Book Review: “Language Learning with Technology”

It was great news to hear that “Language Learning with Technology” (Stanley 2013) was nominated and consequently won the Duke of Edinburgh English Speaking Union English Language Book Awards.  A big congratulations to Graham for his continued effort with technology and language learning, I have always enjoyed reading his contributions to this field and was first introduced when I read “Digital Play” (Mayer & Stanley 2011).  Nevertheless, my latest book review is published in IATEFL Voices (please see below). This book is particularly invaluable for teachers who would like to gain more confidence when incorporating technology in the classroom and I would highly recommend language teachers and schools to consider getting it.

“Innovations in English Language Teaching to Migrants and Refugees” by British Council

A number of months ago, I was at the British Council in London for a seminar and asked to write a book review for the latest “Innovations in …” series.  The “Innovations in …” series which was published in 2012 focuses on the teaching of migrants and refugees with various case studies.  It is an interesting book and I would highly recommend this for those teachers which have an interest or involved in EAL or ESOL.  You are able to read my latest review below.  You can find more information about the “Innovations in English Language Teaching to Migrants and Refugees” at the following website.  You will also be able to download a PDF version of this book from the link provided above.

Again thank you to Mike Harrison for his help and support in getting this book review included in the latest NATECLA News.

“CLIL Activities” by Liz Dale and Rosie Tanner

CLIL Activities” is written by Liz Dale and Rosie Tanner and published under the Cambridge Handbooks for Language Teachers series by Cambridge University Press.  If you have taught young learners, you have probably heard a buzz word ‘CLIL’ bounding the teachers’ room.  However, what is ‘CLIL’ and what does it actually mean?  It is defined as Content and Language Integrated Learning (CLIL) and the European Commission defines it as the “teaching a curricular subject through the medium of a language other than that normally used”.  Here you can see the relationship between language learning through education and young learners.  However, one should question whether there is a place for CLIL in an adult language learning setting.  Nevertheless, “CLIL Activities” is intended for subject teachers who teach their subjects through English, language educators working within a bilingual context, or those that are training to become subject teachers or language educators in a bilingual context (p.1).  The book is just over 280 pages and split into three sections.  Part 1 (Background to CLIL) includes a comprehensive background to CLIL, Part 2 (Subject pages) focuses on subject matter with CLIL and Part 3 (Practical activities), which offers practical activities, is split into six chapters which include the following: Activating, Guiding understanding, Focus on language, Focus on speaking, Focus on writing, and Assessment, review and feedback.  The book attempts to consider the benefits of a ‘multi-faceted’ approach with the teaching of CLIL.  These benefits are also echoed on the European Commission’s website which are illustrated below.

European Commission: CLIL’s Benefits (2012)
The main emphasis of CLIL is that it immerses language learners with particular subject knowledge and this in itself motivates learners.  Thereby, language educators are teaching through a language rather than in another language which assists learners acquiring “both language and content as they learn a school subject” (Dale and Tanner 2012 p.5).  However, one criticism of CLIL is that learners are only learning how to communicate in English through a course subject and their are other stakeholders in education who appear to suggest that it may hinder the learners’ first language as well as perhaps jeopardising their language status inside or outside the classroom (International CLIL Research Journal 2010 p.47).  Nevertheless, “CLIL Activities” attempts to introduce newly qualified or more experienced teachers who have little practical or background  experience with a CLIL-based classroom with the publication of this book.


Part 1: Background to CLIL

The first section to the book, “CLIL Activities”, introduces the reader to the whole subject of CLIL with the authors considering the benefits, challenges and suitability of CLIL in the classroom as well as comparing CLIL with content-based language teaching (CBLT) and immersion.  As noted before (and also highlighted above), the benefits of CLIL include aspects of motivation with CLIL, development of language production and meaningful communicative ability, as well as learning the culture of a subject (Dale and Tanner 2012 p.11-13).  One of the first activities, which is accessible with an attached and highly invaluable CD, is a questionnaire, which could be incorporated into CLIL-based workshops or Teacher Training Sessions, and develops the noticing and awareness-raising of CLIL in the language classroom.   Other aspects to the background of CLIL include the use of scaffolding learner produced language, the relationship with the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (henceforth CEFR) as well as the rubric that might be created to assess learning from the classroom.


