reviews

Learn Thai Duolingo-style

Just a quick post for any Thai learners out there.

I’ve just subscribed to the Ling app. It’s basically Duolingo for Thai. If you like that format then is well worth getting.

There are 50 units to study, 10 units per level (beginner to expert). Each unit has 4 lessons, and then a speaking test, writing test and ‘exam’. Units look like this:

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Review: NILE Membership

The NILE Membership area is a new section on the Norwich Institute of Language Education site. It includes various resources created for language educators by the NILE trainers. There’s new content added each month and (best of all) it is completely FREE to become a NILE member. So, with that in mind, sign up!

Let’s take a look at what’s on offer…

The platform is very easy to navigate. There are nine sections on the site which are all displayed on the member’s area homepage. These are: (more…)

Book review: The Learning Power Approach

The Learning Power Approach (LPA) proposes that teachers encourage learners to cultivate an array of traits which are seen as beneficial for lifelong learning. These traits, or learning dispositions, include various cognitive, metacognitive and behavioural strategies/processes/habits  – summarised on the first page of the book:

Claxton concedes that cultivating these dispositions may be nothing new and may just be considered good practice by some teachers. (Note, Claxton is clearly not referring to us EFL teachers! Or am I speaking for myself? Probably…). However, the fundamental difference between the LPA as opposed to other approaches, when it comes to developing these dispositions, is purpose. Referring to the work of John Hattie, Dylan Wiliam and others, Claxton stresses that the reason teachers encourage the development of learning dispositions is often because they facilitate academic achievement. He explains that… (more…)

Review: Ready to Run

This review was first published in the Winter 2019 edition of the ETAS Journal. Many thanks to ETAS for allowing the review to appear on this blog.

Ready to Run, from Digital Learning Associates (DLA), is a platform providing video-based lesson resources for ELT classrooms. Its resources are marketed as ‘engaging and authentic video experiences’ which cover a range of real-world topics. Ready to Run is a subscription-based service – each video lesson includes printable materials for students, teacher notes and video transcripts. The platform recently won a British Council ELTon for Innovation in Learner Resources.

The resource catalogue for Ready to Run is generally easy to navigate, although better tagging might make searching for relevant resources more efficient. There are currently about 10 videos available at each CEFR-aligned level (A1-B2). The digital content itself is certainly varied, and likely to be engaging for a wide range of learners. Videos are high quality, a suitable length (most around three minutes) and have been well-edited. The videos are initially sourced from vlogs, TV programmes, and other authentic broadcasts, and then are adapted for classroom use. The selection of topics is inclusive and relevant – it is good to see that the platform offers resources that address issues such as immigration, refugee crises, climate change, and minority groups. Topics are dealt with sensitively, and follow-up project-based tasks on the video content encourage learners to explore these topics in greater detail. The willingness of Ready to Run to deal with some topics that tend to be avoided in global coursebooks is certainly a strength. (more…)

Game review: Play for the Planet (ELi Publishing)

Here’s another resource from the giant box I was sent from ELi publishing. I saved reviewing this one until I actually had a good reason to try it out. My teens are studying the natural world / the environment at the moment, so it’s perfect timing…

Play for the Planet is a ‘culture and CLIL’-focused board game. The language goal for the resource is to review and practice environment related vocabulary.

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Wordwall for ELT vocabulary games

Wordwall is a recent find for me. I heard about it during this webinar on gamifying learning, which was quite interesting. I’ve since mentioned it to various colleagues, and the typical response has been ‘oh yeah, Wordwall, that’s pretty good’. So I guess I’m behind the times!

Basically, Wordwall allows you to create interactive resources online for use in class or at home. Activities are often games, but you can use it to bring more standard coursebook activities to life such as matching tasks. It’s very straightforward to create a resource – there are a variety of templates available, most of which are intuitive and require no more than 10 minutes to set up.  You can create five activities with the free membership, then unlimited activities (including a multiplayer quiz) when you sign up (costs me 120 baht per month which isn’t bad). (more…)