ELT Experiences

Experiences for English Language Teaching

By - Martin Sketchley

English UK 2012 Teachers’ Conference: Dogme ELT Talk

On 10 November 2012, there is the annual English UK 2012 Teachers’ Conference held in London which is held at Prospero House.  I will be holding a talk during the day at the Conference about Dogme ELT and is related to my IATEFL Talk in Glasgow earlier this year.  Further details regarding the venue (Prospero House) is located below.

Obviously, there will also be others presenting during the Conference and with some big names in ELT such as Adrian Underhill, Rachael Roberts, Nik Peachey as well as many other names.  Jeremy Harmer will be involved with the Opening Plenary and the conference opens its doors from 9:15am with a Closing Plenary with Chia Suan Chong at 3:30pm.  The Conference Programme is available to view below:

Conference Programme 2012 Web

It will be wonderful to meet some familiar faces and I look forward to seeing some at my talk on the 10 November.

By - Martin Sketchley

BELTE 2012 – Conference Summary

From left to right: Huan Japes, Bill Randell and Gordon Watts

Last weekend, it was the BELTE (Brighton English Language Language Training Event) 2012 conference and has been the 3rd time that I have attended this training event.  It was pretty easy getting the train to Brighton and I met some familiar faces from LTC Eastbourne at the train station.  We all sat down on the train to compare the list of presenters and decide who we were going to see at the conference.  This year, there had been a number of famous ELT professionals such as Luke Meddings, Hugh Dellar as well as Martin Parrott to name just a few.  Having received the BELTE 2012 timetable early, thanks to Gordon Watts, I had already decided which talks that I was wishing to attend.

Anyhow, once I had arrived, I was given the usual goody-bag, free books supplied by Global ELT and had an opportunity to speak to the various publishers.  The best thing about the annual BELTE is that it is free for all attendees and you can get a free book with the goody-bag.  Nevertheless, once I had met some fellow ELT professionals and said hello to some friends to teachers and publishers, Gordon Watts formally opened the event with current Brighton Mayor (Bill Randell) and English UK Deputy Chief Executive Huan Japes.  Brighton Mayor asserted that ELT was an estimated value of £100 million for Brighton, while Huan Japes discussed the complex issue of visa issuance and regulation for non-EU students wishing to attend language schools in the UK.

Attendees choosing which talks to attend.

After the formal opening of the BELTE, attendees were encouraged to write on boards which talks that they wanted to attend.  Of course, with over 300 attendees to the small conference event, all the talks were very popular and good attendance for each talk.  For a full list of the presenters for the BELTE, please view my previous blog post (This Year’s BELTE – 20 October 2012).  I decided to attend Luke Meddings’ talk on Dogme ELT (due to a personal interest in the subject), Hugh Dellar’s talk on Translation in the Classroom (a subject that I haven’t really considered before) as well as Rachael Roberts’ talk on the IELTS Examination and the implications for fluency in the test.

10:30: ‘What Happens When We Unplug’ by Luke Meddings


The first talk which I attended at 10:30am was Luke Meddings’ focus on “What happens when we unplug?“: a talk focused on the implications of Dogme ELT inside and outside the classroom.  A few weeks ago, I attended a talk at the British Council in Spring Gardens about “Found Objects” and was keen to learn Luke’s take on Dogme ELT compared to my dissertation on this subject.  Anyhow, he started the talk by getting attendees to write down the first thing that they had mentioned, thought or said to another person and scribble this down on a piece of paper.  These notes were handed back to Luke to refer to later in the talk.

Luke Meddings during his talk at BELTE 2012

He then proceeded to share his experience of initial teacher training during the equivalent of the CELTA 25 years ago and some feedback from the teacher trainers.  He then started reflecting on the use of Teacher Talking Time (TTT), which struck a chord as I had blogged about this two weeks previously (How Appropriate is TTT in the Classroom?).  Some of the thoughts and reflections that he mused over regarding TTT many years ago were similar to personal thoughts and ideas that I had, as Dogme ELT is associated with an interactionalist approach to language teaching.  As Luke maintains: “Talking with the learners, rather than talking to the learners”.  I suppose the reflections on TTT is more relevant towards the provision of instructions rather than a conversational approach to teaching.  Nevertheless, the ‘conversational-driven‘ aspect of Dogme ELT is rather interesting (as this philosophy of teaching is not new when considering the amount of teachers proclaim that they already incorporate elements of Dogme ELT either knowingly or unknowingly) and Luke then decided to share of the ‘materials-light‘ tenet of teaching unplugged.

