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Larry Ferlazzo's Blog

  • newCinco de Mayo Resources
    Cinco de Mayo, May 5th, commemorates the defeat of the French by the Mexican Army in 1862. It’s a national holiday in Mexico, and is celebrated by Mexican immigrants and Mexican-Americans in the United States. You might be interested in … Continu…
    - 4 hours ago, 18 Apr 14, 10:26am -
  • newBritish Pathé Makes 85,000 Historical Clips Available On YouTube
    I’m just going to begin with a quote from Open Culture: British Pathé was one of the leading producers of newsreels and documentaries during the 20th Century. This week, the company, now an archive, is turning over its entire collection … Contin…
    - 6 hours ago, 18 Apr 14, 8:45am -
  • newUpdated Holocaust Resources
    From The United States Holocaust Memorial Museum: Congress established the Days of Remembrance as the nation’s annual commemoration of the Holocaust and created the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum as a permanent living memorial to the victi…
    - 6 hours ago, 18 Apr 14, 8:26am -
  • newIdeas For Finishing The School Year Strong & Beginning The Summer Even Stronger
    A very popular excerpt from one of my books was titled “Finishing The School Year Strong” was published both at Education Week Teacher and at Edutopia. It’s very practical, and here’s an excerpt: Okay, so that’s for dealing with these … C…
    - 9 hours ago, 18 Apr 14, 5:08am -
  • new“Dissecting Grades: What Do They Mean, What Are They Worth?” Is My New BAM! Radio Program
    Dissecting Grades: What Do They Mean, What Are They Worth? is the title of my new ten-minute BAM! Radio program. My guest is Rick Wormeli. I’m adding it to The Best Resources On Grading Practices.
    - 14 hours ago, 18 Apr 14, 12:48am -
  • newStudy: Gratitude Increases Self-Control
    I’ve written in the past about my use of “Reflection Cards” in the classroom, including the research behind them (you can download a copy of the card and read the research at my post, Giving Students “Reflection Cards.” Research shows … C…
    - 15 hours ago, 17 Apr 14, 11:48pm -
  • Book Reviews – & Shakespeare – In Three Panels
    I’ve previously posted about Lisa Brown’s “Three Panel Book Reviews” that formerly appeared in The San Francisco Chronicle. They’re great models for student projects. I recently learned about how another artist uses this “three panel” i…
    - 1 day ago, 17 Apr 14, 1:02pm -
  • Who’s To Blame For The SAT’s Existence? Thanks A Lot, Tom Edison…
    The SAT Test has been in the news a lot, lately. The College Board is revamping it, and they just released new sample questions. In addition to those links, here are a few other useful articles: The New SAT: Less … Continue reading →
    - 1 day ago, 17 Apr 14, 12:18pm -
  • “What Are Some Ways Of Differentiating A Lesson?”
    What Are Some Ways Of Differentiating A Lesson? is the latest “question-of-the-week” at my Education Week Teacher column. Responses are welcome there or here in the comments….
    - 1 day ago, 17 Apr 14, 6:22am -

Free Technology for Teachers

  • newPoetica - Edit Documents Online as if You Were Writing on Paper
    Poetica is a neat new service for collaborative editing of documents. The best feature of Poetica is its similarity to writing on a paper document. While reading a document you can click on any word or space between words to insert a line drawn to th…
    - 4 hours ago, 18 Apr 14, 10:04am -
  • newBooktrack - Create and Listen to Soundtracks for Books
    Booktrack is an interesting service that I recently tried after reading about it on Larry Ferlazzo's blog. Booktrack allows you to add a soundtrack to a text. The soundtrack can be soft music or ambient noises like waves crashing. Booktrack claims th…
    - 4 hours ago, 18 Apr 14, 10:02am -
  • newHow Much Have We Polluted? - This Map Will Show You
    Here's another resource that has an Earth Day connection. How Much Have We Polluted? is an interactive heat map that displays the per capita and yearly total of CO2 emissions for individual countries. The map contains data dating back to 1960. Move t…
    - 5 hours ago, 18 Apr 14, 9:36am -
  • new14 Educational Resources for Earth Day 2014
    Earth Day 2014 is coming up next week. As I've done in the past, I've compiled a list of resources for teaching about Earth Day and environmental science in general. Here are fourteen resources for teaching and learning about Earth Day and environmen…
    - 5 hours ago, 18 Apr 14, 9:06am -
  • newFAQs About the Practical Ed Tech Summer Camp
    This summer for the second year in a row I will be hosting the Practical Ed Tech Summer Camp at Sunday River Resort in beautiful Newry, Maine. The Practical Ed Tech Summer Camp will be held on July 14th and 15th, 2014. Discounted early registration…
    - 16 hours ago, 17 Apr 14, 10:49pm -
  • Too Noisy - Give Your Students Visual Feedback on Noise in Your Classroom
    Last week I shared a couple of browser-based noise meters that show students how loudly they speak. That post was written in response a request for an alternative to the iPad app Too Noisy. Today, the developers of Too Noisy released a browser-based…
    - 1 day ago, 17 Apr 14, 2:33am -
  • How to Open and Edit Word Files in Google Drive
    Every now and then I will receive a Word (Docx) file as an email attachment. I have configured my Google Account to allow me to open these files as documents converted into Google Docs format. In the video below I demonstrate how to configure this se…
    - 2 days ago, 17 Apr 14, 12:53am -
  • How to Find and Use Report Card Templates in Google Drive
    Earlier today through the Free Technology for Teachers Facebook page I was asked for a recommendation for a free tool for creating report cards. One free online method of creating report cards is to use a Google Sheets template. Rather than starting…
    - 2 days ago, 16 Apr 14, 11:57pm -
  • Five Good File Conversion Tools
    Even though I create nearly all of my documents online and use cloud storage services that support a multitude of file formats, there are still a few occasions when someone sends me a file that I need to convert. If your school is not using Google Dr…
    - 2 days ago, 16 Apr 14, 10:39pm -


