General blog posts

Hugh Dellar on Dogme with coursebooks

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Hugh seeks to engage with Dogme, and Scott’s sitting near the door! Good healthy banter and discussion on a current polemic.

Graham Stanley on making learning into a game

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Graham began with the premise, based on the work of Andrei Aleinkov (1989), that creative pedagogy leads to motivation and promotes lifelong learning. It leads to fluency of idea generation, flexibility, originality and elaboration (building new ideas on what is already known).

Mariela Collado on active CLIL classrooms

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Mariela began this practical workshop by pointing out a central paradox of CLIL, namely that while teaching the language skill requires lots of active productive practice on the part of the student, teaching the content requires more receptive concentration. So the CLIL teacher is pulled in two opposing directions.

Hugh Dellar on technology and principles

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Hugh began with an anecdote in which he'd received the negative feedback, 'didn't use enough technology', pointing out how absurd that is. Using tech is, in itself, neither good nor bad. Tech is not a magic bullet which will turn bad teaching into good. You can teach well with it, but you can also teach well without.

Mark Hancock on a Map of ELT

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Listen to a podcast of Mark Hancock's closing plenary at TESOL Spain by clicking on the orange circle below. Read a full article written up after the talk here.

Scott Thornbury on language and the body

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Scott began on a philosophical note, with Descartes’ idea of mind and body being separate entities, and a modern extension of this dualism on the part of Stephen Pinker, who regards the mind as a computer encased in a fleshy body. Scott presented a more ecological alternative conception, in which mind, body, and indeed the world beyond are in some sense all one.

Mark Hancock's Map of ELT - APAC audience comments

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See the map and an article about it here. Here are a couple of queries from the audience and responses:

Durrant and McLoughlin on the thinking classroom

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Lynn Durrant and Gerard McLoughlin are teacher trainers at International House Barcelona, and the focus of their presentation was on how we can nurture engagement and higher order thinking skills in the classroom. Lynn began with five top tips for creating a better classroom environment: 1. Give students choices; 2. Short and sweet activities eg 2-4 minutes; 3. Plenty of movement; 4.

Noureddine Azmi on how teaching with ICT can open minds

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Noureddine began by describing his teaching context in Morocco. The students he is working with already have a high level of English, but needed to develop their intercultural understanding, and in particular, openness to new ideas. He went on to explain the perspective transformation theoretical framework, as developed by Jack Mezirow.

Tim Murphey on appreciative inquiry

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Tim Murphey began what was a very feelgood session by recommending an action log at the start of each lesson. You put up on the board a list of all the activities you're going to be doing, and as the lesson progresses, the learners write how they felt about each activity. The teacher may go further by collecting and 'publishing' these logs so students can see each other's comments.

IATEFL, Dogme, Coursebooks and the World of ELT

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The 47th Annual International Conference is just around the corner, 8th – 12th April, and I’ve just been perusing the programme.

Dogmas and Heresies in ELT

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A balanced, pragmatic point of view is all very well, but an extreme, polar position is so much more noticeable! There have been plenty of polar positions in the history of ELT, and for every polar position, there is the polar opposite.

Using teacher feedback to drive learning

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I've recently been drawn to articles and blog posts with (amongst others) a common thread on the nature and potential of teacher feedback. Giving feedback is something we do, almost as a reflex action, but how might we make it more effective so it plays a significant role in driving learning forward?

A Map of ELT

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Saturday, February 23, 2013 - 11:15
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ELT these days has so many diverse regions that it is difficult to find your way among them. In this talk at the APAC conference in Barcelona, I'm presenting a bird's-eye view of the field to help navigate through all of the currents of thought and acronyms in the field. More about this here.

TESOL France: Chia Suan Chong on principled eclecticism

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The closing plenary from Chia Suan Chong was a brightly delivered and entertaining history of ELT methodology, from rote learning through grammar translation, the direct method, the audio-lingual method, the ‘designer methods’ (suggestopoedia, etc), communicative approaches and task based learning.

TESOL France: Tom Farrell on reflective practice

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The mid-conference plenary from Tom Farrell was a reflection on reflective practice. To begin with, Tom distinguished reflection-in-action – split second reflections made during the course of an activity; reflection-on-action – evaluating an action after the fact, and reflection-for-action – evaluating options for possible future improvements.

TESOL France: Gabriel Diaz Maggioli on effecting change

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The thrust of the opening plenary from Gabriel Diaz Maggioli was neatly summed up in his title, 'Change is Good: You go first'. In other words, while most teachers will agree that there is room for improvement or change, it's easier said than done.

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