaging, and highly effective. Mondly provides a unique approach to language learning that caters to various learning styles and levels. Here’s how Mondly by Pearson stands out as an essential resource for language learners:

Interactive Daily Lessons:

Mondly by Pearson keeps the learning experience fresh and exciting with daily lessons. These bite-sized, interactive sessions are designed to build language skills gradually but effectively, perfect for keeping learners engaged and motivated.

Real-Life Conversations:

One of Mondly’s standout features is its focus on real-life conversations. The app immerses learners in common conversational scenarios, ranging from ordering food to booking a hotel room. This practical approach ensures that learners are not just memorizing vocabulary, but are also able to apply their language skills in everyday situations.

Voice Recognition Technology:

To aid in pronunciation and speaking skills, Mondly by Pearson incorporates advanced voice recognition technology. This feature allows learners to receive instant feedback on their pronunciation, helping them to speak more accurately and confidently.

Augmented Reality (AR) Feature:

Mondly by Pearson takes language learning to another level with its AR feature, allowing learners to interact with virtual objects and characters. This immersive experience makes learning both fun and memorable, as it bridges the gap between theoretical learning and practical application.

Personalised Learning Path:

Mondly by Pearson adapts to each learner’s style and pace. Whether you’re a beginner or an advanced learner, the app personalises the learning content to suit your level, ensuring that every lesson is both challenging and achievable.

A Wide Range of Languages:

With Mondly by Pearson, learners have access to an impressive array of languages. From widely spoken languages like English, Spanish and French to less common ones like Norwegian and Finnish, Mondly caters to a diverse range of linguistic interests.

By incorporating Mondly into your language learning resolutions, you’re not just committing to learning a new language; you’re embracing an innovative and dynamic method of learning that keeps you engaged and accelerates your progress. Experience the interactive and immersive world of language learning with Mondly by Pearson by visiting their website.

The Goal of Certification – Pearson English International Certificate Exam

For many learners, obtaining a language certification is a significant milestone. The Pearson English International Certificate (PEIC) is an excellent goal for those seeking to validate their language proficiency. The PEIC exam assesses all four skills – reading, writing, listening, and speaking – and is recognised globally. By aiming for this certification, learners can have a clear, tangible target to work towards. Learn more about the PEIC exam and how it can be part of your language learning resolution here. For additional information, check out the info here.

So… what next…

Setting proper goals is a fundamental step in the journey towards language fluency. By choosing the right time to set these goals, understanding the multifaceted benefits of language learning, and utilizing the right tools and resources, such as Mondly by Pearson and the Pearson English International Certificate exam, learners can make significant strides in their language acquisition. It’s about more than just learning a new language; it’s about opening up to new worlds of opportunity, enhancing cognitive abilities, and connecting with diverse cultures.

Remember, the journey to language fluency is a marathon, not a sprint. With persistence, the right tools, and a clear set of goals, achieving language proficiency is not just a dream but an attainable reality. Here’s to a year of linguistic growth and success!

Fresh & Festive Ideas for your Teen Classes

Festive ideas

It’s the most wonderful time of the year. We can almost hear the sleigh bells ringing. Home Alone is on the TV. There are endless perfume adverts and we all want to eat our own body weight in Christmas goodies.

It’s been a long first term and to be honest, we’re all VERY tired. We’ve finished our exams and we just want to throw on Netflix, relax and wait for the three wise men to bring us lots of presents.

We already know what Mariah wants for Christmas so why not leave the Christmas song gap fills in Santas sack? Looking for some video inspiration?

Now, you might not win “El Gordo” this year but In today’s post we’ve got the next best thing.  We’re giving you 4 Christmas class ideas to keep your teens motivated until they’ve opened the last window on their advent calendar.

A Gift from afar

Here’s an idea we developed everyone’s favourite Youtube teacher Charlie’s Lessons. It all comes from the idea that the people of Oslo donate a huge Christmas tree to Trafalgar Square every year. (This video explains why)

After watching the video allocate students in the class a random city around the world. Ask your students to research the city a little and see what gift they would send them from your home town. Then ask the students to suggest what gift that city might send in return.

For example we landed on Nashville Tennessee. It soon became clear that Nashville is the home of Country music. So our gift to them would be a set of castanets. We could send them with a “How to play castanets” video or guide.

In return Nashville could send us a fancy neon guitar sign or something from the wonderful celebration of Tomatoes, The annual Tomato Art Fest.

If you want to take this one step further, why not get in touch with a school in your random city and exchange some ideas about each other’s hometown at Christmas?