Luke decided to focus on the aspect of materials in the classroom and pointed out that with the amount of technology in the classroom, the amount of materials has actually increased in real-terms.  For example, teachers and learners have access to coursebooks, CDs, DVDs, IWB materials, online forums, photocopiable materials, teacher manuals, supplementary learner books, dictionaries, digital apps, etc.  When I started English teaching, we only had access to student coursebooks, teacher manuals and CDs.  There appears to be a digital revolution occurring with English teaching resources.  Many people thought that the advent of technology would make the learning experience more motivational and adaptable for the classroom.  However, material has been piled on with teachers and learners expecting more bang for their buck.

Nearer the end of the talk, Luke reviewed the three key tenets of Dogme ELT (those being ‘conversation-driven‘, ‘materials-light‘ and a focus on ‘emergent language‘).  The talk then considered the ‘test-teach-test’ of language learning and Luke suggested that Dogme ELT should be related and focused with an ‘assess-teach-assess’ element of language learning.  It was highlighted that when teaching in an unplugged style, it is reactionary rather than prescriptive.  Thus, you are always assessing teaching opportunities, assessing learner capability, making informed decisions on language learning then reassessing learner understanding, hence its relationship with the ‘assess-teach-assess’ philosophy.

The next part of the workshop, Luke used various prepositions (in/out, above/below, etc) for attendees to discuss the relationships with language learning with the person sitting next to them.  There was some very interesting discussions with all attendees and Luke elicited some examples from those that were present.  Finally, Luke picked up the pieces paper (which had been passed along at the start of the workshop) and he then read out some examples from the first thing a person said:

  • “Do you want to go for a walk?”
  • “I’ve knocked over some water! Towel, towel, towel!”
  • “Oh my god!”
Luke gave some wonderful techniques to teach with the suggested sentences.  Some of this included drilling, analysis of grammar, L1/L2 translation, etc.  It was a wonderful example on how to incorporate a ‘materials-light‘ approach to teaching and one that I will try out with my learners in my next class.
As a final attempt to demonstrate the ease of technology in the classroom to develop interaction, elicitation and experimentation in the classroom, Luke brought out his iPhone with some pre-recorded material in particular places.  He played the audio (which consisted of some people chatting, some loud clanging, etc – which was actually the train station) and he got attendees to guess the place.  After some suggestions, one person got the right answer.  Luke mentioned that through the use of some very common tools with technology, you could create a rich and engaging lesson.  Obviously, the use of material flies in the face of a ‘materials-light‘ tenet of Dogme ELT, but this tenet is not ‘materials-free‘.

11:45: ‘Translation: Tackling the Taboo’ by Hugh Dellar

Hugh Dellar starts his talk at the BELTE.
The next workshop that I decided to attend was related to translation in the language classroom, an area of language teaching which is a rather under-respected topic mainly due to its pedagogical relationship with grammar translation methods of language education.  Historically, grammar translation was taught when children had to learn Latin, having to translate reams of text from Latin into English, learning the grammar forms as well as learning verb conjugations.  However, as my wife is a professional Korean translator and interpreter, I have a personal interest in translation methods of teaching in the language classroom and whether a place exists for translation/interpreting in the classroom.  There is a commonly error between the difference between translation and interpreting.  Translation is the conversion of text between one language to another, while interpreting is the conversion of speech between one language to another.
Dellar arrived after a brief panic (his underground train was delayed and he spent a number of hours trying to travel to Victoria Station then to Brighton), but he was not late for his talk.  He rushed in, got things organised and started his talk.  He obviously didn’t refer to the difference between translation and interpreting (perhaps something that he could focus on in a future talk) but his talk was aimed for translation in the classroom and he initially looked at why translation was considered a taboo in the classroom.  He encouraged attendees to discuss this amongst themselves and whether they have ever used translation in the classroom.  There was much debate about the use of it in the classroom and whether L1 should actually be included within the lesson if the aim of the lesson is L1.
Practical applications of translation in the classroom.
After some discussion and pointers by Hugh, he suggested some wonderful classroom ideas to incorporate translation in the classroom.  These included writing up a script of L1 to L1 interaction between learners and getting learners to translate this, providing students with the materials to translate which they may encounter in their work as well as raising the awareness of differences between language and culture by getting learners to translate from English to their language then, after a while, back into English (usually called back-to-back translation and a tool used by professional translators to assess quality of translation projects and something that my wife is forever doing).  However, the teacher will have to have some knowledge of the learner’s L1 if they are expected to incorporate some ideas for the classroom but is a wonderful opportunity for learners to teach their teacher about their own language/culture.  The workshop appeared to pass by so quick and it was already time for lunch and the Q&A Session.

