“Can I have some chair?” Rethinking Grammar Rules

Call me loopy, but I believe that teaching English grammar should reflect real use of English outside the classroom. There are accepted rules, sure, but if rules only represent a narrow and/or dead version of the language, why then kick the empty can down the road to the English learner? The desperate thing about grammar dogma [...]

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A Better 2018: SMART Goal Setting

https://www.slideshare.net/JamesEgerton/a-better-2018-smart-goal-setting-85606402   I love presenting at teacher training conferences, but my ultimate objective beyond instant gratification is always that the teachers pass on the ideas to their English learners. There aren't many completely new ideas, after all, and almost all of what I present is itself passed on from what my students have told me, [...]

Jordan B. Peterson’s Future Authoring

Main aim: By the end of the lesson, students will be better able to map out the best and worst versions of themselves, turning daily decisions into 5-year outcomes, and using this push and pull as motivation to become the best they can be...by using personality adjectives (it's lesson observation season at IH Riga-Satva!) "That's why [...]

Not just a pretty picture: getting physical with the phonemic chart

Since spending two weeks of summer in Cambridge at a course run by the great Adrian Underhill on all things pronunciation, I've been working hard to incorporate his phonemic chart into regular pronunciation practice with my learners. It's up on the wall in so many classrooms worldwide, but generally ignored. If you're one of the [...]

3 Ways to Beat Exam* Anxiety

*Also applicable to other high anxiety situations: marathon, job interview, first date etc. It's prime exam season, and the mind must be in tune with the brain for results to reflect knowledge. But psychology is not yet mainstream in teaching and teacher training. We teachers are big on the 'what' (i.e. knowledge), and at best skim over the [...]

Mouth Gym Part 2: How to train

Having selected common problematic sounds in English, the most important thing is what we can do to improve these things. The foundations of this whole exercise should adhere to principles of Dweck’s Mindset theory: focused practice, belief in the possibility to improve, re-labelling “failure” as a stepping stone to success. Once we move the tongue [...]