  • newWriting Your First Sentences
    This lesson will help you write your very first sentences. Follow each step reading the description and you will learn how to write three different types of sentences. For example:Mary is tall. Mary is a student. Mary is a tall student.This is…
    - 16 hours ago, 17 Apr 14, 10:11pm -
  • Teaching Beginners Parts of Speech
    Learning parts of speech can be a real challenge for beginners. However, learning to recognize just four - noun / verb / adjective / adverb - will greatly help them develop a feeling for the structure of English. Use this parts of speech lesson to as…
    - 4 days ago, 14 Apr 14, 8:46pm -
  • Having the Final Word
    Sometimes you might have to insist on your point of view. Someone who has the final word ends the conversation forcefully:I said we're going to finish the project. That's my final word!Learn how to have the final word using phrases and structur…
    - 6 days ago, 12 Apr 14, 8:26pm -
  • How to Guides on Teaching the Tenses
    One of the main tasks in any grammar class is teaching tenses. For many students, the tenses are especially challenging because their native language may lack a focus on the time aspect of tenses that is so prevalent in English. These guides have bee…
    - 9 days ago, 9 Apr 14, 6:11pm -
  • Challenge Yourself with Gap Fills
    Here are two new gap fills that will challenge any upper level student. First, we have a story about a man who decides to buy a boat. It's packed full of unique vocabulary and sure to be a challenge. Next, learn 15 new phrasal verbs with this gap fil…
    - 14 days ago, 4 Apr 14, 8:13pm -
  • Will or Going to - A Difficult Choice
    The choice between will or going to for the future is always hard. Make sure to study the rules to will and going to and then check your understanding with this future forms quiz. Teachers can use this future with going to and will lesson plan, as we…
    - 15 days ago, 3 Apr 14, 10:19pm -
  • Play Bingo in Class to Help Learn Past Forms
    Here are a number of suggestions on how you can use bingo cards to practice past irregular forms in class. There are six bingo cards ready to print out, or you can use the irregular verb forms list to come up with your own, or encourage students to c…
    - 18 days ago, 31 Mar 14, 7:51pm -
  • Chance of a Lifetime
    Here's a new idioms in context story about a man who missed the chance of his lifetime because he was a little too proud. Read the short selection, review the new idioms through the definitions provided and learn through context. You can also read an…
    - 20 days ago, 29 Mar 14, 8:45pm -
  • Test your knowledge of idioms
    Idioms can be a source of frustration for some learners. On the other hand, I find that most students really enjoy idioms as they tend to be used frequently in materials students are studying. Advanced students might find the fixed expressions quiz c…
    - 23 days ago, 26 Mar 14, 8:27pm -

