Experiences of an English Language Teacher

Author: Martin Sketchley (Page 1 of 30)

17 Years of English Language Teaching

The New Year is always a great opportunity to personally reflect on the previous year, but it is particularly important for me as a teacher. This is mainly due to the fact that I started teaching back many years ago in December in South Korea. I have now been teaching English in some capacity for over 17 years and have many fond memories. So where did this all start me?

I was really forced into TEFL in South Korea in the winter of 2005, as I had been job hunting for six months after graduating and had failed to secure any form of employment in the UK. As I was married to a South Korean national, it seemed fitting that we try our luck in her country. We packed our things, shipped them to the other side of the world, and then caught a plane to Seoul. It seems another time entirely.

In the classroom during Halloween with young learners in Anseoung, South Korea.

I arrived in this exotic country, with absolutely no knowledge of Korea, an undergraduate degree in International Business, and renewed enthusiasm to secure employment, doing what I could to support my young family. Anyone who has had the opportunity to travel to South East Asia would particularly understand that the only field that is really available for arrivals – particularly in the early 1990s and 2000s – was to teach English to young children. I was able to secure employment almost immediately with a private language institute (also commonly known as a ‘hagwon’), which was completely different to what I failed to achieve back in the UK for six months.

When first starting teaching in South Korea, I was based in a very small town (about an hour and a half away from Seoul) where I felt like the only foreigner there. Most jobs in the local area for locals were working in factories or in local convenience stores. Back in the winter of 2019 (prior to the pandemic), I recently met up with my boss and had a chance to see how the town had changed. It is now completely different to how I remembered it, with many new towns popping up. Many of the rice paddy fields have now gone now and it resembles more of a small city rather than a remote town.

Anyhow, when I first started teaching children in the winter of 2005, I had no certificate in English language teaching other than completing a weekend course, prior to my departure to Korea, which barely gave me the necessary skills or confidence to teach. However, I bought Grammar in Use, spent all evening planning my first day of classes, and felt like a nervous wreck upon entering the classroom. After a few weeks of planning, and getting used to my new adopted country, I refined my lesson planning, having realised that I had six classes of lessons per day and could plan one lesson per day.

This one lesson could include a variety of tasks within 50 minutes and usually my first lesson would involve elementary students with my final class being with intermediate learners. I could cover the same topic, have the worksheets all prepped within 30 minutes and have an idea of what to do in each class by grading the difficulty or activities. And that was my introduction to English language teaching in South Korea.

A whiteboard filled with flashcards and vocabulary.

After fourteen months of teaching young learners, I really wanted to take my teaching to the next lesson and decided to undertake a CELTA at the British Council in Seoul. The whole process of applying can be a separate post, but I remember starting the first day after commuting a couple of hours to the centre. The CELTA Tutors were incredibly supportive and patient to all trainees, and I still keep in touch with them.

Now fast forward 17 years and I am now based in the UK teaching a range of classes – EAP, Business English, General English, IELTS Preparation to name just a few. I have met many students, taught thousands of hours to both young learners and adults, received many gifts from students, and had the chance to make many new friends. This career has been very rewarding with highs as well as a lows.

Nevertheless, here is to another 17 years.

Lesson Ninja: A Simple Tool for English Language Tutors

With the increasing popularity of online tutoring, there is a growing demand for online tools for tutors to create engaging and interactive activities. Personally, I found it ever so difficult to create automated gapfill or matching exercises within an online environment. However, this is where Lesson Ninja attempts to bridge that gap (no pun intended) and offer intuitive tools for the benefit of tutor and student. In this post, you will learn more about this valuable tool which could support those that are involved in language tutoring.

I was fortunate enough to have interviewed Maciej Szwarc, co-founder of Lesson Ninja, and this video is available to watch below. In this video, Maciej shares his website as well as the tools that are available.

Continue reading

Book Review: “101 EFL Activities for Teaching University Students” by Hall Houston

It was a surprise to receive Hall’s most recent publication to review, “101 EFL Activities for Teaching University Students”, during the summer, and I was keen to share my thoughts and ideas. However, it has taken a while to write out and create a video, but I appreciate Hall Houston’s patience in the meantime. Nevertheless, I hope I do this review justice.

Watch my immediate reaction to this new book by Hall Houston

Overall Impressions

When I first opened this book on my computer, I was surprised how many different activities were included within the publication. Of course there are 101 activities, but it is sometimes hard to visualise the number of tasks within the contents page. The contents page covers three pages in length and the book is split into three key components: ‘Getting Off to a Good Start’, ‘Maintaining Motivation and Interest’, and ‘Ending the Semester Gracefully’.

