Teaching and Learning

Observing a Class: the Role of Affect in the Classroom

So this week I observed and gave feedback on 22 lessons. Yeah, I am knackered. And as the train rolls past the mountains and fields of central Europe en route … Continue reading

29/04/2017 · 4 Comments

Many heads are better than one: Lexis Revision

Choice. Learner Autonomy. Learner Independence. Personalised learning. All important ideas that today are seen as key contributors to motivation and the learning process. But not all learners find it easy … Continue reading

22/04/2017 · 2 Comments

IATEFL2017: Wise Words

Lots of clever, experienced and skilled people gave talks at the IATEFL Glasgow this week. And many of them quoted other clever, experienced and skilled people. Here is my collection of … Continue reading

09/04/2017 · Leave a comment

IATEFL2017: Growing Minds

I spent the past week at the IATEFL Glasgow 2017 conference – the ELT event of the year. The programme was absolutely overwhelming: picking talks and workshops out of the … Continue reading

09/04/2017 · Leave a comment

Stuck in a Lift: A Lesson on Small Talk

You know that sinking feeling when your carefully prepared conversation questions fail to get much of a reaction from your students? They talk for two minutes and then turn to … Continue reading

03/04/2017 · 1 Comment

Stepping out of my Comfort Zone

I don’t sing. I don’t play a musical instrument. I just don’t. I come from a long line of amusical, tone-deaf people. When my sister and I were younger, our … Continue reading

14/03/2017 · Leave a comment

Flippin’ Future

Future is expressed in a multitude of ways in English. Many of my students, even at higher levels, tend to overuse will because they have learnt that will is future. … Continue reading

20/02/2017 · 2 Comments

Vocab Revision Activity: Easy peasy…

So this is the easiest ever vocab revision activity. I have used it for years and pretty much every single time students comment on how much they like it. And, … Continue reading

09/02/2017 · 2 Comments

Learning to Learn

Underlining does not work. Useless, a waste of time as a learning technique, they say. Many of us are blessed with very motivated students who are keen to improve their … Continue reading

05/02/2017 · Leave a comment

A, AN and THE: A Peer-Teaching Activity

English articles can be a bit of a nuisance. Having mostly worked with learners whose L1 has no system of these little pains in the neck, I have tried a … Continue reading

19/01/2017 · 2 Comments

New Year, New Goals: An Activity

With the first school week of the year behind me, I thought I’d share a little activity I ran in pretty much all my (adult) classes this week. It is … Continue reading

15/01/2017 · 8 Comments

Let’s play BALL: Part 2

If you read Part 1, you’ll know that I have started a little blog-writing experiment in one of my adult education classes in the autumn semester. Before Christmas I asked … Continue reading

05/01/2017 · 2 Comments

Let’s play BALL: Part 1

In case you are wondering, BALL stands for blog-assisted language learning (Ward 2004). This first post on BALL is a brief theoretical focus on the topic. Part 2  will then … Continue reading

30/12/2016 · 1 Comment

Stretching the Mind: Introducing a New Grammar Structure

Memorisation and rote learning have been a bit of taboo in language learning for a long time. They were seen as behaviorist ideas which viewed as form and habit, whereas … Continue reading

14/12/2016 · 2 Comments

Autonomy, Motivation and Choice: Part 2

The wait is over! If you have been waiting for this Part 2 with bated breath, you can now relax. In this post I will answer the questions I posed … Continue reading

02/12/2016 · Leave a comment

Autonomy, Motivation and Choice: Part 1

So learner-centredness has been a bit of a buzzword for a while. But what does it actually mean? How is it realised in the classroom? In this post I will … Continue reading

02/12/2016 · 1 Comment

An experiment on attention-getters

I had 18 guinea pigs this morning. And what great guinea pigs they were! All language teachers, it was an exciting mix of both nationalities and target languages. My job … Continue reading

29/10/2016 · 3 Comments

Revising Lexis: Let’s mime!

So there are about a million other things I should be doing right now but I just need to tell you about an activity we did in one of my … Continue reading

15/09/2016 · 2 Comments

First Lessons: Tired of the same old same old?

As the new school year fast approaches, I find myself in rummaging through my brain for first lesson ideas. You know, those getting-to-know-you and getting-to-know the-teacher activities that form an … Continue reading

28/08/2016 · 2 Comments

Carbs and then some more Carbs

Nothing beats the combo of sugar and flour. They form the main constituents of pretty much all of my favourite foods. If only we could survive on nothing but cakes, … Continue reading

28/06/2016 · Leave a comment

Walking is the Best Medicine

Hippocrates said it over 2,000 years ago and who am I to say otherwise. Today we all know about the benefits of walking and they are manifold: it is good … Continue reading

23/05/2016 · 1 Comment

Celebrating Failure

Were I to start listing my failures here, this post would be far too long for anyone to read. So I won’t. But I do want to look at failure … Continue reading

08/05/2016 · 1 Comment

Observing a Class: Using Peer Feedback in EAP Writing

Collaborating with your peers is an everyday occurrence in academia. You write articles collaboratively with them. You submit these articles to journals, to be reviewed by other peers. And you … Continue reading

18/04/2016 · Leave a comment

Observing a Class: A Bone of Contention

I’ve been out and about again, popping into classrooms to see classes in action in different institutions. Last week I saw two groups which were particularly interesting as they comprised … Continue reading

11/04/2016 · Leave a comment

We Learn to Read by Reading

“We learn to read by reading”.  These are the wise words of Frank Smith (quoted in Nuttall 2005, 128), a prominent psycho-linguist, who has conducted research into reading theory. So … Continue reading

09/04/2016 · Leave a comment

Observing a Class: Life doesn’t come with instructions but…

Sometimes a 90-min lesson flies by. Sometimes it just drags on and on and you think it’s never going to finish. Not in the class I saw this week. I … Continue reading

31/03/2016 · Leave a comment

Stuck together: Online Resources for Teaching Collocations

Lexical chunks. Word partnerships. Multi-word expressions. Collocations. In class, I tend to introduce them as words that are married. Whatever you choose to call them, collocations are an interesting feature … Continue reading

25/03/2016 · Leave a comment

Castles, frogs and vampires: Creative writing activities

A blank page. No ideas. I can’t do it. I’m not creative. I’m stupid. These are the thoughts that often wreak havoc in our learners’ brains when we ask them … Continue reading

12/03/2016 · Leave a comment

Many heads are better than one – Ideas for Fluency Activities

5 cups of tea. The papers. Fresh bread. A lie-in. That is what my Saturday mornings are usually like. Not today though.  Not for me, nor for the 19 (!) … Continue reading

05/03/2016 · Leave a comment

I am in love!

He is not tall, dark and handsome. In fact, not even a he. Nor a she, for that matter. Nothing weird’s going on here, I can assure you. It is … Continue reading

25/02/2016 · Leave a comment
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