ELTBerry

Teaching and Learning

Going Video: Execution

As projects go, this one was a bit of a disaster. The plan was to create a set of videos about presentation skills. Yeah, this did not happen. That course … Continue reading

26/04/2020 · Leave a comment

Rollercoaster of Change

Uncontrollable, unexpected and all-encompassing. That is how we could describe the events that forced a major change on us this spring. It has impacted us as people in our many … Continue reading

23/04/2020 · Leave a comment

Sunday Readings: Innovation, Change and Digitalisation

How does innovation happen? What are the required elements that need to meet at the right time in the right place for lasting innovative change to take place? In educational … Continue reading

02/02/2020 · 2 Comments

Sunday Readings: Willingness to Communicate, Anxiety and Perceived Competence

Learning a language as an adult requires hard work. It takes time, willingness to take risks, dedication and truckloads of motivation. It is a job that has no endpoint;  the … Continue reading

07/01/2020 · Leave a comment

Going Video: Plan

Aaargh, this plan was due 3 weeks ago and even now it is not really even a plan yet, more like an idea. Anyway, here goes nothing. The aim is … Continue reading

31/12/2019 · Leave a comment

Sunday Readings: Online Learning and Willingness to Communicate

Continuing my Sunday Readings series, I turn next to another article on computer-mediated language learning and how it can impact learners’ willingness to communicate. Communication in L2 is the main … Continue reading

30/12/2019 · Leave a comment

Sunday Readings: Computer-mediated Speaking and Foreign Language Anxiety

As language teachers, we know that It is sometimes difficult to provide our learners with equal opportunities for speaking in class. In pretty much every class there is someone who … Continue reading

19/12/2019 · Leave a comment

Sunday Readings: Communication Skills and Digital Tools

I am currently developing a little project on digital pedagogy and it helps to write it out here. Here is a brief summary of an article I just finished reading. … Continue reading

18/12/2019 · Leave a comment

The Meaning of Life and Stuff

The meaning of life is… No, I don’t know what the meaning of life. And I should be working on stuff with looming deadlines but earlier this week I attended … Continue reading

16/12/2019 · Leave a comment

Sunday Readings: Assessment of Adult Learners

I am doing this the wrong way round somehow: my last post was about feedback and this one is about assessment. Logically, I should have started with a text on … Continue reading

08/12/2019 · Leave a comment

Sunday Readings: Feedback and Self-Regulation

Having read Hattie and Timperley’s (2007) article about giving feedback, I have to wonder if I ever get it right! That it is a complex issue is clear; common sense … Continue reading

07/12/2019 · Leave a comment

Sunday Readings: Multimodality and video in learning

When I was a teenager, I learned French intonation, word stress and individual sounds by listening to music. We had a few French records and cassettes and, with the lyrics … Continue reading

10/11/2019 · Leave a comment

September 2019 Meet-Up: Classroom Routines

  Another meet-up, another selection of great ideas shared. Here are the highlights! Our discussion centred on the different classroom routines we have. Having a set of routines is good … Continue reading

18/10/2019 · Leave a comment

Sunday Readings: to tech or not to tech?

Does the use of ICT in teaching and learning lead to better learning outcomes? Well, sometimes it does, sometimes it doesn’t, or it is “difficult to explain why only some … Continue reading

13/10/2019 · Leave a comment

Part 3: Exploring the effectiveness of flipped learning in an HE context

This third section (Part 1, Part 2) will look at the programme from the students’ point of view. There are several recent studies that investigate both the benefits and potential … Continue reading

07/08/2019 · 2 Comments

Part 4: Exploring the effectiveness of flipped learning in an HE context

This final part looks at the flipped programme in terms of the potential challenges identified in Part 3. We will begin by looking at different attitudes and experiences all learners … Continue reading

07/08/2019 · Leave a comment

Part 2: Exploring the effectiveness of flipped learning in an HE context

The first part of this series on flipped learning offered some background on this approach. The aim of this second part is to look at the programme I am teaching … Continue reading

28/07/2019 · 2 Comments

Part 1: Exploring the effectiveness of flipped learning in an HE context

The use of digital tools in the classroom has increased dramatically in the last ten years. This development has been evident in all levels of education, from primary school to … Continue reading

27/07/2019 · Leave a comment

Welcome to My Summer!

