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!
As English teachers we know a thing or two about preparing our students for the future. For starters, we help develop our students’ communicative competence in the language itself. We look to integrate other skills too, such as digital literacy, critical thinking or the ability to collaborate with others in a team. But as well as ‘preparing’ our students for the future, we can also give them the tools to go out and shape that future for themselves.
Speak Out for Sustainability, a project recently launched by Pearson and BBC Studios is a project with our students’ futures in mind. It’s a project which has at its heart the goal of making that future sustainable. And we aim to do that by raising awareness of sustainability issues and inspiring action and interaction among teachers and students alike.
Read on to find out more…
I hope you enjoy this blog post and find it useful. I trust you’ll like this article and get something out of it. I’m hopeful you’ll appreciate this piece and deem it helpful.
This post is about paraphrase. Paraphrase is something our students will use in real life, for example when telling someone about something they’ve read or heard (such as in mediation), or when reformulating when they sense someone hasn’t understood what they’ve said.
And moving to receptive skills and exam questions, spotting paraphrase in a text is often a key to getting the answer right. Indeed, these GSE descriptors indicate what a learner at a B2 level should be able to do:
It is an (exam) skill that we can help our students develop and in this blog post we’ll be looking at how both by using course material and in other ways.
8th March is International Women’s Day. It is a day on which we celebrate women’s achievements, raise awareness against bias and take action for equality, all with the aim of forging a gender equal world. Here at Pearson Spain and Portugal, we’d like to mark the day in a number of different ways.
Firstly, we’ve prepared a reading lesson for your intermediate teens. The focus of the lesson is celebrating women’s achievements. Click to download the student worksheet and the teacher’s notes. Feel free to adapt and use the material as you wish.
In the lesson, students will read about a scientist, a sports star, a billionaire business executive and an activist, all of whom are women. Unless we’ve been very careful as teachers, our students are likely to have been exposed to more male role models in these categories than female.
We’re living through a time of great challenges. We’re being challenged personally and professionally and are having to regularly change and adapt and find new reserves of resilience. Teachers for example, have had to incorporate distance learning, social distancing and have had to deal with the emotional upheaval many students are facing.
But as well as a time of great challenges, it’s also been a time of great learning. And we’d like to celebrate this learning in our new series of upcoming webinars: Rising to the Challenge, Part 2. Across a variety of topics we’ll identify new ways of working which are useful for our present and for the future too.
What are the topics and who are the presenters? When are the webinars? Read on…
This month we launch Pearson Music to learn to, our new Spotify account for teachers and students alike and its first playlist, Songs for St Valentine’s. To celebrate comes a blog post on using songs in the ELT classroom. Many and varied are the reasons for using songs in class and, equally, many and varied are the ways in which they can be used. Why might we use a song?
- Songs contextualise grammar structures and vocabulary and include repetition and therefore repeated exposure to the same vocabulary and grammar structures…which can mean remembering language!
- Particularly If it’s a song they like, songs can be memorable for students…which can mean even more remembering of language!
- As well as listening to songs, our students can sing them, even better if we go first (and even better with a guitar!). I think I have sung Johnny Cash’s Ring of Fire to every class I’ve ever taught and can still picture a student by the name of Juan Cruz doing a cowboy lassoo gesture singing along. Another song I’ve had success singing with a class is Lemon Tree by Fool’s Garden. It inspired the name and picture of this post! And singing songs can help our students…you guessed it, remember language.
- Many songs have a story behind them that invites interpretation and gets our students talking. A song therefore can be a springboard for discussion.
Next up, how can we squeeze the most out of songs in class? Read on for ten ideas…
This week, we take a look back at our five most-viewed posts of 2020: most-viewed as they’ve been shared a lot, and shared a lot because teachers found them useful (I hope!). And just as we use spaced-repetition to help our learners retain vocabulary they’re learning, a quick reminder of ideas we’ve already seen can help them become a permanent piece of our teaching repertoire!
Perhaps unsurprisingly, the unexpected events of 2020 – which are spilling into 2021 – influence our list, as two posts on online lessons and one post on classroom activities with masks made the cut. Teachers are still on the lookout for games to use in class, with a post on guessing games finding its way into the top five too. Our list is rounded out with a post on ways to get your students to keep up their learning in the holidays. Here we go!
When I teach online lessons to groups of students from around the world on the Pearson & BBC Live Classes project, the breakout rooms are always my favourite bit. It’s wonderful to see the students working to make themselves understood, getting to know one another and learning about one another’s countries and cultures.
But if you’re teaching regular online lessons to the same group of students week in, week out you can really push the boundaries with breakout rooms, moving from simple speaking tasks to increasingly ambitious collaborative tasks. In this blog post, we’re going to consider setting up and managing tasks like these in breakout rooms. I’ve referenced the platform Zoom, but it’s not the only one with breakout rooms (BigBlueButton, Webex).
Using video in the language classroom was a thing when I was at school, though back then it involved wheeling in a big TV on a trolley to watch Run Lola Run and we didn’t do much besides watching. How things have changed! We now typically watch much shorter videos and we do more to exploit them.
The benefits of using short video to teach languages are many and varied. Students watch short video already (eg YouTube and TikTok), it’s a medium they’ve embraced. With the ubiquity of mobile devices, short video can be watched anywhere. Visual clues aid comprehension and give meaning to language: videos demonstrate paralinguistic features like gestures, facial expressions and intonation. We can broaden our students horizons with video: video can bring the wider world into the classroom and expose learners to different cultures, accents, people and ways of life. And of course, video can provide a meaningful context for grammar and vocabulary and it can also provide a speaking model for students. We could go on, but we’re here today to propose activities. Here are 10 of them: