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Continuing this series of exercises based on less is more, this month we turn to adverts as a resource for intercultural awareness or should I say one advert in particular. During the Superbowl in February this year, Coca Cola aired a commercial called “It’s Beautiful” which showed people doing typical American leisure activities – surfing, eating fast food, rollerblading with backdrops such as the Grand Canyon. In the meantime, the song “America the Beautiful” plays in the background. You can see it for yourself here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=443Vy3I0gJs At first sight, you might...

Collocation Competence – fluency and accuracy hand in hand There is a number of reasons why a sound knowledge of collocations is desirable, especially for more advanced learners. Hill (2000) relies on collocations to explain that language consists largely of pre-fabricate chunks of lexis. Therefore, not only is the accurate and appropriate use of collocations one distinguishing mark of a native-like command of the language but it is also a reliable measure of the proficiency level of a non-native speaker. To begin with, the way words combine in collocations...

Cecilia Lemos’s today’s post about the importance of intelligibility when teaching pronunciation made me think it is time I went beyond my two previous posts – where I talked about investigating Brazilian learners’ specific pronunciation needs and tackling their intelligibility problems – and move on to something more specific and practical. What do we know about what makes Brazilians more or less intelligible when communicating in an international context – i.e., using English as a lingua franca? According to a small-scale investigation I conducted (da Silva, 1999) using Jenkins’s common core...

For quite some time now, I have been trying to lower my adult students’ affective filters about their pronunciation difficulties. These affective filters (proposed by Stephen Krashen) “(…) acts to control the amount and quality of input learners receive.” (Thornbury, 2006 p.8). Affective filters can include motivation, self-confidence and anxiety. Anyone who has taught or teaches adults (especially in beginner levels) knows adults usually have higher affective filters than teens do. In my experience, these filters are usually high for adults because they were “conditioned” (by traditional teaching and...

Props can be anything used to aid in the telling of a story. The audience needs to be made to believe that the object is representative to some aspect of the story. Tell the story, because the audience wants to believe. In the classroom, props can be used throughout the story or just as a trigger at a turning point in the audience imagination. Props can be chosen to be the focus of vocabulary words, or for teaching actions or expressions. Props could be maps, balls, cookies, a stone,...

Should we adopt a BYOD model where students bring their own devices to class or a 1:1 program where the school provides each student with one tablet? Before making the investment in technology, I believe there are some important points to consider. I start our reflection with a quote by Chris Lehman (2010), where he says: "Technology should be like oxygen: ubiquitous, necessary and invisible." And what does he mean by that? We can't see oxygen, but it's everywhere. We breathe in and out and don't even notice it....

Hello everyone! I want to start this month’s post apologizing for my… silence last month. I’ve got only myself to blame – anyone writing about organization skills out there? – and can just promise it won’t happen again. Scout’s honor. So let me pick up from where we left off last time:  I ended by asking you whether you’d feel insulted if someone (a teacher trainer, a colleague, your coordinator) told you you had to work on your English. There weren’t many replies, I’m afraid, but the very few people...

I picked this title from Goodreads' weird book titles. By the way, the title above is from a book by English author and academic Malcom Bradbury (1932-2000), whom I have never read and whose book I am now curious about. The reason why I  picked a random title for my post was because I wanted to  illustrate it with a simple task that fosters collaborative creative writing. I like creative writing tasks because they follow a very important principle that allows language to emerge in a real communicative...

Creativity is certainly a desired trait for teachers to have, especially nowadays, when we have to compete with much more appealing sources of knowledge.  But what is creativity?  Is it innate? Can we do anything to enhance it? Well, these are some of the questions I plan on answering at the next Tesol Convention in João Pessoa, where I will present a workshop titled “Creativity as an asset in Language Teaching”.  This article is a very brief summary of some of the information I plan on sharing with the...

  In my last post, I focused on giving Twitter a chance. Before saying No, try a resounding YES! And if I haven´t convinced you last time, how about considering Twitter as your daily professional development hub? For most ELT conferences, there are great tweets coming from the backchannel. Educators who share the resources of the presentations they are attending, ideas, thoughts, quotes. If nothing appeals to you, PD in microdoses might convince you. Here´s a list of the conference hashtags I´ve been following lately and also sharing. If you couldn´t be...