Teaching and Learning

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 · 2 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
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