The intention is obvious with the book offering ideas for the beginning, middle, or end of the course or term. There are a number of activities which are within each of these three components:

  • Getting Off to a Good Start: 38 activities
  • Maintaining Motivation and Interest: 38 activities
  • Ending the Semester Gracefully: 25 activities

During the video review, as shared above, I looked a few select activities, which you can watch to get an idea of the variety of tasks, and I was pleased that the activities followed a familiar and logical structure. Each activity was accompanied with the title of the activity, a brief introduction, the time it would take to complete the task, any skills that would be focused during the activity, any preparation required, as well as the procedure.

The following sample page above, provides an illustration of the format and style of the publication.

There are a number of activities which also have possible downloadable and photocopiable material. During the video review, I was surprised as it is the first time that I have seen a direct link between material and a self-published eBook. I suppose in this day and age, we tend to take it for granted but for an author to take the time and make the effort to offer possible free material is welcomed.

Downloadable and photocopiable material are offered to readers on the eBook with this publication.

For example, on the page above, after activity 40, there is a photocopiable handout offered to readers with the eBook. Clicking on this download button, readers are guided towards Hall Houston’s website where they can download and print the activity out for use in class.

As well as all the suggested lesson activities and material offered within this book, there is an introduction guiding the reader into each of the three key parts of the book and towards the end of these parts include teacher development tips or reflections on improving possible areas of teaching. The author has tried to offer much value into this publication and it is recognised.

At the end of the book, readers are provided with a variety of links for further reading, videos to consider watching or courses to extend their awareness. Much is packed into this publication.

Final Thoughts

On inspection, the book is a valuable resource for English teachers – regardless their teaching context – as it offers a variety of engaging tasks which could be incorporated immediately to any lesson. If you are keen to add something different to your lessons or to supplement an activity, then this book will offer some practical tips to enhance the delivery of your teaching.

The links embedded within the eBook offer additional downloadable material which can be printed and used in lessons, but I assume the physical book (which I was unable to review) would not be able to link these online resources. Nevertheless, the eBook would be invaluable and offers a little more – if my aforementioned assumption is correct.

If you enjoy this review and would like to get this book, you could either get the physical or digital version – I would recommend the digital version as all the links appear to work quite well and it is more affordable than the physical version.

In a word, this book is wonderful with much work and effort going towards the entire self-publication. Get your digital Kindle version here, “101 EFL Activities for Teaching University Students”.

Final score: 10 / 10

How To Teach ‘Too’ and ‘Enough’

In this brief post / video, I share how I go about teaching the difference between ‘too’ and ‘enough’ with pre-intermediate or intermediate learners of English. These are some tips and feel free to either adapt or ignore this as what may work for me might not work for you.

1. Introduce Adjectives

The first step is to introduce common adjectives to learners with the use of flashcards. Print off some flashcards which represent common adjectives such as cold, hot, expensive, etc. and then elicit from students the language. While language is being elicited, board it up and check pronunciation by nominating students.

2. Students Predict Situations

Get students to think of particular situations with the selected adjectives, for example with the image of someone tired they could have worked for twelve hours. Give an example to all students with one flashcard and ask students to work together in pairs or small groups, noting down possible situations. Once students have written down some ideas, nominate groups to share their ideas, writing down them on the whiteboard.

3. Creative Dialogue

The next step is to get students to create a dialogue based on their predicted situations. Provide an example for all students to get them started: referring to the picture related tiredness:

  • Person A: Could you write the report for me by tomorrow morning?
  • Person B: Sorry, I am really tired!

Get students to work together in small groups or pairs, thinking of potential dialogue using the adjectives and scenarios as an idea. Give learners some time and then monitor them, helping where necessary. Check whether any learners have used the target language with ‘too’ or ‘enough’ so that you can nominate them for later. After ten minutes or so, ask students to read out their dialogue in pairs or small groups and share them with the rest of the class.

Make a note of any particular language such as the example dialogue above or the target language and write this up on the whiteboard for all students. If none of the students use the target language, you will have to present it to the class. For example, write the situation above and write the start of the sentence ‘I am too tired to … as I didn’t get enough sleep’ and get students to complete the sentence in small groups.

4. Using Target Language

Ask students to use the language ‘too’ and ‘enough’ with the images and situations, working together in small groups or pairs. After a short period, nominate groups to provide their example sentences using ‘too’ and ‘enough’. You could highlight the grammatical structure with the target language so students are aware of how to construct it.

