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  • I recently started to brush up my German. I last studied German many years ago at school and I can’t say that it was a great success. In fact, I failed the exam and had to retake it. Hardly surprising, as I seem to remember spending a good portion...
  • First, think of a set of 10-12 questions that you don’t mind answering about yourself and your life and write the answers on the board (not the questions). The questions will depend on the level and how well the students already know you.For example...
  • According to Wikipedia, ‘in education, realia (pronunciation ree-ah-lee-ah) are objects from real life used in classroom instruction by educators to improve students' understanding of other cultures and real life situations’. Some people would...
  • I have no idea where that little gem came from, but I’m pretty sure someone made it up! Experience tells me that we grasp some items of vocabulary pretty quickly, while others slip through our fingers. There are probably various reasons for this:...
  • ‘Mayday, mayday..we are sinking!’ The German pauses, and then asks, ‘What are you sinking about?’The joke plays on the difficulty some German speakers have distinguishing between the /s/ sound and the /θ/ sound as he mistakes /sɪŋk/ for /θɪŋk/....
  • Action research is one of those terms that many people have heard of, but that nonetheless remains a bit of a mystery.So what exactly is action research? Books have been written about this (see below), but, for me, perhaps the most important point...
  • When I first learnt French at school, aged about 9 or 10, the teacher insisted on giving us all French names. I was annoyed because mine was Renee (not Rachel). Who was this Renee, and what did she have to do with me? I think the idea came from the...
  • Not just physically (standing up, walking around and lugging books and equipment is demanding), but mentally and emotionally. When a lesson goes well, you feel on top of the world, and, when it goes badly…well, let’s just say many of us struggle not...
  • Speaking activities are rarely greeted this way, and yet both are forms of communication, aren’t they? Or are they? Perhaps one of the biggest problems with writing activities is that so often they aren’t about communication: they’re about answering...
  • How do you feel about using coursebooks? What a loaded question, especially to someone that writes them…Actually, I don’t think coursebooks are the answer to everything [except the ones I’ve written of course ;) ]I don’t particularly like the fact...
  • This is an activity which works at pretty much any level from Pre-Intermediate upwards. It works with classes you know well, and with classes you’ve only just met. In fact, I often use it if I have to do a last minute cover with no time to prepare...