ESL Basics

  • What does it mean to giggle? (Video)
    What does it mean to giggle? The dictionary defines the verb giggle as… laugh lightly in a nervous, affected, or silly manner. In this video I use the word “cute” to describe my son giggling. No matter how you define the word, it is easier to s…
    - 6 days ago, 12 Apr 14, 10:42am -
  • Who Knew Madonna Could Teach English?
    Today’s post joins English language learning with a passion for music. It’s written by our friend Alice Morell, creator of It’s titled “Who Knew Madonna Could Teach English?” because Alice uses 3 Madonna songs to make an Eng…
    - 9 days ago, 10 Apr 14, 1:54am -
  • How to Write an Effective Topic Sentence
    How to Write an Effective Topic Sentence When you write an academic paragraph in English, you should probably start by writing the topic sentence. The topic sentence is essentially a 1-sentence summary of the paragraph. It clearly outlines the main i…
    - 11 days ago, 8 Apr 14, 2:06am -
  • English Texting Abbreviations and Acronyms
    Is texting ruining your English? According to a poll taken by Kaplan International, 63% of English language learners don’t think so. The good news is that world-renowned linguist David Crystal doesn’t think it’s had a negative effect on languag…
    - 16 days ago, 2 Apr 14, 4:03am -
  • When To Use Continuous Verbs
    You probably already know that continuous verbs are be + -ing verbs. am typingare walkingis singingwas yellingwere gallopingwill be happening But do you know when to use continuous verbs?  Here are 5 simple rules for when to use the continuous (prog…
    - 21 days ago, 28 Mar 14, 7:24pm -
  • How To Pronounce Countries In English
    How To Pronounce Countries In English Learn how to pronounce countries in English… every country! Here is a list of world countries, along with an audio recording I put together of the American English pronunciation of each country. Every language…
    - 23 days ago, 26 Mar 14, 12:32pm -
  • Useful Tools for Learning English
    Check out these tools for learning English… When Kaplan International asked over 500 ESL teachers about tools they used to teach English, 86% said that they have used music for lessons in their classrooms. I am definitely part of the 86%! Music is…
    - 25 days ago, 24 Mar 14, 8:48pm -
  • Audio Lesson: How to Brainstorm Effectively
    How to Brainstorm Effectively Today is a writing lesson focused on the process of brainstorming. The best place to start when you want to write is in the pre-writing phase called brainstorming. When I brainstorm, I use three techniques: Free Writing…
    - 29 days ago, 20 Mar 14, 8:09pm -
  • Slang Terms and Idioms About Money
    Money, Money, Money, Money! There are dozens of ways to talk about money without actually saying the word “money”. Most of these slang terms would never be used in a bank, but they are certainly popular. Here are 25 of my favorites along with the…
    - 32 days ago, 18 Mar 14, 12:28am -
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Teach English Online

  • Want to Teach Online? Here Are Four Platforms that You Can Use
    In my last post, I talked about how to use Google Hangouts on Air to teach live language lessons to an unlimited amount of people. Since then, I have received a lot of questions from people in my community about what platform is best to use when tea…
    - 4 days ago, 14 Apr 14, 11:53pm -
  • Using Google Hangouts on Air for Teaching English
    I had my first experience using Google Hangouts on Air this week. I’m happy to say that it was successful both in terms of the presentation I gave and the technical side of things. I did A LOT of research and testing to ensure that everything went…
    - 21 days ago, 28 Mar 14, 11:26am -
  • Get Sold (Guest Post by Drew Badger from
    When talking with Drew Badger, it is soon obvious just how knowledgeable he is about marketing. He has built a successful online course that solves a big problem for English learners: becoming conversationally fluent. He also has a very successful Yo…
    - 78 days ago, 30 Jan 14, 9:53pm -
  • What I Achieved in 2013, Projects in 2014, the Baby Effect, and Bill Gates
    First of all, Happy (belated) New Year to all my wonderful readers! I receive many emails from fellow teachers each day, and love hearing about your situation, what you want to achieve, and your successes. Keep the emails coming! 2013 was a great yea…
    - 91 days ago, 17 Jan 14, 10:55pm -
  • When a Language Teacher Becomes a Language Coach
    “The mediocre teacher tells. The good teacher explains. The superior teacher demonstrates. The great teacher inspires.” – William Arthur Ward. One of my students recently passed her IELTS exam on the first attempt. When she first came to me, sh…
    - 11 Dec 13, 12:31am -
  • Using Email to Bridge the Gap Between Offline and Online and to Grow a Following
    I’ve mentioned many times how important it is to have an email list if you teach online or have a website. But, what if you don’t teach online? Well, if you currently teach in a traditional setting, you should seriously consider getting in on the…
    - 12 Nov 13, 7:07am -
  • Mau Buchler of Tripppin Drops In to Give Advice on Teaching Online
    We love to feature people who are making a mark in the online world, and today I have another guest vlog from Mau Buchler. Mau recently launched his unique English learning platform Tripppin. To give you a taste of what this is like, take a look at t…
    - 31 Oct 13, 12:06am -
  • Online Learning and Group Lessons (Guest Vlog by Jason R Levine)
    Today we welcome our second guest poster to the blog: Jason R Levine. Jason and I have been collaborating on a few things recently, and I really wanted him to share his knowledge of online teaching here at TeachingESLOnline. So, below you’ll find a…
    - 10 Oct 13, 7:44am -
  • Why Connecting With Others Brings You More Students and Makes You a Better Teacher
    One piece of advice that I give to teachers starting out in this online world of teaching is to create true connections with English learners, students, and fellow teachers. My approach to reaching out and connecting with others online has changed dr…
    - 1 Oct 13, 10:54am -

