ELT by M Amin Gental

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idiom: to break the ice — October 31, 2014

idiom: to break the ice

English Help Online's Blog

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For this blog entry, I want to write about the expression, “break the ice”. We use it when we want to talk about a situation in which we are meeting a new person or people for the first time and we do something in order to feel more comfortable with them. Here are some example sentences.

I’m going to tell a joke at the start of my speech to break the ice with the audience.

I feel really uncomfortable when meeting new people. What should I do to break the ice?

The teacher had everyone in the class play a game in order to break the ice.

A: I think a good way to break the ice with someone is to ask them a lot of questions.
B: I’m not so sure. I think that could make them feel even more uncomfortable.

This expression can be used to talk about…

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A positive learning environment: the first 10 minutes (Part 2) — October 23, 2014

A positive learning environment: the first 10 minutes (Part 2)

Oxford University Press

Eager children in classThis is the second of a four-part series of articles from Verissimo Toste, an Oxford teacher trainer, about establishing a positive learning environment in the classroom. Here he shares some exercises to engage students before the lesson begins. 

Following on from last week’s post, we have our students working on a simple exercise, in this case, simply writing words from the board whose letters have been scrambled. We have set the pace of their work and eventually, you can get them to do such a simple exercise within about 5 minutes. Once students have completed the exercise, you can use it to start working on their speaking skills at a very basic level.

Let’s use this exercise as an example. Students have a list of words that they have written correctly.  Usually I aim for a list of between 8 and 10 words to make it challenging.

  1. retrohb – brother
  2. tanu – aunt
  3. nusico…

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The rewards and challenges of Content-Based Language Teaching —

The rewards and challenges of Content-Based Language Teaching

Oxford University Press

content based language teaching and instructionAhead of her webinar on Content-based Language Teaching, Patsy Lightbown, Distinguished Professor Emeritus (Applied Linguistics) and OUP author, shares her thoughts on its the role in the ESL and EFL classroom.

“Content-based language teaching” (CBLT) refers to a variety of contexts where students learn both academic content and a second or foreign language. CBLT characterizes the classroom experience of immigrant and minority-language children who, of necessity, learn a new language and age-appropriate academic content at the same time. It also applies to foreign-language programs such as “immersion” and Content and Language Integrated Learning (CLIL), where the inclusion of academic content increases the amount of time that students spend in learning and using a foreign language. CBLT can provide greater motivation for student engagement because lessons focus on topics that are more interesting and important than those that are typical of traditional foreign language lessons.

CBLT may be seen as an efficient way…

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