Working with images

I've only just flicked through it quickly but Ben Goldstein's Working with Images (Cambridge 2008) looks interesting, with "75 practical teaching ideas for the language classroom".

Apart from the general information about the book, the information on the Cambridge website includes a page of useful links for working with images.

Working with Images, which comes with a CD-Rom image bank, is in the Cambridge Handbooks for Language Teachers series.

Teaching Teenagers

A book I read a long time ago and now wish I'd included as one of my list of 10 ELT books your Mum could get you for Christmas: Teaching Teenagers, by Herbert Puchta and Michael Schratz or "Teaching Teenagers: Model Activity Sequences for Humanistic Language Learning", to give it its full title.

I've personally never been much good teaching teenagers — I've not got the patience for it, apart from anything else. But if you have to, and many of you teaching in private language schools will have to, read this book. It made me look at my teenagers in a different way: teenagers aren't wild animals (no, really!), they're human beings, too.

I can't remember now who first suggested the idea to me, or whether or not it was in this excellent book, but the vital thing about teenagers is not their attitude to learning English (or to you), but your attitude to them. Treat them like wild animals, and that's how they'll behave…

It takes something special to get on with teens; whether you've got that or not, ask your Mum to get you this book — and get yourself some attitude!

>> Buy it on

Me, from A to Z

Not so well-known as the big ELT publishers, Delta Publishing has an excellent "Professional Perspectives" series of resource books for teachers (image, right).

My favourite is Chandler and Stone'sThe Resourceful English Teacher, which has lots of practical ideas on how to use things like the OHP, video etc (though an update — or a new title — to cover the Internet would be an idea).

I also like some of the ideas in Chris Sion's Creating Conversation in Class ("Student-centred interaction"), including "Myself from A-Z", which suggests having them create an "A-Z of your own life", which might be a great way to have people get to know each other at the start of the year, as it will reveal a surprising amount about yourself.

As is pointed out, you need to give a few examples, which can be "trivial, personal or humorous". I found it surprisingly difficult to complete an A-Z of my own life, but don't think it matters if your learners can't. My own examples:

  • A is for…?
  • B is for Barcelona, where I've lived for over 25 years
  • C is for cycling, which is one of my great passions in life
  • D is for drawing, which is one of the other things I enjoy doing most (though perhaps doodling would be the correct term…)
  • E is for…?

The book seems to suggest a "whole class" presentation, but small group, or pairs, might work better, I think.

It's also something that might work well on a class blog, on which each learner could post (and update) their own…

10 great ELT books your Mum could get you for Xmas

10 really useful books for English teachers… Your Mum (or your Gran) always buys you socks for Christmas, or knits you scarves in colours you wouldn't be seen dead wearing? Here's some better ideas…

In each case, I've provided the link, if you want a copy (free p+p if it's going to a UK address).

  1. The most useful ELT book I've ever read1000+ Pictures for Teachers to Copy, Andrew Wright (Longman ELT) [Amazon]
  2. A book you really should readHow Languages Are Learned, Patsy Lightbown and Nina Spada (OUP) [Amazon]
  3. A book you really need to read if you teach themTeaching Languages to Young Learners, Lynne Cameron (CUP) [Amazon]
  4. Try it, kids love itDrama with Children, Sarah Phillips (OUP), [Amazon]
  5. Kids love this too — and you want stories, not "games", if you ask meStorytelling with Children, Andrew Wright [Amazon]
  6. For any of you doing private classesOne to One: A Teacher's Handbook, Peter Wilberg (LTP) [Amazon]
  7. A great introduction to another specialised fieldTeaching Business English, Mark Ellis and Christine Johnson (OUP) [Amazon]
  8. Vocab, not grammar, is what is really vital, some people sayHow to Teach Vocabulary, Scott Thornbury [Amazon]
  9. No, I really want to spend Christmas reading a really good, useful book about grammar… Teaching Tenses: Ideas for Presenting and Practising Tenses in English, Rosemary Aitken (ELB Publishing) [Amazon]
  10. Need to teach yourself English grammar…? About Language, Scott Thornbury [Amazon]

Now all you need to do is get your Gran on to Amazon!