Teaching Tips

  • Favourite phoneme fillers 2

    Published on 3rd March, 2011 in Teaching Tips by Frances Watkins

    Carrying on from last week, here are two more phoneme fillers. Telephone number swap. Students draw an empty grid with 9 + 1 squares (for numbers 0–9). Do an example on the board and write in a different problem phoneme in each of the 10 squares, for students to copy, […]more…

  • Favourite phoneme fillers 1

    Published on 24th February, 2011 in Teaching Tips by Frances Watkins

    It may sometimes be useful to focus on certain problem sounds with your students. Whether you use the phonemic symbols or not in your teaching, you can adapt these games, using either phonemic script or a loose oral transcription. The ideas suggested are not only useful fillers, they also help […]more…

  • Understanding learning: assembling flat-packs

    Published on 17th February, 2011 in Teaching Tips by Frances Watkins

    There is a lot of literature available on how people learn a second language. Understanding some of the complex ways in which learning progresses can enable one to teach in a more conscious and comprehensive way. In my own mind I often conceptualise this metaphorically. You are probably familiar with […]more…

  • Responding to students’ written work 2

    Published on 10th February, 2011 in Teaching Tips by Frances Watkins

    Last week we looked at the importance of writing an overall comment on students’ written work, and at how to evaluate texts effectively, on different levels. It is certainly easy for students to misinterpret teachers’ comments, which may at times seem brusque or one-sided. Short comments in-text may come across […]more…

  • Responding to students’ written work 1

    Published on 3rd February, 2011 in Teaching Tips by Frances Watkins

    Recently I noticed a colleague’s written comment on one of her intermediate students’ work, an extended text of about 200 words. At the top, in large, heavy writing, it simply and starkly read: You must use the past tense! The text itself was covered with the teacher’s underlining and replacement […]more…

  • Exploiting audioscripts 2

    Published on 27th January, 2011 in Teaching Tips by Frances Watkins

    Last week’s tip looked at why audioscripts are unique and useful. This week we look at how to encourage students to notice features of language which are contained within them. Any highlighting of language is going to take place after students have listened for comprehension. The ideas here are generally […]more…

  • Exploiting audioscripts 1

    Published on 20th January, 2011 in Teaching Tips by Frances Watkins

    At the back of most modern coursebooks or in the teachers’ book is a resource which is often underused. Audioscripts have a unique role, especially if the listening is unscripted: they capture spoken language and they make real spoken language, which is usually ephemeral, ‘static’ and so ideal for examination […]more…

  • Role cards and tension

    Published on 13th January, 2011 in Teaching Tips by Frances Watkins

    Last week’s tip looked at the ingredients of successful role cards and at the notion of inherent tension. In practical terms, this means that you need to give your role cards some sort of hitch, problem or emotional conflict. The second pair of cards below does this, as well as […]more…

  • Writing role cards

    Published on 6th January, 2011 in Teaching Tips by Frances Watkins

    I love roleplays, at all levels and for a wide variety of students. They allow learners to be creative, give controlled practice of a specific language area, and act as a springboard for oral fluency. They also require students to use language they might otherwise not use in their daily […]more…

  • The human board game

    Published on 23rd December, 2010 in Teaching Tips by Frances Watkins

    Board games can be a great way to revise and informally test different aspects of taught language. The ‘human board game’ can be used with adults, young adults and younger learners, and it particularly appeals to kinaesthetic learners. It is essentially a fun, fresh and physical angle on an old […]more…

  • Making a mini test

    Published on 16th December, 2010 in Teaching Tips by Frances Watkins

    Your term is probably drawing to a close and you may be considering designing a language test if you do not have a ready-made one, or prefer to have one tailored to your learners. This could be (in part) a discrete item test which tests specific linguistic items such as […]more…

  • Questioning ‘givens’: those pesky concept questions

    Published on 9th December, 2010 in Teaching Tips by Frances Watkins

    Teachers use concept questions to check students have understood language items, whether grammatical, eg: She’s going to visit her mother. (Question: Did she decide before? Answer: Yes) or lexical (Question: Do you feel excited before an exam? Answer: No.) Learning teachers are often trained to construct these Yes / No […]more…