Author Archive

When are questions and teacher talk too much?

We recently had a query from a reader regarding the kind of language-generating concept questions we advocate. Basically, he had received some criticism after a lesson observation that the class was too teacher-centred, too input heavy and students didn't have enough time…

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Questions about words

In my talk at IATEFL (and International House London, where a video was made of it), I explained some of the limitations of asking traditional concept questions, especially when looking at vocabulary. What follows is a list of alternative types…

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Van Gogh’s ear and wordlists

We’ve had a suggested adaptation of some material from a teacher, Amber Nowak, in the Netherlands. It’s a little bit different to what we initially envisaged here in that Amber has already exploited the material in the book, Go for…

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4 Language is patterned

We have already see that one problem with the grammar + words view of language is that words are difficult to define, but the same could equally said of grammar on its own. In the case of Pinker’s book, Words…

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Phrase of the day: on the way

I went to visit my parents yesterday and on the way there, I was thinking about the number of times I've done that journey up and down the motorway and imagined all the little ant trails that I have left…

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Chunk of the day: the bottom line (revisited)

As with single words, we should look for opportunities to revise or recycle chunks. When we do so, it's good to move beyond simply matching the word or chunk to the same meaning we gave last time. We can explore new…

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ELT: In need of family therapy?

In my previous blogging incarnation on the CELT training site, I wrote about why lexical sets may be popular and about some of the downsides to them. That blog was closed when I left University of Westminster and I have…

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