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Everyone at Richmond was deliriously excited about getting an ELTon nomination for our Big Picture app. The ELTons are the very prestigious British Council awards that recognise innovation in ELT. Deborah Tricker, our Global Publishing Director, Laura Orchard who works in our Oxford marketing department and is the queen of all things social media and I were the lucky three to get the opportunity to go to the awards ceremony. We prepared our acceptance speech as we had been instructed by the organisers. Deborah and Laura fretted about what to...

English language learners in the 21st century are in the center of a technological revolution. Prensky (2001a) referred to today’s children as “digital natives” and acknowledged the fact that today’s students are no longer the people our educational system was designed to teach. Moreover, research has indicated that today’s average young adult has spent fewer than 5,000 hours reading as opposed to over 10,000 hours playing video games, over 10,000 hours talking on digital cell phones, and over 20,000 hours watching TV. In addition, they have sent in...

You may or may not be aware that the football championship is just around the corner with national teams beginning to arrive, stadiums being finished and with thousands of people brushing up on their English. Football (or ‘scoccer ’) is the most popular sport in the world, played and talked about by millions of people. It is therefore no surprise that numerous expressions that began life being used to describe the beautiful game have now entered common usage as idiomatic expressions. Although the contexts in which these expressions are used...

I must have mentioned before on this blog that I teach adolescents in their last year of High School. Needless to say, this is a period of great anxiety as most of them intend to go to university and now have to choose a career. It is the time when most of them realise that their days of “automatic pilot” - in which they simply progress from one grade to another - are over and that making a decision based on the question What do I want to...

I always say that one of the things I like the most about teaching is that I’m always learning. And I’m quite sure I’m not the only one… We teachers learn a lot not only from our students and from fellow teachers but also from what we read, from conferences we attend, and so on. And this all has got to do with teacher development. Bell and Gilbert (apud Evans, 2002) state that “teacher development can be viewed as teachers learning, rather than as others getting teachers to change....

#3: C is for Coursebooks Sadly, there are coursebooks whose job seems to be to perpetuate or reinforce stereotypes, like the one below. Happily, that’s not the case in mainstream publishing. Instead we have generic pap - UHT coursebooks aimed at everyone and landing nowhere. [caption id="attachment_1186" align="alignleft" width="314"] http://hongwrong.com/hong-kong-textbook/ via Ken Wilson on Facebook[/caption] ELT publisher seem to be a bit like political parties - all fighting for the same centre ground, coming up with policies (or products, in this case) which are designed to be inoffensive and look good....

The discussion revolving around the use of mobile devices in the classroom is still strong. Some teachers have embraced the gadgets, feeling that they are powerful learning tools. Others, due to insecurity or strong beliefs argue that cell phones and tablets are a poor replacement for traditional teaching, just substituting what is already done well without them. For those teachers, the place of mobile devices in the classroom is in silent mode in the backpacks. There are others who say that students will be browsing through their social...

Hi everyone! I was wondering about what I would share with you this month and, as I was rereading an old article, it came to me: group work. Some teachers, used to teacher-fronted classes, resist promoting group work afraid of losing control and of students learning something “wrong”. If you are one of them, remember that learning is not an overnight phenomenon. On the contrary, it is developmental and it takes long. The fact is that group work has been extensively investigated[1] and its advantages greatly outnumber the eventual exposure...

Here’s one more post with ideas and suggestions for helping our learners become aware of pronunciation areas which are essential for their intelligibility, and overcome their difficulties. This time let’s focus on a very common Brazilian pronunciation problem which fortunately teachers and more recent course books (like Richmond's new English ID series) have been giving more attention to lately than they used to do a few years ago. That’s the mispronunciation of initial R’s as H’s because of the way the letter R is pronounced in that position in...

By definition reading is the action of a person who looks at and understands the meaning of written or printed words or symbols. But there is much more to that than meet the eyes. Nuttall (1996:2) believes that not only does reading comprise decoding, deciphering and identifying words, but it is above all an opportunity for learners to draw meaning from the written text. Getting students to read in English both intensively and extensively is vitally important for a number of reasons. Firstly, we basically read a great deal...