Hello peeps! Here is my first adobe spark experiment plus a little introduction to my summer teaching/learning environment.   Photo: View from my window. Now that is a lie. Quite … Continue reading

30/06/2019 · Leave a comment

3 things I learnt last week

Because my mind is like a sieve, I have to tell you about these three new things I learnt last week, in the hope that this will help to stick … Continue reading

24/06/2019 · Leave a comment

A Collaborative Writing Activity

Today I thought I’d tell you about a writing activity I have used in class many times. When working with in-company clients or when teaching on courses which focus on … Continue reading

24/05/2019 · Leave a comment

An Activity I Use Often: An Analysis

This is a piece of homework for a course I am doing at the moment. Fingers crossed I pass! I need to pick a typical teaching moment in class and … Continue reading

17/05/2019 · Leave a comment

May 2019 Meet-Up: Mixed Ability Groups

Today we had the last meet-up of the spring and this is a short summary of some of the ideas that we discussed. Mixed ability classes can be tricky, and … Continue reading

10/05/2019 · 2 Comments

Sunday Readings: Learning Styles

When I did my initial teacher training course, learning styles were still ‘in’. We had input on it, and, after graduation,  I seem to remember attending in-house or training day … Continue reading

06/04/2019 · Leave a comment

IATEFL2019: Day Three Highlights

  On my way home, I am writing this somewhere between Manchester and Frankfurt.  Below a brief summary of some of the talks I attended on the third day of … Continue reading

05/04/2019 · Leave a comment

IATEFL2019: Day Two Highlights

Today has been a techy day. One of my aims at this conference is to find out what is happening in ed tech at the moment, with a view of … Continue reading

03/04/2019 · Leave a comment

IATEFL2019: Day One Highlights

Liverpool was grey and rainy today but it was warm and cosy inside the convention centre which resembled an anthill with teachers going from plenaries to workshops to talks. I … Continue reading

03/04/2019 · Leave a comment

Saturday Readings: Digitalisation

I have a bad habit of going “off-piste” with my reading. I start from point A, with every intention of staying on track but more often than not get caught … Continue reading

30/03/2019 · Leave a comment

February 2019 Meet-Up: Difficult Students and Situations

Venting is good sometimes, right? We have all had/have students/classes that can be difficult at times and it feels good to be able to discuss them with colleagues. Constructive ideas and … Continue reading

21/02/2019 · 2 Comments

Card Challenge: Using pictures

I don’t know about you but I have a tendency to collect stuff that I think I could use in the classroom in some way. It is like I have … Continue reading

14/02/2019 · Leave a comment

January 2019 Meet-Up: Favourite websites/apps for learning and teaching

In this month’s local English trainers’ meeting we shared our favourite websites and apps for lesson prep lessons or for use in class. This is our little list: Websites with … Continue reading

27/01/2019 · Leave a comment

Reflecting on 2018

Having taught my last lesson of the year this afternoon, this seems like the perfect moment to reflect on the year gone by. These are not brand new ideas, rather … Continue reading

19/12/2018 · 2 Comments

Heads, Shoulders, Knees and Toes

I am no anatomy expert but recently my learners got to practise their body parts vocabulary, of both humans and animals. I share the two activities below. Human Body Parts … Continue reading

09/12/2018 · Leave a comment

November 2018 Meet-Up: Christmas and New Year Activities

We had a lovely get-together on Friday and shared some ideas for Christmas and New Year activities. Here is a selection. Christmas Making fridge poetry (common words – can anyone find … Continue reading

04/12/2018 · Leave a comment

Presenting Structures: Grammar Surprises

Recently, I have been thinking about different strategies for presenting grammatical structures. It was also the topic of our October Trainers’ Meet-Up so I thought I would put a few … Continue reading

25/11/2018 · Leave a comment

September 2018 Meet-Up: Zero-prep Warmers and Fillers

Social media is great for keeping in touch and for spreading information fast but it is so much nicer to meet people in person. I have had this idea of … Continue reading

29/09/2018 · Leave a comment

New Beginnings: Part 2

Need a quick and easy no-photocopies activity for your first lessons this school year? Look no further: here are some ideas for getting-to-know-you activities to use in either brand new … Continue reading

25/08/2018 · 2 Comments

New Beginnings: Part 1

First lessons of the new school year are just around the corner and although my mind is still very much on the course I am teaching now, I know the … Continue reading

20/08/2018 · 2 Comments

Thinking Critically: Two Activities

Thinking critically can be a tricky thing when you come from a culture that does not encourage you to develop these skills. I am currently working with learners who come … Continue reading

19/08/2018 · Leave a comment

IATEFL2018: Day 4 Highlights

  Saving the best till last! Of the sessions I saw today, two stand out, two that I will remember. Barry O’Sullivan: Living to tell the tale: a history of … Continue reading