Santa’s Sustainable Christmas

We’ve already written our letters to the Three Wise men and Santa. Telling them we’ve behaved well all year; asking for a new iPhone or more socks than a centipede could use. Why don’t we send Santa a letter asking for him to make a real difference in the world?

Amidst the excitement of Christmas, the tradition of writing letters to Santa often revolves around material desires and personal wishes. However, as teachers of English as a second language, we have a unique opportunity to instill in our students a sense of global responsibility and sustainability.

Encouraging our students to write a sustainable letter to Santa can foster empathy and awareness about real-world issues. Instead of solely focusing on personal wants, this exercise prompts them to consider the bigger picture. Students can express their concerns about the environment, advocate for social causes, or suggest ways in which Santa, the symbol of giving, can contribute to making the world a better place.

This activity not only enhances language skills but also cultivates a sense of agency in students. By channeling their wishes into requests for positive change, they learn the power of their voices and the impact of collective action, instilling values that transcend the holiday season.

Snow Balls

Is there anything more exhilarating than a snowball fight? I didn’t think so. Imagine capturing that excitement in a super-fast, low-prep classroom activity that ingeniously repurposes those old, seemingly endless scraps of paper.

Start by prompting your students to jot down their heartfelt Christmas wishes on these pieces of paper. As the wishes accumulate, the anticipation heightens. Then, in the spirit of a lively snowball fight, crumple these papers into balls and let them fly across the classroom in a flurry of hope and joy.

Free Snowball Fight Winter photo and picture

https://pixabay.com/photos/snowball-fight-winter-snow-snowy-589668/

The real magic begins when the flurry settles. Students embark on a quest, picking up the scattered wishes. The challenge? To unravel the crumpled pieces and, with curiosity and camaraderie, decipher whose wish they hold. This lively interaction not only recycles paper but also encourages students to engage actively in forming questions, fostering a playful yet educational atmosphere.

For instance, imagine a student unraveling a wish that reads, “I wish for a world with no hunger.” They turn to their peers, querying, “Hi Pepe, do you wish for a world with no hunger?” Another might discover a wish for “A new map on fortnite,” sparking a round of inquiries to uncover the wishmaker.

Cracker Jokes

Free Celebration Christmas photo and picture

https://pixabay.com/photos/celebration-christmas-decoration-83158/

The best thing about Christmas dinner isn’t the food is it? No, it’s the terrible Christmas cracker jokes. Start by presenting a few classic Christmas cracker jokes to your students. These often feature playful wordplay and puns. Encourage students to read and discuss the jokes together, identifying the humor and the wordplay elements embedded within them.

Guide them through the process of dissecting the jokes:

  1. Identify Wordplay: Break down the jokes to highlight the double meanings, homophones, or clever twists in the language used.
  2. Explain the Humour: Discuss why the jokes are funny and how the wordplay contributes to the humour. Help students understand the cultural context if necessary.
    1. “What do you get if you cross Santa with a duck? A Christmas Quacker!”
      • Deconstruction: This joke cleverly plays with words that sound similar but have different meanings. It uses a pun on “Quacker” (a sound a duck makes) and “Cracker” (a traditional festive item). By combining “Santa” and “Quacker,” it creates the humorous image of a Christmas-themed duck, merging the idea of Santa Claus with the quacking sound, resulting in a playful and pun-filled phrase: “Christmas Quacker.”
    2. “Who is Santa’s favorite singer? Elf-is Presley!”
      • Deconstruction: This joke relies on a play on words and a clever twist. It combines “Elf” (Santa’s helper) with “Elvis Presley” (a famous singer), creating a wordplay fusion, “Elf-is Presley.” This wordplay substitutes “Elvis” with “Elf,” humorously suggesting that Santa’s favorite singer would be a play on the famous musician’s name, indicating the mythical Elf as the preferred singer.

    If your students are feeling brave why not go on to step three and get them to Create Their Own Jokes: After analysing a few jokes, encourage students to try their hand at crafting their own Christmas cracker jokes. Provide prompts or examples to help kickstart their creative process.

As we wrap up these festive activities, may your days be merry and bright and filled with warmth. Wishing you all a Christmas  – where laughter sparkles like tinsel and joy resonates like the sound of sleigh bells. Merry Christmas, everyone!

Back-to-School: Setting Goals, Nurturing Mental Health, and Embracing Green Practices

Back to School!

