I wonder how you say…

An activity that combines translation, drilling newly acquired vocabulary and engaging the students with the language to go beyond vocabulary input provided by textbooks and to present an extra challenge, yet still within the students’ grasp, in the spirit of what Jim Scrivener calls “doable demands”.  As Jim wisely puts it in Demand High, “communicative language teaching had painted itself into a corner, encouraging a … Continue reading I wonder how you say…

from reading passage to interview

Here is a highly productive and engaging way of getting the most out of a reading passage. The idea is for the students to first read and understand the passage as whole individually and in silence. This can take place in the classroom or you may decide to assign a reading passage as out of class work. Clarify meaning, highlight focal vocabulary and interesting bits … Continue reading from reading passage to interview

mini whiteboards 1

It’s easy enough to welcome state-of-the-art technology, if our school can afford it. Whether the technology is used or used wisely is up to us. I have been using interactive whiteboards for well over ten years now and I find them an incredible tool for any language teacher. I talk and write far and wide about the kinds of benefits they bring. Today, however, I … Continue reading mini whiteboards 1

connotation in songs

I have been listening to Sting’s last album 44/876 quite a lot recently and there are two songs that have particularly called my attention as an English teacher/teacher trainer/materials writer. The first one is Crooked Tree, for which I wrote a blog post last week dealing with co-hyponyms and how that song presents itself well for exploiting them and exploring the topic area of crime … Continue reading connotation in songs

taking sides

This speaking activity gets students to make choices, take sides and use arguments and counter arguments to support their ideas. This is how it goes: Think of controvesial issues for debate in the classroom. For instance, “eating meat is wrong”. Do not  disclose this topic but write “eating meat is …” on the board instead. Ask the students to come up to the board and … Continue reading taking sides

reading frenzy 1

Reading passages in the language classroom are primarily used to have students understand the texts as a whole, to have them look for specific pieces of information or to introduce new language in context. I also like to take advantage of reading passages to let students discover facts and reasons and share them with peers by means of splitting the text into two halves and … Continue reading reading frenzy 1