I firmly believe that English is a simple language – so much so that I have written a whole book about the fundaments of English grammar, exploring what lies at the heart of the language.
The book goes through the different parts of the English verb system, looking at the difference between simple and continuous forms, and explaining how the perfect form really works.
We then consider the idea of distance, which explains the reasons for verb form changes in English. Have you ever wondered why Would you like a drink? is more polite than Will you have a drink? This book explains the logic behind the grammar.
Once we have looked at the verb forms and the modals that English has available to it, we then consider how conditionals are structured – they are more regular and understandable than you have been led to believe!
So, who is the book for?
It’s for everyone – it doesn’t matter if you are teaching English as a foreign language, or if you are a student looking to master what you think are deeply irregular sets of rules. This book will help everyone with an interest in the English language.
It’s available now in both the paperback and Kindle edition, via Amazon.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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!
Are you an English language teacher? Do you need a new resource to help you in individual and small group lessons?
‘Sixty-Six Little Lessons’ might be just the thing for you. It’s a resource designed by an EFL teacher for other EFL teachers – and I know it works well because I’ve used it extensively in my own lessons.
The idea is fairly simple. Each lesson begins with a picture description, and a few B1/B2-level questions. The next page then widens the topic, supplying B2-C2 level questions and some suggested language; then there is a speaking task, again with supporting language, and finally a homework task for students to look at.
The printed book is available online at Amazon (UK and US), and you can download the pdf along with the optional ppt slides from my Shop.
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.
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