Of Chocoholics, Flexitarians and Frankenfood: the joy of portmanteaus

Calling all language enthusiasts! What’s your favourite word in English? Do you have a favourite idiom? Is your language geekiness so acute that you have a favourite tense

My favourite word is ‘muffled’, my favourite idiom ‘as cool as a cucumber’ and I don’t have a favourite tense in English, although I do in French. Or at least I did, until I found out that the subjunctive is a mood and not a tense

Perhaps one of the more interesting features of English, and one which seems to be much more prevalent than in most other languages, is the existence of portmanteaus

Do your students ever speak Spanglish? Do you know any Shopaholics? Chocoholics? Workaholics? What’s your perfect brunch?  Ever stayed in a motel? Seen a Bollywood film?  All portmanteaus. 

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British Council Teaching for Success Conferences 2019

The annual Teaching for Success conferences, hosted by the British Council for ELT teachers are a great way to start the year and Pearson will be in attendance at the events across the country: in Bilbao and Valencia on 21st September and in Madrid and Barcelona on Saturday 28thWhether it’s to attend one of our workshops to get some ideas for your lessons, or to drop by our stand to have a look at our materials, we’d love to see you there!

What’s on the programme? 

Bilbao: Brian Engquist will be delivering Teens: it’s hard to B1 and Developing Learner Confidence

Valencia: Michael Brand will be delivering Teens: it’s hard to B1 and Developing Learner Confidence

Madrid: Liz Beer will be delivering Teens: it’s hard to B1 and Putting some sparkle in speaking

Barcelona: Michael Brand will be delivering Teens: it’s hard to B1 and Developing, not testing, listening skills 

Liz Beer, Michael Brand, Brian Engquist

Interested? Have a look at our abstracts to learn more about the workshops:

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5 simple ways we already work on mediation with our students

Welcome to our third and final blog post in our series on mediation. The ‘M-word’ has been on all teachers’ lips in Escuelas Officiales de Idiomas across Spain this year and we’re starting to see it pop up more and more often in other teaching contexts (eg. secondary schools) too. It’s a fast-moving story which shows no signs of slowing down! We began our series by getting a crash course in mediation before moving on to consider some of the challenges in creating mediation materials. Let’s finish by having a think about how we’re already developing our students’ mediation skills in our lessons.

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Cyberbullying: a video-based lesson

The teens and tweens we teach are too young to remember a world without the internet. They take for granted the benefits it brings, such as access to all kinds of information at the click of a finger or the ability do a video call with someone on the other side of the world. However, admiring the skills these ‘digital natives’ possess has given way to the realisation that they need guidance on how to properly use the internet in general and social media in particular. For example, 50% of boys and 26% of girls don’t consider it to be dangerous to meet someone they have met online in person. In this two-part blog series, we’ll look at video-based ELT lessons to raise awareness of two key issues: cyberbullying and protecting your identity.  

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Grammar Guessing Games: 3 activities to practice grammar orally

Grammar lessons sometimes get a bad press. Perhaps that’s because they might typically have involved long, drawn-out explanations and activity upon activity of mechanical form-based practice. Explanations and closed practice are necessary of course, but in this blog post, let’s look at three activities that allow the students the chance to personalise the grammar and use it more creatively. All the activities include the game element of guessing.

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Addressing racism in your ELT class: 3 ideas.

What’s the most challenging thing about teaching teens? Getting them to behave? Getting them up to standard to pass exams? One of my greatest challenges was addressing prejudice in class, which often manifested itself in the shape of racial prejudice. Not all students of course, but some. At the start of my teaching career I foolishly attempted to use my authority to ‘stamp it out’: how dare the students utter such reprehensible ideas? It wasn’t effective. Predictably, a subtler approach, talking about the issues raised, worked better. Taking into account phenomena such as a spike in hate crime after the Brexit referendum and given that the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination is coming up on 21 March, in this blog post we look at 3 ways to address racial discrimination with our students

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5 fun activities to build interactional skills

It takes two to tango, goes the saying. It also takes at least two to interact. Interaction requires both speaking and listening skills – by listening carefully and understanding we’ll be in a position to reply directly to our interlocutor. Interaction requires our students to have mastered certain language functions. In the case of a discussion for example, our students will need to be able to agree, disagree, ask for their interlocutor’s opinion etc. In this blog post, let’s look at five fun activities to build our students’ interactional language and skills.    

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Making an Escape Room for your ELT classroom

Over the Christmas holidays I experienced my first Escape Room (in Ávila, successfully breaking out in 54 minutes: see photographic proof!) and last week I held my first Escape Room for teachers on a gamification course (they broke out in 59, living dangerously!). I enjoyed both immensely. Participants work together and are extremely focused on their goal so work hard – behaviours we like to see in our students. In this blog post I’d like to look at ways to set up activities to make your own ELT Escape Room.

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5 Christmas adverts with ideas for class

It’s that time of year again! For some, the run-up to Christmas hasn’t yet started in earnest, but for others it’s already in full flow: In Britain, Christmas adverts tend to appear on the TV from mid-November onwards, making the countdown to Christmas very long indeed! These short videos are a great resource to use with your students, who will also be starting to feel festive. The adverts often tell a story with a message, contextualise lots of Christmas vocabulary and can be used as an inspiration for student production. In this post I’ve chosen five new adverts from 2018 and added a few ideas on how to use them in class. Give them a try with your students!

ADVERT 1

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Pre-primary English teachers: make your voice heard and win!

At Pearson, we’re committed to understanding what teachers need in order to create the right materials for your classes. That why we’re calling on all pre-primary (infantíl) teachers of English in Spain to fill out our survey.

As a token of our gratitude, all teachers who fill in the survey will be entered into a draw to win a 100€ Amazon gift voucher.

The survey is in Spanish. And if you’re not a pre-primary English teacher, but you know someone who is, feel free to forward it on to give them a chance of winning!

Don’t forget to fill in your personal details at the end of the survey to be entered into the draw. The survey closes on 25 November, so don’t delay!

Thank you…and good luck!