G is for Games November 2, 2015 - Dr. Ken Beatty “Why are they playing games and not learning something?” Games are among the most misunderstood pedagogical strategies in the teachers’ toolbox. Parents, other teachers, and administrators can misinterpret students’ enjoyment of games as having fun at the expense of more serious and productive learning. But the opposite is often the case; the […]
Towards the Critique: Teaching EAP Students to Be Critical November 2, 2015 - Tania Pattison For EAP (English for Academic Purposes) teachers, it may not be enough these days to teach standard essays and research skills. In order to prepare students adequately for their future studies, EAP teachers at CEFR levels B2 and above need to go further. Recent corpora-based research has shed new light on the genres […]
F is for Frequency October 4, 2015 - Dr. Ken Beatty Here are two key questions related to frequency: What are the most frequent words in the English language? and How frequently do we need to be exposed to new words in order to acquire them? To answer the first question, certain words in every language appear more often than others. A common […]
Maximum Benefit, Minimal Prep:
A Quick Song-Based Lesson
October 4, 2015 - Sandra Heyer Song lyrics are sometimes difficult for English language learners to comprehend; in fact, some song lyrics are difficult for even native speakers of English to comprehend! (Consider, for example, this line from a Credence Clearwater Revival song: There’s a bad moon on the rise, famously misheard as There’s a bathroom on the right.) […]
Literature in ELT: Who’s Afraid of Literature? September 12, 2015 - Sybil Marcus This content first appeared on the TESOL Blog. © TESOL International Association. Reprinted with permission. I admit it—I’m passionate about using literature, especially short stories, for language learning. As I result, I take every opportunity to talk about this to teachers of intermediate to advanced-level ELLs. In a nutshell, I think literature is a great teaching tool […]
E is for Error September 12, 2015 - Dr. Ken Beatty Coming home one afternoon from my job teaching English to university students, I found my four-year-old son prancing around the kitchen with a beach towel cape around his neck, fighting evil superheroes with a wooden spoon. “Spencer,” I said, “How was your day?” “Good,” he replied. “I swimmed with Mommy.” “No!” I […]
Work Skills: Homophones September 12, 2015 -
Explore the New Pearson ELT eCatalog September 1, 2015 - IMMEDIATE – INTERACTIVE – INFORMATIVE  These three words describe the new eCatalog from Pearson ELT. This new eCatalog has everything you would expect from a catalog, and so much more! Do you want to know how to use the catalog – click here to watch the video! What does the fully interactive catalog mean for you? With just a click […]
The Pearson ELT eCatalog is LIVE! August 20, 2015 - IMMEDIATE – INTERACTIVE – INFORMATIVE  These three words describe the new eCatalog from Pearson ELT. This new eCatalog has everything you would expect from a catalog, and so much more! Do you want to know how to use the catalog – click here to watch the video! What does the fully interactive catalog mean for […]
D is for Discourse Analysis August 20, 2015 - Dr. Ken Beatty Discourse analysis is about understanding what is not said. Consider this conversation: Speaker 1: Do you think we could watch a movie? Speaker 2: Ah, yeah. That’s gonna happen. Have you practiced piano? Speaker 1: I’ll just get a snack first? Speaker 2: Sure. We can eat it during the movie. If […]
Back to the Future: Still More Low-Tech Activities
for a High-Tech Classroom
August 20, 2015 -  Sandra Heyer This is the last article in a four-part series on activities that foster physical activity in the classroom. I titled the series “Back to the Future” because my search for activities led me back to time-tested ones I began using years, even decades ago. At first I balked at reviving them; I confess […]
Likes and Dislikes August 20, 2015 -
C is for Collaboration June 30, 2015 - Dr. Ken Beatty It’s your first day of work at a new office and, because you’re eager, you arrive early and locate your cubicle. Looking around to make sure you’re alone, you race around madly to each desk, snatching up everyone’s stapler so you can hide them all in your filing cabinet. As other workers […]
Back to the Future: Even More Low-Tech Activities
for a High-Tech Classroom
June 30, 2015 -  Sandra Heyer In a previous newsletter, I described my state-of-the-art classroom and its hidden drawback: It was making my students and me a little lazy. I was glued to a high-tech console, and my students were glued to the seats of their sleek gliding desks. Concerned that our sedentary classroom style might have a detrimental […]
Teaching Short Stories June 30, 2015 - Alexandra Lowe ESL instructor at SUNY Westchester Community College The following blog post was written by Alexandra Lowe and originally published by TESOL International Association on June 3, 2015. It can also be accessed through the TESOL website. At the recent TESOL International convention in Toronto, I was privileged to attend an outstanding workshop entitled “10 […]
B is for Bell Curve June 9, 2015 - Dr. Ken Beatty First, let me leave nothing to the imagination: I hate the Bell Curve. Because I teach assessment statistics to graduate students, I know I shouldn’t callously bully an innocent graph of achievement, but it isn’t the tool itself I object to, but the wicked uses to which it is put. Bad beginnings […]
Back to the Future: More Low-Tech Activities for a
High-Tech Classroom
June 9, 2015 - Sandra Heyer In a previous newsletter, I described my state-of-the-art classroom and its hidden drawback: It was making my students and me a little lazy. I was glued to a high-tech console, and my students were glued to the seats of their sleek gliding desks. Concerned that our sedentary class-style might have a detrimental effect […]
Active Teach: Helping You and Your Students
“See the Language”
June 9, 2015 -  Christina Cavage Classroom teaching has evolved during my last 25 years in the classroom.  Our students have changed as well.  Long gone are the days of audiocassette recorders, and overhead projectors. Many classrooms today are outfitted with Smart Boards, smart TVs, and other digital tools. However, due to funding constraints and dated buildings, many classrooms […]
A is for Authenticity April 30, 2015 - Dr. Ken Beatty  Since the 1970s, teachers have been arguing about authenticity in the classroom. As a TESOL professor and textbook writer, I’m often asked whether I’m in favor of authenticity. It seems a simple question, but there are several related ideas to consider: How do we define authenticity? What is a continuum of authenticity? […]
Back to the Future:
Low-Tech Activities for a High-Tech Classroom
April 30, 2015 - Sandra Heyer I recently had the pleasure of teaching in a classroom renovated specifically for English language teaching. From a console at the front of the room, I could access the Internet, project documents, or play music with a few taps on a user-friendly touch screen. Even the students’ desks were carefully chosen with language […]