Language & Skills

Make No Mistake
Few things can be more disheartening than students’ errors and mistakes. Yet despite our best efforts as teachers and the most diligent efforts of our students, learner English seems to be characterized by error. What causes these errors, how can they be classified, and exactly what attitude(s) we should adopt towards them? These are the key questions this session will explore before going on to consider when, how and, indeed, if we should correct errors.

Techniques for Learning Vocabulary
What do we mean when we claim that we ‘know’ a word? What do we ‘know’ about it? And how can we help language students to learn all the words they need to know? In this session I’ll be trying to answer these questions, and at the same time I’ll be looking at techniques that will make acquiring vocabulary a less onerous task than it sometimes is.

Did you Hear What I Said?
Good listening skills are vital because studies suggest that students who find listening difficult usually have problems with pronunciation and speaking. In this session we will begin by looking at current thoughts as to what is happening when our students listen to English, and then we will examine a basic methodology for all listening activities. Next we will look at ways we can work with the listening activities in our course books, whilst the final part of the session will concentrate on listening activities we can do without a course book.

Have you Anything to Say for Yourself?
Being able to speak in English is something that students all over the world frequently state as one of their main language learning goals. Why, then, do so many of them find speaking so difficult? I will begin this workshop by briefly looking at the nature of spoken language. Next I will explore a number of practical steps we can take as language teachers in order to help our students to improve in this most valued and valuable language skill.

Writing? What for? Who to?
Writing does not come easily to most people, so writing in a second language is a huge challenge. In this session we look at how to get students to use a range of techniques and to ask themselves key questions in order to: a) generate possible content for their text, b) select the best content, c) organize this content to the best effect. We will also look at ways of marking compositions that go beyond just checking grammatical correctness.

Reaching the Reluctant Reader?
We are continually hearing about how little young people read today, even in their first langauge. But with reading comprehension an integral part of all exams we have no option but to try to turn reluctant readers into willing and competent users of one of the most vital language skills, a skill that even more important than ever given the impact of the Internet on life in the 21st century.