Part 2: Subject pages

The second section illustrated attempts to answer the most common question facing English language teachers: What subjects could I teach with CLIL?  “CLIL Activities” breaks down particular subjects which could adopt a CLIL approach: Art, design and technology, Economics and business studies, Geography, History, Information and communication technology (ICT), Maths, Music and drama, Physical education (PE), as well as Science.  Essentially, throughout Part 2 there is a “collection of subject-specific pages” (p.41) and offer examples of CLIL material with each of the nine subjects above.  The authors also consider potential challenges facing CLIL learners with “subject-specific” lessons that are then incorporated in the classroom.  These include affective, emotional, as well as cultural implications and are covered with further explanation.  The first “subject-specific” example (which is arranged alphabetically) is based on Art, design and technology and offers readers the opportunity to see ‘CLIL in action’ which is broken down into how language is used in the subject.  Furthermore, there is a sample text and is broken down into different grammar functions.  The third part in the ‘subject-specific’ section refers to the CEFR level and is split into the differing productions of English which is related to possible aims.  The second part of the book, is wonderful and can be referred to by potential CLIL subject teachers and also could support the development of a CLIL curriculum by potential schools.


Part 3: Practical activities

The final part of “CLIL Activities” offers readers the opportunity to incorporate ‘CLIL-related’ activities by using the accompanying CDs with the book.  The activities are split into six sub-chapters and are named: Activating, Guiding understanding, Focus on language, Focus on speaking, Focus on writing and Assessment, review and feedback.  The first sub-chapter (Activating) aims to initiate learner interest in “subject-specific” activities.  For example, the first CLIL activity aims learners to complete sentences from prompts and it is quite entertaining to view some of the suggested activities which could be developed for variation of CLIL subjects.  The second sub-chapter (Guiding understanding) and a wonderful example of a related lesson suggested by the authors include the use of an “Interactive PowerPoint®” lesson.  It advises teachers to prepare different images referenced to specific subjects and teacher created questions which correspond to the images.  An example is provided in the book with in reference to Geography: Who is affected by logging?  What does deforestation mean for the world climate? (p.126-127).  The third sub-chapter (Focus on language), aims to develop as well as differentiate learner awareness of CLIL-related vocabulary with a wonderful example suggested with the first activity (a differentiation between Academic Word List and General Vocabulary: happen/occur, main/major, etc).  The authors recommend an Academic Word List from the University of Nottingham and is a wonderful resource for future reference and the development of similar word lists.  The fourth sub-chapter (Focus on speaking) is predictably related to prompting CLIL learners to develop their speaking skills with fourteen suggested activities.  Any teacher which adopts a ‘conversation-driven’ approach, a continuing complication is prompting learners to authentically converse in English with other learners as well as with the teacher in the classroom.  The fourteen suggested lesson ideas in “CLIL Activities” offers teachers additional ideas to essentially get learners speaking with different prompts used such as questionnaires, debates, etc.  The fifth sub-chapter (Focus on writing) develops ideas on CLIL-based writing through the use of fourteen suggested lesson ideas.  Many of the ideas suggested by the authors include class magazines, posters, as well as framing and using prompts to develop writing.  The final sub-chapter (Assessment, review and feedback) obviously provides CLIL teachers the opportunity to continuously assess learner progress with different lesson templates, the use of learner-centred correction, as well as developing learner awareness of language and commonly produced mistakes by using of jigsaw activities.  Within the appendix the authors offer additional reference to the CEFR as well as additional resources for reading related to CLIL.  There are lesson plans and notes related to CLIL material which are accessible via the BBC Skillswise website. There are also a range of different reading suggested by Dale and Tanner in appendix.


