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...

TESOL France: Luke Meddings and Chuck Sandy on reflecting on how to be yourself in the classroom

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(Photo: Chuck Sandy)

The main thrust of this very lively, participative and practical session was to stimulate and provide us with opportunities to take a step back from our role as teachers in the classroom, and reflect on and explore the ‘self’ – who we are outside the classroom.

TESOL France: Christina Rebuffet-Broadus on how Dogme is perceived through students’ eyes

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Christina’s presentation incorporated feedback from 25 students who had followed a one-semester course of dogme classes as part of classroom-based research. Students were surveyed about their willingness to take part in their teachers’ professional development, and after a first day’s dogme class, were asked to give their initial impressions of the approach.

TESOL France: Jemma Gardener on emergent language

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Jemma began her presentation by explaining that she would be dealing with the ‘hows’ rather than ‘whys’ in her ‘teaching unplugged’ or dogme-based presentation. She started by explaining the three main pillars of the approach: it is context-driven, materials-light and it focusses on emergent classroom language (spoken or written and can involve any language at any time).

TESOL France: Review of conference

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(Photo: Vice-president Debbie West and President Bethany Cagnol opening the conference)


Big on social networking, small on in-your-face commercial


There were 68 hour-long talks/workshops, punctuated by 3 plenaries, distributed across a Friday evening, a full Saturday and a short Sunday, and a total of some 350 participants at the event.

TESOL France: Leo Selivan on synonymy

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Leo Selivan’s presentation was founded on the insight that synonymy in English can usually be traced to the hybrid history of the language. In most synonymous pairs, one member of the pair can trace its history to Germanic influence, and the other, to Latinate influence. An example of the might be ‘buy’ and ‘purchase’.

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.

GRETA Granada (Spain): Review of conference

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A conference truly focused on the pressing current concerns of local teachers, particularly the implementation of CLIL/bilingual programmes in schools.


GRETA Granada (Spain): Round Table on Bilingualism

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Moderator: Antonio Vicente Casas Pedrosa

Participants: María Jesús Fregols, Diana Hicks, Marisa Pérez Cañado, Victor Pavón, Natividad Martínez Marin

GRETA Granada (Spain): María Martínez Lirola on teaching writing with genre awareness

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María, who is a professor at the University of Alicante, began by asking the participants whether they had had explicit instruction in genre during their schooling. The answer for everybody was no. At school, we tend to have experience only of essay writing, with no awareness that there are many different genres of text, nor of how context and purpose shape the structure of these.

GRETA Granada (Spain): Diana Hicks on thinking skills

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(Photo: Greta president Charo Reyes - right - introduces Diana Hicks) Diana began her thought-provoking session with the observation that, although education involves preparing people for the future, many pronouncements on the topic of education are dressed in nostalgic references to golden times past – phrases like “Back to Basics”, a reference to a British programme of putting more e

Simon Andrewes on new needs in the EFL classroom.

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Simon posited that, by comparing traditional and ‘newer’ course book series, we can identify a tangible shift from what he termed ‘classical communicative language teaching’ to ‘post-communicative language teaching’.

GRETA Granada (Spain): Christopher Roland on discipline

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Christopher opened the session by imploring management to make sure that the spirit of an institution is behind its teachers so they know they have supported when it comes to issues of discipline. He then gave an entertaining and thought-provoking plenary on how to deal with challenging teaching situations and defuse tension in classrooms with primary, teenager or adult students.

GRETA Granada (Spain): Victor Pavón on the use of mother tongue in CLIL

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Victor began by projecting articles from the press highlighting the benefits of multilingualism.  Articles quoting research showing that bilinguals are smarter, for example. He pointed out that the benefits can be classified into two kinds: a. social advantages, b. cognitive advantages. Victor went on to list 8 types/models of bilingual education, one of which was called “Transitional”.

GRETA Granada: María Jesús Páramo Gutiérrez and Anthony Bruton on vocabulary uptake from reading.

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This was very much a participative workshop session, based on classroom research material being developed by Mª Jesús. We began with group discussions on the importance of vocabulary and the most effective methods of learning it. Suggestions included relevance and motivation, repeated exposure, visual support, richness of context and test washback.

IATEFL Hungary: Review of conference

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Delightfully retro-themed conference with a cutting-edge online support programme.


IATEFL Hungary: Two talks on English as a Lingua Franca – Eva Illés and Bálint Feyér

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IATEFL Hungary: Two talks on English as a Lingua Franca – Eva Illés and Bálint Feyér - hancockmcdonald.com/blog/iatefl-hungary-two-talks-english-lingua-franca-%E2%80%93-eva-ill%C3%A9s-and-b%C3%A1lint-fey%C3%A9r

Éva Illés of ELTE in Budapest, began by explaining how English as a Lingua Franca (ELF) differs from pidgin: 1. Pidgin is limited, for example to one trade hub, while ELF is global; 2. Pidgin is limited to a trading domain, while ELF is used in all domains, and 3. Pidgin doesn’t have native speakers while ELF does.

IATEFL Hungary: Annie McDonald on authentic listening materials design

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Event date: 
Tuesday, October 9, 2012 - 20:00
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Annie began the workshop with a snippet taken from a BBC studio interview and participants listened and brainstormed the problems the text would present for a student approaching a B2 level in English.

IATEFL Hungary: BonnieTsai on unlocking inspiration in the classroom

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Bonnie began her presentation by comparing teaching to following a path in a forest – the path isn’t straight, there lots of dead ends and decisions to be made about which way to go.


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