The next step is for students to consolidate understanding and to review with the use of a gapfill exercise. Get students to complete this individually, and monitor or assist learners where necessary. Once students have completed this, get learners to compare answers in small groups or pairs. Here is an online gapfill activity which you could get students to complete.

5. Situational Complaints

The final task for students to undertake is for them to complain about certain situations using the target language. Hand out or board up some situations for students to share their complaints with others. Monitor learners and then provide feedback where necessary. I have included some topics in the Word document below which could be used with students.


I hope you found this grammar teaching post / video useful and that it gave you some ideas for teaching the language point, ‘too’ and ‘enough’. If you would like a future grammar teaching series to be included, kindly let me know in the comments.

Happy Teaching!

Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II: Five Teaching Ideas

Credit BBC 2022

It was saddened to have learnt about the passing of our great Majesty Queen Elizabeth II. She was truly an inspiration and figure that all students that I had the pleasure to teach, knew a little about. In today’s post, I am sharing some videos, material, etc. that you could use in your lessons to raise student awareness about the Queen and the Royal Family.

1. A Look Back At The Queen’s Life: Video Quiz

When it comes to interactive videos which incorporate quizzes, I tend to get students to come up to computer and select or type the correct answer. The following video is a great introduction to the life of Queen Elizabeth II and after students have completed it, you could get students to try to recall as much information as possible. One possible grammar point on this lesson would naturally lead to the Past Simple.

2. Marking The Queen’s Jubilee: Video Quiz

Much like the previous suggestion, the video below incorporates a quiz revolving round tea with the Queen. It is a great British tradition where people, regardless status, have tea with each other. In the following video, Paddington Bear is invited to have tea with the Queen to celebrate her Platinum Jubilee. You could get students to first share their ideas on protocols when having tea with a Queen or King (i.e. what should people do and not do). Board up these ideas and then get students to watch the video, completing the quiz. As a note, the Queen ate jam sandwiches everyday since childhood, and something which is of relevance in the following video below.

3. The Queen Remembered: BBC Podcast

BBC Sounds has a wonderful resource of podcasts, news, etc. which are great for students to access in their own time

As an alternative, you could get students to listen to an episode of a podcast from BBC Sounds, ‘The Queen Remembered’, at home for selfstudy. This will be best suited to students who is a strong intermediate or above. Explain to students that they will listen to the first podcast as mentioned above, making notes of what they listen, and when returning to class the next day they will have an opportunity to share what they had learnt.

Have a listen to the first episode of the podcast above, making a note of the language used in the podcast, and develop some comprehension questions (which you could dictate to learners) such as:

  • How old was Princess Elizabeth when she became Queen? (25 years old)
  • What date did Princess Elizabeth become Queen? (6 February 1952)
  • How did Princess Elizabeth and her sister, Princess Margaret, speak to child evacuees during the Second World War? (Through the wireless on Children’s Hour)
  • How old was the young Elizabeth when she signed up for service during the Second World War? (18 years old)
  • How did the general public feel when Princess Elizabeth married a Greek Prince? (There was a 40% public disapproval rating)
  • Why did Princess Elizabeth and Prince Philip go on a tour of South Africa? (To mark the 21st birthday of Princess Elizabeth)
  • When was the Royal Wedding between Princess Elizabeth and Prince Philip? (November 1947)
  • Who were Princess Elizabeth’s and Prince Philip’s first two children and when were they married? (Charles (1948) and Anne (1950))
  • Where were Princess Elizabeth and Prince Philip living in their early years of marriage? (Malta as Prince Philip was stationed there with the Navy)

4. Discussion Questions: Royal Family

Another way to get students interested or involved in the topic of the Royal Family is to either dictate or board up the following questions:

  • What do you know about the Royal Family? Share your knowledge with others.
  • What other countries have Royal Families?
  • Does your country have a Royal Family? If so, can you share a bit more information to your partner?
  • What functions do the Royal Family provide?
  • What do you think that a King or Queen does each day? Share your ideas with others.
  • What question(s) would you ask a King or Queen?

As with any class discussion, monitor students and make a note of any language that could be corrected or scaffolded. Try to elicit ideas, views, etc. from the whole class after the student to student discussion. You could incorporate the following video to add more a debate between the Monarchy and a Republic.

5. The Crown: Netflix Series

One thing that I decided to incorporate into the classroom is showing the popular Netflix series, ‘The Crown’. Start by showing the following trailer from the series and ask students to make a note of which people were portrayed in this trailer.

