Dec 19, 2012

Top 12 of 2012

and tips for new bloggers

Photo by aclil2climb via eltpics
This post is written in response to Adam Simpson's blogchallenge, which, he admits himself, is an act of "shameless self-promotion". And this is a man who urged us not to vote for him when he was recently  nominated for annual Edublog Awards and who was also the winner of last year's TeachingEnglish blogathon! Anyhow, here is my Top 12 of 2012.
There is, however, one difference. Seeing that it was really difficult for me to decide which posts are MY personal favourites, the list below, unlike that of Adam's, is a list of the most viewed posts of 2012.

Hugh Dellar's anti Dogme series were enlightening and hugely entertaining but there was one particular argument which I didn't quite agree with and addressed in this post which has had the highest number of clicks this year. I don't know if it's down to an increased in interest in Task-Based Learning or because of the inclusion of a buzz word in the title (Dogme)

I am happy that this entry was one of the most visited. And I am quite proud that I invented a new use for this social bookmarking tool. If you have a projector in class, do check it out. A bit teacher-centred but you can't have it all.

An attempt to introduce terms from linguistic semantics (syntagmatic and paradigmatic) into ELT although I've renamed them as horizontal and vertical word relationships.

The word "technology", like grammar, is an instant magnet. Write a post about technology in education and – no matter which side of the debate you're on – lots of pageviews and comments are guaranteed.

A classic activity for a classic song, which I've been using (for ages!) to introduce the concept of collocations - with students and teachers alike. 

6. Teaching vocabulary out of context: conclusions
A wise man once said, "A blog is only as good as the comments it gets". In a desperate attempt to engage with my audience, I split this post into two, posing questions in the first part and providing conclusions in the second part. It seems to have worked.

Written in one go, this post garnered the highest number of comments (33) this year.

My venture into the world of online gaming (thanks to Graham Stanley) and a lexical activity that stemmed from it.

Another song-based activity for the day that for some reason is celebrated only once year.

What is the difference between a collocation and chunk? And what is your favorutie chunk? It's still not too late to take part in my mini-survey.

A personal story, interesting research findings and a useful (IMHO) template here, but stats on my blog show most visitors stumbled upon this post by googling: "a guy with headphones photo".

I've never written conference reports but this summary of the closing plenary at the annual TESOL France colloquium is an exception.

your car
Cartoon by Dave Walker via We Blog Cartoons

Thinking of taking part in the TeachingEnglish blogathon and winning a trip to IATEFL (like Adam Simpson) or starting up your own blog? Based on the above list, here are some ideas for blog posts that are bound to guarantee success, exposure and lots of clicks.

12 blog post ideas for new bloggers

1. Write a response to someone (preferably famous) expressing your opinion
2. Write about a web tool or app you use
3. Take two pieces of jargon from another (even unrelated) field and apply them to ELT
4. Write something about technology (whether you're pro- or anti- doesn’t matter)
5. Blog about your favourite activity
6. Do a mini action research project in your class and post the results: preferably in two instalments
7. Rant
8. Write about something new you've learnt
9. There are many obscure "days" throughout the year: Honesty Day, Fun at Work Day, Dress-Up Your Pet Day and certainly loads of bad hair days. Pick one as a topic of your post.
10. Conduct a mini poll among your readers
11. Write an apology – even if you know the person it's addressed to is not going to read it
12. Summarise a conference talk / workshop / webinar you've enjoyed

Blogger's block?
Finally, if you have run out of ideas about what to blog, post a Top 5 or Top 10 list of your recent blog posts!

Thank you to all my readers and happy blogging to all new bloggers!


  1. Leo, you've basically given a rundown of my blogging formula there at the end! In fact, I've just printed it off and will stick to it exclusively from now on!

    Thanks for this fine addition to the challenge.

    1. Did you hear what Adam did? That's what you should all do: print it off and hang it up in your staff room! ;)

      Just joking...

      Thank you, Adam, and happy holidays!

  2. With all that good advice Leo, we should see you posting more often! LOL!

    1. Tell me about it, Naomi!
      When I first saw Adam's challenge I thought that I wouldn't have enough posts to fill a Top12 list. But it turns out I've had 18 entries this year which means I blog on average once every 3 weeks. I know, it's a long way to catch up with your prolificity :)

      Thank you, Naomi, I am proud to have you as one of my readers.

  3. Hi Leo,

    Great Post! Maybe one day I'll actually have the courage to stick my head out in the blogosphere and actually say something!

    This is my first comment on someone's post so I guess that counts for something!


    1. Thank you, Sara

      That's exactly how it started for me: first lurking, then commenting on other people's posts and now... can't stop :)

  4. Loved your ideas. Might need them for upcoming blogposts. Not always easy to come up with new ideas.

    All the best,
    Avraham Roos

  5. This blog is such a reflection of your generosity;sharing things that work or don't and always giving encouragement along the way. I'm definitely going to print this off and keep it well in view so that I may become a consistent blogger :)

  6. Thanks, Avraham and Dominique, for your messages.
    I am glad my ideas have inspired you to resume blogging :)
    Looking forward to reading your future posts in 2013.


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