I don’t believe it! 5 guessing games for your ELT class

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.

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5 more Christmas adverts with ideas for class

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!

Advert 1

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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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The challenge of developing mediation tasks for our students

For our second post on mediation we spoke to Ángel Briones, a teacher at EOI Embajadores in Madrid.  Over the past year Ángel has been writing materials to both teach and assess his students around mediation.  He is currently working for Pearson to design extension mediation activities to accompany our new general adult course book, Roadmap.  Here’s what he had to tell us about some of the things that need to be taken into account when writing mediation tasks.

Question: Angel, you have been involved in writing teaching and assessment activities around mediation for your students.  What are the biggest challenges in your view?

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A crash course on mediation

The buzz word around the Escuelas Oficiales de Idiomas (EOIs) in Spain this year is mediation and the importance of teachers at these centres getting to grips with the concept cannot be stressed enough.  In a series of three blog posts we will be taking a look at some of the key issues surrounding this topic.

For our first article we reached out to Manuel del Rio and Francisco J. Pose, two of the teachers who provide teacher training at the EOI in Santiago de Compostela.  Among the courses the EOI will be offering as part of their summer training programme for teachers is one led by Manuel and Francisco on linguistic mediation.  We had a few questions on mediation and we figured getting in touch with them would be a good place to start to get some clear answers.   Here’s what they had to tell us:

Question: Let’s start with the elephant in the room: What is the big deal with mediation?  Is it really all that important in our daily lives?

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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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To Translate or Not to Translate: That is the Question

Guest post by: Karen McGhie

Karen McGhie is Head of Teacher Training and Development at London School in San Sebastian. She will be speaking on Embracing Translation in the Classroom with her colleague Iñigo Casis at the 3rd Annual ELT Conference in San Sebastian on March 30th.

‘Teacher, he’s molesting me!’ Imagine my reaction when, as a newly qualified English teacher in Spain with very little knowledge of Spanish, I was confronted by this comment from a 10-year-old student. Little did I realise back then what an important false friend this was in English and how many times I would have to remind students of this mis-translation in my subsequent years of teaching (and will have to for many years to come).

Ok, so after that trip down memory lane, let’s kick things off with a little quiz. Are you ready?

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