A new page on this website lists organizations that provide training for English language teachers, as well as other staff.
From Stephen B. Heard’s blog Scientist Sees Squirrel:
If you’re like me, you’re continually frustrated by the fact that undergraduate students struggle to understand statistics. Actually, that’s putting it mildly: a large fraction of undergraduates simply refuse to understand statistics; mention a requirement for statistical data analysis in your course and you’ll get eye-rolling, groans, or (if it’s early enough in the semester) a rash of course-dropping.
Heard argues that:
we consistently underemphasize the single most important thing about statistics: that this complication is an illusion. In fact, every significance test works exactly the same way.
He goes on to explain how statistics classes can be made simpler.
Lander Hawes’s blog offers study advice to international students.
- From IELTS to University: Counter-Arguments with Cats and Dogs
- Transforming a model IELTS problem-solution essay into a university-level essay (Part 1)
- Barriers to achieving an IELTS 7.0+ academic writing style
Lander used to teach English at INTO UEA. When not teaching, he puts on dark glasses and rows boats. He also has a Facebook page.
- The International Trade Game
- CARTEL: a board game for teaching game theory
- Tennis Balls in Economics
- The Production Possibility Frontier Game
These are not computer games, but require pencils and paper, scissors, tennis balls, etc.
Learn English with Cambridge is a new YouTube channel, with videos presented by five youngish teachers.
The videos so far:
- 3 phrasal verbs to express excitement in English
- American vs. British English vocabulary differences
- Asking for and giving directions in English
- Common travel expressions in English
- Common mistakes with modal verbs in English
- Dietary requirements in English
- How are you? Common British English greetings
- How to ask someone out via text in English
- Reacting to bad news
World of Better Learning is a blog about English language teaching, from Cambridge University Press.
Posts are written by various people and divided into three categories: Insights, Techniques and Tools. There are also audio and video presentations.
- The future of Englishes – by David Crystal
- IELTS Writing Task 2: teaching writing skills to raise awareness of the marking criteria – by Greg Archer
- Make learning a party with the Balloon game – by Lauren Pitts
The ELT Journal has been published since 1946. Until 1981 it had a section called The Question Box, which answered readers’ questions. Three examples from the earliest issues:
Question: I have recently come across fry-pan for frying-pan. Is this form considered correct?
Answer: Fry-pan is not accepted as standard English and is considered incorrect by most grammarians. It is probably an American form. Similar forms are swim-suit and fly-bomb, both to be found in newspapers in Great Britain. It is likely that such forms will spread and be accepted in time. Grammarians will explain that the correct forms are swimming suit, made up of the noun suit modified by the gerund swimming (a suit for swimming), and flying-bomb, made up of the noun bomb and the participle flying (a bomb that flies). The ordinary user of language does not trouble himself about nice distinctions between gerunds and participles. If the root form of the verb (fry, swim and fly) expresses the meaning, the gain in brevity will in time probably result in the adoption of the shorter forms.
ELT Journal (1946) ‘The Question Box’, 1(2), pp. 50-51. doi: https://doi.org/10.1093/elt/1.2.50-b
Question: Should we, in English, use Netherland or Netherlands as an attributive adjective? The bank named after the Midlands is the Midland Bank, and the regiment that derives its name from the highlands is called the Highland Light Infantry.
Answer: Usage requires the use of the plural form, as in The Netherlands Indies. For the foreign student of English it would be helpful if there were uniformity in these matters, but unfortunately there is not uniformity.
ELT Journal (1947) ‘The Question Box’, 1(7), p. 198. doi: https://doi.org/10.1093/elt/1.7.198
Question: Which is preferable: an opportunity (chance) to see you or an opportunity (chance) of seeing you ?
Answer: Both are correct and there is no preference either way.
ELT Journal (1947) ‘The Question Box’, 2(2), p. 54. doi: https://doi.org/10.1093/elt/II.2.50
There are many technical terms used to describe grammar, vocabulary, etc. For example: determiner, inflection, morphology, subordinate clause, transitive verb.
Some glossaries have been compiled to help English teachers in British schools:
Glossary for the programmes of study for English [PDF]
UK Government: Department for Education
About 80 terms, for use in primary schools.*
Survey of English Usage, University College London
Includes the glossary above, with additional entries and explanations.
Grammatical terminology for schools
Linguistics Association of Great Britain
About 300 terms, for use in secondary schools.
*Apparently Michael Gove insisted on the inclusion of subjunctive.
The International Association of Teachers of English as a Foreign Language (IATEFL) was founded in 1967. To celebrate its first 50 years, a history was published in 2017.