Conclusion

In conclusion, the book is a lovely introduction to CLIL and the background reading offers budding teachers the opportunity to develop further understanding so that one could create a CLIL-related curriculum for their language institutes.  “CLIL Activities” could be used to teach CLIL-type lessons but additional resources and materials would be recommended to create more dynamic and engaging lessons, such as the use of English based school materials and books.  It is a challenging and time consuming process to create CLIL material for language institutes, as having developed a lesson related to British Culture (art, history, the Royal Family, etc) but the book’s authors develop ideas and tips to assist with the creation of materials and lesson activities.  Therefore, this book should be accessible in the Teachers’ Room and I would recommend those teachers (native and non-native), who are teaching in a public or private language school context, to refer to this book to develop ideas and techniques to essentially teach language through the use of a subject.  Finally, it is great to see an accompanying CD included with “CLIL Activities” which can be used for a variety of operating systems such as Windows® and Mac®.


Additional Resources

CEFR (2012) Common European Framework of Reference for Languages, [Online], Available: http://www.examenglish.com/CEFR/cefr.php (22 Nov 2012)
Coyle, D., Hood, P. and Marsh, D. (2010) “CLIL: Content and Language Integrated Learning” Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Dale, L. and Tanner, R. (2012) “CLIL Activities” Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Deller, S. and Price, C. (2007) “Teaching Other Subjects Through English” Oxford: Oxford University Press.
European Commission Languages (2012) Content and Language Integrated Learning, [Online], Available: http://ec.europa.eu/languages/language-teaching/content-and-language-integrated-learning_en.htm (22 Nov 2012).
Yassin, S. M., Tek, O. E., Alimon, H., Baharom, S. and Ying, L. Y. (2010) “Teaching Science Through English: Engaging Pupils Cognitively” International CLIL Research Journal, Vol. 1 No. 3 (2010), [Online], Available: http://www.icrj.eu/13/article5.html (22 Nov 2012).

“Classroom Management Techniques” by Jim Scrivener

Written by Jim Scrivener, who has authored other popular ELT titles such as “Learning Teaching” and “Teaching English Grammar”, “Classroom Management Techniques” is one of the latest from the Cambridge Handbooks for Language Teachers series.  The book itself is over 300 pages and is divided into seven chapters related to English language teaching with each chapter focusing on individual aspects of teaching: The classroom, The teacher, The learners, Key teacher interventions, Facilitating interaction, Establishing and maintaining appropriate behaviour and Lessons.  The book is intended for teachers of varying experiences, native as well as non-native teachers, those that are teaching young learners as well as adults, those teaching monolingual or multilingual classes as well as those teachers that are experienced or newly qualified.  Scrivener (2012) highlights that the book is expected to be referred rather than “to read from cover to cover” (p.4) but there are numerous cross-references where the reader can read more about particular areas in another chapter and this in itself suggests that some thought has gone into the structure of the book.  Nevertheless, the first chapter focuses on the setting of the classroom.



The classroom

The first chapter looks at the space where most teaching and learning takes place where there are various suggestions to best organise and exploit its potential.  There are nine suggestions that prompt thought and reflection on the organisation of the classroom with thought on classroom layouts, setting up the classroom with seating and tables for specific activities as well as varying the position of the teacher in the classroom.  Each of the nine ideas suggested for reflection are ideally written with an aim, brief background reading and questions for reflection.  Furthermore, the pictures within the chapter are invaluable to capture an essence for organising the classroom and offer practical ideas for readers.  For example, the differing seating arrangement is accompanied by a picture.  Scrivener also offers techniques to develop awareness of the classroom with ideas such as putting yourself in the shoes of the learners as well as organising the decoration of the classroom.


The teacher

The following chapter focuses on the teacher and, as above, tries to develop reader awareness of the subject, offers practical ideas to develop for lessons and questions educator behaviour.  Within this chapter, there are ten units, with the first units setting the scene with an example of developing authenticity.  Other aspects introduced within the chapter include establishing rapport, listening to learner production of language as well as gestures and facial expressions, which, as in the previous chapter, offers some wonderful illustrations of possible expressions which could be incorporated in the classroom.  Personally I was able to develop some expressions and incorporate these in lessons with some success.


