As most of you will know, there are major changes coming up from January 2015 in both the Cambridge: First (FCE ) and the Cambridge: Advanced exams. Both exams move to the four paper format from the five paper format they have had up till now, in line with the changes made in the Cambridge: Proficiency exam last year. Here is a video from Cambridge English TV which explains the changes in the Cambridge: First exam.
Here is an interesting debate to come out of the recent IATEFL conference which does not involve Sugata Mitra.
I’ve just got back from my first IATEFL Conference, in Harrogate, still feeling elated from the buzz that such big conferences always produce. It’s been great to meet up with so many people I’ve only seen online before, and make new friends. It’s also been great to attend so many fantastic talks and workshops.
I’d like to thank everyone who came along to my session on exploiting video in the classroom. As promised, here is the link to the powerpoint of my presentation. The video clips used are in the same folder, just in case the links in the presentation don’t work. I hope you find it useful.
Write-ups for some of the activities included in the session can be found in the following posts:
Dubbing exercise (Armstrong and Miller RAF Pilots)
A great post on why we should.attend conferences.
I’ll tell you why, if you are someone who is wondering if ELT conferences are worth it. Worth the money (and very often it is teachers who self fund to attend). Worth the time (you may have to use annual leave to attend, or give up a weekend).
I’ve had teachers say to me ‘I don’t need to attend trainings/conferences any more, I’ve been teaching 10/20+ years’. In every way, these are the teachers who need to attend conferences and training the most (and it shows in their teaching, obviously)! And who have the most to gain from attending a conference such as, say, the IATEFL conference coming up next month in the UK (and see here for the online sessions).
So, why bother?
First of all, teacher development is for you and benefits YOU. It’s not something to do for your school (though the school undoubtedly benefits…
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This year’s IATEFL Conference will take place from 2nd to 5th April in Harrogate. I will be presenting on Friday 4th April at 2:35 in Hall Qe. I am looking forward to meeting up with friends and colleagues, and to taking part in this fantastic conference.
The talk I will be giving is ‘Exploiting video in the language classroom’, which is based on a post I wrote for this blog in collaboration with the TESOL Spain e-Newsletter, which you can access here. The workshop explores different techniques we as teachers can use to exploit video in our classrooms in order to motivate our students, rather than simply putting on a film and expecting them to be content. I hope to see you there!
It’s been a hectic week, with TESOL Spain last week in Madrid and now TESOL Greece here in Athens. This is just a quick post to publish my powerpoint form this afternoon’s closing plenary. More to come soon.
I’m sure many of us find ourselves in this situation, so here’s a chance to help out some colleagues and share our ideas.
When it comes to global coursebooks, everyone has an opinion regarding their qualities and flaws, and everyone has their own special ways of using them when required to do so…
Heather Buchanan (Leeds Metropolitan University) and Julie Norton (University of Leicester) are doing some research on this topic and are interested in finding out about your views and uses. They will share the results of this research as part of a presentation at the IATEFL conference in Harrogate next month.
Participation in this project is completely voluntary and anonymous. If you would like to help, by sharing your views on global coursebooks and your uses of them, please visit the following link:
When you click on this link, you will be taken to a page which provides you with more information about the project and will then be given a choice of…
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Here is a booklet from John Hughes with 20 activities to promote critical thinking in class. It is free to download.
Here’s a quick exercise to introduce the topic of using modal verbs to express speculation and deduction. The key objective is to activate previous knowledge, which may or may not have been formally taught.
At the beginning of the session, show the students the picture above, and give them a couple of minutes to think of sentences about it in pairs. Then have the students share their sentences with the rest of the class. You should write their sentences on the board, reformulating if necessary.
Organise their answers so that factual statements are on the left-hand side of the board, and any speculative sentences are on the right, but at this stage don’t explain this division. If your students run out of ideas for this picture, show them others, such as the one on the right. You can find other pictures here.
Once you have a good selection of sentences on the board, ask the class why you have organised their answers on the board as you have. Depending on the previou knowledge of the class, you may have some sentences which use modal verbs correctly, and you can use these as a base for reviewing the necessary structures. In any case, you have sentences which have been created by the students to serve as model sentences, which makes the lesson more personal and so more significant for them.
As a follow-up exercise, I ask students to find and bring to class photos of interesting-looking people . I mount these on cards on the wall, then students write speculative sentences on post-its or on slips of paper and stick them around each photo. For this activity, it’s best to avoid photos of famous people. Adverts in magazines can be a good source of pictures. Here’s one which would work well (although it’s not a photo).
JA: I come from Greece, where I live and work. I have worked both as a private and a stateschool ELT teacher for about 25 years teaching mainly teenagers. I have also worked as a part-time teacher trainer for state school teachers. I believe in education as a dynamic force and I have a passion for learning as well as teaching. In my opinion, learning as a lifelong process can be achieved in unlimited ways, inside and outside of a classroom; I really enjoy teaching and being taught by my students and my colleagues, either through observation, or interaction and collaboration. I find attending and presenting at conferences a wonderful opportunity to learn, reflect and share ideas, especially if you have the chance to present together with a colleague.
JD: I have been a teacher of English and the Social Sciences…
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