Grammar curiosities 1: reported speech

The first post in our series on grammar nonsense got quite a lot of discussion going and it seemed that on the whole there was quite a lot of sympathy with the view that many of the ‘rules’ about reported…

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Grammar nonsense 1: reported speech

Is there anything that is more bizarrely and unnecessarily taught in ELT than reported speech? There have been many times when my heart has sunk as I've faced ‘the reported speech unit’ – both as a teacher and as a…

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The best improvisation is prepared improvisation

One of the great delights of the annual IATEFL conference is seeing young teachers find their own voices and deliver confident, well thought-out presentations. One of the talks I enjoyed most in Birmingham this year was by Sebastian Lesniewski, and…

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CELTA, the native-speaker bias and possible paths forward

Last week at IATEFL, Silvana Richardson delivered a rousing, righteous plenary tracing the historical roots of - and critiquing - the institutionalised mechanisms and habits of mind that continue to privilege native=speaker teachers over non-natives. The talk can be viewed…

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Complicating the anti-coursebook debate: Part 1

As some of you may be aware, there's been a fair bit of coursebook bashing going on in the blogosphere over recent weeks, much of it carried out by Geoff Jordan. Given this, I've decided to lay down a few…

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Asking more: why some questions are better than others

There's an old saying that claims questions are never dangerous - only answers are. Well, a recent presentation I saw by Jim Scrivener gave me pause to reconsider this received wisdowm and to ask whether some questions might be if…

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