The learners

If you are like me when teaching a new class, I find myself with butterflies in my stomach, worrying how the learners will develop as well as whether I will get on well with the learners.  Scrivener attempts to defuse potential problems arising when teaching a new class within chapter three, with some techniques to develop greater learner and teacher (and vice versa) rapport such as strategies to learn names (with some wonderful suggestions such as name cards, developing learner posters or learner profiles on the internet as well as creating a room map to name just a few), get to know you (GTKY) activities, as well as teaching mixed-levels.  As with the other chapters, there are questions for teachers to reflect upon as well as some wonderful illustrations.  Finally, there is some explanation of learner style and Scrivener questions the suitability of stereotyping with learners with the thought provoking read within the chapter.


Key teacher interventions

The following chapter, which is related to teacher authenticity (introduced and related to chapter one), attempts to develop reader awareness of possible teacher intervention within the classroom.  Scrivener describes teacher interventions as those things in which the teacher does or say particular things (p.119).  The chapter is supported by fourteen units which develops awareness of potentially positive interventions and include various tips such as being supportive, giving instructions, elicitation techniques as well as checking understanding and potential learning.  Within this chapter, there are limited illustrations and the reader can notice that the majority of the suggestions are more thought provoking.  However, I should mention that the ideas put forward are not solely theoretical but they also balance practical ideas as well.  I find this chapter is more suited for experienced teachers and provides continual reflection and there are some practical ideas that I will be incorporating in future language lessons.


Facilitating interaction

Transactional functions of language includes the execution and delivery of predicted language within particular circumstances: booking a ticket at the cinema, posting a letter at the Post Office, ordering a train ticket, etc.  The language which is expected by both parties in these situations are used to transact particular functions, for example: “Can I a first class stamp?”, “Two adults for the seven o’clock showing of Skyfall”, “A return to London please”, etc.  Obviously, interaction is unpredictable and develops greater fluency in English and it is always challenging for any teacher to develop a learner’s confidence in interaction.  However, Scrivener dedicates fourteen units towards ideas to incorporate in the language classroom.  These units include ideas such as creating the right conditions learner to learner (as well as learner to teacher) interaction, using cues to prompt language production.  researching interaction during the lesson, training learners to listen to each other as well as ideas to assist the quieter learners to interact in pairs or groups.  The chapter develops interest for those teachers that are interested in a ‘conversation-driven’ approach to language acquisition and Dogme ELT, and I am keen to incorporate some interactional ideas in future lessons.  The final unit in this chapter, Scrivener develops ideas to improve interaction outside of the classroom and I am keen to see more development in this area as learners have continuous access to the internet through using smartphones or tablets.


Establishing and maintaining appropriate behaviour

Chapter six, which is rather smaller compared to the other chapters with only three units, seeks to support teachers within a secondary school context but much of the ideas can be developed and incorporated in other classroom contexts such as young learners and teenagers.  Some of the techniques include rewarding positive behaviour, dealing with small disruptions as well as dealing with more severe disruptions.  Nevertheless, Scrivener highlights an interesting point about ex-army personnel retraining to become teachers so as to instill discipline within the classroom.  Obviously, it is also highlighted that being a teacher is very different to being in the Armed Forces.  Having served three years in the Royal Air Force, I personally find it difficult to incorporate any training techniques acquired form my time in the forces and I would rather not shout or bully learners into good behaviour.  However, Scrivener does highlight various levels of poor behaviour such as coming late to class, cheating in tests or missing school without permission and offers some ideas to incorporate in such situations.  I believe that this section is highly recommended for any director of studies or other managers in the language school.


Lessons

The final chapter Scrivener decides to analyse lessons and it is split into ten other units.  Each unit focus on individual stages of a lesson with the first unit predictably looking at starting lessons.  Other units include the use of the board, timing and pace within the classroom, preparing improved handouts as well as low-tech resources.  I am very interested in the use of low-tech resources in the classroom due to the emphasis of a ‘materials-light’ focus with Dogme ELT and this particular unit would be invaluable for any budding or practicing dogmeticians.  However, much of this information can be read in reference towards other books dedicated to lesson planning, staging and the delivery of lessons.  For example, some of the ideas suggested for the use of technology in the classroom include the organisation of the computer(s) in the classroom into particular areas: islands, standard computer rows, computers around the edge of the classroom, etc.  Much of this can be read in greater detail with other books dedicated to technology in the classroom.  Notwithstanding, the illustrations within this chapter are invaluable for the reader and offer some further ideas on how to develop the lesson and classroom.