As the new school year approaches, it’s the perfect time to not only prepare for academic success but also setting goals, prioritising mental health and consider incorporating eco-friendly practices. In this blog post, we will discuss the importance of setting goals for both teachers and students, provide valuable advice for teachers on maintaining their mental well-being and explore practical ideas to make going back to school greener. Let’s embark on a journey towards a purposeful, sustainable and supportive new academic year.

Setting Goals for Success: Teachers and Students

Teachers

Set realistic and measurable goals for yourself. This might include improving instructional strategies, implementing new technology in the classroom, or focusing on personal growth as an educator.

Setting goals can help us  stay motivated and continuously improve our teaching practices.

You might also have a goal of not over working or taking your work home with you. Set work/life balance goals too… and stick to them. School is important, your students are important, but you are important too. Make sure you always set the goal of having time for yourself.

Students

Guide students in setting their academic, social and personal goals for the new school year. Remember school isn’t just a stepping-stone to university.  It’s the place where doors begin to open, and ideas come to blossom.

Encourage your students to define specific objectives, create action plans, and regularly review their progress. This cultivates a sense of ownership over their learning journey and promotes self-motivation and growth. Not just, I want to pass an exam.

Here are three of our favourite ideas:

  • Goal Setting Workshop: Conduct a collaborative session where students identify their language learning objectives for the semester. Encourage specific and achievable goals, such as improving speaking fluency, expanding vocabulary, and achieving a certain proficiency level.
  • Personalised Learning Plans: Have students create individualized study plans outlining daily/weekly language practice. Emphasize the importance of consistency and track progress regularly to stay motivated and focused.
  • Goal Visualization Board: Encourage students to create visual boards representing their language goals. Include images, words, and symbols that inspire them to stay committed and visualise their success throughout the academic year.

Prioritizing Mental Health: Advice for Teachers

Self-Care Strategies

Remember to prioritise self-care throughout the school year. Look into mindfulness practices, regular exercise, healthy eating, and maintaining a work-life balance to prevent burnout and promote overall well-being.

Supportive Networks

Encourage fellow teachers to connect with colleagues and build supportive networks within the school community. Collaborative discussions, sharing experiences, and seeking advice can help alleviate stress and provide a sense of camaraderie.

Professional Development Opportunities

Remember the importance of growth. As teachers it’s important we continue with our own professional development. By enhancing our skills and keeping up with current trends in education, we can provide a better learning environment for ourselves and students.  Attend workshops, webinars, or conferences to expand your knowledge and your network.

Going Green: Sustainable Back-to-School Practices

Reusing Materials

Encourage students and their families to reuse school supplies from the previous year. By reusing items like notebooks, folders, and pencils, we can reduce waste and promote a sustainable mindset.

Uniform Swapping

Organise uniform exchanges or second-hand uniform  sales within the school community. This initiative not only helps families save money but also reduces the environmental impact of producing new clothes.

Carpooling and Walking Buddies

Encourage parents to arrange carpooling systems or find friends for their children to walk to school with, if it’s safe and within a reasonable distance. This reduces traffic congestion and air pollution while fostering social connections and physical activity.

When it comes to the classroom there are hundreds of ready to use materials available out there. A great place to start is Renewable English you can also check out out previous posts looking more closely at the LOMLOE and ideas for World Recycling Day. 

As we prepare to embark on a new school year, let’s embrace environmentally friendly practices, prioritise mental health, and set goals for success. By adopting sustainable habits, we can contribute to a greener future. Supporting the well-being of teachers ensures a positive learning environment for students. Finally, setting goals empowers both teachers and students to strive for continuous improvement and personal growth.

Back-to-school Activities

Ice-Breakers

Last but by no means least, what would a back-to-school blog be without some ice breakers to get the year off to a good start? Here are a couple of our favourites!

All the students in my class

Start this game by practicing a little chant

“All the students in my class, I can say them really fast”

  • Have all participants stand or sit in a circle.
  • The first person starts by saying their name and an adjective that starts with the same letter as their name (e.g., “Joyful Jane”).
  • The next person repeats the previous person’s name and adjective and adds their own (e.g., “Joyful Jane, Clever Chris”).
  • Continue around the circle, with each person reciting the names and adjectives of all the previous participants before adding their own.
  • If someone forgets a name or adjective, they can ask for help from the group.
  • The game continues until everyone has had a turn.

Emoji Charades

Prepare a list of various emojis and their corresponding actions or phrases. For example, a smiley face emoji could represent “happy,” a thumbs up emoji could represent “approval,” or a crying face emoji could represent “sadness.”

