Slow does it


What a refreshing article! From more measured teacher talk to giving students more time for deep work, Jamie Thom tells a story about his own experience of ‘challenging the cult of speed’.  What is effective teaching, anyway? Does it have to be full of ebullient energy, fast-paced, with a timer buzzing? “When we fly through our weeks at speed and in autopilot, we miss all the wonderful things that happen around us.” Hmm, one difference you can see in post-Delta teaching is exactly that: the teachers don’t flick through handouts at a neck-breaking speed anymore!




Dating profiles as a learning tool


Here is a great idea for in-depth analysis of a word or concept: have students create a dating or friendship profile for it. This post by Kelly Fitzgerald has absolutely hilarious examples and two Google Docs templates – not to be missed! I do find the first template more useful because it provides more scaffolding, but whichever you choose, it’s a fun, creative and memorable activity at the top of Bloom’s pyramid.  The Present Perfect Continuous, waiting for his true love’s kiss!


iFake it till you make it


In one of his recent posts on QuickShout, Nik Peachey describes a useful online tool with a very self-explanatory name: iFake Text Message. The app is quite intuitive and doesn’t need much in terms of technical guidelines; however, Nik also suggests multiple  teaching uses for it, from error correction to reimagining conversations between famous people. What about fictional characters, perhaps Sansa Stark texting Jon? I am definitely going to try this in one of my lessons!


Explaining the E-word


Do you ever watch Vicki Hollett’s videos? She picks very relevant and useful topics, such as prepositions with ‘different’, phrasal verbs, ‘make’ and ‘do’. Just check out this video about the correct use of ‘explain’.

To take reading to a more serious level, here’s a recent article from The Language Log about ‘splaining’ as a derivative of ‘explaining’ used for describing tactless or dominant behaviour. Very useful in our today’s world, when ‘mansplaining’ is still considered a thing.

Home-made jazz chants


If you haven’t read this post by Barbara Hoskins Sakamoto yet, you are in for a real treat. It features a video with none other than Carolyn Graham, who is showing conference participants how to make their own jazz chants. You don’t have to watch the video to get the idea, but those 10 minutes will be worth it, especially the live performance at the end. There are a few well-chosen links for extra reading at the end of the article, but I am already convinced: this is the perfect drill.

Language learning landscapes


street sign

Photo by Adam Jang on Unsplash

Like many other travellers, I make snapshots of something unusual I see in a new place: weird graffiti, imaginative menus, funny ads. Though I’ve never thought I could use them in my English lessons, as it turns out, linguistic landscapes in ELT are an established trend. This article by Damian Williams is a good start; you can go to Jamie Keddie for photographic advice and to Michael Griffin for examples of classroom application and a lot of extra links. Now, to get my camera ready…

How self-assessment can go wrong


An elementary student asks to be moved to a higher-level group and is upset when you don’t agree. A fluent and hard-working advanced learner expects to get Band 9 in IELTS. Sounds familiar? It certainly does to me. (I honestly thought I was C2 when I had just graduated!) It may well be the Danning-Kruger effect in action, but how do we help students be more realistic without undermining them?

A common recommendation is to develop students’ metacognitive strategies, yet the most no-nonsense and practical advice I’ve read comes from a maths teacher: base in-class assessment on hard evidence; give students more negative feedback (carefully!); focus on subject content to make them more competent. Definitely worth a read.