ELTABB – How an Owl Builds a Nest

Duolingo Logo

I have a new article out – this one is about scaffolding, which is the idea of making tasks for your students more achievable. I took Duolingo as a case study and considered some of the approaches they implement so successfully.

Read the article here.

Modern English Teacher 31/4

One Year With Duolingo

Take a look at my article, One Year With Duolingo, in the latest edition of the wonderful Modern English Teacher.

I’ve been a big fan of Duolingo for many, many years now, ever since my student and friend Pawel introduced me to the platform in roughly 2015. During the pandemic I finally extended my daily streak to cover a whole year, and this is what I learned about the art of learning languages through that experience.

Modern English Teacher #1

English Teacher Professional has been merged with another EFL journal to create Modern English Teacher magazine – and issue one is available now.

One of the articles is my very own – on the search for the perfect metaphor in teaching. If you know me, you’ll know that I love my metaphors, and this two-page article explores some of my favourites over the years.

Subscribers can read the latest issue right here.

An EFL Teacher’s Journal of the Plague Year

My latest book is now available on the Kindle – you can get it here.

I have worked as an EFL teacher for around fifteen years; but the last year and a half have been unlike any other period of my teaching career. This book explores what it has been like to be a teacher whose lessons all ended up online. What were the challenges that the switch introduced, and how were they dealt with? As well as being an account of the year of the plague, this book also contains reflections on the art and practice of teaching English as a Foreign Language, and represents the product of all my years of experience.

EFL Academic Reading

If you’re like me, you probably love reading. Over the course of my MA Applied Linguistics & TESOL, my reading habits changed, and I went from reading fiction to burying myself under a metric ton of academic articles.

I loved it. In fact, I loved it so much that now that my MA has finished, I already miss that kind of reading.

So I set up this new Facebook Group – EFL Academic Reading. The idea is simple: every couple of weeks, we find another academic article to read, and then we share our ideas about the article in the Group.

Come on and join us – it’s free, and all the articles we look at will also be freely available online. It should be a lot of fun!

SCELT Bratislava – Supporting Teachers With Dyslexia

Putting the final touches to my presentation.

I was lucky enough to be invited to speak at the SCELT Bratislava conference in late September. The focus of the session was on Special Education Needs (or SEN if you prefer acronyms). I ran a session on Supporting Teachers with Dyslexia, the powerpoint presentation for which you can download here.

I want to thank both the Chamber for having me, and for my school. International House Bielsko-Biala, for their support.

‘Zero Preparation Games’

ZeroPreparationGames
‘Zero Preparation Games’ – a PowerPoint presentation for English Language Teachers

On March 16th I presented a short talk at the International House Torun Teacher Training Day, entitled ‘Zero Preparation Games’. The presentation covered a number of communicative, fun activities that could be used in the language classroom with no materials or advanced preparation required.

If you’d like a copy of the original ppt file used in the presentation, it can be downloaded here. Feel free to use this ppt in your own school – but if you do, please be so kind as to let me know how it went, and if there are any ways in which this file might be improved!

‘Sixty-Six Lessons for Autodidacts’

The front cover of the new book, ‘Sixty-Six Lessons for Autodidacts’.

English grammar is not really all that difficult. Sure, some aspects take a while to master, but by the time you’ve been studying English for three or four years, you’ll have met all the grammar you’re ever going to need.

That’s not true with vocabulary!

English vocabulary seems to go on and on, and yet to be considered fluent you need to know a massive amount of it. How can anyone be expected to learn so much?

Well, that’s where my book, ‘Sixty-Six Lessons for Autodidacts’ comes in.

The book contains – you’ve guessed it! – sixty-six lessons, each of which looks at the words you might use when you talk about a particular topic. Then you’ll look at a selection of words that are related to the originals, and expand out from there. Pretty soon, you’ll find yourself learning ten words instead of one, and because they’re all logically related, they’re easier to remember.

The book is available as a paperback here:

Amazon (US)

Amazon (UK)

And as a pdf digital download through the Closely Observed shop.

Write With Your Head, Not With Your Heart

When preparing students for formal examinations, it’s important that we teach the task – and sometimes that means curtailing our students’ greater ambitions. Writing 500 words on an area of interest is not going to lead to a high grade when the rubric calls for 200 words on a clearly defined topic.

Read more at Humanising Language Teaching