Blog posts in March 2013

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

TESOL Spain 2013 conference review

Posted by: 
 - hancockmcdonald.com/blog/archive/201303

Once again, the TESOL-SPAIN Annual National Convention has served to enlighten and entertain, this year at the stunning location of the University of Seville. The theme, Teaching with Technology and the Human Touch, provided a focussed and informative event for all, with multiple opportunities to refresh, update, and expand our professional repertoires in an ever-changing world.

Tom Spain on storytelling

Posted by: 
 - hancockmcdonald.com/blog/archive/201303

Tom’s enthusiasm for using personal stories and anecdotes (a limitless resource) has grown out of his own classroom experiences over the years. In this presentation, he illustrates various storytelling activities and draws on the work of Merrill Swain (Output Hypothesis) to link storytelling practice to Second Language Acquisition theory.  

Hugh Dellar on Dogme with coursebooks

Posted by: 
 - hancockmcdonald.com/blog/archive/201303

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

Annie McDonald on materials for listening

Posted by: 
 - hancockmcdonald.com/blog/archive/201303

Read a review by a member of the audience here. Find the annotated handout below.

Nicola Alonge on critical thinking through questions

Posted by: 
 - hancockmcdonald.com/blog/archive/201303

Nichola began her presentation by getting us to respond to different questions about an Antonio Lopez Madrid painting to illustrate the difference between knowledge-based questions and those which encourage critical-thinking skills at different levels.

Graham Stanley on making learning into a game

Posted by: 
 - hancockmcdonald.com/blog/archive/201303

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).

Stephanie Williams on adverts to stimulate speaking

Posted by: 
 - hancockmcdonald.com/blog/archive/201303

Stephanie began by pointing out why video adverts are a fabulous resource in the ELT classroom: they're short; adaptable to different levels; authentic; relevant to most student's worlds; offer visual support; context rooted and catchy and motivating by design. A compelling list of attributes.

Mariela Collado on active CLIL classrooms

Posted by: 
 - hancockmcdonald.com/blog/archive/201303

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.

Robin Walker on technology in pronunciation teaching

Posted by: 
 - hancockmcdonald.com/blog/archive/201303

Robin Walker (read our review of his latest book here) began by positing 3 stages in acquiring pronunciation: 1. the cognitive stage - becoming aware of a feature; 2. the associative stage - training yourself to be able to deal with the feature; 3.

Claire Acevedo on literacy via genre awareness

Posted by: 
 - hancockmcdonald.com/blog/archive/201303

Claire's presentation was a report on a Europe-wide project for accelerating literacy by making teachers and students more aware of the generic structure of texts. The scope of the talk was not confined to ELT, but education in the broader sense, and the idea of 'learning to read' and 'reading to learn'.

Hugh Dellar on technology and principles

Posted by: 
 - hancockmcdonald.com/blog/archive/201303

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.

David Bradshaw on getting them speaking

Posted by: 
 - hancockmcdonald.com/blog/archive/201303

David Bradshaw explained how speaking is a very difficult skill to promote in secondary school classrooms, and how he used to dread it. He then went on to demonstrate a series of activities which he has found to work in that context, really motivating the students to want to talk, and incidentally providing excellent preparation for Cambridge exams.

Thom Kiddle on designing digital materials

Posted by: 
 - hancockmcdonald.com/blog/archive/201303

Thom Kiddle opened his presentation with statistics pertaining to the digital revolution, and the fact that teachers need to take control of issues relating to digital language teaching.

Debbie West on presentation skills

Posted by: 
 - hancockmcdonald.com/blog/archive/201303

Gillian Evans opened the session with a warm-up exercise of body movements to refresh us at the end of a long day.

Mark Hancock on a Map of ELT

Posted by: 
 - hancockmcdonald.com/blog/archive/201303

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

Posted by: 
 - hancockmcdonald.com/blog/archive/201303

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.