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British Council Webinar: Learner Autonomy – Tools and Tips

Watch this webinar to get some useful tips and advice about promoting learner autonomy in the language classroom:

via British Council Webinar: Learner Autonomy – Tools and Tips


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Why big groups produce simple grammar

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A word expedition

A great collection of tools to help the students build up their vocabulary, which hopefully can help them become more autonomous learners

How I see it now

IMG_20170724_145724In this post, I’d like to share a method of helping your students become more independent learners, especially in terms of exploring vocabulary.

The visual on the left shows a classic example of a piece of text from a coursebook. Normally, students would be asked to try to infer the meaning of the highlighted words from context and then match them with definitions provided. Additionally, students may be invited to look up the L1 equivalents and work on some follow-up activities which would help them retain the target words.

This, I believe, is a perfectly acceptable approach since, as Ellis (1997) argues, acquisition can be speeded by making the underlying patterns of language more salient as a result of explicit instruction or consciousness-raising. However, I also believe that more can be done to help students build vocabulary than just asking them to do a couple of coursebook exercises.

For the sake…

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Half a Crossword

Thanks for sharing! My students & I love crossword puzzles and doing this activity was very motivating for them as well as fun.

How I see it now

It’s been a long time since I discovered the benefits of the Half a Crossword activity. I first came across the idea in the Teacher’s Bank of the coursebook I was using. In case you don’t know what I mean, it’s an information gap type of activity where students get half a crossword each, split evenly between two students working in a pair. They have to ask each other for missing information and define the words in their crossword.

When I first tried it, I immediately fell in love with its simplicity and effectiveness. However, I’d never thought of creating my own half crosswords – I knew it would be far from simple.

Luckily, the other day, I read a post on Mura Nava’s blog where I learned about Half a Crossword creatorwhich makes it possible for me to create half crossword handouts in a matter of minutes. The author…

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The Role of Wikipedia in EAP – Take Two

Clare's ELT Compendium

I realised after publishing my previous post, and turning on my critical thinking brain a little too late, that I had actually written about using Wikipedia in university/academic essays – and had (*embarrassed cough*) actually ignored the EAP aspect altogether. So I sneakily changed the previous post’s title… and am writing this new post now to address the EAP issues in the Wikipedia debate!

So, what are the aspects of using Wikipedia that might be specific to EAP students?

In the previous post, I made the point that Wikipedia can function as a good starting point for some initial research. However, EAP students are perhaps more in danger than other students of not continuing their research from Wikipedia to proper academic sources; depending on their educational and cultural background, and English language competence, they may see no reason, or also no way for them to find further, more academic sources for their work. I don’t…

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What Postgraduates Appreciate in Online Feedback on Academic Writing #researchbites

Very useful & informative post.

Clare's ELT Compendium

In this article, Northcott, Gillies and Coutlon explore their students’ perceptions of how effective online formative feedback was for improving their postgraduate academic writing, and aim to highlight best practices for online writing feedback.

Northcott, J., P. Gillies & D. Caulton (2016), ‘What Postgraduates Appreciate in Online Tutor Feedback on Academic Writing‘, Journal of Academic Writing, Vol. 6/1 , pp. 145-161.


The focus of the study was on helping international master’s-level students at a UK university, for whom English is not their first/main language. The study’s central aim was investigating these students’ satisfaction with the formative feedback provided online by language tutors on short-term, non-credit-bearing ESAP writing courses. These courses, run in collaboration with subject departments, are a new provision at the university, in response to previous surveys showing dissatisfaction among students with feedback provided on written coursework for master’s-level courses. Participation is encouraged, but voluntary.  The courses consist of five self-study units (with…

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Coursebook activities and SLA theory – do they match?

Very useful information to take into account when planning your lessons

Source: Coursebook activities and SLA theory – do they match?

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“I don’t understand your writing feedback and correction.” Oh, the horror.


Imagine the horror: a few days ago, with three weeks left before the end of the course and the Cambridge First Certificate exam, I found myself sitting across from a student who told me that she did not understand my writing correction system.

“What do you mean?” I said. She had submitted her FCE writing task – a report – as a Google Doc and she was looking at the marked version on her phone as we waited for the other students to arrive.

“The colors. The green stuff. The red stuff. The orange stuff. What does that mean again?”

My blood ran cold.

No, I’ve never actually written or typed or even said that egregiously clichéd sentence before but that’s just what happened: My blood ran cold.

I explained what the colors meant. Then we went on talking about the goods and the bads of her report and did…

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Some topics my Ss are interested in

Is it easy or difficult for you to come up with some interesting and engaging topics for your students to write essays on? It is often a challenge for me because it’s quite difficult to come up with some original topic, so usually, I ask my students to choose an article of interest to them and write their essays discussing the issue or issues it is devoted to or ask them to share some topics they find interesting. So, here I’d like to share with you a post about some topics of interest to a  group of my students has come up with:

“We are quite interested in news from all over the world about art ( cinema, theatre), politics, gossip, animals, sport, but don’t spend a lot of time on reading them or watching TV programms.

So, <we> have made our own list of resources where we take information from.

Different social networksImage result for Different social networks Online magazines and newspapers Videos from YouTube Relatives and friends

Online magazines and newspapers

Videos from YouTube

Relatives and friends

We don’t really believe in gossip’s originality because they tells us about somebody’s private life, and we cannot check if it’s right or not. It is just interesting to read as a lightweight.

Cinema and art news are understated for us, so we like to read it more and cannot put it away.

Of course, we don’t trust in everything because it’s a mass media, and it’s work is to catch people’s attention”.

-from a post by a group of my students (Class 2019)


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