Scott Thornbury Blog

  • A new beginning
    As promised, blogging resumes shortly… but in a new site and with a new format. You can find the new blog here: it’s called The (De-) Fossilization Diaries, and charts the attempts I’m making to improve my faltering Spanish. Hope to see you the…
    - 23 Aug 13, 5:31pm -
  • The End
    So this is it, folks: I’m closing down the blog for the summer… and for good. After 3 years, 150 posts, nearly 7000 comments, and innumerable hits, visits, views, however you want to describe and count them, plus one e-book spin-off (but no sign…
    - 9 Jun 13, 3:00pm -
  • V is for Vocabulary teaching
    A teacher educator in Norway reports on how she has used ideas from my book How to Teach Vocabulary (2002) on an in-service course for local primary and lower secondary school teachers. Mona Flognfeldt writes: ‘I have shared with my students a lot…
    - 2 Jun 13, 3:00pm -
  • G is for Gesture
    A couple of weeks ago the University of Barcelona hosted a week-long course on Gesture and SLA, run by Dr Marianne Gullberg, Professor of Psycholinguistics at Lund University in Sweden. Marianne has to be one of the leading experts on gesture and lan…
    - 26 May 13, 3:00pm -
  • R is for Repetition (again)
    I do not know which to prefer, The beauty of inflections Or the beauty of innuendos, The blackbird whistling Or just after. Wallace Stevens, ‘Thirteen ways of looking at a blackbird’. It’s spring and the male blackbirds are in full throat. I wa…
    - 19 May 13, 3:00pm -
  • C is for (COCA) Corpus
    A recent ELT Chat on using corpora suggested that what might be helpful for teachers coming to online corpora (such as COCA- the Corpus of Contemporary American English) for the first time would be some kind of screencast, demonstrating some of the m…
    - 12 May 13, 3:00pm -
  • T is for Teacher Knowledge
    What you do need to know in order to be able to teach? The question concerns not only teachers, but also teacher educators and methodology writers, since the way we answer it impacts on the design of training programs and their related materials. Do…
    - 5 May 13, 3:00pm -
  • T is for Turning point
    This was written by a young American woman, visiting Europe for the first time, and speaking the German she had learned at school. It describes an experience many second language speakers will attest to: the turning point – that moment when suddenl…
    - 28 Apr 13, 3:00pm -
  • W is for Wondering
    Three excellent presentations at IATEFL this year, each of which referenced Dogme, got me wondering. The first, Conversation-driven or dialogic methodology? ELT Classroom talk, was given by Dr Phil Chappell, from Macquarie University in NSW. Phil sta…
    - 21 Apr 13, 3:00pm -

Oxford University Press (ELT Blog)

  • new#qskills – How can I help my students understand words in a reading passage?
    Today’s question for the Q: Skills for Success authors: How can I help my students understand words in a reading passage? Scott Roy Douglas responds. We are no longer taking questions. Thank you to everyone who contacted us! Look out … Continue r…
    - 18 hours ago, 17 Apr 14, 8:57pm -
  • Helping students to use good grammar when they speak

    - 2 days ago, 16 Apr 14, 8:23pm -
  • My students say the absolute minimum
    Zarina Subhan, an experienced teacher and teacher trainer, tackles the second of our Solutions Speaking Challenges: “My students say the absolute minimum”. I find myself in the classroom in an unfamiliar position. It’s not the fact that I’ve…
    - 3 days ago, 15 Apr 14, 11:09pm -
  • Boosting student confidence and performance with online practice tests
    Ahead of our webinar showing teachers how to use the online practice tests available on, Stacey Hughes examines the benefits of online practice tests and explores how they can help prepare your students for their exams. I…
    - 3 days ago, 15 Apr 14, 5:58pm -
  • Teach less to help young students learn more
    Barbara Hoskins Sakamoto, co-author of Let’s Go, outlines the benefits of only teaching young learners one new thing at a time by recycling, reinforcing, and building on new language. How can you get your students to learn more English? Teach less…
    - 4 days ago, 14 Apr 14, 10:25pm -
  • Video cameras in the hands of learners
    Jamie Keddie, author of Bringing Online Video into the Classroom, looks at the benefits of handing over control of the video camera to students. Jamie will be hosting a webinar on this topic on 15th and 16 April. Filmed presentations … Continue rea…
    - 7 days ago, 11 Apr 14, 10:40pm -

Heads Up English

  • Easter
    Easter celebrates the death and resurrection of Jesus. Although it falls on a Sunday, the holiday follows the phases of the moon in the lunar calendar. Hence the actual date changes from year to year. Easter can be celebrated as early as March 22, an…
    - 23 days ago, 26 Mar 14, 10:42pm -
  • St. Patrick's Day
    What does St. Patrick's Day mean to you? For many, it means being honorary Irish for a day. It means a large parade with marching bands, floats, and folk dressed in green top hats and tails. It means green beer, and a lot of it. In Chicago, the river…
    - 37 days ago, 12 Mar 14, 9:53pm -
  • When to Tie the Knot
    Around the world, young people have waited longer and longer to get married. There are many reasons, such as careers, personal goals, and a fear of divorce. Many people also now see marriage as the last step in becoming an adult, whereas previous gen…
    - 50 days ago, 27 Feb 14, 9:03pm -
  • Happiness is... Family?!
    What makes teens and twenty-somethings happy? According to a survey, spending time with family made people in this age group the most happy. Time with friends came in second place, and time with a boyfriend or girlfriend came in third place. Almost n…
    - 51 days ago, 26 Feb 14, 6:54am -
  • Men, Women, and Household Chores
    Men make more housework for women. He may mow the lawn, shovel snow, or fix things around the house. However, he still adds seven hours per week to the load of chores. The information comes from recent research between 1996 and 2005. During this peri…
    - 54 days ago, 23 Feb 14, 7:31am -
  • Men are Chatterboxes too!
    Who do you think speaks more, men or women? Many people believe that women are more talkative. There are many jokes about how much, and what, women talk about. But new research which may be surprising shows that both men and women speak more or less…
    - 68 days ago, 9 Feb 14, 8:02am -

