ESL

Poetry lesson: What do you hear?

Here’s a short poetry task that worked well with YLs and teens. It’s based on a poem from A Nest Full of Stars by James Berry.

Before you ask, no. I haven’t suddenly gone all NLP.  

Aims

  • Create a poem in the style of a famous poet
  • Review and practice adjectives to describe feelings
  • Practice mindfulness and ‘being present’

Optional lead-in, discuss poetry (might be dry for YLs but worked okay with the teens)

  • Do you like poetry? Why / Why not?
  • Do you know any famous poets from your country (or somewhere else)? If so, who?
  • Have you ever written a poem? If so, what was it about?
  • What are some typical features of poems?

More of a ‘hook’ lead-in for the YLS…

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New ebook! 100+ Professional Development Tips for Post-CELTA Teachers

So, here it is, my first self-published ebook! Here’s the blurb:

This book is aimed at new teachers such as those who have recently completed a CELTA or Cert TESOL course. It offers a range of development tips and ideas to help teachers gain confidence in various areas of their practice. These areas include lesson planning, reviewing vocabulary, teaching pronunciation, classroom organization, and getting teens to talk.

This book is a result of my participation in Self-Publishing for ELT Professionals – a course run by iTDi.pro and hosted by Dorothy Zemach. I’ve just posted a bit about the course here.

Why did I write this book?

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EAL presentation tasks

I’ve been teaching an intensive English course this term. It works out (online) at about 8 hours per week, would have been a lot more had we not been back in lockdown. Seven students, Japanese, between 12 and 14 years old. All were supposed to be ‘low level’ (like, A2 or below I guess), although I’m sure you’re aware of the nature of these things. Once they got a bit of speaking and listening confidence, well, there’s far more language there than they’d realised.

To be honest, it’s been an absolute pleasure so far. There was a public holiday last week, and by lunchtime I was missing them! I just haven’t had students like this for a while. Awesome.

Every week, I set them a presentation task. I thought it would be quite challenging for them at first, but they seem to love it.

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Timesaver: Conversation starters

Here’s a quick fix warmer while you’re waiting for all students to arrive in your online class.

I googled ‘conversation starters’ the other day and found this list of questions 225 starter questions on gifts.com. I pasted these questions into the random spinner on Wordwall (yes, Wordwall again) and… that’s it. Nothing special, but just a way to prompt a bit of a chat if needed. Here are 6 different question spinners, as I said all questions originally from the gifts.com site (I took out some less useful ones). These are all teen-friendly.

Link here
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Timesaver: Quickfire questions

Online learning again… Five weeks in. Need to keep things lively.

Starting the lesson with these quickfire questions for my A2 level students. Nothing special, but livens things up while we are waiting for everyone to arrive.

Here are the links, don’t know why I called them random challenges, was just lacking inspiration.

link here

Second one…

Link here.

and third one…

Link here.

These are embedding as games as I link them but probs just end up links 😦 soz.

Get published! Working with Peachey Publications

It’s about time I did more than just praise Nik Peachey on LinkedIn and in Twitter posts!

Another six months has passed, the royalties from ‘30 Role Plays for TEFL’ are in. They’ve covered a dentist bill, a crate of beer, and one month’s life insurance premium. Blimey, that last bit makes me feel old.

‘30 Role Plays…’ was great fun to write. See here for details of how it came about. It reminds me of some fun times at the British Council, when the crew at our tiny centre in Bangkok were alive with ideas!

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Review: Work It Out with Business Idioms

Scroll to *get on with it, Pete* for review.

Do you remember that BBC article about how rubbish us native speakers can be at communication? I think that put me off teaching idioms for a bit. I came to think of them as ‘flowery’ (as the article suggests) and likely to cause misunderstanding. I feel like some of Chan’s maxims of good business communication reinforce that viewpoint and don’t seem very idiom-friendly…

… yet in a later chapter of the book (English for Business Communication, 2020) Chan then lists the 50 most popular idioms used in business contexts, suggesting that learning these may result in ‘effective communication with native speakers of English’.

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Materials Development Task 7: Tomlinson’s principles

This is a new series of blog posts for teachers looking to become materials writers. It aims to help future writers explore topics and issues in writing, encourage deeper insight into the content of published materials, and promote a principled approach to materials development.

Think

Rank these features of materials development in order of importance. There is no correct answer, it’s just your opinion!

  • challenge
  • personalization
  • affective engagement
  • raising learners’ confidence
  • enjoyment

Do you feel that published material should address all these features as standard? Why/Why not?

Do feel that each stage of a lesson should address some if not all these features? Why/Why not?

Tomlinson                                                                   

Some of Brian Tomlinson’s key principles of materials writing (2011).

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