  • Divide the participants into small teams or pairs.
  • One person from each team or pair takes turns acting out the emoji using only gestures, facial expressions, and body language, without speaking or using any props.
  • The other team members or the partner must guess the corresponding action or phrase represented by the emoji within a specified time limit (e.g., 1 minute). If students can’t think of the emotion it represents, they can describe the emoji

 

If you’re looking for even more ideas to kick off your school year then you need to look no further than the Back-to-School webinar series including session on Employability, AI, Future Skills, Sustainability and Accessibility and Diversity.

Let’s make this upcoming academic year one that is not only academically enriching but also emotionally fulfilling and environmentally conscious.

A Guide to Disconnect and Recharge During the Summer

Disconnect during Summer Break

As the summer break approaches, it’s crucial for English language teachers to take time to disconnect from the demands of the academic year and recharge their energy. We all need to disconnect from the hectic year we’ve just had, but is simply taking time away from work enough? In today’s post we’ll look at some extra ways to focus on self-care.

Mindfulness, a practice that involves being fully present in the moment with non-judgmental awareness, can be a valuable tool to achieve this much-needed disconnection. By embracing mindfulness, teachers and students can enhance their focus, manage stress, promote emotional well-being, and develop a positive mindset.

This guide combines insights from mindfulness experts, practical activities, and suggestions to help English language teachers embrace mindfulness during the summer holidays, fostering self-care and personal growth.

Understanding Mindfulness

Mindfulness, as defined by Jon Kabat-Zinn, means paying attention purposefully, in the present moment, and without judgment. English language teachers can utilize mindfulness to develop essential skills such as attention, focus, non-judgmental observation, self-compassion, stress management, and performance enhancement. By cultivating these skills, educators can enhance their well-being and create a mindful classroom environment that supports students’ growth and language learning.

Benefits of Mindfulness to language learners

During the summer holidays, language learners can greatly benefit from regular mindfulness practice. Research shows that mindfulness enhances emotional well-being, concentration, sleep patterns, emotion regulation, and the ability to cope with stress. Mindfulness can help  learners develop in many way. They build strategies to remain calm in challenging situations, become more aware of the present moment as well as cultivate habits that support their language learning journey. Mindfulness can also assist students in adapting to new experiences, fostering acceptance, and enjoying their day-to-day lives.

Top Tips for a Mindful Summer

Expressing Worries and Emotions:  Encourage students to express their worries and emotions through mindful activities. One effective exercise that promotes self-awareness and emotional well-being is the “worry bubbles” exercise. Start by guiding students to take a deep breath and imagine their worries as if they were captured inside a bubble. As they exhale slowly, they visualize blowing the bubble away, symbolically releasing their worries with a sigh of relief. This activity allows students to externalize their concerns in a tangible way, helping them gain a sense of control over their emotions.

Furthermore, provide students with the language and support needed to express their emotions effectively. Create a safe and non-judgmental classroom environment where students feel comfortable sharing their feelings.

Focusing on the Breath: Guide students in practicing focused breathing to anchor themselves in the present moment. One exercise involves counting breaths, where students place their hands on their abdomen, breathe in slowly (counting to four), and exhale slowly (counting to six). This activity can become a daily routine to promote balance and calmness.
5 Breathing Exercises for COPD
Noticing the Surroundings: Encourage students to embark on nature walks or mindful explorations. During these activities, they should observe their surroundings, paying attention to details they haven’t noticed before. Look for different trees, listen to the birds and maybe even go searching for insects. This cultivates mindfulness, attention, and concentration while connecting with the natural beauty of the world around them.
a bird sitting on a sign
Cultivating Gratitude: Introduce gratitude as a daily practice during the summer break. Encourage students to keep a gratitude journal, noting or drawing things they are thankful for each day. By acknowledging the positive aspects of their lives, students develop a sense of gratitude and resilience.

Today I am Grateful book

Mindful Reading: Recommend students choose English graded readers to read mindfully during the summer. Reading promotes relaxation, reduces stress, and enhances language skills. Graded readers, such as the Disney Kids Readers, offer engaging stories featuring beloved characters, providing an opportunity for students to immerse themselves in English reading away from distractions.

Don’t forget about yourself

As English language teachers, it is crucial to prioritize self-care and develop a personal mindfulness practice. By taking care of ourselves, we can better support our students. 

Begin with Yourself: Engaging in daily mindfulness practice replenishes your well-being and allows you to be a positive role model. Take 10 minutes a day to engage in mindful meditation or simply allow yourself to stop and enjoy the moment. 

Professional Development: Participate in mindfulness courses designed for teachers, such as those offered by Pearson Academy. These courses provide a deeper understanding of mindfulness and offer practical strategies to integrate into your classroom.


