For teachers of English….

… or curious learners!


IATEFL happened last week, and if you weren’t able to go, perhaps you have watched some of the talks online here.

If you weren’t there, you can see the twittersphere’s highlights at #harrogatehighlights

Or have a look at these…

Herbert Puchta “Remembering new language: strategies that work and strategies that don’t

Memory is of course crucial in ELT. Using examples from teenage classrooms, we explore what makes memory and cognitive strategies efficient or a waste of time, and you will be able to try out their effects for yourself. Find out why self-testing is useful, what interleaved practice is, and why highlighting words in a text doesn’t work – well, unless …

Headway (surely you have used Headway???) author Liz Soars “Headway: the 10 most common questions from around the world

Headway first appeared 28 years ago in 1986. In this talk, we will answer the 10 most commonly asked questions about Headway and, in doing so, address the beliefs in learning and teaching that are at the heart of Headway

Jim Scrivener (you’ll know his books) “Upgrade! Demand high to bring a grammar lesson alive

It IS ok to teach grammar. Ignore those voices that tell you that you have to communicate the whole time. It really is ok to do ‘traditional’ exercises and drills. Students want them, need them and learn from them. The question is: how do we make them genuinely engaging, challenging and valuable? The answer? Demand high. Aim for ‘upgrade’.


Michael Hoey’s Plenary “Old approaches, new perspectives: the implications of a corpus linguistic theory for learning the English language

Have a look at the Powerpoint here: old_approaches_new_perspectives_film_version (1)

Two major figures in English Language Teaching are Michael Lewis and Stephen Krashen, but both have come under heavy criticism. I shall briefly describe the major claims of both as well as outlining some of the criticisms that have been levelled against them. I shall then seek to demonstrate that their claims are compatible with current corpus-linguistic research, which is itself supported by long-standing and robust psychological research. Lexical Priming theory is an attempt to provide such a model of language. I shall describe the main claims of the theory and provide evidence for these claims. Finally, the talk will offer provisional evidence to support the view that Chinese has the same lexical properties as English.

And finally, two talks that have stirred up some controversy. Firstly, Russell Mayne “A guide to pseudo-science in English language teaching

Have a look at his Powerpoint here: iatefl_2014_russell_mayne (1)

This talk will focus on aspects of English language teaching which have little or no scientific credibility. Practices such as neuro-linguistic programming, learning styles, multiples intelligences and brain gym will be examined. This talk will ask why, despite the evidence, these approaches/methods remain popular. It will also include a guide to spotting pseudo-science in education

Check out Russell’s blog here

And secondly, Sugata Mitra’s plenary, “The future of learning

In this talk, Sugata Mitra will take us through the origins of schooling as we know it, to the dematerialisation of institutions as we know them. Thirteen years of experiments in children’s education takes us through a series of startling results – children can self-organise their own learning, they can achieve educational objectives on their own, they can read by themselves. Finally, the most startling of them all: groups of children with access to the internet can learn anything by themselves. From the slums of India, to the villages of India and Cambodia, to poor schools in Chile, Argentina, Uruguay, the USA and Italy, to the schools of Gateshead and the rich international schools of Washington and Hong Kong, Sugata’s experimental results show a strange new future for learning.


Jeremy Harmer responds to the talk on his blog here: /

The Secret DOS responds to both above talks at the blog here: /

And finally, one blogger describes her ELT celebrity spots here: /


Were you expecting teaching material?

Here’s a cute reading activity for elementary learners: A Very Long Walk with video too!

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