Blog posts in September 2012

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

Pronunciation in Coursebooks

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My impression is that coverage of pronunciation in current coursebooks is usually imbalanced in favour of individual sounds, to the detriment of syllables, connected speech and discourse.

IATEFL Poland: Review of conference

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Very successful conference with a brilliant innovation called "live lessons".


IATEFL Poland: Jeremy Harmer on drilling

IATEFL Poland: Jeremy Harmer on drilling -

‘No-one actually talks about drilling much anymore (but it still goes on everywhere). Two questions: does it work, and how best is it done?’ After a very smooth room change to a 300-capacity auditorium that would accommodate us all comfortably, Jeremy Harmer set about answering these questions.

IATEFL Poland: Jeremy Harmer's "Live Lesson"

IATEFL Poland: Jeremy Harmer's "Live Lesson" -

Jeremy Harmer ran a wonderfully informative, engaging, practical and thought-provoking ‘Advanced Lesson for Teachers of English’ session involving text analysis, language use and prosody.

IATEFL Poland: Piotr Steinbrich on 21st century skills

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In this semi-plenary, Piotr Steinbrich cast a sceptical eye over the idea that we should all be teaching '21st Century Skills' in our English language classes. He began by listing buzz words and concepts which have impacted in various ways on ELT in recent years: the ELP; Blended leaning; ELF; the CEFR; Multiple intelligences; CLIL and the Lexical Approach.

IATEFL Poland: Hugh Dellar's "Live Lesson"

IATEFL Poland: Hugh Dellar's "Live Lesson" -

In this live lesson, Hugh taught a class of 11 intermediate students using a unit from Outcomes (Heinle Cengage Learning). During the lesson, students were given the opportunity to describe different dishes and ways of cooking food, and to explain their own cuisine to foreigners.

IATEFL Poland: Piotr Steinbrich's "live lesson"

IATEFL Poland: Piotr Steinbrich's "live lesson" -

In this ‘live lesson’ Piotr taught a class of 10 secondary students at advanced level using Speakout Advanced (Pearson). During the lesson, students were presented with vocabulary connected with a courtroom scene in order to prepare them for a BBC video clip from the final Black Adder series, Black Adder Goes Forth.

IATEFL Poland: David Evans on new literacies

IATEFL Poland: David Evans on new literacies -

English & The New Literacies (Plenary session, sponsored by National Geographic Learning). David Evans argued that the job of a teacher nowadays is to teach more than words and their meanings. He explained that, given the way that information is presented is central to literacy and literacy is about gaining knowledge, it behoves us to incorporate new literacies into our teaching.

IATEFL Poland: Elzbieta Gajek and Agnieszka Szarkowska on using video interactively

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Clipflair is a European Commission sponsored, Europe-wide project to provide video materials for language learning and practice for 15 different languages. The platform for the project is currently under construction, but Elzbieta and Agnieska (of the University of Warsaw) came to IATEFL to give us a preview of what it’s all about.

IATEFL Poland: Hanna Kryszewska on Gardner's "5 Minds for the Future"

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Hanna Kryszewska, who works with Pilgrims on the Humanising Language Teaching magazine, has found in Howard Gardner’s ‘Five minds for the future’ (2006), a new organizing principle for humanising approaches. ‘Five minds…’ is Gardner’s ‘new baby’, replacing his notorious ‘Multiple Intelligences’ theory.

IATEFL Poland: Mark Andrews' "Live Lesson"

IATEFL Poland: Mark Andrews' "Live Lesson" -

Mark Andrews presented the first of the innovative ‘Live Lesson’ sessions, in which a teacher (himself, in this case) taught a group of students (7) who had never met each other before. Generally, the session leaders were free to organise their sessions as they wished, and Mark framed the event as a teacher observation session.

IATEFL Poland: Lucyna Wilinkiewicz-Gorniak on 21st Century Skills

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These changing times require educationalists to be constantly evolving. We need to embrace change and enjoy being flexible. In the classroom, this will almost inevitably mean a certain switch in power relations, since the students are likely to be in some ways more technology-savvy than the teacher, and so the flow of information will be opposite to what we normally suppose to be the case.

IATEFL Poland: Maria Heizer on learning from English in packaging, ads and slogans

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Can pedigree lion pamper kitekats? In adverts, brand names, slogans, strap lines – English is all around us in Poland, but we barely notice it or question what it means. Maria Heizner makes the point that this is a very rich resource, and that by focusing on it, learners can discover that they already know many English words without even realising it.

IATEFL Poland: Patrycja Grudzien-Dubiel on online reading and listening skills

IATEFL Poland: Patrycja Grudzien-Dubiel on online reading and listening skills -

Patrycja Grudzien-Dubiel, who is studying for her PHD at the University of Warsaw, is researching  the effectiveness of online reading and listening activities as compared to their traditional equivalents.  This session described her experiences so far, including the results of a smaller pilot study.

IATEFL Poland: Creative teaching, creative learning by Carol Read (Plenary)

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Is Picasso’s version of the Velazquez painting “Las Meninas” merely a copy? No, it’s a creative reinvention! This is how Carol Read made her first point of the presentation: creativity never comes from thin air. So for Picasso, “Las Meninas” was an inspiration.

GRETA Granada

Event date: 
Thursday, October 18, 2012 - 08:30 to Saturday, October 20, 2012 - 15:30
Mark and Annie are presenting at the GRETA conference in Granada, Spain: XXVI Curso Anual para la Enseñanza del Inglés "Tips of the Trade for Challenges ahead in ELT and Bilingualism" Facultad de Filosofía y Letras de la Universidad de Granada, 18, 19 y 20 de octubre de 2012.