10 common errors Spanish speakers make in English

10 common errors Spanish speakers make in English

There’s no path to fluency in a second language that does not involve making lots and lots of mistakes, but as a teacher it’s worth knowing why your students might be making some of the same ones over and over. Here are 10 common errors Spanish learners of English tend to make.

  1. Possessive adjectives

Given that Spanish su, as in su libro can mean both ‘his book’ and ‘her book’, depending on the context, and that all Spanish nouns have either feminine or masculine gender, it’s little wonder that Spanish speakers often mix up his and her. Combined with a tendency to mix up he and she as well, this can lead to some very confusing anecdotes being told, in which you’re not sure if it’s men, women or both being talked about. It’s worth drilling the difference again and again. Continue reading

ELT Ideas for Secondary Teachers

Pearson Evens for English TeachersFollowing our visits to Zaragoza and Valencia last week for the Pearson Evens for English Teachers, Elena Merino and I would like to share our presentations with you as promised.

We hope these ELT Ideas for Secondary Teachers come in handy, and we certainly appreciate the thoughtful participation of all of those attending.  Your comments helped us to come up with a few new ideas as well! Continue reading

Speaking and Secondary Students

nextmove_teensHow can we get our teenage students to communicate in English? Is there any way in which we can motivate them to speak?


This week I will be presenting a talk for our Pearson Events for English teachers called “Secondary Students can communicate in English” which aims to present practical examples, including ICT and other traditional interactive tasks that teachers will be able to put into practice right away. Based on Next Move 3rd Edition for secondary education, a course ready for the 21st century students, I will look into different ways of exploiting speaking exercises in a fun and creative way. Continue reading

Making the most of lyrics in class

Lyrics in classLike many ELT teachers, you may already use songs in class, perhaps as a fun way to end the lesson. But how often do you really exploit the lyrics in class in the way you would exploit any other piece of text? The obvious choice of activity with a song is the good old-fashioned gap fill, with students filling in the missing words as they listen along. But this is not the only possibility, and certainly not the most resourceful or productive. Here are some other ideas you can try.

1. Prediction by rhyme

Most English lyrics rhyme, which is a great way to get your learners thinking before they listen. Gap out the second word in each pair of rhymes, have the learners predict the missing word based on rhyme and meaning, then have them listen to check. They’ll listen much more attentively if they’re trying to check their own ideas, and they’ll also have a chance to focus on the text before hearing it. Here’s a silly made-up example (the answer is below):

Hip hop artists, when they sing /  Often wear a tonne of ___________ Continue reading