Once students have watched the trailer, pair learners together and ask them to retell the trailer to each other (i.e. What scenes do they remember? What people were portrayed? What struggles were shared in the trailer?). Elicit from students and board up their ideas.

Afterwards, start the first episode of the series (if you have a Netflix account) and pause at integral points, nominating students to answer questions about what is happening at these points. You may wish to introduce the movie, ‘The King’s Speech’ so learners could learn more about King George VI.


Feel free to share your own lesson ideas in the comments. As always, a level of discretion is needed when preparing lessons revolving around the Royal Family and it is important to remain impartial and not share any personal opinions in the classroom.

Returning to the Physical Classroom

I have returned to the physical classroom after two years of teaching remotely in the confines of my own home, and teaching face-to-face was, if I could be honest, a struggle. In this post (and corresponding video), I share some of the difficulties I encountered after returning to the physical classroom.

Returning to the physical classroom has not been easy

Challenge 1: Classroom Management

One of the initial challenges I encountered was classroom management. I am naturally not so good at remembering student names and it takes me a while for names to stick – thankfully I don’t forget my wife’s name! When returning to the classroom, I had to draw a classroom map and then write the names on this. I referred to this during lessons and it helped me remember student names. Within an online environment, remembering names is something which is not given much thought as many students have their name appearing next to their corresponding image on the screen, so I guess I became lazy and decided to rely on the image and the visual cue for student names.

Continue reading

Personal Update and Thanks for 10,000 Subscribers

Hello. This is a short blog post to provide an update with regards to my what has been happening recently and to thank all those that have subscribed to my YouTube Channel.

Over the past month, I have been rather quiet and took a short break from producing video content for my YouTube Channel – there has been quite a bit on my mind and I have had to process much. I shall share this in the future but for now I am happier and more content. One reason for this was being asked to teach a short week course for a group of Spanish teenagers for a local language school – you can read more about it in this blog post. This really got me out the house and put me back where I enjoy – the classroom!

Anyhow, there is a video below where I provide a bit of an update. I am planning to release more content on YouTube in the coming weeks and it would be wonderful if you could subscribe (if you haven’t already).

I told you this was a short blog post! Anyhow, that is it for me today and I hope you have a good rest of the week. Stay safe and happy teaching all!

The First Teenage Group of Students Post-Pandemic in the UK

In the old staffroom preparing for the week ahead and getting resources from LinguaHouse.

The past couple of years have really caused havoc for the English language sector in the UK, with many language schools closing completely down over the past two years. Only recently, in the UK, have we started to feel a sense of normalcy returning with some schools private English language schools opening up to international students once again. Only the past few weeks, have I noticed more students locally, wandering around my hometown – something which was once considered the norm a few years ago. On a personal level, I know a handful of people who have travelled from abroad to the UK with nominal checks before and after arriving. So in terms of English language teaching, the UK is open for business with international students having the opportunity to visit and experience what was lost the past few years, so much so that I was asked to teach a small group of teenage Spanish learners over the Easter break, for a week.

I popped into the school the week before to reacquaint myself with the various material available and to pencil down a possible weekly plan. It took a few hours to get everything together but I was quite happy and then I was asked to cover an adult class for an hour while my ex-Director of Studies undertook some tutorials with his students. It was quite an interesting lesson and I thought about focusing on pronunciation and vowel sounds as this would help these Elementary / Pre-Intermediate adult learners develop their skills with listening and generating appropriate awareness of British pronunciation. It included a listening task with some comprehension questions and the students done a good work picking out all the necessary answers from the listening. Personally, it was a good chance to be lowered softly into the private English teaching industry post-pandemic.

I had to take a little time to get used to using the physical whiteboard!

Before I knew it, the lesson was over and I was registering as an employee for the school for the week ahead. All was submitted and I was out the door, returning to the school to teach a new group of young Spanish teenagers, and this was when the butterflies and nerves started to grip. I guess some experienced teachers and tutors not mention the amount gravity of such apprehension when dealing with new students. First lessons always provide a healthy balance of nerves and keen me on my toes. Anyhow, I had a few days to relax before returning to the school to teach a full week with new students.

