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Welcome!

Are you an English teacher? Are you interested in sharing ideas about teaching methods? Do you want to have fun? This is the right place for you to be!!! If you’re this kind of teacher, our blog is for you. It contains advice, tips and ideas to help you get the most out of your students. You’ll also find the latest information about tools, trends and research from the world of English Language Teaching (ELT).

As a teacher, you’re probably always looking for new and interesting ways to motivate and inspire your learners. Our blog provides some inspiration for creative lessons that target the four skills of reading, writing, listening and speaking. These ideas should help to relieve any boredom, increase motivation and stimulate progress.

With technology playing a more prominent role in the world of ELT, we dedicate an entire section to this subject with shared ideas about some of the hot topics associated with the benefits and challenges of using technology in the classroom to engage students. We also take a look at some of the most popular blogs for English teachers, the press from English speaking countries, to trends and fashions among students, films, fiction, food etc.

As this is meant to be OUR teachers’ blog, feel free to write anything you might find relevant. If you have any thoughts on how we can improve, complement or innovate, or would like us to cover a particular aspect of English language teaching, please let us know in the comments section. We’d love to hear from you. ❤

 

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Let's get Digital

Digital Tools to Build Vocabulary: Word Walls & Virtual Field Trips

 

PADLET

Padlet

Padlet is an online space to create a collaborative, digital word wall. Getting a leg up on the more traditional word wall, Padlet allows users to create sticky notes that can include text, images, links and videos. Teachers can embed this into a classroom website or blog which makes it a go-to collaborative space for students. For primary students, teachers will probably want to create the wall with words and links for students. Older students will get the hang of it fairly quickly. A great, collaborative tool and virtual classroom space to build online references and key vocabulary for content units. Continue reading “Digital Tools to Build Vocabulary: Word Walls & Virtual Field Trips”

Teachers only

Teachers Learn Better Together

teachersteam

Educators often say that education is frustratingly isolating. And if you talk with them about collaboration, you quickly learn that they know it can be a powerful tool to improve teaching and learning—and many feel a growing expectation to collaborate. Reducing the isolation starts with the recognition that collaboration is a learned skill. Educators can begin to learn it by focusing on five key aspects.

COLLABORATION REQUIRES TRUST
As you think about potential collaborative partners, connect with someone committed to improving teaching and learning. Whether you’re working with a longtime friend or someone new, work on building trust into the relationship. There are two steps to building trust. Continue reading “Teachers Learn Better Together”

Improve your English

How speaking French can really mess up your English

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So you’ve mastered French, but now it’s time to learn English all over again.

1. You’ve started pronouncing French words “properly”

“I’ll meet you at the restaurant near the cinema,” you tell friends, pronouncing both the italicized words with a flawless French accent. You can’t help it. They’re French words, you’re used to pronouncing them as they should be pronounced. Except to your English friends, it sounds like your being a language snob and therefore likely to be abused for it.

2. And that goes for place names too

You pronounce the French capital as “Paree”, you say Bretagne instead of Brittany, and Bourgogne instead of Burgundy. Because that’s what they’re called, right? Except no one understands where you are talking about now.

3. Quoi?

Rapid responses to a situation in English sometimes prompt French words, especially like quoi? instead of “what?”. Similarly, visits back home can bring out unexpected French phrases like attends or merci instead of “wait!” or “thank you”. It’s in your subconscious now.

4. Which are my real friends (and which are my false ones)?

Those blasted false friends have made you stumble again. At first, when learning French, you were walking on eggshells so you wouldn’t call a preservative a preservatif (because that means condom). But now, you have to think twice when speaking English to remember whether “sensible” actually means sensible, or whether it means sensitive. You get stressed about saying the words excited (excité), jolly (Jolie) and chat (Chatte). The confusion is real.

5. Your word order is all messed up

“I play sometimes basketball,” you might find yourself saying, as one American reader explains or you might say “these are the shoes of Brian”. It’s a real mess.

6. Literal translations

You walk into a bar and say “I’ll take a glass if you please, sir” (which translated into French would be perfectly normal). Just because you think in French, doesn’t mean you should translate it into English.

7. Using French words in English sentences

“Shall we meet for an apéro?”
“Ah putain, I can’t come. Probably a good thing anyway because I need to watch my couvade.”

Some words are just better in French, especially swear words and some words like “couvade” which is the ‘sympathetic pregnancy’ belly that new dads get. These words just don’t exist in English. But they should do.

8. Weird intonation when you speak

“Why are you speaking funny?” is a common question we head “back home”.
Whether it’s from learning French or perhaps from speaking English in a different way to suit your French audience, you end up sounding very strange to your friends back home.

9. I can’t think of the English word for it

Your conversations are interrupted frequently because you can’t remember the English word for something, as l you can think of is the French word for it. Except that won’t really get you anywhere back home.

10. You sound like a horse

Gone are the days of “umm” and “ah”, now you’re peppering your speech with “bah”, “hein”, and that unusual “pfft” noise that sounds like a horse blowing air through its lips.

11. Adding a “no” to the end of every sentence, no?

The French love tacking a “non” at the end of sentences when seeking for an agreement, but it sounds kind of funny in English. We’ve been here before, no? You’ve met her, no?
This is probably something that you do yourself, no?

12. Getting your capital letters all wrong

The French and the English have a different relationship to capital letters. We say today is a Wednesday in October in English, whereas it would be mercredi en octobre en francais. They also capitalize just the first letter of the first important word in a proper noun, so while NASA is National Aeronautics and Space Administration in English, it’s just the Administration nationale de l’aéronautique et de l’espace in French.

