Perils of fossilisation


Very debatable, but an interesting read nonetheless: this article by Kris Jagasia claims that personal tutors are much more efficient at improving learners’ accuracy and dealing with fossilised errors. This has not persuaded me because I have often seen proficient speakers and writers develop within “the constraints of the traditional in-classroom model”. What do you think? If this discussion seems interesting, make sure you check the comment section for more evidence on both sides, L1 interference, SLA and other exciting issues.

Structured discussions


chess discussion

Photo by Maarten van den Heuvel on Unsplash

If you decide to do just one extra thing for your professional development this week, I suggest you pick this article by Jennifer Gonzalez. Seriously: it can solve the problem of monotonous ‘let’s discuss’ tasks once and for all. The author groups discussion activities into higher-prep, low-prep and ongoing and gives a few examples in each group, complete with video recipes in non-EFL contexts. Refreshing!


A sandbox for self-study


Here is an inspiring article by Nat Eliason about the sandbox method for self-education. It all starts with creating a safe environment for experiments – but then you need to ‘expand the borders of your sandbox’ and do all kinds of research; after that, implement what you have learnt (avoiding the so-called ‘naive practice’) and get feedback on what you have been doing. What the author calls ‘the Self-Education Loop’ is an upgrade of Kolb’s experiential learning cycle, but then again, why not?

Lesson planning: from divergence to convergence


Photo by Ishan @seefromthesky on Unsplash

This blog post by Dale Coulter offers a great way to channel your creativity when planning a lesson. This approach makes the process of planning ‘more proactive and more gratifying’ because you don’t stop the flow of ideas too early but allow them to ‘diverge’ first, and only then select the best ones for the lesson matrix you have chosen. Simple, but very effective.

Latin for English learners


If you or your students have also wondered what ‘ditto’ is, you needn’t go any further than this page by Alex Case.
It has a list of the most commonly used Latin abbreviations (did you know that ‘ditto’ is similar to ‘ibid.’?) followed by teaching suggestions, including Call My Bluff, reversi and contextualising. Could be useful for Business or Academic English, but also higher GE levels.
Q.E.D. – wait, have I used it right?

Scissor quizzes


Check this post by Teresa Bestwick for another take on paper cutouts in the classroom. There’s a lot of scissorwork, but it’s definitely worth it if set up right. Teresa suggests using the activity for a general knowledge quiz, but it could also work for vocabulary or grammar revision, error correction – you name it. Let’s get cutting!

11 rules for teacher trainers


I was sitting in this wonderful thought-provoking INSETT session today and thinking, among other things, about Sam Shepherd’s post on training.

Sam lists 11 rules for teacher trainers and prioritises No.4, the takeaway value of a session. “If it doesn’t [include something teachers can use] you might as well stick your PowerPoint slides in an email so they can find it when they need it.”

True, but his first rule speaks even more to me: practise what you preach, “teach a new strategy by using that strategy”. This is what the trainer today did very well (and I don’t always do – guilty as charged.)

What’s your number?