From reading to writing

April 30, 2009

Hello again,
I thought I would make one final reference to ideas for helping the writing process. As some commenters have correctly pointed out, in order to be able to write students need to read lots of good models. In general...

Further thoughts on the writing process

April 16, 2009

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In two earlier posts I have argued that writing is a neglected skill in ELT and that we need to pay more attention to it, incorporating a writing slot in every lesson. However, one of the difficulties with teaching writing lies...

The writing process

April 06, 2009

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I argued recently that writing is a neglected skill in ELT. Perhaps more accurately I should say that we tend to neglect teaching the writing process. The result of such neglect...

The neglected skill

April 02, 2009

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Writing: how much time do you devote to teaching it? What priority does it have in your school? My guess is that it comes bottom of your list of teaching priorities. And there are understandable reasons for this: it is considered ...


March 12, 2009

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Whenever learners ask me for a lesson on writing e-mail, I have to suppress a yawn. My view is that if you can write a letter you can write e-mail. The process is the same: you select the topic, an appropriate style, put in the correct form of address and off you go. But it seems that all sorts of anxiety surrounds e-mail. Perhaps ...

Learning through activities

February 17, 2009

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The learning strategies we teach our student are usually related to specific aspects of language use: how to memorise vocabulary; how to plan a writing task; how to understand a language structure. But the direct application ...

Teaching adjectives

February 04, 2009

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Observing a lesson recently, I was struck by the complexities that surround the use of adjectives. Clearly the teacher had stepped unknowingly....

Questions teachers ask

October 07, 2008

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Questioning is a key teaching tool but I sometimes wonder...


September 07, 2008

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I had a request recently from a teacher needing classroom ideas for teaching idioms. I find it helpful to group idioms into categories. Many idioms ...

The place of grammar in the classroom

June 26, 2008

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I always find this topic sparks lively debate. When second languages were taught by the grammar/translation method, everyone seemed fairly clear about what should be taught and in what order. Verbs in all their complexity dominated the scene and conjugations and inflections were learnt by rote. The result was that language learners understood a good deal about how the target language was constructed but had little...


June 13, 2008

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The real proof of effective learning lies in the student’s ability to use the new material creatively: Bloom’s highest order thinking. In traditional terms, this is

More on analysing and evaluating

June 11, 2008

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Analysing and evaluating help deepen the learning experience. By analysing new language the learner breaks something complex into its basic components. In pronunciation...

Applying and analysing

June 05, 2008

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According to Bloom’s Revised Taxonomy, once new material has been understood it should be applied. Here the learner has the opportunity to explore how the items learnt can be used. It is best to begin with transfer to situations similar...


May 30, 2008

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Understanding is the second element in the Revised Taxonomy. It reminds us that it is not enough that learners have remembered new material but that we must check they have really understood. Understanding new language takes place on...


May 29, 2008

Hello again,

As I noted last time, Bloom’s Revised Taxonomy puts remembering as the first element in the learning process: we have to remember an item before we can understand it. How do we help students to etch the new material...