As summer approaches, English language teachers have an opportunity to disconnect, recharge, and embrace mindfulness. By using the suggestions and activities shared in this guide, teachers can cultivate attention, manage stress, regulate emotions, and foster a positive outlook. Remember, taking time for mindfulness allows us to navigate life’s challenges with greater ease and balance. Enjoy a mindful and rejuvenating summer, and return to the classroom with renewed energy and enthusiasm.

International Children’s Day In a Wider World

International Children's Day in a Wider World

June 1st is International Children’s Day. Is there any better way to celebrate the future than give them a space to learn and grow? A child might suggest that chocolate would be a better idea. We don’t have any chocolate but we do have a few ideas to celebrate all the students in the classroom.

Children of All Ages

When people speak about Children’s Day the immediate thought goes to primary aged kids running around in the playground, scraping their knees and bouncing straight back up again. When we’re looking to future generations it’s important we include everyone.  In today’s post we’d like to take a closer look at celebrating secondary aged children and giving each one the best chance to succeed in the world. We need to remember that their world’s don’t simply revolve around iPhones and Tik Tok, and we need to tap into how best to help them learn.

Engagement

As with any age the key first step to learning is engagement and interest. Wider World Second Edition inspires learners to enthusiastically engage with English in authentic contexts using humorous situations, interviews with real people, videos from the BBC, and issues high on the agenda of our to Gen Z and Alpha students.

One such issue being that of the Climate Crisis. It’s almost certain the majority of your students will be aware of the issues at hand, but how are they engaging in the topic. Unit two of the level 4 book is dedicated to solutions that can be implemented by our students. Looking not only at CO2 emissions but also at food waste and rubbish being left in the countryside.

The writing section then helps consolidate learning and allows students to focus on and engage with others on what can be done to be more environmentally friendly.

There are also a wide range of high quality BBC videos to keep students engaged in the work at hand. One of our favourites takes a look at Indian food in Liverpool. Which celebrates the international cuisine on a local level.

 

Diversity

Once we’ve got our students ready to learn, we need to make sure they stay motivated. In a class of 20-40 students it’s impossible to ensure equity in terms of learning resources across such a broad range of personalities and development. But that doesn’t mean we can’t try our best. As teachers our lives are always much easier when our materials aid us in our quest to inspire and motivate as many of our students as possible. Wider World offers enhanced support for personalising learning for mixed ability and neurodivergent learners, including resources and tips for teachers.

Throughout the teachers book you are provided with activities to cater to students of all abilities. For those that need a little extra support there are materials with adapted tasks to enable students to reach the same end goal, but with tasks to suit their needs. There is also plenty of advice to guide teachers along the way.

There is then the opposite end of the spectrum, those students who don’t struggle and the issue is often that they finish long before their peers Wider World. as a teacher it can be a bit of a nightmare trying to keep the rest of the class on task. Wider World provides teachers with advice and materials to keep your students focused and helps them push themselves a little further.

There are also ample opportunities for students to work independently and with their peers with clear instructions to help teacher get the most out of the time they have in class.

Growth

Children grow, eventually they become adults, but before they do that they need our help and guidance as teachers so they can become the best versions of them selves possible.

When students are engaged and supported it allows them to flourish. At which point our classrooms become far more than simply a place for language lesson. The four walls of the English classroom can be much more than simply the home of grammar and vocabulary. They become a safe haven for growth. Looking beyond the language students need to develop a whole raft of skills to prepare them for “the real world”.

Wider World series builds learners’ transferable skills for future successes outside the classroom with a new edition to the series call Set for Life, a unique future skill development program.

Every other unit contains a Set for Life section which help with things like developing a growth mindset, social responsibility, communication, leadership and critical thinking.

In this example we can see how students can work on their self-management and how to stay calm when things go wrong.

This one section is a simple set of steps to stay cool when things heat up around us.

It is also vital that as teachers we let our students know that we don’t always need to be positive and it’s ok to not be ok. It’s our job to make sure they know that the classroom is always a safe place to be and if they ever need someone to speak to our door and our heart is always open.

So stop for a moment this children’s day and think what we can do to make our students feel more included, more energised and better prepared to face the world.

How are you going to celebrate Children’s day?

Global Recycling Day

Global Recycling Day

Some schools have strict rules about waste, others, well…. don’t. World Recycling Day is a wonderful opportunity to share with your students a path to becoming expert consumers.

