As a Spanish learner, I once faced the awkward situation of thinking I was having a conversation about new potatoes being on the menu, when in fact the hotel manager had diverged from the conversation to give me the news that there was a new Pope! Being in a Catholic Latin American country at the time, I should have been more aware of the context and cultural importance of the vote going on in the Vatican that week. However, my focus was simply on the words. Hence intercultural competence is so important and should not be ignored in the language classroom. It is especially so with English because it facilitates communication between so many people from diverse backgrounds (ELT Position Paper on Global Skills, 2019). Continue reading
We can safely say that, through the difficulties of 2020, English language teachers have grown accustomed to delivering online classes and learning to use new digital tools. Some teachers may face many weeks ahead of continuing such classes if high Covid-19 cases see a resurgence, their new academic year does not start until 2021, or they have become ‘online teachers’ on a semi-permanent basis.
As a result, some teachers have found themselves dependent on the help of parents to ensure their children are online at designated times and able to access class materials. Parent support is especially important for younger students who perhaps did not originally have the necessary computing skills to act independently.
But what about our students who cannot access the internet from home, or do not have reliable electricity supplies? Continue reading
Marina, a 27-year-old teacher from Zaragoza in Spain, loves learning English.
“I love English vocabulary. It’s both practical and beautiful, and it’s easier than other languages.”
For Marina, English presents the opportunity to communicate, not only with native English speakers but with people from across the globe who also have English as their second language. Continue reading
If we’re looking for positives from this year’s enforced move to online lessons, then surely one is that authentic material is easier to incorporate!
Unlike coursebooks which, as good as they are, often employ language graded to the level of the students, authentic materials give students the chance to experience language through natural means and with a real-world purpose. Additionally, they can provide an insight into the target language culture and if introduced well, can be motivational. Continue reading
Earlier this year, Oxford University Press launched the Oxford Test of English for Schools – an online, English proficiency test recommended for 12-16-year-olds. It’s flexible, fast and available at Approved Test Centres worldwide. Plus, it’s the only proficiency test certified by the University of Oxford.
Teacher Ana Isabel Vázquez from Spain is excited for a version of the Oxford Test of English that has been designed especially for younger students – as she says, it’s “a test adapted to give them the best start on their English journey.”
“The younger we are able to test children’s English, the farther they will be able to take their language learning.”