  • newKype
    New Entry: 'Kype' has just been added to the Slang area of This entry is only available in our members' area.
    - 20 hours ago, 17 Apr 14, 6:12pm -
  • newOTL
    New Entry: 'OTL' has just been added to the Chatlish area of This entry is only available in our members' area.
    - 20 hours ago, 17 Apr 14, 6:11pm -
  • newJockey into
    New Entry: 'Jockey into' has just been added to the Phrasal Verbs area of
    - 20 hours ago, 17 Apr 14, 6:10pm -
  • newFritter away
    New Entry: 'Fritter away' has just been added to the Phrasal Verbs area of
    - 20 hours ago, 17 Apr 14, 6:08pm -
  • newPossessive Adjectives Drawing Game [PDF]
    New Entry: 'Possessive Adjectives Drawing Game' has just been added to the Lesson Plans area of
    - 20 hours ago, 17 Apr 14, 6:03pm -
  • IELTS Listening- Typical Errors [PDF]
    New Entry: 'IELTS Listening- Typical Errors' has just been added to the Lesson Plans area of
    - 4 days ago, 14 Apr 14, 10:10pm -

The Everyday Language Learner

  • How Much Vocabulary Is Enough?
    Today’s guest post comes from Jeffery Nelson, the creator of a great new blog called Living Bilingual.  After you enjoy the article stop by and visit. ———- Language skills are hard to measure. There is an innate subjectivity in analyzing a l…
    - 13 Aug 13, 12:27pm -
  • The Number One Rule For Learning A Foreign Language
    Today I am excited to share another great guest post from a regular EDLL reader, Arabic expert and language lover Saqib Hussain.  You can find out more about Saqib and about Arabic at  Arabic Studio.  For now, enjoy the post! ————- OK, so…
    - 26 Jul 13, 5:06am -
  • The Everyday Language Learner Interview Series: Jana Fadness
    I have been an admirer of Jana Fadness for a number of years now and so was excited to be able to interview her a few weeks back.  Her blog, Adventures of the Directionally Challenged shares here experiences as a language learner, a traveler and a t…
    - 4 Jul 13, 5:11am -
  • How to Instantly Improve Your Vocabulary Recall in just 5 Minutes
    Perhaps you are familiar with Tim Ferris’ “4 Hour” series of books.  In today’s guest post, Allan Ngo of Money in Mandrin unpacks a few lessons he took away from The 4 Hour Chef.  Enjoy! RIIIIIIIIIIIIING!!!!!!!! Your alarm clock blares! POW…
    - 24 Jun 13, 11:16pm -
  • The Most Important Day Of Your Language Learning Journey
    Today’s guest post is from Noel van Vliet, the writer behind  It was certainly a timely post for me as I’ve been struggling amidst part time jobs and being back in the states to stay connected with learning Turkish an…
    - 10 Jun 13, 8:20pm -
  • Get on the Bus and Stay On
    It’s not everyday that I get a postcard with a picture of an elephant trying to get on a double decker bus, but when I do, I like to share about it. The picture itself is so great – an apt metaphor for life as we know it. Much of what we do is fi…
    - 31 May 13, 5:11am -


  • Student Led Conferences: Sick and Tired of Blogs & Reflection?
    Our students just finished a second round of Student Led Conferences (SLC) this school year (one in Semester 1 and another in Semester 2). SLCs are a formal opportunity for students to present to their parents about the state of their learning. The s…
    - 2 days ago, 16 Apr 14, 8:02am -
  • How to Create a Backchannel Exit Ticket for Class, Presentation or Workshop?
    This screencast below will show you how to use Google Docs as a backchannel or exit ticket during a presentation, lesson or workshop. Creating a BackChannel or Exit Ticket on Google Docs from langwitches on Vimeo.
    - 5 days ago, 13 Apr 14, 11:54pm -
  • Sketchnoting and Making Learning Visible Workshop
    I spent the day yesterday at St. Paul’s Education Conference here in São Paulo yesterday and attended Ben Mardell‘s  session Making Learning Visible: Children and Adults as Individual and Group Learners Over the past few decades, much attention…
    - 5 days ago, 13 Apr 14, 8:32pm -
  • Visible Thinking in Math- Part 2
    This is the second part of the blog post : Visible Thinking in Math Another Math teacher (sixth grade) at Graded, The American School of São Paulo , Laurel Janewicz, has been passionately piloting metacognitive thinking and reflection in her own Mat…
    - 7 days ago, 11 Apr 14, 9:14pm -
  • Selfies Around the World
      On the heels of The Cultural Phenomena of Selfies and  iPhoneography: Photo Challenges, Ideas & Literacy, students from the American School of São Paulo, Brazil want to know more about Selfies around the world. If you and your students would l…
    - 8 days ago, 10 Apr 14, 7:39pm -
  • Poetry, Performance & Taylor Mali and Beyond…
    Graded, the American School of São Paulo, was fortunate to have Taylor Mali, a performance poet and teacher, come all the way to Brazil to engage and get our students and teachers excited about poetry and performing the spoken word. Below is a Stor…
    - 10 days ago, 8 Apr 14, 7:01am -

