You’ll never guess what I did last weekend! *answer revealed at bottom of blog post.
People like guessing. And they like getting other people to guess. Think of your own experience. Before revealing something to someone, have you ever invited your listener to ‘have a guess’, hyping up what it is you were about to reveal? And you might have given your listener a few guesses, turning the interaction into a sort of game.
Speaking guessing games are a mainstay of ELT lessons. Sometimes used as warmers, fillers or even the main speaking activity, they add a game element, provide a task for the listener which encourages them to listen, and often allow our learners to speak about themselves. In the blog post we look at five.
Christmas is just around the corner! Many of us will be grading exams, putting marks in the system and, hopefully, teaching the odd Christmas-themed lesson. A nice alternative to your standard worksheet is to use Christmas adverts, which are something of an institution in Britain (and elsewhere) with brands vying to make the biggest splash. These short videos are great material as they tend to tell a story and include lots of Christmas vocab. Here I’ve taken five and offered ideas and activities to exploit them in class. If you like what you see, check out last year’s post too!
NB. Some of the speaking activities listed here presuppose a knowledge of Christmas vocabulary, so preteaching vocab may be necessary: perhaps doing one of those worksheets first isn’t such a bad idea!
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.
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 28th. Whether 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:
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.