Conclusion

In conclusion, the book is a wonderful complement to the already large collection of English language teaching books.  It is practical and encourages readers to develop greater understanding of classroom management techniques through the viewing of many different aspects: the learners, the teacher, the classroom, etc.  One thing that is sorely missed is an accompanying CD which could have been included with the book.  The CD could have included teacher or student handouts from the book which would have supplemented the various chapters.  For example, with each of the units a corresponding PDF worksheet could have been created, such as a worksheet that supports the analysis of learner interaction or name card templates.  However, the book is highly regarded and should be in available in any school library so that teachers are able to improve their knowledge of classroom management through the numerous techniques.

“Punctuation..?” – Book Review

“Punctuation..?” published by User Design Books is a wonderfully cheerful and refreshing change to all these current grammar books that are available in most bookstores.  As teachers, we are looking for ever increasing and interesting methods to teach and formulate basic grammar ideas with “Punctuation..?” being a nice change for the ever increasing demand of grammar books.

The book exposes 17 of the most misunderstood or misused rules in English grammar: from Apostrophe to Semicolon.  The lovely illustrations complement the ‘easy-to-understand’ write-ups for each of the 17 grammar points (with some broken down further) and replaces a lot of the bulk of text found in some other grammar books.

Essentially, “Punctuation ..?” is a book aimed for improving English writers but can also be developed for use, even as a reference book, in the language classroom.  The wonderful illustrations will give teachers some source, ideas and opportunities to develop for use on the board as well as provide some much needed difference for art-work in the classroom.

“Punctuation..?” is by no means a complete grammar dictionary, but the simplicity, and ease of grammar rules that it communicates, really complements a lot of grammar books, which are sometimes stuffed full of various rules, difficult to remember, even for the most professionally motivated teacher or student, and difficult to dissect.  The book is suitable for a wide-range of ages and is probably one of the best gifts that a student or teacher could receive.

“English Grammar Today: An A-Z of Spoken and Written Grammar”: Book Review

It was a pleasure to receive a copy of “English Grammar Today”, which is written by Carter, McCarthy, Mark and O’Keefe, and was keen to put it to good use.  I have found that this grammar resource book really useful with mainly adult language learners and there are some great material in the workbook which complements coursebooks.  Anyhow, my most recent book review was published in the IATEFL Voices magazine and really appreciate everyone that helped.  It has really made my birthday receiving IATEFL Voices through the post.

“Digital Play”: Book Review


It was a wonderful feeling to finally have “Digital Play” (DELTA Publishing), land on my doormat and I was keen to start reading the book.  The book is co-authored by Kyle Mawer and Graham Stanley and interestingly Graham has a “Digital Play” blog which contains a wide source of teaching ideas and posts dedicated to digital learning in English language teaching.  Meanwhile Kyle has created a Wikispace dedicated to teaching pedagogy and the incorporation of popular online and console gaming and it has been awarded an Edublog Award.

Nevertheless, “Digital Play” is predictably split into three sections each called Part A, Part B and Part C.  As with other books in the DELTA Teacher Development Series, Part A provides some background knowledge to technology and gaming with language learning, Part B offers a range of activities and lessons to incorporate digital play within the classroom and finally Part C suggests areas of reflection and consideration for schools and educators to consider syllabus design and the inclusion of digital play in language classrooms.

