Upcoming event: TESOL Madrid Regional mini-conference

convention-2014-poster-tesol Spain

I have been confirmed as a speaker at the TESOL Madrid Regional Mini-conference, which takes place at the International Institute, c/ Miguel Ángel 7, Madrid on 14th February (very romantic). There will be two sessions of talks, one at 18:00 and another at 19:15, all given by speakers from Madrid who will be presenting at the National Convention in March here in Madrid. My talk will be at 19:15. The other confirmed speakers are Teresa Fleta, Catherine Morley, Katherine Holloway, Jo Steel, Shawn Redwood, Andrea Littlewood and Rebecca Pegg. There’s a wide range of topics to choose from, so all in all it should be a very interesting evening.

The event is open to TESOL Spain members. Hope to see some of you there.

Introducing Dr Herbert Puchta

TESOL Greece Blog

Emotional Engagement for Adult Students

For a long time, the standard beliefs and assumptions about successful language learning have been that the main challenges, particularly those of memory, are cognitive ones. However, recent findings in cognitive sciences clearly indicate that the brain is fundamentally ‘an organ of emotion’. Drawing on neuro-scientific studies and educational theory, we will discuss the key role of emotional engagement in the learning process of adults, and how factors such as challenge, personal discovery, ‘anticipated movement’, relevance, and participation as co-creators of experience can lead to a greater sense of control in the learning situation and to greater success. We will also see that memory itself is not like a container that stores information, or that we simply retrieve from it the knowledge that we have ‘uploaded’ as outcomes of our learning processes; instead, both the formation of memories and their recall engage emotion systems in the brain. We will also look at ways we…

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I’ve just got back from Rome where I attended the 38th National TESOL Italy Conference. This was my first time in this conference, and I am very grateful to the organisers for allowing me to take part.

I’ll write in more detail about my impressions on the talks I attended later, but I wanted to get a link to my presentation here as soon as possible. You can access the powerpoint here, and I hope that the video clips work within the powerpoint in this version. If they don’t, a copy of each clip can be found in the accompanying folder. For written descriptions of the activities, you can visit my post ‘How to … exploit video in class‘, ‘Armstrong and Miller – RAF Pilots‘, ‘Video Listening Comprehension‘ or ‘Real Beauty‘.

I didn’t mention this in the presentation, but with younger students I use ‘The Curse of the Were-rabbit’ rather than the clip we saw from ‘Love Actually’. Students are asked to identify references to rabbits or to vegetables.

A big thank you to everyone who attended this talk (including to my youngest ever participant – thanks for your impeccable behaviour!). I hope you found the ideas useful.

TESOL Italy – ‘Englishing’, 2013



Tomorrow evening I will be flying out to Rome, ready to take part in the 2013 TESOL Italy National Convention, at the Polo Didattico, Piaza Oderico de Pordenone, 3. This will be my first time attending this conference and I am very much looking forward to it. The talks and workshops look very interesting (session abstracts here), and it is always a great experience to meet fellow professionals from other countries. I will be speaking about using video in the classroom on Friday morning, at 10:15. So this weekend, you’ll find me ‘Englishing’ in the Eternal City. Hope to see you there!

TESOL France, 2013

TESOL-France conference_13

I’m writing this post from my hotel room, a few hundred metres from the site of the 32nd Annual International TESOL France Colloquium. Over the weekend the delegates have the opportunity to listen to internationally renowned speakers such as Scott Thornbury, Sue Palmer and Rosa Aronson, as well as many others from around France and beyond. Thanks to Debbie West and her team for getting this conference together.

I will be presenting my talk ‘Getting them Speaking’ tomorrow at one o’clock, and I would like to take this opportunity to publish the link to the slideshow of the talk, as well as links to posts on this blog which have covered some of the activities which I am using in my talk. I hope you find it useful.

Getting them speaking (article)

Mission Impossible!

Numbers Biography

Picture Dictations

Speed Dating

XXVII Jornadas GRETA, October 2013

A year ago, on my way home from the XXVI Jornadas GRETA, this blog was born. Yesterday the XXVII Jornadas GRETA ended, and I have a moment to post the links to the presentations of my talks before heading back to Madrid.

GRETA Conference 2013But before talking about my own presentations, I would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone for a very enjoyable conference. Thanks to the speakers whose talks and workshops I attended – Dr Jesús García Laborda for his insights into the new Bachillerato test which is causing so much uncertainty at the moment here in Spain, Jane Skellett for her wonderful hamburger analogy for a genre approach to FCE writing (and a welcome reminder of how great the Meg and Mog books were!), Trinidad Jerez for sharing her ideas for getting the most out of IWbs and iPads in the classroom, Natàlia Maldonado for eight guiding principles for teaching CLIL science, and of course the irrepressible Chris Roland for more insights into the thorny issue of classroom management and discipline. And very special thanks to the organisers – the ‘girls in black’, particularly Rocío, who looked after me so wonderfully in my sessions, Antonio and most particularly Charo Reyes, without whose titanic efforts none of this would have been possible.

This year I gave two presentations, one o Friday and one on Saturday. My Friday session was on the use of cohesion and Halliday and Hasan’s idea of ‘texture’ to help students to improve their reading and listening comprehension. You can access a PDF of the presentation here.

On Saturday, my workshop was on speaking activities which I have used with teenagers, from practising questions to games involving extended speaking. A PDF of this presentation is here, and there are links within the PDF to other posts in this blog where the different activities are explained in more detail.

Now I’m off for a brief visit to this beautiful city, before once again I have to head back to Madrid.


Welcome to IATEFL-Hungary’s online conference coverage

Another great opportunity!

IATEFL-Hungary blog

Not having attended the 23rd IATEFL-Hungary conference doesn’t mean you can’t get a flavour of it. After last year’s successful online coverage (see Eger Online blog), our enthusiastic team was again on an incredible journey through the world of professional development.
2013’s online coverage featured…
  1. workshop tasters by speakers – Go to ‘Interviews & Reflections
  2. live-streamed sessions on October 5th – Go to ‘Live channel
  3. recorded interviews with some renowned speakers and participants – Go to ‘Interviews & Reflections
  4. downloadable session materials – Go to ‘Materials
  5. roving reports by participants – Go to ‘Interviews & Reflections
  6. blog posts by participants and speakers – Go to ‘Interviews & Reflections

Many thanks to everyone in the online team for making this initiative a huge success.

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GRETA XXVII Annual Conference

The annual conference of the Granada English Teachers’ Association (GRETA) will take place on 17th – 19th October at the Facultad de Filología of the Universidad de Granada. The theme this year is ‘Teaching English for Life’, and speakers include Liam Fitzpatrick, Patricia Reilly and Chris Roland, with opening and closing plenaries from Do Coyle and David Marsh.

The programme is now available. I will be speaking on Friday at 4pm and again on Saturday at 4pm.

This promises to be a great conference, and I’m looking forward to going back to Granada this year. Hope to see you there!

TESOL Spain – Convention 2014, Call for Papers

Convention 2014

The TESOL Spain Convention next year will take place on 7th – 9th March, 2014 at the Universidad Complutense de Madrid. The theme is ’21st Century Teaching on the Move’, and the online submission of speaker proposals will be open from 1st September to 31st October. More information will be available from http://tesol-spain.org/

Related articles:

‘How to … exploit video in class’

‘Speaking exams: what to do … and what to avoid’

‘How to … (Page in association with TESOL Spain)’