It’s important to emphasize early in the post and in our classrooms in general: Recycling is not the answer to the climate crisis. It is absolutely and 100% the bare minimum that every person should be doing, and every government should be working on to improve the terrible fact that only 9% of plastics are recycled.

Recycling, however, is a fantastic tool to raise awareness in your students in the dangers of plastics (especially single-use-plastics) and take steps to becoming as close to plastic-zero as possible.

Of course, time in class is always limited so we’ve got a few ideas below to help you move forward.

5 minutes

Waste count

At the end of the day spend 5 minutes checking the different waste in the recycling bins. Keep track of the different materials you use and see if you can reduce waste as a group.

10 minutes

Litter Pick

A litter pick doesn’t have to be a huge community organized clean up. You can do it on the way to/from school, you can find a place close to home and spend 5 minutes getting it as clean as you can.

If you’re short on time but looking for a high impact activity. A litter pick is the answer. Taking 10 minutes to clean the world around you and your students will help build a bond between you and nature. It also gives students the chance to see the immediate impact of their actions.

20 minutes

Numbers, Numbers, Numbers

Plastic identification codes

https://www.makethemostofwaste.co.nz/zero-waste/plastic-waste/

 

People often fall into a trap of “wishcycling” which is when we take all of our plastics and throw them into the recycling. The biggest problem here is not all plastics can be recycled.

Here is a quick guide you can go over with your students*.

Plastics are divided into 7 different types. These numbers often appear on plastic containers to ensure people know when to recycle and when to send the plastic to landfill.

 * Please note that different towns, cities and countries have different recycling facilities so it is always best to check with local authorities

 30-45 minutes

Swap Shop

 What do your students love? Are they into Pokemon? Do the love fashion? Is there a stuffed toy they love but just don’t have space for, and would rather it go to another home than straight to landfill?

A swap shop is a wonderful way to get students excited about the world of preloved items. Reframing the way students view secondhand materials and encouraging them to actively seek them out will reduce the world’s need to recycle as people will be interchanging things rather than simply sending them to land fill and buying a new one.

 

1 Lesson

An Artist at Work

Speakout 3rd Edition

Obviously stopping the production and not buying SUPs in the first place is the first answer to the plastic problem and the problem of waste in general. The next best thing is to make sure we are as creative as possible and reuse as much.

Speakout B1 3rd Edition has a great lesson about art and creativity.

This is a wonderful place to invite your students to get creative in the classroom and make some art out of upcycled materials.

Arts and Crafts are a wonderful way of transmitting a message and learning “Real English” it’s important to ensure all of our adult learners still have the opportunity to express themselves creatively. Upcycling is for everyone, not just kids.

 

1-20 lessons

Speak Out for Sustainability

Speak Out for Sustainability

The beauty of Speak Out for Sustainability is you can come at it from whichever angle you like. Two full units each with 10 individual lessons based on plastics, litter and how we can work towards the “3 R’s of Sustainability” (of course there are many more)The lessons can be used as stand-alone classes or as a full unit. There are interviews with experts and activists, providing students with different viewpoints in terms of the plastic problem and the climate crisis. It also includes official BBC studios materials.

Speak Out for Sustainability also won a judges’ commendation at the ELTon awards for Environmental Sustainability and Climate Action.

Environmental Sustainability

5+ Lessons

Be Plastic Clever

Kids Against Plastic provide materials and guidance for primary and secondary schools to help them become plastic clever schools. This is a wonderful chance to empower students into bringing positive social change in their environment and beyond!

 

If you’re still stuck for something to inspire your students on Global Recycling Day, you can always check out www.renewableenglish.com of lots of free planet-friendly classes and materials.

Let’s make a pledge this World Recycling Day to reduce our waste and become more environmentally conscious. Whether it’s by committing to a daily litter pick, reducing single-use plastics, or participating in a local recycling program, every step we take brings us closer to a greener mindset and a more sustainable future. So, let’s take action today and encourage others to join us in making a positive impact on the planet. Remember, together we can make a difference!

Critical thinking, problem solving and collaboration: How to develop LOMLOE key competencies at primary level

Spain’s education system has come under a lot of scrutiny in recent years. A focus on rote learning, piles of homework and endless copying from the early primary years has led to criticism from parents, students and teachers alike.

A desire to modernise and come in line with education systems across the EU led to the development of the new educational law LOMLOE. Part of the law’s stated aim is to keep pace with changes in society.

A Competency-based Approach

A little over two years later and we’re starting to see the benefit of some of its key concepts. Not only is there a greater focus on social justice issues like Inclusion and Sustainability in the classroom, but key competencies are also being worked on. Competencies which go beyond simply memorising facts and regurgitating them in exams and help students think for themselves.