EFL Classroom 2.0

  • Why Do I Blog?
    “I knew that I had a facility with words and a power of facing unpleasant facts, and I felt that this created a sort of private world in which I could get my own back for my failure in everyday life.” ― George Orwell, Why I Write I’ve been…
    - 42 days ago, 7 Mar 14, 7:16pm -
  • True False Cognates
    I’m presently enjoying life deep in the highlands of Guatemala. It’s why I haven’t been posting regularly and fanatically. All things at their own time and pace but I’ll be back in the new year – loud, clear, full of posts! I’m taking Spa…
    - 21 Dec 13, 7:33am -
  • A hard day at the office ….
    I had a hard day at the office. Teachers usually do. So wrote this poem and will share.
    - 12 Oct 13, 9:50am -
  • Stories from the trenches: The Creative Teacher
    Over the years, spending time with thousands of new or budding teachers – I’ve thought and thought and thought about the major factors that make a “great teacher”.   It’s not an easy thing to pin down, given that there are so many differen…
    - 11 Oct 13, 9:26pm -
  • Not just playing a part
    I’ve been working on a new post this weekend, a reflection on my own development as a teacher and all the footprints that truly led me to where I am right now. Something for myself but which other teachers might find some truth therein. I’m not e…
    - 5 Oct 13, 6:51am -
  • Stories from the trenches 4
    This story comes from my time teaching at Bloor and Bay, 5th floor, N.E tower – Language Connections International. I was teaching new immigrants to Canada part of the day, foreign students the other half. Small classrooms with one wall all windows…
    - 22 Sep 13, 5:06am -

Language Log

  • Sinographic memory in Vietnamese writing
    Jason Cox sent in the following photograph of the cover of a Vietnamese religious text and asked what was going on with the "characters" along the left and right sides. This immediately reminded me of Square Word Calligraphy (writing English words in…
    - 2 days ago, 17 Apr 14, 1:34am -
  • Samples in which hypercorrections are in
    Following up on "A nation in which supports dependency" (7/9/2012), Glenn Bingham has sent me an annotated compendium of "Samples in which hypercorrections are in", reproduced below as a guest post. Glenn's diagnosis is that these examples arise by w…
    - 2 days ago, 16 Apr 14, 2:43am -
  • Breakthrough
    Jon Kabat-Zinn's estimable (2013) Full Catastrophe Living (Revised edition): Using the Wisdom of Your Body and Mind to Face Stress, Pain, and Illness has an odd "Chinese character for X" blooper: "Maybe there is something to be learned from the fact…
    - 3 days ago, 15 Apr 14, 9:18pm -
  • British "gentleman" in China
    Will Spence has an article on "Why 'gentleman' matters" in Caixin Online, part of a Mainland media group, with the following lede:  "The Chinese government often says it wants to build up its soft power, but for this to happen it may have to embrace…
    - 3 days ago, 15 Apr 14, 4:28am -
  • Not guilty on this train
    Wenn sounds a bit like when, but doesn't really mean "when" in German; it usually means "if". Wer sounds a bit like where, but it doesn't mean "where", it means "who". Sechs sounds like sex but doesn't mean "sex". Gift looks like gift but means "pois…
    - 4 days ago, 15 Apr 14, 1:32am -
  • So appealing
    A few days ago, (someone using the initials) C D C commented: I get so annoyed when I hear sloppy English on the news. Today I heard that one of the killers of that soldier in London was going to "appeal his sentence" instead of "appeal against his s…
    - 5 days ago, 13 Apr 14, 8:32pm -

