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Adding choice and reflection to teen classes (guest post)

A fantastic guest post on Sandy Millin’s blog by Helen Chapman. Great tips for teens classes.

Sandy Millin

I was introduced to Helen Chapman at IATEFL Liverpool this year and I’m really glad I was (thanks Phil!) 🙂 She has lots of fantastic ideas for the young learner and teen classroom, both of which I’m sadly lacking, so following her on Twitter and reading her blog have been useful. A few days ago she posted an intriguing image of a lolly stick and some whiteboard graffiti on Twitter, and I asked her if she’d tell me more in a guest blog post. Here’s the result:

I’ve been a fan of adding a review/reflection stage to lessons with teenagers for the last few years, and more recently, I’ve been trying to include an element of choice in my classes. I’ve found this to be a really beneficial use of class time.

Why add a review/reflection stage?

Reviewing learning immediately after that learning has taken place aids memory. It…

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Self-correction and recording speaking activities (FCE Speaking part 2)

Geraldine teacher

Speaking by its very nature is ephemeral. As a teacher, it’s the skill that I find most difficult to correct. Do I interrupt and impact on fluency? Or should I wait until the end and board some of the most common errors? Either way, I seem to correct the same errors again and again. The students can often identify the mistakes they’ve made relatively easily but they continue to produce the errors. Those are just the grammar and vocabulary issues. What about the task itself? In a group of 12 students, when perhaps 6 people are completing the task simultaneously, I can’t tune in to them all at the same time. I often ask the partner to evaluate, but 99% of the time they lack the confidence to say anything other then it was ‘good’.

Ideally, I’d love to give detailed feedback for each individual every time we do this…

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Posted in Listening Classes

Off Menu Podcast: Listening – Sindhu Vee

Image result for off menu podcast

Image credit: https://play.acast.com/s/offmenu/

This is a lesson plan for B2+ students based around a clip from the brilliant Off Menu Podcast presented by Ed Gamble and James Acaster. The idea is to use the listening exercise as a way to encourage students to listen to podcasts for pleasure outside class. Download the student handout and answer key below:

Off Menu Podcast

The Off Menu Podcast is hosted by comedians Ed Gamble and James Acaster. Every week a different guest comes onto the show and talks about their ultimate dream meal. The meal must include a starter, main course, side dish, dessert and drink. There are no limits to what each dish could be, some guests have chosen things as varied as McDonald’s fries and Pizza Hut pizza or their mum’s Christmas dinner or a traditional Indian curry.

This week’s guest is the Indian comedian Sindhu Vee. Sindhu was born in India and has also lived in the Philippines; she now lives in London with her Danish husband.

Predict with your partner: You’re going to listen to the part where Sindhu chooses her dream main course. What do you think she chooses?

Link to the episode. Timing: 29:49-32:50

Listen for Gist

First listen: What was the dish?

Listen for Detail

2nd listen:

  1. Where did she try the dish?
  2. Who made the dish?
  3. How did the different members of her family react to the chef’s driving?
  4. What surprised her about Sicilian food?
  5. What was her husband’s reaction to the dish?
  6. What really impressed her about the dish?

Language focus

Look at the expressions Sindhu uses, what do you think they mean?

“Maniacal driving”

“I had to keep face”

“Not cognisant of the world around him.”

“You have a fight and flight response.”

“You’re gonna fight through to the taste.”

Follow up

Listen to the rest of the episode for homework, what does Sindhu choose for the other parts of her dream menu?

Answer Key

Listen for Gist

First listen: What was the dish? Pasta arrabbiata with angel hair pasta

Listen for Detail

2nd listen:

  1. Where did she try the dish? Near Florence
  2. Who made the dish? Mr Mancini the boss of the hotel
  3. How did the different members of her family react to the chef’s driving? She was fine, her husband was scared, her kids loved it
  4. What surprised her about Sicilian food? How spicy it was
  5. What was her husband’s reaction to the dish? He went blind
  6. What really impressed her about the dish? How it maintained its flavour despite being so spicy

Language focus

Look at the expressions Sindhu uses, what do you think they mean?