The new law has a competency-based approach (ie. using knowledge to do / achieve things) that gives schools more freedom to personalise learning based on their students’ needs.

All of this sounds wonderful, but it’s impossible for teachers to simply switch teaching styles from one day to the next without, support, training and the relevant materials. In today’s post we’re going to look at three of those competencies, critical thinking, problem solving and collaboration. We’ll see what they are, why they’re important and how we can incorporate them into out English classes

Critical Thinking

What is it?

Critical thinking is defined by the dictionary as: “the objective analysis and evaluation of an issue in order to form a judgement.” Put simply, to think critically, you need to be able to put aside any assumptions or judgments and merely analyse the information you receive.

Why is it important?

For many years the education system has force fed students information. Students then have their intelligence judged by how well they can retain and regurgetate that information in a highly pressured exam situation. Employers now see soft skills such as critical thinking as vital in the workplace and a key to employability. It helps students form well-informed opinions, promotes curiosity, allows for creativity and enhances problem solving skills. The ability to think critically can also improve empathy among students.

How can we encourage it?

Getting our youngest students to think for themselves and form their own opinion can be tricky. Life is much easier when you can simply teach from the book. Which is why critical thinking is now a key component to most course books.

The ability to self-evaluate using the evidence and information gathered is vital. Reflecting critically on what you’ve learnt helps with critical thinking. Added to that, in this particular unit, you can see one of the key aims is the ability to agree and disagree. Fundamental attributes to critical thinking.

Rise and Shine and its unique methodology provides plenty opportunities for critical thinking throughout the book.  For example the ‘I can’ statements at the end of the units allows students to think back over their work and evaluate whether they have achieved what they set out to achieve.

I Can Shine statements, LOMLOE

Problem Solving

What is it?

The ability to solve a problem doesn’t only relate to Maths. Problem solving goes a long way beyond the classroom walls. Our younger students are figuring out how to tie their shoe laces, button their coats and how too avoid getting the blame for something naughty they did.

Why is it important?

We need to help our students understand that problems will arise in all walks of life. Figuring out how to solve them can require creativity and a lot of thought. It’s important we don’t simply solve all of their problems for them.

How can we encourage it?

In I Can Shine there are plenty of chances for students to develop their problem-solving skills.

Let’s take a look at I Can Shine 5 where the book looks at a school garden project. Students read and listen about a school garden project. Take the time to identify the problems (no gardens at home, lack of funding) the students could have and show your class how they solved those problems.Problem solving. LOMLOE

After working through the reading and seeing what issues the students came up against, you could ask what your students could do to help projects at their school or in their community.

Collaboration

What is it?

Helen Keller once famously said: “Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much” the art of collaboration is one that needs to be nurtured from a very young age. Learning to build relationships and work through differences is a skill you will continue to work on your entire life.

We never know who we are going to end up working with. However,  something we need to know is we can’t do everything alone. There will be times when, no matter how hard we try, we need a helping hand. Learning to collaborate means will be able to make the most of everyone’s skills to achieve the best possible goal.

How can we encourage it?

Understanding students’ relationships with each other and how whether they will work well together is obviously something only a teacher can know. I Can Shine gives these diligent teachers the materials to foster collaboration in their classrooms and among their learners.Collaboration. LOMLOE

In this “Wonder” section of I Can Shine, our learners are encouraged to talk about when they have helped others. How they have collaborated to make someone else’s life easier. Allowing students to reflect on what they have done to help others, be it setting the table for dinner or helping someone with their homework, will provide them with a sense of self-worth and a new appreciation of the help they receive from others.

When we walk into our classroom, we need to take a moment to realise we’re not simply helping our learners get 9’s and 10’s in their exams but we also want them to get 9’s and 10’s in life. Helping them become their best possible selves. The LOMLOE has now provided us with the push we need to go out and help our students get to grips with these core competencies. Now it’s up to us to grab that opportunity and make the most of it.

Bringing Sustainability Forward with Learning Experiences

In March 2020 a study was released showing that almost 50% of Spanish students considered The Climate Crisis as a problem the world needed to solve.

A massive 98% of them said they wanted to learn about it in an academic setting. Sadly, 4 in 10 of those students felt it wasn’t even talked about at school.

It is clear that education ministers are attempting to address this issue with updates to the education law (LOMLOE) giving a greater focus to the planet in its most recent update. You can read more about it here. Hopefully, this newly found focus on bringing sustainability to the forefront of education will help tackle the climate crisis by ensuring future generations are aware and prepared to help prevent an impending global catastrophe.