Jeremy Harmer

  • Angel or devil? The strange case of Sugata Mitra
    Last Saturday Sugata Mitra gave a plenary at an international teachers’ conference. When it was over a proportion of the audience gave him a standing ovation, but an equal number refused to get to their feet and a proportion of the ‘remaining sea…
    - 11 days ago, 8 Apr 14, 12:50am -
  • What Sheryl Crow gave her attention to: a conundrum for language teachers
    I was reading the Guardian yesterday and came across a short interview with the singer Sheryl Crow during which she responded to the question ‘what have you sacrificed for your art?’ with the answer “my love life. I think whatever you give your…
    - 64 days ago, 13 Feb 14, 3:31am -
  • Testophile or testophobe?
    I was very taken with Luke Meddings’ recent blogpost about the tensions between education and big business (amongst other things). He suggested that whereas we teach to reach students, to help students reach their potential, others see teaching as…
    - 17 Dec 13, 1:05am -
  • Shall we kill off the digital native?
    Someone (let’s call him Marc Prensky!) once came up with a rather neat description of the difference between some kids and some older people. The former, he suggested, were digital natives who grew up with technology all around them as a given –…
    - 23 Nov 13, 4:01am -
  • Does size matter? Or is it shape? Or room?
    As October faded into November I found myself giving talks at the fabulous TELLSI conference in Mashad, Iran, immediately followed by a stint at the IGA conference (Instituto Guatamalteco-Americano) in Guatemala City, and then MEXTESOL in Queretero,…
    - 19 Nov 13, 1:44am -
  • Would you like to be a ghostwriter?
    I wonder if you have seen the Roman Polanksi movie The Ghostwriter, or read the novel The Ghost by Robert Harris that it is based on. The premise of the film and novel is that the central character is hired to ‘ghost’ the autobiography of a past…
    - 30 Sep 13, 6:01am -

Tech Savvy Educator


  • To confer or to concur?
    Image by @sandymillinvia eltpics on FlickrFor the first time since it was last held in Harrogate (2010), I didn’t go to the annual IATEFL conference this year and - like thousands of other English teachers who couldn’t afford to go to the largest…
    - 5 days ago, 13 Apr 14, 10:25pm -
  • What corpora HAVE done for us
    Sinclair's seminal work - the bible of corpus linguisticsIn this post I would like to defend linguistic corpora and their relevance to the ELT field which Hugh Dellar raises doubts about.Years ago before I became familiar with corpus tools (corpus as…
    - 34 days ago, 15 Mar 14, 4:00am -
  • Horizontal alternatives to vertical lists
    Photo by Tzvi MellerAs much as it seems counter-intuitive, teaching new vocabulary in semantic sets (e.g. jobs: doctor, teacher, lawyer etc. or colours: red, blue, yellow etc.) does not facilitate learning. As far back as in the 1990s, research show…
    - 38 days ago, 11 Mar 14, 5:18am -
  • Binomials
    Photo by @aclil2climb via eltpicsBinomials are two word expressions (strong collocations) such as "dead or alive", "give and take", "law and order". In this activity inspired by a short film activity on FilmEnglish, students become more aware of bin…
    - 42 days ago, 7 Mar 14, 6:37pm -
  • Top 3 web tools of 2013
    As the year draws to a close it’s time for various top 10, 20 etc lists. I am going to limit myself to 3 and share the web tools that have undoubtedly been my favourite this year. Three different tools - three different uses.Lyricstraining – List…
    - 48 days ago, 1 Mar 14, 10:12pm -
  • End-of-year news quiz 2013
    Traditional quiz for your first lesson in 2014By via Flickr[CC BY 2.0]For some reason I had a hard time coming up with news items for this year's quiz. Not that the year was uneventful but somehow there were no sex scandals, jumps fro…
    - 48 days ago, 1 Mar 14, 10:04pm -


  • What can ELT learn from Spotify?
    There are few things that we at ELTjam enjoy more than mining Spotify’s immensely rich seam of content in an on-going quest to discover, share and devour copious amounts of well-crafted music. Spotify is on our desktops, laptops, phones and tablet…
    - 2 days ago, 16 Apr 14, 6:41pm -
  • Tales of the undead
    We’re delighted to welcome Russ Mayne (@ebefl) from the brilliant Evidence Based EFL blog onto ELTjam for his debut post. Russ gave one of the standout talks at this year’s IATEFL conference, and below he reflects on what might happen next …I…
    - 3 days ago, 15 Apr 14, 3:46pm -
  • What We’re Reading – IATEFL Special
    Is it really almost a week since IATEFL finished? And what a week it’s been. If you missed the conference – or if you’ve been living in a cave all week – here’s our round-up of some of the best IATEFL response pieces.Did I get as much as…
    - 7 days ago, 11 Apr 14, 4:30pm -
  • Why we should be afraid of the big bad wolf: Sugata Mitra and the neoliberal takeover in sheep’s clothing
    The proliferation of blog posts that have followed in the wake of Sugata Mitra's keynote speech at IATEFL Harrogate last Saturday morning is almost as remarkable as the fact that such a controversial figure was given the opportunity to deliver…
    - 9 days ago, 9 Apr 14, 7:43pm -
  • The Future of ELT
    It was interesting to be at IATEFL this year, the annual land grab for attention larger than ever, and a conference dominated by discussions, presentations and a plenary about the future of ELT, which – it is suggested – will be completely mediat…
    - 11 days ago, 7 Apr 14, 9:14pm -
  • eltjam @ IATEFL 2014 on what EdTech means for ELT
    We think it it’s decision time for the ELT industry:ELT is going to become part of EdTech whether we like it or not, and it’s up to us to decide what we do about it.Are we going to resist EdTech?Are we going to surrender to it?Or are we going…
    - 14 days ago, 4 Apr 14, 4:47pm -