A review in the ELT Journal says:
You would be forgiven for walking past this book in a bookshop … but in fact, you would be missing a treat, because, in its own understated way, A History of IATEFL is a real page-turner. … a fascinating story of the squabbles, the plotting, and the occasional full-blown revolts that went on in the early days between the founders and those who wanted IATEFL to take a more radical path. There were some colourful figures and some big egos involved…
Ten resources for today’s teacher training session:
Recorded TV and radio programmes that you can watch and clip
Statistics and charts on business, industries, consumer habits, etc.
- Credo Reference
Cross-referenced collection of reference books
- Academic Phrasebank
Phrases used in academic writing
- Cite them right online
Referencing tips and examples
UEA Library’s academic journals arranged by subject for easy browsing
Database of newspapers
Online magazine from the museum with articles on science, history, culture, etc.
- Microsoft Forms
For making online surveys and quizzes (example). See also Google Forms.
Copyright-free images and videos
In 1986 Ray Williams formulated 10 principles for teaching EFL reading. They included:
- In the absence of interesting texts, very little is possible.
- The primary activity of a reading lesson should be learners reading texts—not listening to the teacher, not reading comprehension questions, [etc.].
In 2002 Richard Day and Julian Bamford devised 10 principles for teaching extensive reading:
- The reading material is easy.
- A variety of reading material on a wide range of topics must be available.
- Learners choose what they want to read.
- Learners read as much as possible.
- The purpose of reading is usually related to pleasure, information and general understanding.
- Reading is its own reward.
- Reading speed is usually faster rather than slower.
- Reading is individual and silent.
- Teachers orient and guide their students.
- The teacher is a role model of a reader.
These points are also discussed in Extensive reading in ELT: Why and how?
Day, R. and Bamford, J. (2002) ‘Top Ten Principles for Teaching Extensive Reading’, Reading in a Foreign Language, 14(2). http://nflrc.hawaii.edu/rfl/October2002/day/day.html
Watkins, P. (2018) Extensive reading in ELT: Why and how?. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Cambridge Papers in ELT. http://languageresearch.cambridge.org/images/Language_Research/CambridgePapers/CambridgePapersinELT_ExtensiveReading_2017_ONLINE.pdf
Williams, R. (1986) ‘”Top ten” principles for teaching reading’, ELT Journal, 40(1), pp. 42–45. https://doi-org.ueaezproxy.uea.ac.uk:2443/10.1093/elt/40.1.42
Cambridge University Press publishes Cambridge Papers in ELT, a series of research papers on various topics, including speaking and extensive reading.
At present there are 17 papers, which can be read and downloaded by everyone from the website, Language and Pedagogy Research for ELT.
- Blended language learning
- ELT trends: beyond technology
- Enhancing student interaction
- Extensive reading for primary in ELT
- Extensive reading: why and how?
- Giving feedback on speaking
- Immersive speaking tasks
- Learner-centred content
- Near peer role models
- Personalization in adaptive learning
- Personalization in mobile learning
- Safe speaking environments
- Successful learners and teachers
- The development of Oracy skills
- Time for speaking practice
- Using mobiles in the classroom
- Visual literacy in ELT
Online tools for making gap fill exercises (cloze tests) usually have something wrong with them. This one, for example, looks nice and simple, but the “let me choose” option is buggy. More promising is the Gapfill Printable Exercise Generator (Version 2) at Random Idea English, which has been “Currently under testing” since 2012.
After pasting in your text, you choose one of four ways to make the gaps: Manual (put square brackets around the words to be gapped), Random (with options), Auto (list the words) and Gapmaker (just click on the words).
You can see the finished exercise in various formats. For example, this a document-friendly version, which you can copy and paste into Word:
coffee · cruellest · desire · dried · forgetful · lilacs · roots · stopped · sunlight · surprised · warm
- April is the ____________ month, breeding
- ____________ out of the dead land, mixing
- Memory and ____________, stirring
- Dull ____________ with spring rain.
- Winter kept us ____________, covering
- Earth in ____________ snow, feeding
- A little life with ____________ tubers.
- Summer ____________ us, coming over the Starnbergersee
- With a shower of rain; we ____________ in the colonnade,
- And went on in ____________, into the Hofgarten,
- And drank ____________, and talked for an hour.
Digital Tools for Teachers is an ebook by Nik Peachey. Aimed at English language teachers, it includes over 70 tools – divided into reading tools, writing tools, presentation tools, etc.
The book is in PDF format, I couldn’t get the internal links (to the various chapters) to work, but the links to the tools were fine.
This book is aimed at English language teachers. Tip number 1 is “Start with a smile” and number 100 is “Do your own thing.” Here are some of the others:
- Don’t give homework at the end
- Use the coursebook – selectively
- Do correct mistakes
- Use mother tongue to explain
- Avoid grammatical terms
- Limit tasks by time, not amount
- Don’t worry about the topic
- Don’t always pre-teach vocabulary
- Don’t make students read aloud
- Talk a lot
- Teach a lot of vocabulary
- Teach spelling rules
The Resource Centre has a copy, which you can borrow.