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Blog topics for April - June 2021

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See our latest blog topics, take a look at the most recent posts from our TeachingEnglish bloggers, and find out how you can become a TeachingEnglish blogger.

Our blog topics for April - June 2021 look at official language days, teaching reading in online classes, encouraging students to speak more, and a focus on vocabulary teaching.

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Thank you for all your fantastic posts from January, February and March 2021. You can see a list of the most recent blog posts here.

Topic 1: A celebration of languages

UN English Language Day is celebrated every year on 23 April. It is also Spanish language day. On 20 April we celebrate the Chinese language, 6 June is Russian language day and on 18 December we celebrate the Arabic language. Every language seems to have a day of celebration. But what does celebrating a language mean? What does it mean to you and to what extent do you think language defines us - and defines what others think of us? How is your life different as a result of teaching languages?

Topic 2: Do I make them read in class?

Teaching reading skills is more of a challenge in online teaching. Is reading during an online lesson a good use of time? How do you manage the associated comprehension tasks, focusing on language from the texts, and other tasks in an online lesson? What additional planning needs to take place for an online lesson that involves reading a text? Are your learners expected to read long texts before the lesson, and what happens when not all the students have done this? Tell us about how you manage this in your teaching practice - what tips and advice can you give to other teachers?

Topic 3: Maximising speaking opportunities

Engaging students in speaking activities can be a challenge in any situation, but can be particularly difficult in online teaching and even more so with teenagers! With younger learners, the challenge is often how to maintain their attention for an entire lesson. With classes where there is a mix of abilities, it is often the stronger students who speak while the weaker ones are able to hide. This is often more emphasised in remote teaching. Breakout rooms can provide an opportunity for students to engage in pairwork, but how do we know they are completing tasks and speaking to each other in English? What activities have you done in your classrooms (either face-to-face or online) that maximise speaking opportunities for all the students?

Topic 4: Building vocabulary

Expanding students' vocabulary is an essential part of language teaching and learning. However, it can sometimes be difficult to provide activities that specifically focus on helping students to develop their vocabulary, ensure that they use it effectively and then check that they can remember it later on. What activities and techniques do you have for introducing new vocabulary, and how do you review, recycle and revise it in later lessons?