EFL 2.0 Teacher Talk

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Tag archives for learning

“Functional” Videos


Language functions are a great way to focus student learning on communication. Showing students and having students study examples of language in use, language used to actually do and accomplish and communicate is a great methodology. EnglishCentral now has many videos focused on all the important language functions. Greetings, talking about family, apologizing, using the […]

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Stories from the trenches: The Creative Teacher

Rose Avenue Grade 4

Over the years, spending time with thousands of new or budding teachers – I’ve thought and thought and thought about the major factors that make a “great teacher”.   It’s not an easy thing to pin down, given that there are so many different teaching environments, so many different students and subjects.  However, this story […]

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Standardized Learning


One conclusion I’ve come to after years teaching – testing and assessment are poorly used as a way for students to learn. This is curious and unfortunate because students for the most part DO get motivated and energized through tests and quizzes. The pickle is, the way they are designed doesn’t make the test a […]

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Blast / List From The Past


I spent a few contemplative hours this morning going through some of my dozens of notebooks of poetry and philosophy/aphorisms, written over the last 30+ years. As I was reading one, I came across this list of points on “How To Learn English”. I remember writing this before my first ever conference presentation, my second […]

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Reformation not reform

earth children

Last week I watched the “Reinvent Learning” roundtable with Howard Reingold. As I walked and ran on my treadmill (got in a good 14 k), I listened to the pronouncements of all the experts about what is happening or should happen in education right now. Lots of food for thought but two things really got […]

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5 Myths About Learning


I spent part of the morning rereading Frank Smith, particularly his thoughts about how we learn. Delightful, insightful, thoughtful.  Here’s an excerpt from his book: Comprehension and Learning but I also highly recommend his book about whole language, Understanding Reading. One of the things that I think hinders many teachers and stops educational reform is […]

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Strange stories about language learning

twilight zone

Over the years, I’ve kept my eyes and ears open for great “thought experiments” for language. Real examples and events that are so extreme, they really force you to think differently about ones preconceived notions about language learning (and by default teaching it). Here are the top 5 examples off the top of my head […]

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My Perfect Classroom

{ I originally published this in Barbara Sakamoto’s wonderful blog – Teaching Village. I revive it here because I think its message is pertinent and important. } “The problem with our profession is that there is too much teaching and not enough learning”. I said this recently during a discussion and I think it is […]

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Minimally Invasive Teaching

“The greatest sign of success for a teacher is to be able to say, “the children are working as if I don’t exist.” – Maria Montessori During the last year, I’ve been following the KhanAcademy locomotive as it chugs on to distant fertile lands and glory.   I’m a big believer of video and its […]

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Reality check – TEFL Certificate Course

I will also add to this, “Give a man a fish and he’ll just expect to not work for any more. Make him pay a little and he’ll value that fish and his work to purchase it”. I’m saying this as background to some reflection I’ve been doing based on the recent FREE TEFL Certificate […]

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Assembly Line Education

As this video suggests, we have to get out of the “assembly line” approach to education. It isn’t easy, we are addicted to quantifying “learning”. We are addicted to “cosmetic tinkering”. We are addicted to the “herding” of children into rooms. We are infact scared of the truth.  (see John Taylor Gatto for a whole […]

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Learning a language

This video is raw, raw and real. Meaning, to me it speaks on many levels (both good and bad) because it is from the heart, the belly and the brain – because it has spirit and eyes and emotion. We need more of this type of thing for our students, even given by our students. […]

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5 lessons for educators from “The King’s Speech”

One of the nice things about the small city I moved to recently, is that it has a wonderful theater downtown, minutes from my house. Every Sunday, they have a $5 showing and tonight they showed “The King’s Speech”. Great movie, highly recommend it despite my aversion to “period pieces”, especially British ones! Go see […]

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Giving students room to “do their own thing”

“but I gave them the room to just do the thing. Figure it out, go create” – Diana Laufenberg One of the things I’ve often done with teachers and students alike is just give them a set of materials, say flashcards and then, “just get out of the way”. Let them decide how to use […]

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The Future of Learning II

The future of teaching is learning. This is an addendum to my last post – The future of learning. Just watched this now 3 year old presentation – A Manifesto for Learning. I think it appropriate, given what the last 3 years have presented to us (better access to technology, more profusion of web 2.0, […]

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Teach | Learn example lesson

Last week I wrote about a forthcoming course book that I am publishing – Teach | Learn. It will be out next week but thought it would be interesting to some, to see a sample lesson and to get a few thoughts about the delivery of this lesson and the use of the course book. […]

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The Future of Learning

I have written and pounded the pulpit long and hard on the issue of teachers “getting out of the way”.  Ranted and pleaded with teachers to be more inductive in their approach, more sandbox about the learning environment. No greater compliment to my own constructivist and technology enabled vision can I find than Sugata Mitra. […]

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Insights about SLA …..

I’ve recently been updating articles and resources on the TESOL Teacher Training page/course. One article that I read several years ago has always stood out for me. What do we know about learning and teaching second language – Implications for teaching. Written by Francis Mangubhai, it is somewhat technical but still can be read by […]

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Abracadabra – Self Directed Learning

One thing that I’m very convinced of, is the notion that us teachers are “motivators”. It is our job to motivate our students, to lead our students towards becoming self directed learners, learning for themselves, intrinsically. Oh sure, we have to do all the regular classroom stuff but at the end of the day – […]

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Know – Do / Learn – Acquire

teach me

As a teacher trainer, there is one “theoretical” thing I really want all new teachers to believe and understand. It is the difference between “knowing” a language and “doing” a language. Further, the implications that suggests for our classroom practices. In general speak, we use the word “learn” quite liberally. It is a fuzzy word […]

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