The weekend seemed to whizz by, and I was back in the school around 8am to get my material photocopied in preparation for the 9am start of class. I met all students, who were divided into three classes. I took my students into their classroom, where I decided to start what had been the usual get to know you activities with the true and false statements, with students having to predict which were true or false, but this ended up finishing far too quickly. I then realised that the students were not provided with any books or pens, so I had to incorporate some engaging yet ‘material light’ activities in class for the 45 minutes. I then rushed to the DoS’s room to collect said pens and materials for the students. I returned to class and most of the week, I attempted to connect both the morning lessons with the students social activities in the afternoon. I even used LinguaHouse’s material which was received adequately with the students. Interestingly, I have only used LinguaHouse’s material within an online environment and the students seemed appreciative of the tasks – one advantage of this material is it is topic-based and hopefully more engaging for students. The only time that I decided to focus on my own source of material was when I was introducing the learners to the phonemic chart and British pronunciation – I discovered early on that the Spanish group of learners had difficulty with ‘-ed’ verb endings, often mixing up the pronunciation from /t/ to /id/.

I attempted to introduce the phonemic chart to teenagers and use the phonemic script when teaching!

One thing the students reminded me to use in class was Kahoot! I had used this with face-to-face course in the past and it was so refreshing to use this application again in the last ten minutes of class. It engaged the learners and they were the ones requesting that we use it in class.

Before I knew it, I was now on Friday, having taught the students for the week. I asked the school if I were to be paid time and a half due it being Good Friday, but I was told this wasn’t the case. I was slightly miffed by this as another adult teacher was contracted to be paid time and a half, so my feathers were a little ruffled, which prompted me to share a poll on Twitter. Unsurprisingly, the vast majority of participants indicated that being paid time and a half should be the case.

Should EFL teachers be paid time and a half when working public holidays?

However, I should mention that there is no UK law in place where employees should be entitled to time and a half when working on public holidays. One thing that I used to do a few years ago was to work public holidays and then take the time off in lieu and combining with holiday entitlement, usually with a holiday to Korea or elsewhere. Nevertheless, it was refreshing to teach a group of young learners as it had been over three years – even before the pandemic – since I had last taught a closed group. Naturally, I was nervous to begin with but over the coming days, I rediscovered my passion for teaching, particularly face-to-face, and regained my confidence once again.

How do I feel moving on with teaching face-to-face? Well, I feel more comfortable and happy to teach groups of learners, whether adults or young learners. I am also aware that I hold a great deal of flexibility when it comes down to teaching either for a University, a local language school or independently as a freelance online tutor. As students regain their confidence to return to learning in-class or on-campus, I feel more confidence with my employability. It has certainly, without a doubt, been a challenging few years with many suffering from economically from the pandemic. I know some great EFL teachers who have moved on to other more stable forms of income, with some working within the NHS or within different industries. Personally, I am fascinated by languages, cultures, and travelling, with the opportunities to be exposed to varied cultures and individuals continues my fascination so it is unimaginable to think that I side-step General, Academic English teaching or exam preparation such as IELTS.

I hope you found my ramblings of some use and that it struck a chord. Here’s to a better 2022 for the English teaching industry.

Teaching About British Food: Full Lesson Plan

Hello all and welcome to a brief post featuring a full lesson with materials and lesson structure which you could use for your class. This lesson is geared towards Intermediate to Advanced learners and should last 60 minutes.

1. Lesson Introduction

Start the lesson by asking students there favourite food in the home country, as well as what food they like from the UK. Write up some of the language on the whiteboard and scaffold vocabulary where necessary. Choose one food that is from the student’s country and ask them to explain it in English, write up language and correct where necessary.

Tell students that they are going to learn a little more about British food and the type of food that is either cooked at home or ordered at a British pub. See what English food they know and tell them that there is more to food than just fish and chips.

2. Picture Matching

Explain to students that the first task is to match the name of the food to the corresponding picture. Tell them not to use smartphones or tablets to search for the food online but to guess, and not to worry about mistakes. Hand out the first task to students, explain that they should complete this alone, and monitor where necessary.

Once students have finished matching, ask them to compare their answers with each other for a few minutes. Finally, elicit potential answers from students, writing up their ideas on the whiteboard, and correct where necessary.

3. Description to Name Matching

Tell students that they are now to match the description of food, and that they should try to match the name and picture to this. Use the first description as an example and read it out to students, get students to predict the name of the food. Once you receive the correct name, tell them that they must write the name in the right-hand column on the worksheet.

Tell students not to translate any language at this point but to try to understand it from context. Hand out the worksheet and monitor learners assisting where necessary. Once students have finished, mix the learners up in class and get them to compare each other’s answers, before eliciting and sharing the correct answers with each other.