14:00: Q&A Session with BELTE Experts

The Q&A Session is a wonderful opportunity for teachers to ask their questions to the professionals during a very informal and lighthearted part of the BELTE.  Some of the teachers asked questions related to the recession, ESOL and charity work, examining, translation as well as developments in technology applicable for the classroom.  It was very insightful and for those BELTE attendees that asked questions were given a free book so I was dead keen to ask a question about translation (considering I had attended Hugh’s talk just before).  Hugh Dellar was chairing the panel and some comments from the professionals were invaluable.  One thing that I was interested to hear about was the role of charities with private language schools and how they could both benefit each other.  As I work for a charity in a voluntary role, I am keen to see what opportunities there are for the charity and I would be keen to link English in the Community with local language schools.

15:30: ’11-14 Minutes of IELTS Speaking Hell?’ by Rachael Roberts


The last session that I attended was Rachael Roberts’ session on the speaking element of the IELTS, possibly the most daunted part of the IELTS for students taking the test.  I have never really felt much interest in attending examination workshops before, as I like to gain new ideas for the classroom rather than attend a talk about examining which won’t offer me possible ideas for classroom techniques.  However, I was really glad to attend Rachael’s talk as she attempted to bridge both areas for those interested in the examination as well as those more interested in classroom ideas.
Rachael introduced the descriptors for IELTS assessment which included fluency being one of these descriptor which is assessed.  She used the term ‘fluency‘ to create a Wordle so that attendees could see the most common and least common terms used to describe ‘fluency‘.  After showing the image, Rachael got attendees to share their own ideas about the teaching and preparation for learners (particularly in relation to the speaking part of the examination) with the IELTS and to try to describe fluency in their own words.  The descriptors which are assessed during the speaking element of the IELTS includes the following:

  • Fluency and coherence (the main focus of the talk)
  • Lexical resource
  • Grammatical range and accuracy
  • Pronunciation
Some quotes that Rachael referred to during the talk to describe fluency included the following:
  • Fluency is the “production of language in real time without undue pausing or hesitation” (Ellis and Barkhuizen 2005).
  • “Fluency is not so much speaking fast as pausing less” (Thornbury 2005).
The next part of the workshop, Rachael offered suggestions on various lexical phrases for specific functions (making recommendations, justifying opinions, agreeing, etc) which is quite useful for those teachers preparing learners for the IELTS.  When you drill learners phrases for speaking, by using some of the suggestions that Jeremy Harmer mentioned during his drilling and repetition talk in Bucharest, it can be invaluable and more useful when teaching examination preparation classes.
After the introduction of the 11 useful set phrases appropriate for learners to acquire for the IELTS, Rachael then focused on awareness raising activities to improve fluency and accuracy in English.  This included a nod towards an old book known as “Function in English” by Blundell, Higgins and Middlemass (1982), which is now discontinued and is now due for a revival for current language teachers, for more creative aspects of language preparation classes.  In some respects, language awareness and the development of emergent language is loosely related to Dogme ELT and it is interesting to see how close this philosophy of language teaching is affecting examination preparation classes.
Rachael suggested that the key for improving fluency and language awareness was to promote autonomy in the classroom.  She suggested that particular activities could be included such as:
  • Using phrase cards
  • Maintaining pressure during the classroom
  • Using a student as an observer
  • Developing more awareness raising activities (which I would recommend teachers to read “Teaching Unplugged“)
It was a wonderful workshop and I was glad that I attended an examination-based talk.  As mentioned previously, this was my first exam-focused workshop that I attended and I would recommend other teachers to attend them in the future particularly for those that have an opportunity to attend Rachael’s talks.  She was able to incorporate some aspect of her latest IELTS Coursebook for the workshop but it played a minor role in the talk and it was very nice to meet a fellow educator that I follow on Twitter in person.