Part A
The key concept behind the inclusion of digital games and language learning is not necessarily new but there are some terms, such as ‘edutainment’, which “cause some educators to shudder” (Mawer & Stanley 2011, p.7) and have some negativity associated with them.  When I was teaching in South Korea, edutainment was offered to many language learners and it was considered by many students to be more beneficial than the traditional language classroom.  However, many teachers based in Korea negatively viewed edutainment and that the teacher was considered to be more of an entertainer than a teacher.  Nevertheless, if language lessons are considered by the learner to be entertaining, it would be plausible to suggest that the learner’s affective filter is reduced and the lesson (or the key purpose) is more memorable.  The authors also suggest that many learners’ lives are dominated by computer games, the internet and game consoles with “much of [the learners’] … talking about them with friends” (p.7).  Furthermore, the authors consider, within Part A, the appropriateness of computer games and society with various issues such as violence and stereotypes.  The interesting response to violence within computer games, among many, view “the relationship between violent computer games and aggressive behaviour” (p.8) as clear.  More recently, a scientific study attempted to link computer games to changes within childrens’ brains that causes detrimental effects (Telegraph 2011).  However, there is an awareness that some games, particularly those that have an educational benefit, which assists children or language learners such as “treating post-traumatic stress disorder, boosting intelligence and developing the memory” (Telegraph 2011).  Mawer & Stanley (2011) highlight the educational benefits of computer games and digital play within the language classroom and suggest that many schools have been slow to respond to advances within technology: “pupils sitting in rows with textbooks” (p.9).  This is also supported by Sir Ken Robinson talking about changing the paradigms of education:

Much of Sir Ken Robinson’s talk about the disadvantages of the 19th century structure of education is also expressed within Part A of the book and it is wonderful to see Mawer & Stanley (2011) consider changing the traditional language classroom to the benefits of their learners.  Nevertheless, towards the end of the first section of the book, Mawer & Stanley (2011) provide a glossary as well as a guide to digital play, pages 21 to 32, in the language classroom, which is invaluable for those new to incorporating games in their lessons.

Part B
The following section of the book offers various ideas and activities for the reader to consider when deciding on using digital play within the language classroom.  The authors provide activities for the connected as well as the non-connected classroom, with four chapters within this part of the book and over 90 lesson suggestions for activities.  Personally, I found the book a great source of inspiration and I decided to prepare my own lesson with the use of an iPad, iPod or iPhone based game within my personal classroom.  When combining the book with Stanley’s blog of Digital Play, there are over 100 teaching activities and ideas to consider.  It is such a wealth of information, possibly too much for the new teacher, but well worth the investment to read and consider for future lessons.  One of my favourite lessons available on Stanley’s blog was related to gaming soundtracks and can really prompt students to converse in a subject that is of immediate interest to them.

Part C
The final section of the book provides some further information to consider and reflect upon, such as classroom management (setting up the classroom, classroom layout, etc) for using digital play with learners.  Other areas of this section include pedagogy and references to further reading, which also complements the first section of the book.

Finally, “Digital Play” has become one of my most popular books to refer to when planning or reflecting on the use of technology in my own classroom and I would recommend any experienced, or non-experienced, teacher to consider purchasing it in the future.  It is a great book that complements other DELTA Teacher Development Series such as “Teaching Online” or “Teaching Unplugged” and is a wonderful resource for any budding technophiles.

Learning One-to-One

It was a pleasure to receive a copy of “Learning One-to-One” (2010) written by Ingrid Wisniewska and is published by Cambridge University Press.  As with many of the other Cambridge Handbooks for Language Teachers, this book offers many wonderful ideas for teaching one-to-one based lessons.  I would recommend any newly qualified or veteran teacher to purchase this book as it provides a new perspective on one-to-one lessons.  Furthermore, I was offered the opportunity to write this book review for the first Journal of Second Language Teaching and Research and was provided some invaluable advice from Darren Elliott (who also has a really insightful blog) during the review writing process.  Nevertheless, I would recommend this book for its simplicity and valuable ideas it provides for any teachers.  My full book review is available to read below.

“Teaching Unplugged”: Book Review


Teaching Unplugged”, written by Scott Thornbury and Luke Meddings, published by DELTA Publishing and part of the DELTA Teacher Development Series.  The blurb on the back describes the book as “the first book to deal comprehensively with the approach in English Language Teaching known as Dogme ELT”.  As with the previous book review, Teaching Online” by Nicky Hockly and Lindsay Clandfield, “Teaching Unplugged” contains three individual parts; Part A, Part B and Part C.