“Maniacal driving” – driving like a crazy person

“I had to keep face” – to maintain one’s reputation

“Not cognisant of the world around him.” – Not aware/unconscious

“You have a fight and flight response.” – Instinctive reaction, stand and fight or run away

“You’re gonna fight through to the taste.” – Battle against the spiciness to the flavour

Posted in 2Ts in a Pod: Podcast, Listening Classes

2Ts in a Pod: Episode 3 – Food – Listening Activity

 

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Image credit: Mark Wilding

Anna Balquin, one of the listeners to our podcast made this fantastic listening activity based around a section of episode 3 about food. The extract you’ll need is 10.57 – 15.09, download the student handout and answer key below:

2Ts in a Pod Food listening

Student Handout

Pre-listening

1. Discuss these questions with your partner:
• What’s your favourite comfort food?
• What do you think a ‘supper club’ is?
• What do you know about food from the USA? What are some traditional American dishes?

2. First listen

We’re going to listen to Nicole talk about her supper club. What kind of food does she serve?

3. Second listen: listen again and answer the following questions.

1. How long has Nicole been living in Barcelona?
2. What did Nicole serve with the brisket?
3. Do the supper club guests usually know each other?
4. Where did gumbo come from?
5. Which cultures does the dish gumbo mix?
6. What’s the first thing you do when making gumbo?
7. What is the holy trinity?
8. What were the main ingredients of the gumbo that Nicole made?
9. How does Katy express that she likes the sound of Nicole’s gumbo?

4. Look at this quote from the audio and discuss its meaning with your partner.

“I love to gather people around the table that are from different walks of life”

Answer key:

2. First listen

We’re going to listen to Nicole talk about her supper club. What kind of food does she serve? Southern US soul food

3. Second listen: listen again and answer the following questions.

1. How long has Nicole been living in Barcelona? over a decade
2. What did Nicole serve with the brisket? collard greens, sweet potato mash, green beans, crispy shallots
3. Do the supper club guests usually know each other? no
4. Where did gumbo come from? Louisiana New Orleans
5. Which cultures does the dish gumbo mix? West African with French
6. What’s the first thing you do when making gumbo? Make a roux (butter, flour)
7. What is the holy trinity? Onion, celery, bell peppers
8. What were the main ingredients of the gumbo that Nicole made? prawn chicken sausage and bacon
9. How does Katy express that she likes the sound of Nicole’s gumbo? “Oh my gosh, my mouth is watering!”

 

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Watching TV Series

Klara@eoi

Watching TV series is often a favourite pastime for many of my students, and not just the millennials. Most of those who are in C1 and C2 are already watching them in English, as they are aware that they can learn everything from the newest slang to an authentic-sounding accent.

Series are shorter than films, they let you come back to the characters again and again and predict what will happen to them next. They often reflect real life, which means people in them use real language and grammar. Therefore, it’s a great resource to exploit inside and outside the classroom. Here are some things I have done in class:

autonomous learning

This year I have been trying to encourage and guide my students into practising their English outside the classroom every day, so I provided them with a list of things they could do to practise the different skills…

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New year, new language? Language learning resolutions for 2019.

Emma's Language Journey

23755515_10159585416905335_3745950809325334108_n Cheers, Duolingo… This was a while ago, hope I’ve improved a bit since then! 

Since it’s the start of a new year, I thought I’d write about my language learning goals for 2019, in the hope that this will help me become clearer about what I want to achieve (and also help me stick to it!).

I realised recently that, despite having a languages degree and reaching C2 level in Spanish, my language learning strategies aren’t particularly well developed. I’ve always been lucky enough to “pick up” vocabulary quite quickly, especially when I was living in Chile (but also when I was studying at university and spending a lot of time reading  complex literary texts in Spanish). This means that I don’t really have strategies for learning vocabulary (apart from the classic “read, cover, write, check” strategy that I remember from primary school spelling tests). So, I’m also hoping to…

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#eltbookclub

Are you a teacher looking for opportunities to continue your professional development? Why not join an elt book club? Jenni Fogg writes about it here.

jennifoggteach

I ask a lot of questions on Twitter, for example, ‘what’s the most outside your remit thing you’ve had to teach in the ELT classroom?’ (answers included ‘the legal side of a petrochemical refinery’ and ‘mudlogging’ *shrug emoji*) and ‘what’s in your teaching bag?’ (answers included blu tac, dice, paperclips and obviously fly swatters).

Recently, I asked if an ELT book club existed on Twitter. I asked because I’d like to do a little bit more reading, just one ELT-related book or article a month to get me thinking. Lots of people seemed to like the idea! I suppose doing something with a big group not only encourages connections with people within the community, but it makes us a bit more accountable and more likely to read, even if we secretly just read the first chapter and the conclusion. #nojudgement

So, what’s out there? Turns out there’s plenty for you to get…

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