BELTE 2012: Conclusion


Overall, the BELTE Conference was probably one of the best organised so far.  There were some big names from the ELT profession and the Q&A Session was very useful.  The attendees to the conference were given the opportunity to receive some free books and the best thing about the conference is it is free of charge.  You can hob-nob with some EFL professionals and meet other like-minded individuals during the day.  However, the day of the conference conflicted with other big events such as the Language Show (which is held annually in London) and preferably I would love to attend both conferences.  Nevertheless, one cannot complain about the quality of the talks and presenters during the conference.  It is invaluable for all educators and you will have the chance to meet other teachers or publishers.
By - Martin Sketchley

Halloween: Lesson Ideas and Activities

Jack-o’-Lanterns at WSI Korea © 2007

At the end of October, people around the world celebrate halloween in one way or another.  It is a strange cultural annual celebration which people dress up in various spooky attire and go trick or treating.  I remember last year when I was teaching a group of Russian young learners (around Halloween time) and learners completed various activities related to this spooky celebration.  Nevertheless, I am writing up some tried and tested lesson ideas, school activities and ideas to decorate the school which you could incorporate inside and outside the classroom (from personal experience) that would work quite well with various age ranges (young learners or adults).

Decorating the School

One of the main events about halloween (as with other festivals during the year) is decorating the immediate environment such as the school and the classroom.  You could get the learners to help you decorate the classroom and school to set the scene.  Have a think about iconic images that are connected to halloween which could be used as props for classes: skeletons, witches, black cats, etc.  You could get learners to create these iconic images of which could then be stuck up on walls or the ceiling.  When I was working at WSI Korea, all the staff and teachers prepared the Centre for halloween (see the picture on the right) with images of skeletons, orange balloons and a black background with stars and moons.  When the adult learners entered the Centre, they were greeted with skeletons and other paraphernalia related to halloween.  The decoration of the school prompted student interest in the various activities organised and were keen to participate with these activities.
Reception at WSI Korea during halloween

Activities and Materials 

Once you have got your learners to decorate their classroom, or the rest of the school for that matter, you need additional lesson ideas to develop learner interest, authentic conversation and motivation.  Some of the activities or material can be sourced from other places such as the British Council LearnEnglish website whereby there are various activities which could be developed for adult classes.  Some example lesson materials are below (please note that the material embedded below is copyrighted by LearnEnglish).
The first lesson activity below, aimed for young learners, introduces learners to halloween and the material prompt learners to complete a true or false activity and then compare answers.  A sort of guided discovery activity.  I can see the potential in the class for the teacher to either dictate the true or false sentences as well as rewriting the material for adult learners.  Again, all reference are with LearnEnglish © 2012 and some of the resources available on their website are great.
If you are teaching Young Learners you could get some songs playing in the background related to halloween and a great song is Thriller by Michael Jackson.  You could either get learners to practice dancing to Thriller or get them to listen to it in the background whilst students are completing various lesson activities.
Another video song that you could incorporate in the classroom for Young Learners is from Genki English and it is quite catchy.  I came across Genki English when I was working at the British Council Bucharest.
One activity to review and compare cultural differences between the celebration of halloween could involve learners writing about this before comparing their writing with their peers.  You could also stick up their contribution on a wall which other learners to read and you could then create a reading relay using the student writing (the embodiment of a learner-centred classroom).  Hopefully, the reading/writing activity will prompt authentic conversation and discussion between learners with the potential to review emergent language.
Apple bobbing competition
There are also some other materials that could be imported such as the use of flashcards.  Halloween flashcards are available from LearnEnglish, Bogglesworld as well as a range of other sources.  Please check out these websites for lesson ideas and materials.  For example, LearnEnglish offer a range of lessons aimed for young learners for various festivals in the form of songs, stories, etc.  Nonetheless, the flashcards aimed at Young Learners could be used for various games: pelmanism, memorisation games, etc.  There is the potential for schools to organise a fancy dress event for halloween.  This was incredibly popular with the adult students at WSI Korea and can also be suitable for young learners.  Give students time to prepare for the event and offer a prize for the best dressed ghoul, monster, zombie, etc.  The prize doesn’t have to contain any monetary value but could also be a good marketing event for the school such as publicity on the school’s website, free classes for the winner, etc.

Fancy dress competition during halloween at WSI Korea
Finally, teachers could organise a range of events such as “apple bobbing” or creating a “Jack-o’-Lantern’ (as seen in the picture at the start of the blog post).  You do need to monitor children if you are getting them involved with any form of cutting or creative activity as there is a danger with children using a knife, so perhaps this is something that is best aimed for adult learners.  The activities suggested, such as “apple bobbing”, is incredibly motivational as long as you get students into two teams and set a time limit to get as many apples out as possible.  Also be careful with the water and make sure you get a towel ready so students can mop their faces as they are bound to get wet.

