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.”…

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…

Verbs… Some musings on grammar

This post is slightly different from my usual posts. What if we were to think of grammar for a while? More specifically, I’d like to write about verbs in English and how to teach them. Now, if you’re not into grammar, I hope I’ll see you around for my next posts. If you’re curious about…

Translating machines and (Language) Teaching

On January 5, 2013, the magazine The Economist published an article on simultaneous translation by computers and one of the first questions it asks readers is How long, then, before automatic simultaneous translation becomes the norm, and all those tedious language lessons at school are declared redundant? The very first thing that sprung to mind…

Consumers, reproducers and producers

If there’s one thing that has changed in education with the advent of new technologies and, chiefly, the web 2.0, this has got to be how easy it is now for us to shift from consumers of information to producers of data. There’s absolutely nothing new in this statement, and any report or information sheet…

Recycling and autonomy

Autonomy has become a trending topic in the world of education. To be honest, the way I hear some people talking about it makes me wonder whether this hasn’t always been the case, really. “Oh, I know it! How about trying to make ourselves, teachers, less needed as students progress in their education?” I mean,…