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Planning ahead

Planning Ahead


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14th July 2014



You've probably heard lots about Moodle, the framework for providing online courses. Have you thought about having your own? At Developing (a sister site of Developing we provide you with your own Moodle for only $12/month. Your Moodle installation comes with 2GB of space & 20gb/month of bandwidth.

We set it all up for you & you provide the courses. You don't need to provide the actual course, this can simply be an online presence, a way of keeping in touch with your students, a meeting place with individuals or whole classes, an extension of your lessons.

Moodle 2.0

We like it so much that we run our own online development courses at Developing with Moodle.
For more information:

Reliable & affordable Web Hosting for the English Language Teaching Community!

If you are thinking of tackling the Cambridge DELTA modules, we are running online Module 1 & Module 3 preparation courses at Developing
These are three month courses lead up to the exam/entry dates. For more information on both courses:

Chester School
Cambridge ESOL CELTA
in Madrid, Spain


English Language Teacher Education and Development (ELTED) ' is an open access peer-reviewed journal for the worldwide ELT community which is produced by the English Language Learning, Teaching and Assessment (ELLTA) Research Group of the Centre for Applied Linguistics, University of Warwick. It seeks to provide a medium for the exchange of ideas and information on theoretical and applied issues pertaining to English language teacher education. The journal is targeted at all those involved in English language teacher education and development worldwide, for whom, at present, there are few published journals dealing specifically with English language teacher education and development.'

'If you've been on Facebook recently, and you're the kind of person who reads this column, there's a good chance you've seen one of two viral language tests going round. Like many things on Facebook, they're a fun diversion. Unlike many things on Facebook, they're helping serious researchers learn about language and the mind.'

Which English? - 'Is Throw me down the stairs my shoes a good English sentence?
The answer depends on where you live. Many people in Newfoundland find that sentence perfectly grammatical.
By taking this quiz, you will be helping train a machine algorithm that is mapping out the differences in English grammar around the world, both in traditionally English-speaking countries and also in countries like Mexico, China, and India.
At the end, you can see our algorithm's best guess as to which English you speak as well as whether your first (native) language is English or something else.'


In the northern hemisphere, quite a lot of summer intensive courses will be starting up or already underway with teachwers planning their timetables. In an attempt to provide as relevant a course as possible, here are a few things to take into account:

* Practical stuff - length & intensity of the course, classroom situation, aids available etc..

* What level are the students & how does the school know this? Is this from the students' application forms or have they been tested? What did the test include - all four skills, grammar etc? Are you able to see the tests?

* What do the students need English for? Why are they attending this course?

* Personal stuff - Do the students need English for similar reasons & will their target situations be similar? Age, nationality, mother tongue, proficiency in other languages, country/city of origin, occupation, learning background, language learning background, hobbies & interests etc.

* Will it be a monolingual or a mixed-nationality group? How can the class makeup be exploited to the students' benefit?

* What materials are available, a prescribed coursebook or use of a variety of materials or a mix of both? What does the school expect you to cover by the end of the course?

* What skills & language & content might be covered? Would a task-based approach be suitable or does the situation demand a more traditional approach?

* How 'intensive' is the course? Quite a lot of summer intensive courses tend to be a little more relaxed than year-long courses as the students are on holiday & there is a holiday atmosphere. A balance between progress & fun might need to be found.

* Are there any 'unmovables' to take into account - time each week in the self-access centre, computer room, tutorials etc?

* Is the English course tied in with other modules such as English in the morning & sports/sightseeing in the afternoon? Is there a way of linking the two through the content in the morning?

* If situated in an English-speaking country, where are the students staying & is pastoral guidance part of the job?

* What level are the students? Low level students may need more functional language so that they are able to operate efficiently outside of the classroom. Higher level students may need more skills-based accuracy work, helping them to become more sophisticated communicators.

* How will the students be evaluated at the end of the course? Will they be given a test? What kind & who writes it?

If the time is taken & the above accounted for, a clear, varied & balanced course can be planned which takes the day-to-day stress off the teacher, making it an enjoyable experience for all.

If you are interested in course planning do check out the excellent 'Teachers as Course Developers' - Kathleen Graves, ed. Cambridge Language Education Series (CUP). The above points are loosely based on the seven 'framework components' found in the book. Graves begins by talking about the framework then uses this to examine six teachers & their courses.
To buy the book from
To buy the book from

Online teacher development courses on Developing - individualised one-to-one course for ELT/ESOL teachers at any level of teaching experience. If you are interested in following one then do get in touch for more information.

Happy teaching!


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The Weekly Teaching Tip is written by Alistair Dickinson at Developing
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