Authentic Teaching Willy Cardoso

  • What’s your CPD level?
    In a recent interview, to be published soon at SEETA, I said: … how can you possibly measure and grade ... Continue reading
    - 29 days ago, 20 Mar 14, 11:39pm -
  • Importing language teaching methodology
    To deny that there is a conflict in contemporary ELT, particularly but not exclusively in the ‘importing’ of new techniques associated ... Continue reading
    - 49 days ago, 28 Feb 14, 8:00pm -
  • A lesson based on the teacher’s ignorance
      I was kindly invited to submit a lesson idea for the Disabled Access Friendly Campaign in April 2013. Many ... Continue reading
    - 94 days ago, 14 Jan 14, 7:21pm -
  • 14 big questions
    1. Is it the role of language teachers to address social issues in the classroom? Why (not)? 2. If languages ... Continue reading
    - 99 days ago, 9 Jan 14, 10:33pm -
  • Questioning professional practice
    “All professions are conspiracies against the laity” (George Bernard Shaw in the play The Doctor’s Dilemma) Historically more commonly (documented) ... Continue reading
    - 25 Nov 13, 12:45am -
  • Teacher development belongs to teachers
    Let’s start this by saying I don’t agree with the distinction people make sometimes between teacher training, teacher development, and ... Continue reading
    - 7 Sep 13, 1:40am -

Janet Abruzzo's Edublog

  • Spring Blog Festival
     I would like to highlight an upcoming online event next weekend which may be of interest to my readers, especially those of you who are bloggers, or are interested in becoming bloggers.  Below is an extract from the introduction to the session in…
    - 40 days ago, 9 Mar 14, 2:47am -
  • Feedback on EVO Crafting the ePerfect Textbook 2014
    Sunday February16th marked the final day of the exciting five-week EVO Crafting the ePerfect Textbook session.  It has been a truly exhilarating and educational experience, connecting with over 500 teachers from around the globe.  I was helping the…
    - 55 days ago, 22 Feb 14, 7:32pm -
  • CO14 - An Exciting Weekend of CPD!
    This weekend Friday 7th February to Sunday 9th February promises to be an exciting couple of days for educators around the world.It is the Connecting Online's 2014 E-conference, which is free to attend. It is all hosted on the WizIq platform.  Speak…
    - 71 days ago, 7 Feb 14, 12:58am -
  • EVO 2014 Sessions - Fab CPD Opportunity!!
    You can now register for free to participate in this year's Electronic Village Online sessions! The registration period is from January 6th - 12th. Week one kicks off on Monday January 13th.  Each session lasts 5 weeks until February 16th. This will…
    - 98 days ago, 10 Jan 14, 9:36pm -
  • Goodby 2013, Hello 2014!
      2013 will go down in my personal history as a year of being preoccupied with an event from the past. At times this year, I could think of nothing else, and it threatened to overshadow any of the joys that 2013 actually managed to bring.  I am ha…
    - 1 Jan 14, 2:26am -
  • Five ......
    ......years ago I started blogging, and it was an event that changed my life in quite a dramatic way.  Janet's Abruzzo Edublog is now officially over five years old and I would like to say what a joy it has been to blog and to share my ideas, lesson…
    - 28 Dec 13, 7:48pm -

Teacher Training Unplugged

  • Where are all the unplugged teacher trainers?
    Dogme ELT has been around (in the sense of having a name and a movement of people who recognize it as a legitimate and defined approach to teaching languages) for the best part of 15 years at this point of writing; what this means is there are a sign…
    - 89 days ago, 19 Jan 14, 10:32pm -
  • Dogme is not “just good teaching”
    Usually when (it) is so simple we say, “Oh, I know that! It is quite simple. everyone knows that.”But if we do not find its value, it means nothing. It is the same as not knowing. - Shunryu Suzuki in “Zen Mind, Beginner’s Mind” - I am not s…
    - 9 Oct 13, 6:22pm -
  • balance isn’t everything
    Movement is the destruction of balance. I don’t know who I originally heard this from, but it was in the context of running theory. The idea is that in order for a physical body to move in any direction, it cannot be in a position of balance. That…
    - 22 Jul 13, 2:34am -
  • dogs, disasters and dodgy grammar rules – teaching the passive
    A 20-minute exploration of how conventional treatment of the”rules” for using the passive voice (as, for example, presented in coursebooks or standard student grammar books) misses the chance to introduce learners to a simpler, more elegant and m…
    - 17 Jun 13, 5:00am -
  • to andi and scott, with love, anthony’s students
    A couple of days ago I taught a short (35 minute) lesson to the teaching practice students on the CELTA course we are running in Hamburg at the moment.  I had used a personal story to introduce the structure “used to” and, while setting up some…
    - 14 Jun 13, 3:50am -