12 things learning Russian has taught me about learning English

“You must get bored! What do you think about when you’re swimming lengths?” people sometimes ask. Well no I don’t get bored, and this post is an example, as it’s the fruit of musings during this morning’s swim. Obviously, you don’t have to be a language learner to be a good English teacher. Although I studied French and Spanish at university myself, English teachers might … Continue reading 12 things learning Russian has taught me about learning English

Wot iz “articulate”?

The Queen is articulate when mingling at a garden party at Buckingham Palace, but probably wouldn’t be if chatting at a barber shop in Brooklyn. But isn’t she articulate anywhere? The Queen’s English has that name for a reason, right? Wrong. articulate adjective ɑːˈtɪkjʊlət/ having or showing the ability to speak fluently and coherently. e.g. “she was very articulate” synonyms: eloquent, fluent, communicative, effective, persuasive, lucid, vivid, expressive. Being articulate is … Continue reading Wot iz “articulate”?

New Year’s resolution? Don’t waste your time.

It´s that time of year to decide on ´New Year´s resolutions´, to ‘resolve’ something which we think isn´t up to scratch at the moment. In many cases, failing to achieve them is blamed on a lack of time, but I believe that time can almost always be found, and what is lacking is motivation. For me, motivation is the key ingredient in any success, because the … Continue reading New Year’s resolution? Don’t waste your time.

A Beginner’s Guide to Latvian Culture

The following is a collaborative effort from my C2 teenagers (17-18 years old), as a final project to crown our study of culture over the last few weeks. Each student contributed a section about an aspect of Latvian culture, although we agreed to keep the authors anonymous to prevent comparisons. Language Despite the fact that the only official language in Latvia is Latvian, in the east of … Continue reading A Beginner’s Guide to Latvian Culture

Mindset: Making the Most of Observations

“I want to improve my teaching practices”. Most teachers will say this, or why do we bother doing this job? To quote Jay-Z, ´loiterers should be arrested´. If you’re not getting better, you’re getting worse. Stagnation is a slow death. However, as with anything, there´s a wide schism between words/intentions and making them reality. Observations are commonly used to bridge this gap and help teachers … Continue reading Mindset: Making the Most of Observations

5 TV programmes to help you learn English

“Which TV programmes could I watch to practise listening?” I´m often asked this question, and this post aims to make some useful suggestions. “Why is watching a TV programme in English useful, rather than, say, listening to the radio or doing traditional multiple-choice exercises online?” First and foremost, we should enjoy the TV programme we´re watching, as here we can kill two (or more) bird … Continue reading 5 TV programmes to help you learn English

Learner Feedback → Learner Progress with Edurio

Post-Brexit and Trump, maybe asking large groups of people for their opinion doesn’t seem like such a good idea. But undeterred, this is how I’ve started using Edurio, a free web app for teachers to analyse learner feedback, to try to improve my classes. So many teachers agree with the concept of a learner-centred classroom, but not as many take any practical steps to bridge the … Continue reading Learner Feedback → Learner Progress with Edurio

Haikus: Learning English

Haikus, which originated in Japan, are 17-syllable poems: 5 in the first line, 7 in the second, 5 in the third. So they don’t take long and work on learners’ awareness of pronunciation. Enough from me; these are what my C2 teenagers came up with… I started learning English seven years ago I very leik trains. -A.H   The English and I Seeing truth with my … Continue reading Haikus: Learning English