ELT thoughts, news and updates

Here we've got ideas, observations on ELT, including Mark's Pronunciation Blog and loads of conference and speaker reports...

Adam Brown: Pronunciation and Phonetics

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Follow the link to see my review of Adam Brown's Pronunciation and Phonetics in the ELTJ. (I'm sorry to say that this item is now in the membership section of the ELTJ)

An Atlas of English Teaching

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In a profession of many specialist interests, it's important to keep the big picture in mind in order to maintain a balanced and proportional outlook. Enthusiasms are great, but need to be kept in context. With this purpose in mind, I have been developing conceptual maps of aspects of ELT - so it's beginning to turn into an atlas. Click below for:

A grey-tie deer

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Here's another phrasal homophone image to add to the collection. It's the homophone of 'A great idea!'.

Pronunciation Tasks Video

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Mark Hancock demonstrating pronunciation activities

This is a video showing clips from a presentation I did at Living Learning English in Bristol.

Sugata Mitra, ed-tech evangelist

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Sugata Mitra argued with evangelical flourish that, given the right resources, children will learn without schooling. He said that the right resource has now come into existence and is potentially available to every child: the internet. To support this argument, Mitra described what have become known as “the hole in the wall” experiments.

Kathleen Graves, teacher's teacher

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Kathleen Graves’s title contained the paradox that in teaching, you sometimes have to be less efficient to be more efficient. In a time in which testing and accountability have become paramount, in an attempt to cut out the dead wood in education, we have neglected the learner and a broader vision of what learning is for.

David Graddol, trends analyst

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In this plenary, David Graddol delved into the murky world of the English teaching business, where the imperative is firmly profit over people. He asks, ‘Who benefits from English teaching?’, and answers, ‘Follow the money!’. On that basis, it’s clearly not teachers and learners who benefit.

Michael Hoey, faithful observer of language

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Michael Hoey’s was a compelling argument in favour of teaching language lexically, because that’s how language is, and that’s also how it’s learnt and mentally stored. On the linguistics angle, he endorsed the work of Michael Lewis and his ´lexical approach´, and on the pedagogic side, he recommended the ´Monitor Model´of Stephen Krashen.

IATEFL 2014: The ELT World in Four Plenaries

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Map of ELT by Mark Hancock

I think of the world of ELT as a map divided into four quarters – the content of what we teach – the English language; the reasons why the students are learning – their needs; how people learn – pedagogy; and the procedures we use to teach – methodology.

A Map of Pronunciation

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Hancock Pronmap

IATEFL Pronsig's "Speak Out" magazine 50th Edition celebratory issue is just out, and what an amazing collection it is. Contrats to Robin Walker for getting it together! I'm very proud to have an article in it myself, entitled "A Map of Pronunciation Teaching". Here's the map and excerpts from the intro and conclusion of the article.

Alphabet Poem

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Alphabet Poem by Mark Hancock

For awareness of pronunciation features including sounds and spelling, and features of connected speech, for B1 upwards: put this poem on the board and ask students to read it and work out what it's all about. Here's what happened when I tried: they all looked totally blank. One or two asked for vocab items, like 'gee!', which I then explained.

English UK 2013 teachers' conference

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Saturday, November 9, 2013 - 10:00

The opening plenary was a presentation by Russell Stannard on the use of screencapture tools as a ´revolutionary´ way of providing feedback to students. Screencapture tools effectively create a video of what´s occurring on a (portion of) computer screen, including highlighting, cursor movements and so on, plus the voice of the user as picked up on the microphone.

Ray Parker on stress-timing

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Event date: 
Saturday, September 28, 2013 - 10:15

Ray Parker argued that, regarding stress-timing and rhythm, we have tended to throw the baby out with the bathwater. The notion that natural spoken English has a regular rhythm, he says, has been discredited by the research, but our response has been to abandon both that, and any attention to stress-timing.

Pron event in Bath

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Event date: 
Saturday, September 28, 2013 - 10:00

Mark: Great pronunciation event at the weekend. Adrian Underhill shared insights in how sounds are articulated and relate to one another (see his blog on the phonemic chart here).

A Map of Motivation video

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Take a trip round the Map of Motivation. This is a tour designed specifically for English language teachers who find the whole conceptual area of motivation a bit diverse and difficult to hold in your head all at once. Just click on the movie below, and please give us any feedback that occurs to you, ideas for improvement and so on!

Adrian Underhill on pronunciation as the Cinderella of ELT

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Adrian began by pointing out how central pronunciation is to language learning. And while this is obviously true for spoken production, it is also true, surprisingly enough, for reading, writing, or even thinking in the target language. For example, during reading, we tend to sub-vocalize, that is, hear the words aloud in our heads. And how will these words be pronounced in our heads?

The Learner Autonomy SIG: At a glance

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Event date: 
Monday, April 8, 2013 - 10:00

No-one would refute the often-heard general claim that new technologies offer much by way of independent or autonomous learning, and this year’s Learner Autonomy SIG Pre-conference event took this bull by its horns and addressed issues related to Language learner autonomy and today’s technologies: challenges and possibilities.

Rachel Roberts on doing Dogme WITH a coursebook

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Rachel’s was one of several talks at this year’s IATEFL which sought to redress the balance in the coursebooks versus Dogme dichotomy. Others included Hugh Dellar and Herbert Puchta. Her principle claim is that you don’t have to choose between using a coursebook or letting the language ‘emerge’ from interaction in the classroom – you can do both.

Paulo Machado on what advanced learners need

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This was a presentation of some key ideas which emerged from a large teacher development project, from needs analysis through observations to recommendations and workshops, at the Cultura Inglesa in Rio de Janeiro.

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