Speak Out for Sustainability – Get Involved!

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…

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Helping our students recognise paraphrase in exams (and beyond)

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.

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10 Tips on Using Puppets in the Pre-Primary Classroom

Playfulness and humor are essential in the pre-primary language classroom. They help create an inviting classroom environment and encourage language learning. There is no easier way to incorporate these things into your classroom than by using a puppet!

Puppets can become an integral part of your class if used correctly. It’s not enough to stick the puppet onto your hand and move it around. In today’s blog, I have 10 tips on how to effectively use a puppet in your classroom.

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How to develop digital literacy in our teens

Digital literacy is a key 21st-century skill that sometimes gets overlooked by teachers. Though many of our pre-teens and teens were practically born with a phone in their hand, they’ve a lot to learn about digital tools and the internet. I don’t think anyone doubts the importance of digital literacy skills. However, as teachers of English we often have a syllabus to follow and lots of skills to practise. Isn’t it enough for us to balance the different receptive and productive skills and language systems like vocabulary and grammar?

Is it also our job to train students to be better digital citizens?
I think so!
Why?

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Simple ideas for getting the most out of your course book

Teachers always put their heart and soul into their classes – not only during the lesson but also the planning stages. At certain points of the year, we can sometimes feel tired and overwhelmed with the amount of work we have to do. This article will introduce some ideas that you can use time and time again, with minimal preparation, so that you can extend activities in the course book to consolidate learning, or to help push your students into achieving more.

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Vocabulary revision games: Part 2

This post is the second in a series of blog posts about vocabulary revision. In this one, I’m going to list my five favourite games. For a handy list of principles that can guide you to choose the best activities to revise vocabulary, check out my previous post.

What makes a successful vocabulary revision game?

Just as a reminder, here are the main principles that I bear in mind when selecting or creating vocabulary revision games:criteria for vocab revision

Let’s have a look at some engaging games that also tick all the boxes above:

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Helping your older primaries to write

It’s 3pm on a hot afternoon. You have just asked your primary students to write a story in English. All your students can see is a big, blank page that needs to be filled in with words and phrases they are not too sure how to use or know what it means in their language yet. It’s a daunting task, and students start to sigh, complain and procrastinate. They positively beg you to play a game instead, or anything except writing. If this scenario sounds at all familiar, then read on to find out many more ideas to avoid this situation and to help students to really enjoy writing in class. Continue reading

Supporting International Women’s Day in the classroom and beyond

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.

Lesson materials

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.

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Vocabulary revision games: Part 1

Revision is unquestionably of utmost importance when learning a language, so how do we go about it effectively? What are pedagogically sound criteria for selecting vocabulary revision activities? What’s more, how do we ensure these activities don’t generate a lot of extra work for teachers? In this two-part series of blog posts, we are going to look into what makes vocabulary revision effective and look at lots of ideas for games.

There is a lot of research behind retention and if you want to look into it, I highly recommend reading Paul Nation and Scott Thornbury on this topic to understand the rationale behind the following tasks (in this blog post and in part 2). 

What are the criteria for a good vocabulary revision activity? Let’s begin…

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Rising to the Challenge Part 2: sign up now!

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

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