ELT by M Amin Gental


Receptive grammar practice using TubeQuizard — November 28, 2016

Receptive grammar practice using TubeQuizard

ELT stories

As readers of this blog probably know, one of my great passions is research into teaching listening skills and, in particular, listening decoding skills. In this post I’ll

  • briefly recap what listening decoding skills are and why I think they need to be focused on in grammar lessons
  • share with you a tool that makes it quite easy to create listening decoding quizzes based on subtitled Youtube videos
  • share some tips on using this tool to incorporate listening decoding work into your grammar lessons
  • show how to use the tool to look for videos that contain a lot of examples of a grammar features you’d like to present, and share six key questions that I ask myself when deciding if the video will provide good input for my learners.

What are listening decoding skills and what do they have to do with grammar?

So to start with, if the term ‘listening decoding skills’ doesn’t sound familiar…

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Does pronunciation matter? — November 24, 2016

Does pronunciation matter?

Oxford University Press

shutterstock_297003296Robin Walker is a freelance teacher, teacher educator, and materials writer. He has been in ELT for over 30 years, and regularly collaborates with Oxford University Press and Trinity College London. Today he joins us to preview his upcoming webinar ‘Pronunciation Matters’, on December 6th and 7th.

At first glance it would seem that it is not really possible to question the idea that pronunciation matters. How can you learn a language without learning its pronunciation? Who will understand you if your pronunciation is poor? And will you understand them? Yes, the case for teaching pronunciation seems pretty solid, but the reality in classrooms around the world is often very different. Time and time again, when I give talks and workshops on pronunciation, teachers confess to me that what I’ve said has been enlightening, but that sadly they don’t have time for pronunciation in a syllabus that is already…

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Why teach values in the Primary classroom? — November 22, 2016

Why teach values in the Primary classroom?

Oxford University Press

shutterstock_408187930Susan Banman Sileci is an American ELT author. She has written materials for pre-primary, primary, secondary, and adult levels, including textbooks, activity books, graded readers, resource packs, and digital practice materials and is the author of Everybody Up, Super Stars, and Shine On.

I’m an American living in Brazil and I’ll be honest: it’s been a rough year. Brazil is going through a corruption scandal that included the impeachment of a president and, of course, there was this month’s presidential election in the United States. The world has seen just how much Americans don’t agree and how ugly the discussions can become.

It’s been hard and the adults have been fighting. But guess what? Now more than ever we need to teach values to the little ones. That doesn’t mean that we impose our political views on our students, much as we might want to. School is about…

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10 Teaching Essentials — November 10, 2016

10 Teaching Essentials


612nicxgaql-_sl1200_This post is a companion to 10 Teaching Pitfalls.

In writing this, I’ve been thinking about two sets of teachers. Firstly, I’ve been thinking about various very strong teachers I’ve known, including those who taught me, to consider what ‘essentials’ they might have in common.  (Something I’ve done many times before e.g. in this early post: What makes a great teacher?). Secondly, I’ve been thinking about how to support early career teachers to improve and to use their time wisely to support their professional learning.  The purpose of this list, as with any other, is to promote self-reflection: 10 essentials to work on – alongside avoiding the 10 pitfalls!

1. Model expertise

I was going to call this ‘Command Respect’ or ‘Project Authority’ or ‘Give Confidence’ – but I only mean those things in the sense that the teacher knows their subject, their material, their course. They give their…

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Managing Classroom Dynamics — November 5, 2016
Motivating adults with truly adult content —
Native English speaker = better teacher? — November 1, 2016

Native English speaker = better teacher?

James Egerton

“I want my English teacher to be a native speaker” is a common attitude when people are looking for an English class. But is a native speaker a better English teacher only because they were born in a certain place? An estimated 80% of TESOL (Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages) teachers worldwide do not have English as their first language; are all their students getting a raw deal? Of course not!

When I think about this topic, I remember my own experience of learning Spanish at secondary school. My best teacher was an Englishman who lived round the corner from me (viva Señor Lanzon!!) and my worst one (anonymous) was more Spanish than a plate of paella. This non-native teacher ran the class better, organised an annual trip to Spain, knew how to manage our disciplinary issues (more or less) and taught interesting and dynamic lessons Spanish was…

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