10 weather expressions and ways to use them in class

Every cloud

Spaniards and Brits are different in many ways, but we also share some similarities. I’ve always thought that a self-deprecating sense of humour is something we have in common and I believe another is that we both like to talk about the weather – it’s almost a national pastime. Watching the 3 o’clock news on Sunday, there must have been a good fifteen minutes dedicated to the weather. It included a feature on the Indian summer that Spain is currently experiencing with short sound bites from holidaymakers on the beach (“Hay que aprovechar el buen tiempo y tomarse unas cervecitas” (there’s another similarity)) and smiling hoteliers, pleased at the unseasonably hot weather resulting in full hotels.

Both languages are rich in weather expressions and in the post, we are going to look at 10 of the most commonly used in English, followed by some ideas on how to use them.

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Enter the Pearson ELT Teacher Award to win a trip to IATEFL or TESOL 2018!

Happy World Teachers’ Day!

The 5th October is World Teachers’ Day, a celebration on which we remind ourselves of the vital contribution that teachers make to education, development and society in general. Our warmest regards to teachers everywhere!

As a token of our recognition of the fantastic work done by teachers, Pearson has launched the second annual ELT Teacher Award. The six lucky winners of this award will win a paid trip to an international teaching conference in 2018: TESOL (US) or IATEFL (UK). It would be great to see a winner from Spain or Portugal!

To enter, all you need to do is submit a short video (not longer than two minutes) in which you answer the following questions:

Q1: How do you know when students are making progress in English?

Q2: What’s the best thing about being an English teacher?

Watch the video below and click here for more information and to enter the competition. The closing date in 31st December 2017 and the winners will be announced 25th January 2018.

Good luck!

Integrating pronunciation into your classes

As we get back into the swing of things this new school year we look back at our three part series on an area which can be problematic for teachers and students alike.

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Part One: The Basics

Pronunciation.  It’s often the area most avoided by new teachers for lack of confidence, and also the first thing experienced teachers leave out due to lack of time and a desire to get on with the “meatier” issues of vocabulary, grammar and skills work.  But like it or not our students are aware of the importance of pronunciation and will expect us to work on it with them, so getting comfortable with it and finding the time should be one of our priorities as teachers.

The following is the first part in a three-part series outlining some basic tips for successfully integrating pronunciation in your classes.

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Pearson workshops at the British Council events across Spain

Pearson British Council speakers

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 Madrid and Bilbao on Saturday 23rd September and in Barcelona and Valencia on Saturday 30th. Whether it’s to attend one of our new workshops to get some original, adaptable ideas, or to drop by our stand to have a look at our materials, we’d love to see you there!

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Great icebreakers for the first day back

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Welcome back! It seems only yesterday that we were blogging about well-earned rests and mojitos on the beach, but September has arrived and for us that means the start of another school year. Many will have new classes: for the teacher this means getting to know their students, for the students it means getting to know their teacher and of course each other. In our first lesson back we may look at course requirements, rules and expectations and so on, but it’s important our students leave the class with a smile on their face and a spring in their step: just as with a good mojito, we’ll need to break the ice.

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School’s out for summer!

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It’s that time of year again: School’s out for summer!  It’s time to say goodbye (albeit temporarily) to lesson planning, marking and exams.  And it’s time to say hello to sun, sea, and, because you’ve earned it, a glass of sangria.

Teaching can be a hugely rewarding job, but also challenging and tiring, and the chance to recharge our batteries is most welcome.

Here at Pearson we’d like to wish you a fantastic summer and we look forward to seeing you all back again in September.

Practical tricks for mixed-ability classes

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Let’s face it, teachers of mixed-ability classes have a lot on their plate. Weaker students may give up on work assigned to them and stronger students often finish very quickly. Both groups can switch off and start messing about. Nobody would disagree that ‘Every child matters’, but for a teacher with eight classes of thirty children, responding to each child’s needs can sometimes seem a challenge to put it mildly.

The glass is half full!

Although challenging, mixed ability classes also have many advantages. First off, they represent a microcosm of society: we’re likely to get varied input and ideas from students and these classes lend themselves to developing values like respect, tolerance and helping others: they encourage co-operative learning. Also, they may require creativity on our part, but that makes us better teachers!

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Five things to love about teaching English

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No two people have quite the same experience of teaching English.  My own history includes mostly private sector teaching to adults and teens (so this post might not reflect your situation exactly).  But regardless of the context you teach in, many of us, and this is undoubtedly true of any profession, might get to a time when we question why it is that we are doing it, or maybe we forget why we got into it in the first place.

For native speakers there is the added “I’m JUST an English teacher” issue to face as well, as in: I’m JUST teaching something that I didn’t have to put any real effort into learning myself, or Am I JUST taking the easiest option?  Shouldn’t I be more of a go-getter in world of increasing “go-getting.”  I would bet that this thought has crossed the minds of a fair number of you out there.  Perhaps if you are a NNS (non-native speaker) of English you haven’t had this same feeling, and the things listed below are somewhat more obvious to you.  If so, scream and shout about them!  Kick up a fuss about your profession!  And get your colleagues stoked about their job!  Because there are a great many things to love about being “just” an English teacher.

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5 ways to practice English over the summer

summerAt the end of every school year, my adult students have this same query: “What can I do to practice my English during the summer?” After 13 years of teaching experience, I should be ready for this, but often the only answer that springs to mind is to watch movies and read in English. However, neither I nor my students are very happy with this less than original answer. I am sure they are expecting a bit more from an ELT professional. But I’m not letting that happen again this year and that’s why I have prepared the following short list that I’m sharing with you in the hope that it could be useful for any age group of students you are teaching. Continue reading

Top tips for the First (FCE) writing exam

For English Teachers it’s time to skill up – and celebrate our success - Ilustration by Tang Yau Hoong

Preparing our students for high stakes exams can be a daunting task. We want them to know the exam inside out, we’ll need to give them plenty of practice and we still aim to keep our lessons engaging and fun! This post is concerned with Part 2 of the First writing exam: what should we teachers bear in mind?

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