Reading with Children

DSCN0542Everyone knows the benefits of reading to babies and toddlers, right? Health visitors hand out Bookstart packs in the UK almost as soon as your child is born, libraries run all-singing, all-dancing, glue & glitter sessions for families; Dolly Parton posts books monthly to children in the UK, the US, Canada and Australia. And the results from research is overwhelming: a child is never too young for a book. Continue reading

An English Empire? Linguistic Imperialism and me.

800px-1855_Colton_Map_of_the_World_on_Mercator_Projection_-_Geographicus_-_WorldMercator-colton-1855When I completed my CELTA (the initial training course for EFL teachers) and considered all the places in the world I wanted to travel to and teach in, I faced some, half-joking, accusations that what I was about to do aided some covert imperialist agenda. Was I a modern-day missionary, an ELT evangelist preaching Received Pronunciation, sermonising about sentence structure, bearing witness to SVO word order? Was I an unwitting foot soldier in the building of a new English Empire, annihilating native languages, crushing cultures, promulgating Western capitalist ideals?

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Language Play – Alliteration and Rhyme

Word PlayPersuasion, poems, puns. We use language to connect, to communicate, to conceal; for literature and laughs. From the time we begin to babble as babies language play is something we all do. Here are some of our favourite no materials, no preparation, rhyming and alliteration games. Continue reading

EFL Extensive Reading

Oxford BookwormsIn EFL we talk about two types of reading Extensive Reading and Intensive Reading. Intensive reading is what usually happens in the classroom: reading to answer comprehension questions or to teach ‘reading skills’ such as skimming and scanning. Extensive reading is reading for pleasure, often fiction at around or just below a learner’s language level. Ideally extensive reading texts should be 98% known vocabulary.
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How to learn English

Mind Map GuidlinesTo teach (verb) from the Old English ‘taecan’ meaning ‘to show, to point out’.

To learn (verb) from the Old English ‘leornian’ meaning ‘to study, read, think about’.

We tend to see teaching as an active, dynamic activity and learning as a passive one, as if the learner were just an empty vessel waiting to be filled with knowledge. But perhaps, if we look at the etymology of these words, we have not always seen it this way.
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What’s wrong with English?

Inspector ClouseauThanks to the Romans, the Angles, Saxons and Jutes, the Vikings, and the French, English is an interesting and varied language happy to absorb new words and adapt to new influences. English has embraced words from around the world, and massively simplified the Germanic inflectional system of Anglo-Saxon.

And yet, I feel, there are still basic deficiencies in our language.
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