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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It’s time for the National EOI Convention!

Once every two years the Official Language Schools in Spain hold their national convention.  This year’s event at the EOI in Valencia (this Thursday 30th March until Saturday 1st April) marks the 10th time they will come together to share ideas and best practices.

X jornadas eeooii

We at Pearson are also very proud to be taking part by providing three engaging workshops. Two of these talks will be given by award-winning ELT author, novelist and co-author of Pearson’s Speakout series, JJ Wilson, on the topics of creativity and authenticity in the classroom.  Also on hand will be Spain-based Teacher Trainer for Pearson Michael Brand who will offer his perspective on the characteristics of a C1 user of English and how to get our students up to this level.

For more details and times please consult the information below.

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ACEIA 2016, Seville: a resounding success!

Over 700 enthusiastic teachers from all over Europe attended the ACEIA 2016 conference in Seville on Saturday 12 November.

Antonia plenary

Under the banner ‘Creative Minds Inspire,’ the event was headlined by Pearson’s Antonia Clare, one of the award-winning authors of Speakout 2nd edition, with her inspirational plenary session ‘Language, Learning and the Creative Mind.’ Antonia examined the ways in which learning a language is in itself such an inherently creative task and looked at how to engender creativity, both on the part of the learner but also on the part of the teacher.

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For English Teachers it’s time to skill up – and celebrate our success!

For English Teachers it’s time to skill up – and celebrate our success - Ilustration by Tang Yau HoongAt the beginning of this month I attended the Teaching for Success Conference at the British Council in Valencia, and got to see the always entertaining and thought-provoking Jeremy Harmer deliver a rather ominously titled talk. “Through a glass darkly: does ELT have a future?” centered on the technological disruption we’re beginning to see in our sector and the possible effects on teachers and learners. Harmer made quite clear that he was not in the business of making prophesies about the always uncertain future, and raised far more questions than he answered, but he did serve to get across one clear and solid message to the audience that might be summed up in a single word: Beware.

That technology’s impact on education, and ELT more specifically, can no longer be ignored is a sentiment being echoed elsewhere by technophobes and technophiles alike (as well as many of those in between). There was a time when it may have been easier to think that the inevitable tipping point into this new age of English Teaching everyone had been predicting for so long would never come, but, as Harmer said, employing a fairly well-known saying, “change comes slowly, and then all at once.” So, if this is to be taken as general truth, I’ll throw in another useful motto from my days in the Boy Scouts – “Be Prepared.” Continue reading

Taking word clouds to the next level with Wordsift

word cloud 1Not only do word clouds look pretty, there are also a number of ways they can be used in the ELT classroom to help our students learn. In this post we’re going to be looking at how.

Now, there are lots of word cloud generators out there such as wordle and tagxedo. However, not all these tools were created equal: there are word clouds and then there are word clouds! One which really caught my eye recently is Wordsift, created by Kenji Hakuta of Stanford University.

What’s the basic premise of a word cloud? Well, it’s an image made up of the words used in a text with the size of each word indicating its frequency in the text it was drawn from. A quick glance at the word cloud on the right reveals that ‘freedom’ is the most common word in the text and you can probably guess which famous speech these words come from. Word clouds are quick to make: copy the text, paste it into the generator and let the program do the rest. Continue reading

Do you want to be Pearson’s Global ELT Teacher of the year?

Pearson ELT TEACHER AWARD logoAt Pearson ELT we know that English teachers play a crucial role in the success of their learners. That’s why we’ve launched a new award to celebrate teachers and showcase good practice. The Pearson ELT Teacher Award will recognise teachers who have implemented innovative ways of teaching in their classrooms; from the big innovations to the everyday.

Five inspiring teachers will each win an all expenses paid trip to IATEFL (UK) or TESOL (USA) where they will enjoy the opportunity to hear the latest theories and exchange ideas with fellow professionals from all sectors of ELT.  A People’s Choice winner will selected by a public vote from the entries submitted. The winner will receive 20 Kindles for their class pre-loaded with a selection of Pearson English Readers. Continue reading

Check out our teacher training sessions at the British Council

It’s been a busy few weeks for Pearson’s teacher trainers who have been giving talks at the British Council ‘Teaching for Success’ events across Spain. As promised, here are the links to the presentations we gave:

Valencia, Barcelona & Madrid with Brian Engquist, Marta Cervera & Michael Brand

Saturday 1st October 

Exploiting video to the max

From the Classroom to the Wider World

Bilbao with Elena Merino  

Saturday 24th September

Embracing Authenticity

Ten Top Tips for Terrific Teachers

Thanks for attending the talks and we hope you found them useful!

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You might also be interested in…

– Do you want to be Pearson’s Global ELT Teacher of the year?

– Mark your calendar for Pearson Webinars for English Teachers

Don’t forget to sign up to our ELT blog. You’ll find lots of great stuff to read here!

More info at Pearson ELT Spain & Portugal

Mark your calendar for Pearson Webinars for English Teachers

Pearson Webinars for English TeachersAre you teaching a B2 exam course? Find yourself falling into the same old exam practice routine?

Would you like to know how to make cooperative learning work in your Primary classroom?

Do you need fresh ideas on to use video in your English classes?

If your answer is yes, join us in October for two weeks of Professional Development webinars presented by our teacher trainers: Brian Engquist, Elena Merino and Michael Brand, who will share with you new ideas, activities, tips, tools and tasks to spice up your lessons! Continue reading

Why you should encourage people to study business English with Market Leader 3rd Edition

We’re now in the 21st century, living in an age of increasing globalization in which communication across borders is paramount to success. It is estimated that about a third of the world’s population speaks English as a mother tongue and that it is the most widely used and most popular second language. Without doubt, English today is the universal language of business, trade and international law.  Perhaps we have got to the point where it is not enough just to have a general knowledge of English: is more business English needed to make English more immediately relevant in the modern world? Why study business English? Here are a couple of reasons that might be relevant to different people at different stages of their personal and professional development and some insights for you, as teacher or educational institution, as to how Market Leader can help your students achieve their diverse goals.Business English - Market Leader - Pearson Continue reading

Celebrate Roald Dahl’s centenary with Pearson English Readers

‘‘You have to believe in magic to find it’’, Roald Dahl.

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory - Roald Dahl - Pearson English ReadersRoald Dahl was without doubt one of the most magical of children’s writers working in the twentieth century. Today his magic still infuses our popular culture and his stories have been translated into scores of languages and adapted into blockbuster films. Our English language students can also experience the Dahl magic via the Pearson English Readers.

Roald Dahl was born 100 years ago in Llandaff, Wales on the 13th of September and this year marks his centenary. His writing career started in the United States with short stories and magazine articles for adults. Roald’s first venture into children’s fiction was the short-story Gremlins, which he wrote for Walt Disney in 1942. Gremlins wasn’t a success, so he returned to writing for adults producing the best-selling short story collection Someone like you in 1953. Continue reading