Month: January 2015

Real world, Mobile learning, ESL Classroom

Most ESL classrooms have a no phone policy. There are posters such as this one in every classroom at my school. I remind students on the first day to put their phones on silent, NOT vibrate – silent – before coming to class. And we do this to create a distraction-free learning environment.

But one of the other strains in our classroom talk is linking our learning to the outside world. We constantly tell our students to use the language, the skills learned in the classroom outside. And in order to make the learning transferable, we use authentic texts and videos and simulate real-life situations.

Then why the disconnect when it comes to using phones in class. Shouldn’t we try to find a way to integrate smartphones usefully in the learning process rather than ban them altogether, just in the spirit of connecting the real world and the classroom?

I watched a TEFL video recently about using TPR to make language memorable, and the instructor used digital cameras to inspire learners to use real language. Nowadays, every student has a powerful camera in their pockets and photo and video-sharing sites such as Instagram and Snapchat have become so popular, it’s a wonder so few teachers are still averse to using them. (more…)

IELTS Speaking: Talking about food

Questions related to food are quite popular with IELTS test-makers – probably because most people enjoy food and usually talk about it extensively in their day-to-day lives.

In my latest podcast, I’ll introduce you to some useful vocabulary to talk about food. Have a listen, make notes and then attempt the quiz on Schoology. Good luck!


IELTS Speaking: Talking about people

Another podcast. This one introduces you to advanced vocabulary you can use to talk about people, their personalities and characteristics. Have a listen and then you can attempt the quiz on Schoology to match the vocabulary with their meanings.

Go to the SoundCloud podcast.

IELTS Speaking: Talking about family and friends

Here’s another SoundCloud podcast. This one has lots of great vocabulary to use when talking about your friends and family. Listen carefully and identify the collocations.