Dec 28, 2011

News quiz 2011 and end-of-year round-up


My blog celebrates its first birthday today. It’s been a busy year so I haven’t blogged as often as I should have – probably below the recommended once a week average. But I hope you've enjoyed my posts or rather used in class some of my ideas and activities. It seems Would you like it gift-wrapped? was my most viewed post in 2011, followed by the Cycles of Recycling.

Leo Selivan fires up his presentation!
Among the highlights of the year was speaking at two international conferences: IATEFL in Brighton in April and TESOL France in November not to mention a handful of local ones including the prestigious EnglishForum at the MOFET Institute.

Another defining moment was finally joining Twitter. Better late than never – and apparently I am in good company because Simon Cowell, Christina Aguilera and the Pope have all joined this year too! (according to this review). Thanks to Twitter I got to know lots of other enthusiastic teachers who, unlike me, blog on a more regular basis and are passionate about teaching and, not less importantly, learning. Some of the blogs I’ve picked can be found here or scroll down to the bottom of the page to see my blogroll (“Blogs worth checking out”).


Teaching vocabulary out of context: is it worth the time?

Those of you who have been to my workshops or read my articles on TeachingEnglish are perhaps surprised why someone who advocates teaching vocabulary in chunks would even pose a question like this. However, several research papers I read a few years ago while doing my Master's in TESOL made me rethink the issue of contextualisation and try out new things. Besides, as you will see in a moment, learning  words in chunks and learning vocabulary in context are not the same things.

Dec 17, 2011

Would you like it gift-wrapped?

Video dictogloss

A dictogloss is an integrated skills activity in which a teacher dictates a text at normal speed and students note down as much information as they can. Students then work in groups and try to reconstruct the original text.

In the video version of a dictogloss, students follow a particular character in a scene and note down all their lines. Then they work with another student in order to reconstruct the dialogue. For this activity I use a scene from Love Actually (2003). 


Dec 3, 2011

When the cat's away...

There is a widespread belief among teachers that collocations are only reserved for higher levels. Likewise, there is a popular misconception that authentic video can only be used with higher levels. This short and fun activity proves otherwise. It is based on a film clip, it focuses on collocations and it’s aimed at Elementary level students.



You will need a DVD of the animated film “Flushed Away”. The scene starts at 1:17 (“when the cat’s away the mice will play”) and ends at 3:14 (“Goodnight”). Or use the Youtube clip below:

Click here to download COLLOCATION CARDS

or do this ONLINE QUIZ 

Make a few copies of the page and cut it up so that you have at least one set for a group of 3-4 students.

Dec 2, 2011

Edublogs Awards 2011

It is the time of year when the ELT blogosphere celebrates its heroes – dedicated teachers who, with unrelenting enthusiasm and passion share with us their ideas, insights and inspiration. These are my nominations for these year’s Edublog Awards.