is one of the important areas that students feel the need
to come to class for. This feeling that the teacher is the
only one that can help them is true to an extent but students
can also help themselves. Here are a few ideas to help promote
autonomy & phonology:
1. Awareness of what is involved
in phonology is clearly a good starting point & point
them towards a realistic view of how native-like they might
2. Lots of listening &
analysis of where the difficulties came. Discuss 'sounds
in combination' aspects.
Recommend areas they need to individually work on &
sources for practice materials - books, internet.....
4. Students keep their learner
diaries on a tape - handed in at regular intervals. Encourage
comparisons between present entries & past ones.
5. Give clear language records
- with phonological aspects clearly marked & look at
what they are writing down to make sure their records are
clear & not missing anything.
6. Student self-correction
of phonology errors.
Dictionary training - word stress & sounds.
If you take phonology seriously
& talk about how much they can do on their own then
your students will realise it is another area in which they
can help themselves.
links to all things to do with phonology on the site
to the contents
with little language
This week's Tip is an extension
Tip 'Fill it with English':
You must have seen your lower
level adult learners or your younger learners struggle to
express sophisticated ideas with simple language & end
up being very frustrated. Here is one way of helping with
Imagine an area crops up that
the students really want to talk about & it is inevitable
that they are going to use their native language to do it.
Stop them & introduce a series of vocabulary items in
English that will come up in the conversation. Then let
them get on with the conversation in their own language
but with the proviso that they use the vocabulary, replacing
their native words with the English ones.
It doesn't have to be an area
that crops up, you could plan an activity around this. With
your teenagers you could be looking at an area such as Harry
Potter & the discussion stage could let them use their
own language with the English vocabulary within it.
After the activity, from your
notes on the language they used in their native language,
look at a couple of areas & how they could say them
This then recognises the need
& allows for an expression of sophisticated ideas but
also attempts to incorporate some English at the same time.
You would have to explain
that this is one of the institutionalised classroom procedures
& the more you do it the smoother it will be. And clearly
this would only work with monolingual groups. An activity
to use now & then - try it out a few times & see
how it goes.
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In the News
The Joke Competition is still
on, so send in any joke connected to the classroom, learning
teaching etc. to firstname.lastname@example.org
to win a copy of 'Laughing
The week we look at newspapers
& a few ideas for using them in class. Interest &
relevance are clearly advantages of using newspapers but
on the other hand, they can be difficult, with dense, particular
language. A few ideas:
1. Take into class several
newspapers from the same day & give out to different
students or small groups, & as a group, they have to
find articles on the same theme & discuss any differences
between the facts & bias. You could prepare a worksheet
beforehand to use with same topic articles.
2. Take in several English
papers, same or different, & students are given a worksheet
that asks them to look at the paper in general - how many
sections are there?, where is the politics section?, where
is the TV section? Afterwards, students discuss the differences
between different papers - broadsheet v tabloid etc.
3. With smaller articles,
the 'news in brief' sections, students match up the headlines
with 8-10 small articles. Then focus on the interesting
4. Students find depressing
articles in the newspaper & change the content &
write it as an optimistic, good news article
5. Predict the story from
the headline & look at the use of the passive in the
headline. Read story to confirm.
6. Predict the headline from
the story. Read the headline to confirm.
7. From the headline, write
stories & then read to confirm.
8. For an article in an English
newspaper, find the same article in your local paper. Compare
the two for similarities & differences in facts &
9. With the two articles above,
translate the English article into the student's language
& then compare with original.
10. Give out articles to individual
students, depending on their interests - an individualised
approach. This could be on-going throughout the course.
11. Ask the students to bring
in an article that they & the students might find interesting.
Plan a lesson around it.
If you have any more ideas for using newspapers,
please post them for all to use in the
On the site there is a news
feed with updated daily news - check
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the Past Teaching Tips