A
Part A introduces the reader to ‘Dogme ELT’, particularly the belief and philosophy that drives Dogme.  The underlying principal which supports ‘Dogme ELT’ is that education is predetermined by communication and that the dialogue between educator and learner is not transferred knowledge.  The authors write in an easy to understand manner and introduce ten key principles of ‘Dogme ELT’ each related to keywords.  The keywords are listed below:
·         Interactivity
·         Engage
·         Dialogic
·         Scaffolded
·         Emerges
·         Affordances
·         Voice
·         Empowers
·         Relevance
·         Critical
From these keywords, the book then discusses the three core rules that:
·         Dogme is about teaching that is conversation driven.
·         Dogme is about teaching that is materials-light.
·         Dogme is about teaching that focuses on emergent language.
The next section of Part A, seeks to clarify in greater detail each of these three core rules; conversation driven, materials-light and emergent language.  There are several invaluable areas written about in these sub-categories which is reflective, thought provoking and pushes the boundaries of English Language Teaching and current widely respected methodologies.  One conversation driven example illustrated by Meddings and Thornbury is demonstrated with an extract from a classroom in Mexico.
T: well then, Jorge … did you have a good weekend?
S: yes
T: what did you do?
S: I got married.
T: [smiling] you got married. (0.7) you certainly had a good weekend then. (0.5) [laughter and buzz of conversation]
“Teaching Unplugged” (2009) by Meddings and Thornbury (pg. 11)
The materials light sub-category focuses upon the use of coursebooks and texts within the classroom.  The book is quick to highlight that ELT materials “threaten to stifle the opportunities for conversation”.  However, the objective of a Dogme approach is to focus on the learners and not the material.  Meddings and Thornbury suggest that the Dogme techniques “don’t in themselves constitute a fixed ‘method’ or a ‘one-size-fits-all’” prescriptive approach for effective English Language Teaching. 
The final sub-category for Part A looks at the focus on emergent language.  The main emphasis for this section is dedicated on the fact that language, instead of being acquired, emerges within the classroom “out of interpersonal classroom activity”.  The authors suggest a list of ten strategies to support learners to engage in emergent language:
·         Reward
·         Retrieve
·         Repeat
·         Recast
·         Report
·         Recycle
·         Record
·         Research
·         Reference
·         Review
These strategies are echoed in Part B of the book.
B
As with Teaching Online, Part B of “Teaching Unplugged shares ideas and lessons that complement and support the underlying theories of ‘Dogme ELT’ in the classroom.  The unplugged activities are ready to use straight away as there are “no worksheets to photocopy”.  The activities cover five chapters:
·         Creating the right conditions
·         Managing conversation
·         Selecting stimulus to share
·         Focusing on form
·         Learning from lesson to lesson

Each lesson provided, breaks down a lesson plan with different areas to consider prior to the lesson (Think about it and Get it ready), during the lesson (Set it up, Let it run and Round it off) and after the lesson (Follow-up).  As with each lesson chapter in Part B, there are tips and techniques to assist the teacher.  In total there are 97 lessons provided over the five chapters in this Part, which is plenty for the teacher to start practising with.


C
The final part of the book considers who is able to teach ‘Dogme ELT’.  Some areas that are considered in this chapter include; Teaching as a non-native speaker, Teaching with a coursebook, Teaching young learners, Teaching specialised English, etc.  With each section, there is a provision of additional information, for example with Teaching young leaners, there are issues raised such as the edutainment of English Language Teaching or the cramming of learning for state examinations where children are spoon fed mechanical drills, the implications of a ‘Dogme ELT’ approach for young learners as well as helpful indications for the teaching of an unplugged approach for children.

“Teaching Unplugged” is a book that really pushes the current concepts of teaching methodology, supports teachers that are willing to experiment with an unplugged approach and provides some key lessons to put to practice.  Furthermore, the tips and techniques provided are so invaluable that it should be on every teacher’s bookshelf.  I recommend this book for teachers that are willing to develop professionally and improve their own knowledge of teaching methodology.  The book provides a good summary; “Teaching Unplugged represents an exciting new chapter in alternative and progressive educational theory”.