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04 Jul 2016

Most materials writers start their careers as teachers, sometimes moving into teacher training as they gain experience and maybe...

16 Sep 2015

This blog post is about why it’s important to think of the interaction patterns of our learners and suggests six stress-free ways of...

01 Aug 2015

As a freelance writer, usually with around a dozen projects on the go at any given time, no two days in my working life are ever the...

23 Sep 2014

As with most good teaching practice, using activities to promote a student's confidence is a simple matter of common sense.

21 Jul 2014

Homework can be stressful – for the students who are often over-burdened, for the teachers who are already up to their necks in marking...

17 Jun 2014

One of my first experiences as a teacher trainer was in 1990 when I did an in-house training workshop for my colleagues in an English...

07 May 2014

Writing a lesson plan before a class is a bit like writing a list before packing for a trip.

11 Feb 2014

Question: Can you think of a teacher who has had an impact on you?

16 Jan 2014

For me, the best classroom activities are usually the most simple, requiring little or no preparation time and few or no materials.

  • Lots of authors have their first experience of developing materials when they create things for their own classes, either through necessity or because they want to personalise or substitute a course book they are using.
  • Variety: the spice of lifeFor me, the best lessons have a variety of interaction patterns. Learners might start off the lesson doing a mingling activity as a warmer. This would involve the whole class. Then they might spend time doing individual...
  • But a couple of things are pretty constant. The first – spending most of my waking hours in front of a computer screen under the auspices of ‘Working: Do not disturb’ and the second – spending much of this time actively seeking distractions to take...
  • As with most good teaching practice, using activities to promote a student's confidence is a simple matter of common sense. Confident students make the best language learners. By creating a classroom in which your students have the confidence to...
  • Homework can be stressful – for the students who are often over-burdened, for the teachers who are already up to their necks in marking, and for the parents of young learners, constantly fighting (and losing) homework battles with their children....
  • One of my first experiences as a teacher trainer was in 1990 when I did an in-house training workshop for my colleagues in an English academy in Madrid. The workshop was about using pictures in the classroom. I remember it because I’d been nervous...
  • You can travel without a list of course but you will avoid a few problems if you spend a bit of time planning – not a whole week though. That would be silly. A few minutes should be enough. Pre-empting problems will bring peace of mind and when it...
  • Maybe it was someone from when you were at school, or maybe someone you work with currently. How have they shaped what you do in the classroom? What techniques or values do you employ that are the result of what you learned from this person?One of...
  • A simple IdeaFor me, the best classroom activities are usually the most simple, requiring little or no preparation time and few or no materials. They are activities that can be adapted to use effectively with groups of different sizes, levels or...