Online Teaching: New Road or Temporary De-tour?

100% online learning enforced by global coronavirus quarantines = Overdue reform for both teaching and, by extension, teacher training. With some sizeable asterisks, but the rewards far outweigh the risks for me on this one. The fear drowned out the potential at the start. There was no monster under the bed, after all. So here [...]

PET Writing Part 1 (2020)? Trump This!

In the land of standardised exams, the marking criteria is King. A few points, then a lesson idea. Disclaimer: exam preparation lessons are not my favourites, but they are a necessary evil as long as academic institutions and employers want to see objective 'proof' of language level via a certificate. Proof of what? Proof that [...]

CELTA Online: Spilt Milk or Red, Red Wine?

A recording of the 45-minute presentation will be available soon, but this is the write-up of the main points of our webinar, organised by Shaun Wilden and International House World Organisation. https://www.slideshare.net/JamesEgerton/celta-online-spilt-milk-or-red-red-wine-234720185 Here at IH Rome I've seen how the sausage is made and taking CELTA online during this unprecendented period is the fruit of [...]

UK 1st June Back to School: b2s or Just BS?

My most successful lessons run like stories. This narrative has written itself. Reading skills + speaking skills + writing skills + current event awareness are all trained in this lesson. Also very relevant to young learners around the world. 1. Warm-up 1) What do you miss most about school? Friends, teachers, subjects? 2) In the [...]

Fake Views and Insta(nt) Gratification

GUEST POST. Thanks to my IH Rome colleague Greta Tamosiunaite for the excellent lesson plan below. Perfect timing for Phase 2 and the BOOM in physical socialising and photos on social media, and the generation of teenagers we are currently teaching. Sam Harris knows: "We're dealing with a cohort of people for whom social media [...]

Lies, Damned Lies and Statistics #3 – Headline vs Critical Thinking Rock

'We suggest that schools offer media literacy classes that teach students the difference between evidence and opinion, and how to evaluate the legitimacy of sources.' Greg Lukianoff and Jonathan Haidt echoed my thoughts exactly in their great book 'The Coddling of the American Mind' (2018, p.248) - one of my favourites from the lockdown. "High [...]

Lies, Damned Lies and Statistics #2 – Behind the Headline

Interpreting word meaning is more important than just word reading. Data is flooding into our everyday lives at the moment like bright sunlight through an open window, so, rather than being blinded and overwhelmed, it's the best time to learn how to deal with data through the prism of critical thinking. Lesson ideas like the [...]

You Win or You Learn: Pre-Quarantine Regrets (2x Lessons)

You Win or You Learn It's a fundamental pillar of a Growth Mindset that mistakes are best used as lessons for the future, rather than proof of innate shortcomings or a stick to beat yourself with (more student and teacher ideas on Mindset Theory see the Mindset section). 'You win or you learn' is a [...]

Zoom Phase 2: From Survive to Thrive (Webinar). QuaranTIME of My Life.

I gave this webinar as part of Trendy English's 'Teaching Online 2.0: Level Up!' web conference on Sunday 10th May. I always enjoy any work I'm invited to do for Trendy English, headed by Elena Peresada and her team in Moscow. Apart from being years ahead of the curve on webinars and online teacher training, [...]

Lies, Damned Lies and Statistics #1 – Graph Reading

Graph reading is as important as word reading. The number of graphs being thrown at us at the moment is astounding, but not as astounding as the general lack of skill in interpreting them. This is yet another symptom of the more heinous condition - a poverty of critical thinking AKA Media Literacy in our [...]