Connect with your partners


Loved this idea, which came from Antonia Clare's Making connections workshop at the IH Barcelona ELT Conference on Saturday. While doing a task in 2s and 3s, we were asked to "connect" with our partners, possibly by touching knees or shoulders. It really did seem to make a difference to our willingness to really "connect".

It's always difficult to get the attention of a workshop audience back (see first comment for an effective method); my impression here was that, because we had "connected", it was even more difficult for Antonia to do so. But that was a good thing…!

Great things in online HLT magazine

Here's a couple of non-technological things from a great little online publication, Humanising Language Teaching, which reaches me six times a year via email:

I'm not sure what my own favourite Mario Rinvolucri activity is (he did an amazing one at Encuentro Práctico here in Barcelona back in December when he got 400 people to chant Greek back to him); indeed, I've no doubt I do lots of his activities without realising they are his…

Of his books, my personal favourites are Dictation (which I still do, though it's unfashionable) and Once Upon A Time, both of which date back well over 20 years.

"Non-techological…" But I always ask myself, how could I do that with technology, and could I do it better?

See also More things you don't have to search for

Obama's sentence structure

I'm not sure that this Obama sentence is actually something you'd want to use in class, except perhaps at a very high level:

"My view is also that nobody's above the law, and, if there are clear instances of wrongdoing, that people should be prosecuted just like any ordinary citizen, but that, generally speaking, I'm more interested in looking forward than I am in looking backwards."

But, at least to teachers, the language analysis here, and linked to from here, is interesting!

The following comment might just get a class discussion going:

This may be the essential Obama gift: making complexity and caution sound bold and active, even masculine.

As a starting point, before looking at the sentence, what is "the essential Obama gift"…?

And I suspect that word "masculine" might get some of my learners going!

Cuisenaire rods

Cuisenaire rodsRed, white, white, yellow: She | should | n't | 've | stayed | out so late…

Here are some links I came across while putting together the pages on our online phonology course (or "Sounds, stress and intonation: Teaching English pronunciation" to give it its full name).

The course has a section on features of connected speech, and suggests using Cuisenaire rods as one way in which you can practise and clarify such things as stress, weak forms, intrusion and catenation…

In our online course materials, we like to include links to other useful resources, and here are some on using Cuisenaire rods:

>> What are Cuisenaire rods? (Wikipedia)
>> Cuisenaire rods in the language classroom (
>> Cuisenaire rods in the language classroom (John Mullen)
>> Cuisenaire rods for storytelling
>> More on Cuisenaire rods