past simple for beginners ( a matter of common sense)

At which point in a Beginner or even Elementary course do you introduce and teach the past simple? Here’s a guide. It has always bugged me that Beginner textbooks do not introduce the past simple until half way through the book. So it sadly transpires that students will not start using the past simple tense until a few months into their English course. This is … Continue reading past simple for beginners ( a matter of common sense)

summer series: three speaking activities

It’s time for another summer series. This time I will be focusing on speaking and here is a selection of three blog posts that have drawn a little bit of attention over the last couple of years. Click on the links for the full posts. In speaking: from specific to general I argue how much more productive it is to think of very specific questions … Continue reading summer series: three speaking activities

find someone who (with a twist)

We are all familiar with “Find someone who…” speaking activity. Traditionally the teacher provides a series of tasks -written/displayed on the board or on printed handouts- for the students to mill around and ask each other in order to exchange personal information. The aim might be to practice a given grammatical structure, such as the modal verb “can”, as in “find someone who can play … Continue reading find someone who (with a twist)

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