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Articles on methodology

From TPR to Dogme: do you know your methodology?

Teaching Unplugged

Teaching Unplugged is the term used for a teaching method and philosophy which has three primary aims: teaching through conversation, taking out external input such as course book and technology and letting the lesson content be driven by the students rather than being pre-planned by the teacher. Based on the ‘Dogme ELT’ approach to teaching, its origins lie in an article written in 2001 by Scott Thornbury and Luke Meddings called ‘The roaring in the chimney’. They later wrote ‘Teaching Unplugged’, a comprehensive guide to this type of teaching and winner of the British Council ELTons award for Innovation in 2010.

Dogme and Technology

Neither strict dogmeticians nor techno evangelists, we are simply teachers who appreciate both a good Dogme moment and easy-to-use technology that makes our job easier and the learners more autonomous. What do we mean by a good Dogme moment? For us, it is one where there is conversation going on generated by the learners themselves, who ideally, for a short period of time, have forgotten that they are in a classroom. As for easy-to-use technology, below you will find some of our favourite tools for creating the conversation and feeding back on it. We are assuming a classroom with an internet connection although for some of them a smartphone or tablet will suffice.

Keith Kelly - Ingredients for successful CLIL

Successful CLIL depends on a variety of factors. This paper discusses four factors relevant to successful implementation of CLIL. Firstly, we will look at questions of managing and supporting the CLIL implementation process. Secondly, we will look at the roles and behaviours of teachers in the delivery of CLIL. Thirdly, we will examine the issue of resourcing CLIL in schools. Lastly, but by no means least importantly, we will consider factors to do with the learners in CLIL education.

A day in the life at an English school for learners with Special Educational Needs

Recently I had the privilege to spend a day with the brilliant teachers and wonderful pupils at the St Christopher Academy Trust specialist school near Southend in the UK who work with children at both primary and secondary level on the autism spectrum with a variety of communication and interaction needs.

Teaching English to learners with Special Educational Needs (SENs) – Myths and realities

‘I know I have children with special educational needs in my class, I want to help them and we are supposed to promote inclusion, but I really am not sure how to do this’

Vera, primary teacher from Spain

‘Some of the children in my class are really badly behaved, they can’t sit still, don’t finish their work and are always calling out. I think they might have a learning difficulty, but I don’t know what to do’

Kris, secondary teacher from Poland

Speech and Language Impairment

‘How can I teach English to a learner who has difficulty speaking and understanding their own language?’

As teachers we know that good communication is vital for successful learning, so it is not surprising that this is a worry for English language teachers across the world. Communication skills help children to understand and explain the world around them, share their ideas and feelings and make friends. Good language skills enable a child to reason and learn. They also help to develop a sense of self and the feeling of belonging to a group or community.

The Needs of Visually Impaired (VI) Learners in Education: Key Issues and Principles

Are you interested in building your knowledge in issues around visual impairment? Do you want to have some hints and tips on how to include a VI learner in your classes? Would you like to learn about some of the educational needs of these learners?

If the answer to one or all of the above is yes, then this article is definitely for you!

In one ear out of the other: how knowing about memory might help us in the classroom

How can I teach English to a learner who seems not to listen properly?

At a recent teacher’s meeting, I asked colleagues how many had learners in their classes who seem to miss part or all of instructions. The response was unanimous; everyone had someone and the conversation soon included descriptions of particular individuals and their difficulties in class. As we continued, the meeting filled up with descriptions of pupils who do not see tasks through to completion, or frequently lose their place in complicated tasks that they eventually abandon, or forget the instructions and thereby go off-task.

Inclusive assessment approaches to learning in the English Language Classroom – I’m a teacher not a psychologist!

Assessment is a crucial part of learning. It can be difficult to know how to identify learners with special educational needs (SENs) in the classroom and how to include learners with SENs in the assessment process. The comments below highlight some of the problems for teachers when thinking about learners with SENs and assessment.

TBL and PBL: Two learner-centred approaches

Many newly qualified or inexperienced teachers tend to base their lesson planning on the traditional PPP approach (Presentation, Practice, Production) because it is reliable and it is a valid framework around which to base a series of classroom activities.

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Structured Inquiry

For the purpose of this article 'inquiry' will be taken to mean 'a language act in which one attempts to elicit another's help in going beyond his or her present understanding .' (Lindfors 1999)

The voices that guide us

Which voices do you hear in the course of your professional life, as you prepare, teach and reflect? Which ones are the strongest? Which do you really listen to and take notice of?

Teaching exam-based writing skills

Getting students to participate in writing activities in class can be an arduous task. Despite our best efforts as teachers to make the prospect of writing a fun and collaborative activity, it is often met with groans of reluctance.

From priming tasks and target tasks to language focus and grammar

This is the third in a series of four articles which will explore how to integrate a task-based approach into a typical textbook to maximise learning opportunities for your learners and to save teacher preparation time.

Methods, post-method, and métodos

This is the first of two articles by Scott Thornbury for TeachingEnglish.

'A language teaching method is a single set of procedures which teachers are to follow in the classroom. Methods are usually based on a set of beliefs about the nature of language and learning.' (Nunan, 2003, p. 5).

Group work v. whole-class activities - methodology article

Group work v. whole-class activities

Group and pair work (henceforth group work) are so much a part of our everyday teaching routine that we hardly pause to think before partitioning the class to tackle some particular communicative task.

Translation activities in the language classroom

This article looks at the role of translation as an activity for learners in the ELT classroom.

Making time for tasks and still covering the syllabus

This is the last in a series of four articles which will explore how to integrate a task-based approach into a typical textbook to maximise learning opportunities for your learners and to save teacher preparation time.

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