In today’s post we’re going to look at how you and your students address some of the sustainability issues

raised the LOMLOE in your classroom using the Your World Learning Experience 4.

What are Learning Experiences?

 The learning experiences are stand-alone activities for both primary and secondary aged classrooms, aimed at helping teachers and students to work through the new additions to the law. They focus on key social justice issues ranging from gender equality through to the environment helping to develop both hard and soft skills along the way.

They have been created with the aim of helping our students develop more than just their language skills. The Learning Experiences are designed with specific tasks to aid learners in the acquisition of key skills such as critical thinking and collaboration. They will work on issues that go beyond the classroom and encourage them to develop into more rounded global citizens.

Understanding how to help the planet

The benefits of this learner pack goes well beyond simply helping our students understand the impact we, as humans, have on the planet. It also empowers them to make a difference. When assuming personal responsibilities our students develop a better understanding of the issues at hand and in taking positive steps, albeit small ones, it will heighten their awareness of key issues and help them develop a greener mindset.

Your World Learning Experience 4: Make Green Positivity Cards

This goal focuses mainly on the Sustainable  

Development goal 11. Promoting Sustainable Cities and Communities but also has underling connections to an array of the goals set out in the 2030 agenda. The LOMLOE states “Students begin to adopt sustainable life habits, in order to contribute to the conservation of biodiversity from both a local and global perspectiveThis pack will help promote critical thinking and a whole host of sustainable habits.  

The beauty of these sustainable life habits is that they create a greener mindset in our students and tend to grow into much greater actions in the long run, they also show that there is only one place to start when you want to make a difference and that is with yourself.  It is also imperative that we, as educators, allow students to see and feel how the connection of our actions, as humans, have an effect on the planet.  

Making the most from the learning experience.  

Before you start

Have your students look at the image and identify as many of the different sustainable acts as they can. This is a great way to activate schemata and see how much our students already know. It also gives students a chance to say what isn’t in the picture. You can also check to see if students know why these acts are important. Which links closely to the “understand the systemic relationships between human actions and the environmentpart of the LOMLOE. 

Step 1 

Goes a step further and asks students to think about the acts in the pictures and read a short conversation between two teenagers. Asking them to consider which of the two is most eco-friendly and honestly compare themselves to the person they’re most similar too. It’s very important at this stage of development there are no prizes for being the eco-friendliest person around. The aim is to simply try and do better.  

Step 2  

When at the analyse stage it’s important to impress upon your students that these acts are individual acts and will make a big difference to their own lives, however, the responsibility tackling the climate crisis doesn’t rest upon them, it is something everyone needs to address and take steps to positive change. The changes suggested are all very simple to action and a great place to plant the seed of environmentalism. 

Step 3 

When it comes to tackling the climate crisis, we all need a little positivity and a lot of creativity. Preparing the Green Positivity cards will provide your students with the perfect chance to use both. Not only that but it’ll also add in some incredibly useful phrases too. Having these positivity cards will serve as a constant reminder to you and your students of the steps we all need to take to be a little greener. 

Step 4 

At this stage we can truly empower our students. By now they have come up with the ideas they can easily action and now they can present them to their peers. It shows an understanding of the LOMLOE sections which says:They should also adopt a sustainable and eco-socially responsible lifestyle”. 

Once these ideas have been shown, presented and displayed we need to ensure that as teachers and mentors we refer back to them frequently to check in on how we are doing in our quest to be greener. 

Reflect 

Reflection is key to any lesson, not simply those about our behaviours. At this stage of the class, we should ensure our students have fully understood and find out from them what their biggest takeaway was from the class.  

 

Final Thoughts 

It’s wonderful to see the law makers are finally taking note of the changes our students want and need to have a better future. Thankfully, with resources like the Learning Experiences we can empower our students with the key skills they are going to need going forward to make a difference with a wide range of social justice issues in their world and beyond.

Digital Literacy and LOMLOE

picture source: Gerd Altmann pixabay

It’s impossible to deny that the future is a digital. In the past we’ve been told that our students are “digital natives” and that they’re the ones who’ll be teaching us. In some respects this seem true. The reality, however, is that navigating the increasingly digital world we live in is littered with pitfalls and is far from second nature for our students. Digital literacy is a competence and it can and should be taught: certainly according to the new LOMLOE, where it given much increased prominence. In this blog post we’ll look at what it means according to the law, and how it can be developed.

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