4. Language Review

The next step is for students to review some of the language from the reading. Tell learners to highlight or underline any language that they struggled with but to not check a dictionary or translation tool yet. Once students have highlighted language from the reading, get them to check with each other first to see if their peers know the language and vice versa.

The next step is to highlight ‘-ed’ endings with some of the language and to review pronunciation (i.e. ‘mixed‘ /t/ ‘pickled‘ /d/ ‘roasted‘ /id/). Create a table on the whiteboard and get students to highlight words with ‘ed’ endings and to decide what their pronunciation is; /t/, /d/, or /id/. Review as a class and assist where necessary, drill and correct.

Finally, handout Exercise 3 to the class with the key language, with students needing to decide what the word form is (noun, verb, adjective, etc.). You can hand a monolingual English dictionary out to students and ask them to look for definitions or ask them to head over to Google and ask them to type ‘Define [word]’. Google will provide a brief explanation of the word as well as an example sentence.

Once students have found a definition, tell students to predict the possible translation in their L1 before they check the translation. This in itself develops learner confidence and usage in their L2. The more times learners are correct in predicting possible translations, the more confident they will become.

5. Review Vocabulary

You could review vocabulary by asking students to get into two groups in single files and playing a ‘broken telephones’ style game where learners whisper a word from above to the person in front and the student at the front of the class has to write the chosen word. An alternative to reviewing the vocabulary with this game is by playing ‘hangman’ or ‘pictionary’.


Lesson Material

The material for this lesson is available to download below. It is available in Word format and can be adapted to suit your teaching context.

If you do find this lesson useful or have feedback, please let me know in the comments. It would be great to know what you thought of it.

Using WordSift to Analyse Academic Articles and Essay Questions

I happened across a website called WordSift the other day, which offers teachers and learners the assistance to visualise vocabulary (and connected language) in a memorable and pleasing manner, and thought that this would be a useful tool for assisting students with their academic vocabulary development as well as offering teachers an additional resource. In this post, I shall share a few initial ideas that I have had about incorporating WordSift into possible future EAP and preparatory courses.

Analysing Academic Articles

The first thought that I had was for students to analyse the language within selected academic articles (related to potential student readings) that they have discovered from their initial research. In this example, I decided on an academic article, Assessing academic writing on a pre-sessional EAP course: Designing assessment which supports learning’ written by Seviour (2015).

I selected all text from the article, and then pasted this into WordSift, which provides an immediate review of all language in the form of a WordCloud. This WordCloud provides an instant visualisation of the most commonly used language within a given text. Each word can then be clicked upon to in the WordCloud and below connected lexis is given. For example, I clicked on the word ‘assessment’, which was used 47 times in the article, and a visualised thesaurus was offered.

As well as a visualised thesaurus, or what the website calls ‘WordNet Visualization’, related language is available to view with an ‘in context’ view. Such language includes ‘appraisal’, ‘judgement’, or ‘classification’. However, what I am more interested in are the chunks of language that allow teachers (and students) to analyse such lexis. Patterns are recognised promptly, with so much potential being offered. From a brief minute of analysing the word ‘assessment’, I discovered the following language chunks:

  • assessment activities
  • formative assessment
  • summative assessment
  • a particular assessment task
  • feedback on assessment
  • various assessment criteria

So how could this help learners? Well my thought is that EAP students could import particular reading related to a provided essay title which would allow them to discover the most common academic language by marking vocabulary from the Academic Word List, with such language being highlighted in blue.

Students could then analyse the most common academic language within context and build up their awareness of lexical chunks. This in turn would aid the academic writing process with students now using the most common lexical chunks that would be most natural within an academic essay.

Using Essay Titles

The final thought about WordSift is that students could use this to analyse essay titles to help them develop synonyms and other lexical connections to key words. Such language could then be used to search for suitable and related academic articles. I chose an essay title from a previous EAP course to see how this would fit with this process, this being related to national education and the aid of international agencies.

I copied and pasted the essay title/question into WordSift. This very brief analysis (of only 21 words), provided some insight into even the most common Academic Language, with 4 words being picked up from the Academic Word List. Such language highlighted from the visualised thesaurus provided potential synonyms which could then be used within an academic article search by students. It was an interesting exercise and I would very much like to incorporate WordSift into future EAP courses, and to see how student uptake is regarding this tool.

It would be interesting to see what other EAP practitioners think about WordSift and whether it has any potential in an EAP context. Share your thoughts and practical ideas of using this tool in the classroom in the comments – it would be good to hear what others would have to say.

« Older posts

© 2023 ELT Experiences

Theme by Anders NorĂ©nUp ↑