Do you have any favourite lesson activities when you cover subjects such as halloween in the classroom?  Have you tried some of these activities in class before?  Please comment any answers or other suggestions you may have for lesson activities.

There is a wonderful blog post by Carissa about the use of stories for halloween for young learners (as mentioned in the comments below).  I definitely recommend reading this to get more ideas, thank you Carissa: http://eslcarissa.blogspot.mx/2012/09/halloween-readings.html

If you would like to add your contribution please comment below and perhaps we can create a wonderful resource for all you teachers around the world.

By - Martin Sketchley

October Teacher Interview – Marjorie Rosenberg

Marjorie Rosenberg: Biography

Marjorie Rosenberg teaches general and business English as well as a CAE preparation course at the Language Institute of the University of Graz and ESP at the University of Teacher Education. She has been teaching at the adult level for over 30 years and at the tertiary level for the past 20. She is an active teacher trainer and her interests include NLP for the classroom, learning styles, cooperative learning, and multiple intelligences. 

Her publications include the text book series ‘Friends’ for lower secondary English classes in Austrian schools (Veritas Verlag 2002 –2005), ‘BizCon’ and ‘TechCon’, a text book series for commercial and technical high schools (Hölder-Tempsky-Pichler Verlag 2006 – 2009, ‘Communicative Business Activities’ (Austrian National Publishing Company 2001), ‘In Business’: Cambridge University Press 2005) the ‘Personal Study Books for Business Advantage Intermediate and Advanced’ (Cambridge University Press 2012), and ‘English for Banking and Finance 2’ (Pearson 2012). Marjorie also worked on the revision of ‘Pass Cambridge BEC Vantage Second Edition’ (National Geographic-Cengage Learning 2012) and has written worksheets for the teachers’ books of ‘In Company’ Intermediate and Upper- Intermediate and ‘Gateway B1’ (Macmillan 2009-2011). She also contributes to English Teaching Professional, The ELT News, and the new online ELTMag.

Marjorie is currently the coordinator of IATEFL BESIG, a special interest group for Business English trainers, writers and material developers. 

