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

Five things you can do to identify the English level of your students

Five things you can do to identify the level of your students (2)September is for many of us the start of a new academic year, back to work and back to school. New students bring new challenges and objectives for both teachers and learners, and the first thing we need to know is: What level of English do they have? And secondly: How can we measure their ongoing progress?

Here are five ways to identify the level of your students ranging from informal home-made observation classroom activities to more scientific commercial products which have been carefully designed to identify levels of English. Continue reading

10 best practices for tackling English language exams

10 best practices for tackling English language exams - Illustration by Tang Yau HoongSummer might be the season for taking time off work, but for many English language students it’s also the time of year to sign up for an exam and work towards passing it. Whichever exam you’ll be taking, be it PTEFCE, CAE, CPE or IELTS or another, we are here with some advice that will help you prepare. Here, then, are our 10 best practices for tackling English language exams.

1. Avoid learning language in isolation

If grammar is the skeleton of the language, then vocabulary is the meat (and we might say idiomatic language the blood). Of course, you can’t have one without the other. When learning new words, make sure you learn the grammatical constructions that go with them (e.g., dependent prepositions, whether verbs are followed by a gerund or the infinitive, and so on). When learning grammar, make sure you personalise and contextualise it with lots of examples. Familiarise yourself with collocations and learn language in chunks. Continue reading

Teaching skills for working with teens

Teaching skills for working with teens - Image by Mansour BethoneyTeaching English to teenagers can be frustrating and fulfilling in equal measure. They can be full of energy and ideas that add a real buzz to the class, but they can also be sullen, self-conscious, reluctant to work together and difficult to engage. However, if you approach lessons with teenagers with the right ideas, materials and tricks of the trade, there’s no reason why they shouldn’t be a great success.

Here’s our list of indispensable teaching skills for working with teens:

***Do group project work***

Group projects come in all shapes and sizes and work well with teenagers. They increase motivation, promote learner autonomy, have clear, achievable objectives, involve all four language skills, and can be managed in a way that lets everyone in the group take on a role that’s best suited to them. They also make a welcome break from routine and can be run over several classes, with a section of each lesson allocated to them. You’ll find plenty of examples of project work here and here. Continue reading