13/04/2018 · Leave a comment

IATEFL2018: Day 3 Highlights

I have a confession to make: a chunk of Day Three was spent shopping and eating nice food.  There were some great sessions I saw too, though. Here are my … Continue reading

13/04/2018 · Leave a comment

IATEFL2018: Day 2 Highlights

Another session-packed day and there are some signs of conference fatigue but luckily there is an unlimited supply of tea again this year. Here are my highlights from today’s sessions. … Continue reading

12/04/2018 · 1 Comment

IATEFL2018: Day 1 Highlights

Day one of the event of the year behind us and already there is lots to think about. I couldn’t possibly tell you everything about the sessions I attended here but … Continue reading

11/04/2018 · Leave a comment

Project CHANGE: Grand Finale

So this is it. The last lesson of the course and the final coursework is hanging on the wall. Not bad,  if I say so myself. I cannot take any … Continue reading

09/04/2018 · 2 Comments

Last Lessons: Leaving it to Chance

This is an easy way to get learners to talk about upcoming holidays. A couple of my groups are starting their (very long) summer holiday this week so we spent a … Continue reading

27/03/2018 · Leave a comment

Project CHANGE: Update

This is an update on project CHANGE, which is something I have been working on with one of my adult learner groups. If you have read this post, you know … Continue reading

22/03/2018 · Leave a comment

Interaction in Online Learning

I am taking part in a MOOC on digital pedagogy and this week’s topic is interaction and participation in an e-learning environment. So this post is me doing my homework … Continue reading

18/03/2018 · 3 Comments

Risk-taking: A Poem

This could have been an absolute car crash. A poem. A rather dark poem. Lots of long words. It could have easily gone very, very badly. This is the poem, used … Continue reading

01/03/2018 · Leave a comment

Lights, Camera, Action: Filming Articles

In this picture, you can see a car. The car is white. The car is next to a shop.  Behind the white car, there are other cars. The sun is … Continue reading

24/02/2018 · Leave a comment

Techy Game Things

I attended John Hughes’ OUP webinar on using games in the classroom last week. I am a big fan of both game-based as well as gamified activities. We are never … Continue reading

19/02/2018 · Leave a comment

Reviewing Lexis: The Mind’s Eye

I feel a wee bit bad. I turned up for my first class today with no idea how I was going to start. The lesson itself was sorted but the … Continue reading

12/02/2018 · 4 Comments

Light-bulb moments: learner feedback and motivation

  It is always great when you see it happen before your very eyes – a light-bulb moment, a sudden realisation, a moment of clarity that changes the way you … Continue reading

06/02/2018 · 2 Comments

Project CHANGE: Phase II Kick-off

This week saw the start of Phase II of a project I am working on with one of my groups. The autumn was spent on groundwork and now in the spring, it … Continue reading

21/01/2018 · Leave a comment

Differentiation, kinda

Differentiation in education is used to refer to providing personalised instruction by taking into account differences between learners. Often the key difference is ability and skills: some learners have more … Continue reading

18/01/2018 · Leave a comment

New Year Predictions

First lessons after the holidays are looming on the horizon and I thought I would devise a short and simple activity I could use with all of my classes in … Continue reading

30/12/2017 · 2 Comments

Gerunds and Infinitives: Regret Killing the Chickens?

Gerunds and infinitives are tricky because there is no logic there, except for the preposition + gerund business. So here is a little something I did today with one of … Continue reading

13/12/2017 · 4 Comments

The Past is Tricky: swim, swam, swum

Irregular verbs. The list is long and lots of repetition is required. I am quite into tiny little drama activities at the moment and decided to try something out with … Continue reading

27/11/2017 · Leave a comment

Practising Chunks: An Adventure

Nothing like a little adventure in class. One of my groups went on one last week. It involved walking through a field of rocks, going up a steep hill, jumping over … Continue reading

18/11/2017 · Leave a comment

Workshopping Grammar

I am writing above the Atlantic, on holiday but 9hrs is long time to sit on a plane and this seemed a perfect moment to write up my thoughts on … Continue reading

16/10/2017 · Leave a comment

Variety is the Spice of Life: A Gamification Experiment

Variety is the spice of life. This is why I decided to gamify a tiny part of my Thursday evening class this week. Gamification in education is the application of … Continue reading

13/10/2017 · 2 Comments

Back to School: One pen, two hands

Sometimes good ideas just appear from thin air, usually when I am out for a run and have nothing to write them down with. The idea in this post was … Continue reading

05/09/2017 · Leave a comment

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
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