  • Tell me a bit about yourself and how you got into teaching.
I came to Graz, Austria in 1981 looking for a job as an opera singer after finishing a Master’s in Performance (MFA) in the States. I had spent the last six years before moving here in New York City holding down a day job in an advertising agency as a media buyer and co-running a small opera company with a friend in NYC. When I arrived, I started auditioning but needed to pay the bills and got into adult education (ELT of course) at the Chamber of Commerce. As I had always loved English, this began to take over more and more and I branched out into business English and then into other aspects of teaching and methodology. I started taking classes on suggestopedia which led to doing my Practitioner, Master Practitioner and Trainer certificates in Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP) with Robert Dilts in California. I also attended a course by Michael Grinder on NLP in the classroom and there met April Bowie from Seattle who got me interested in learning styles.
  • You have been working on a book set to be published later this year by DELTA Publishing.  Tell me more about this book.
It is called Spotlight on Learning Styles and is the book I have been wanting to write for years. April and I worked intensively giving training courses for teachers both in Europe and North America until her untimely death in 2006. It belongs to the Delta Teacher Development series and therefore is set up in three sections. The first gives the background of three different models as well as checklists for the classroom, characteristics of learners and teachers, tips and strategies; the second is filled with a large variety of activities designed to appeal to particular learning styles with explanations of how to expand them to reach other learner types; and the third section gives the rationale for the models chosen, provides information on other models and is set up to be self-reflection for the teacher as well as an encouragement to continue exploration in the field.  It should be coming out at the end of this year or the beginning of next year.
  • You appear to have extensive experience in ELT and have also published various books.  What advice would you give other teachers about getting into writing or publishing teacher related materials?
I began writing articles for the local teaching organisation (TEA: Teachers of English in Austria) on a variety of teaching-related subjects. I joined IATEFL in 1995 and submitted articles as well for SIG (Special Interest Group) newsletters and for the IATEFL newsletter, Voices. My first book, Communicative Business Activities, was published by an Austrian publisher who I had met at various conferences. It was a compilation of materials I had developed for class and used successfully with students. I had sent off the manuscript to a number of international publishers who all turned it down so I was lucky to have a person to talk to personally. Today there are several websites to help people get started and to give them professional advice. We at IATEFL BESIG also offer a lesson plan competition to all those interested in submitting and the winner is published on both the Cambridge University Press website and on the IATEFL BESIG one. This is also a good way to get your name out there. But I would absolutely recommend going to conferences and presenting, which is how I got to know the editors at the major UK publishers. Then when projects came up, they had my name and could contact me. Another possibility nowadays is to take advantage of the workshops offered by some of the new websites on how to start writing.  
  • You are a coordinator for IATEFL BESIG.  What sort of responsibilities and activities are you involved?
IATEFL BESIG is the Business English Special Interest Group for IATEFL (the International Association of Teachers of English as a Foreign Language) which is based in Canterbury in the UK. There are a total of 14 special interest groups (all run by volunteers) and BESIG, with about 700 members world-wide, is the largest. We have been holding our own conferences in different locations in Europe for the past 24 years and are coming up to number 25 which will be in Stuttgart, Germany from 16 – 18 November 2012. This will be my 14th annual conference. I have been the coordinator of BESIG for almost three years and oversee a committee of dedicated and hard-working members. Due to the possibility of advanced technology today we are able to run weekend online workshops, webinars, simulcasts of conferences which tie in with satellite events around the world, an active website with blogs, a Twitter feed, etc (see www.besig.org). In addition to our annual autumn conference, we have held a number of spring events and Pre-Conference Events at the annual IATEFL conference. We also publish a newsletter, give scholarships for an online CertIBET course and began a BESIG Facilitators Scholarship to bring a business English teacher to the IATEFL conference. So far we have awarded this scholarship to colleagues from Uruguay, Argentina and India.
  • Being a lecturer at the University of Graz, one of your educational interests include learning styles.  How important is learning styles in language teaching and acquisition?
Good question. We are actually starting a research project on this topic next week. The hypothesis is that if students are aware of their styles and the related strengths and weaknesses, then they can develop learning strategies in order to suit their personal learning goals and the affect this has on learner autonomy. We will be giving the questionnaires to two groups and asking for learner diaries to see how the students have responded to the questions and which, if any, actions they themselves have taken. A third group will not take the learning style survey but will be included in the interviews at the end. These results will then be published and made available, most likely through the LASIG (Learner Autonomy SIG) newsletter as well as other sources.
  • How would you go about promoting autonomous learning in the classroom?
Not sure if I answered this above.  I think that students need to realise that they are ultimately responsible for their own learning and our job is to help them with tips and ideas to reach this. We also need to give them feedback on whether they have been successful in doing this.
  • What’s the most memorable or unexpected thing that has occurred in the classroom?
That is a tough one after over 30 years of teaching.  I think one situation I remember well was a young man who wasn’t sure if he should take the final exam because he had just suffered a personal problem which had caused him to have a sleepness night and he felt he was not at his best.  I told him to try the exam and I would let him know his grade after I got home so that he could decide if he wanted to retake it. He passed with an average grade but he said he was perfectly satisfied with it and preferred not to do another exam. He showed up in the next class with chocolates and told me that he had never had such understanding from a teacher and that he appreciated greatly being treated like a person and ‘not just a number’.

Something I learned as well was in a group where two of my favourite students chatted non-stop. I tried to stop them but was not successful. I then got marked down on the evaluations by some of the other students. Now I take problem students aside and tell them that I understand chatting is important but to please go out as I may get bad evaluations because of it.  They apologise profusely and the problem seems to have been solved. (This is university level however. Not sure it would work in every classroom).
  • Do you have any plans to continue your research or publishing?
The research question was answered above.  I am finishing up the second edition of a book for high schools for engineering subjects here in Austria with a group of other teacher/authors. I write regularly for the Cambridge University Press website Professional English Online (http://peo.cambridge.org/) and am currently working on a project for Oxford University Press. What the future will bring, still remains to be seen although I have been cutting back on teaching hours to devote more time to writing.
  • Finally, what advice would you give another teacher that has just started teaching?
Wow, what can I say?  Make sure you love it and that you do the things you are comfortable doing. Don’t take on methods just because someone else does them and they work, make them your own and develop what works best for you. Never forget that your students are people and remember what it was/is like to learn something new. And probably the best advice I got from Michael Grinder is to learn to disassociate from the negative things by reviewing in the third person ‘Today a student told the teacher that …’ and associate for the positive and future ‘Tomorrow I am going to …’ Continue to look at every class as an adventure. They are always different so keep your curiosity alive. And above all, don’t forget that WE should never stop learning. 

Additional Links/Reading

Thank you Marjorie for taking the time to answer my questions.  It has been a pleasure to include you on my blog.  Anyone wishing to participate with next month’s Teacher Interview, please contact me.