Speaking: how much of “controlled practice” is actually “contrived practice”?

[This is a reflection; I am not here to give you answers nor do I have any. I would like to pick your brain about something that has been bothering me for long.] The first time I went to Argentina was in 2010. Getting there, my former boyfriend, having learned a little of the language...Read More

Oops! A lesson on embarrassing stories

If you are suffering from Novemberitis and need a comical interlude or just an idea for a lesson, here’s an integrated-skills lesson plan for B2 learners. The topic is embarrassing stories  and students will read about it to get in the topic, listen to a celebrity telling her own stories and talk throughout. The main...Read More

Is Your English Fully Operational? – Accurate, Fluent and Fluid Speaking

Scarcella and Oxford (1992) mention that ‘a learner will basically need to develop competences in order to become proficient in an L2 – grammatical competence, socialinguistic competence, discourse competence and strategic competence.’ I bet that at the some point of your teaching career you have come across that student who wants to learn only to...Read More

Revisiting ELT Mantras #6: Reading aloud

Picture the scene: There I was, a shy 13-year-old boy, dressed in an itchy, ill-fitting school uniform in the middle of a German language class. Our teacher, Mrs. Dawson, a strict woman who ruled the classroom with an iron fist, is going round the class calling out people to read chunks of a text out...Read More


Communication between humans is an extremely complex and ever-changing phenomenon, but there are certain generalisations that we can make about the majority of communicative events and these will have particular relevance for the learning and teaching of languages. Learning to speak a foreign language is much more complex than knowing its grammatical and semantic rules....Read More
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