On Native Speakerism

I’ve learned English as a foreign language. I only travelled abroad to put my English to the test after I’d been teaching it – also as a foreign language – for quite a few years. The large majority of my English teachers were also ‘non-native speakers’ (and I use the inverted commas for the same…

A will or a whim?

We are all able to learn what we want to learn and we will stay at it as long as it takes until we’ve developed our skills, or amassed as much knowledge as we want to. Regardless of lessons, if we want to learn, we will. It doesn’t get any simpler than that. We’ll manage to find…

Accountability: the teacher and the learner

On my last post, I suggested that the best way to focus on students’ learning is by focusing on teaching. The rationale behind this is that we can’t control someone else’s actions or thoughts, but we can control our own. This means that if we pay attention to what we can actually do in order…

How do you focus on your students’ learning?

Lately, it’s become mainstream to state that we should focus on students’ learning. By saying that, we account for the obvious expected outcome of a teaching & learning environment – students’ learning. Currently, with all the debate on the impact of technology in the lives of children everywhere, it’s pretty obvious that we’re more likely…

Working with discrete vocabulary items

It’s a given that learning words in isolation is not particularly helpful when it comes to learning a foreign language. Words rarely appear in isolation when we communicate, and ELT has come a long way from the days in which vocabulary appeared as single words in a vocabulary box to the presentation of manageable language…

Do conversation-driven lessons make any sense? (Part 2)

Language is quite a complex system – one which we try to organise according rules and norms. One of the common ways for us to think about such organisation is prescriptively, the way many of us were taught a second or a foreign language. If we look at what David Crystal says about prescriptivism, we…

Do conversation-driven lessons make any sense?

The short answer to this question is a resounding ‘yes’, and I could base my answer on experience – mine and also the one’s from lots of colleagues. However, we should all be wary of such things as “it’s worked with all my groups,” or the converse “it didn’t work with any of my groups.”…

Eleven – A blog challenge to end 2013

There were way too many things that I went through in 2013. These way too many things – not necessarily time issues – have somehow gotten in the way of doing many things I thought I’d be doing throughout the year. Yet, there’s always something that keeps calling you back to the things you like….

Doing some thinking nominated for Best English Blog awards 2013

Doing Some Thinking has been nominated for Best English Blog Awards 2013 by the folks at Really Learn English. One of the most interesting parts of this award in particular is that, as Adam said in his post about his nomination, they were careful enough so as to interview each blogger and they have given…

An introduction to systemic functional grammar – By Phil Chappell

Right after I published a post on grammar and the verbs in English, Joanne Pettis asked for a text on Systemic Functional Grammar. I was fortunate enough to receive the following tweet: “@pettispbla: @hoprea Are you familiar with Halliday’s Systemic Functional Grammar?<I’m happy to help with SFG if you have any questions!> — Phil Chappell…