13. You find yourself using the word “super” a bit too much

Want to stress how big, good, fun something was? Well, once your French starts improving you’ll find yourself stressing those things with the word “super” rather than “really”. Rather than try and get yourself out of the habit, it might be wise to just go with it and try to claim it’s a new “super” cool way of speaking.

14. A split personality?

Do you feel like a different person when speaking French to when you speak English? If so you’re not alone. Because there’s now two of you. And developing an extra personality – different jokes, a different way of speaking, different ways of getting angry can be complicated when you need you need to go back to your original personality, which may have gone into sleep mode by now.

from The Local.com
Reading in the Station

AUsome people: Temple Grandin & Julia

In this blog post, we’ve showcased a variety of resources to foster not just awareness, but acceptance of people with autism. From fiction starring autistic characters, to books that can help parents and educators support and encourage autistic kids to achieve their full potential, these books serve as a reminder that, while autism may be an important part of a person’s story, what’s more important is for all of us to recognize them as talented, interesting, and unique individuals.

Julia

For the first time in a decade, the classic children’s television show Sesame Street introduced a new Muppet on the air last spring: an autistic Muppet named Julia. Even five years ago, it would have been almost unthinkable for a character with autism to appear on a mainstream children’s television show, especially with the goal of inclusion and acceptance. But while Julia and other characters like her represent a major step forward, autism is still the subject of significant misunderstanding and prejudice. And the problems caused by lack of awareness are often magnified for girls, who are less frequently diagnosed and often show a different pattern of behaviours than autistic boys.

Julia, a four-year-old with bright orange hair, a pink dress and a favourite toy rabbit called Fluffster, made her debut on April 2017 in an episode called “Meet Julia”. She already appeared in Sesame Street cartoons and books, but this was her first appearance on the famous children’s show. Julia’s introduction is part of an initiative: “Sesame Street and Autism: See Amazing in all Children”. Sesame Workshop said it consulted with more than 250 organizations and experts over a five-year period, ahead of unveiling the character. This initiative is helping adults understand that autism represents not just a set of problems to overcome, but a different way of thinking and experiencing the world. But kids, tweens, and teens, who will almost certainly encounter autistic peers during their lives, need to learn the same — so it’s particularly important to share stories and resources about girls on the autism spectrum with autistic and neurotypical kids alike!

 

Temple Grandin

When Temple Grandin was born, autistic children were often blamed on “refrigerator mothers” who supposedly denied their children affection and doctors regularly recommended a lifetime in an institution. But Grandin’s mother not only didn’t believe that she had caused her daughter’s condition: she refused to believe that Temple had no potential for growth and learning. Over years of dedicated work, Grandin learned to speak, attended school, and discovered a passion for science and a remarkable gift: an astounding visual mind that allowed her to design and draft complex structures with ease, and a unique perspective that helped her understand the ways animals think and behave like no one around her could.

Dr Grandin’s success was more than personal, though: she had proven that autistic children could accomplish far more than anyone had previously thought possible. After being featured in a book by neurologist Oliver Sacks, Grandin became a public advocate for people with autism, teaching people about the way that she saw the world and the need for understanding and accommodation so that other autistic people, both children and adults, could achieve their potential, too. She provides a powerful role model for autistic children, and for autistic girls in particular, but her journey from a non-verbal toddler to a world famous public speaker is inspiring to all. Grandin is also the author and co-author of multiple books about autism, including The Autistic Brain: Helping Different Kinds of Minds Succeed and the newly updated Unwritten Rules of Social Relationships: Decoding Social Mysteries Through Autism’s Unique Perspectives.

The Girl Who Thought In Pictures: The Story of Dr Temple Grandin

Temple Grandin was considered a strange girl, and doctors told her mother she’d never speak, let alone have a productive life. But her mother refused to believe it: she saw potential in her observant and creative child. As Temple grew, she started learning how to articulate the different way that her mind worked: her astounding visual memory allowed her to draw whole blueprints just from one tour through a facility, and her empathy with animals helped her design spaces that helped them stay calm. Today, she is a powerful voice in science, advocating for autistic people like herself. This picture book biography told in rhyming text is an inspiring introduction to an important figure in scientific history.

The Girl Who Thought in Pictures: The Story of Dr Temple Grandin is the first book in a brand new educational series about the inspirational lives of amazing scientists. In addition to the illustrated rhyming tale, you’ll find a complete biography, fun facts, a colourful timeline of events, and even a note from Temple herself!

temple_grandin_cover

Temple Grandin is a 2010 biopic directed by Mick Jackson and starring Claire Danes as Temple Grandin, a woman with autism who revolutionized practices for the humane handling of livestock on cattle ranches and slaughterhouses. After she was diagnosed with autism at age 4, Grandin’s mother, played by Julia Ormond, refused to allow her daughter to be institutionalized and fought for her to have every chance to live whatever life she chose.

The film follows Grandin as she not only goes to school, college, and grad school — despite the cruelty of her peers at her odd behaviour and the resistance of adults who believed she could not succeed — but eventually discovers that her own experiences give her a unique insight into the daily lives of animals. Eventually, she turns that insight into the driving force behind a powerful movement for compassionate treatment of stock in slaughterhouses, and animal welfare in general.

adapted from A Mighty Girl