“Reading aloud”: What it’s really called and why it’s essential to formal language learning

“Reading aloud”: What it’s really called and why it’s essential to formal language learning

It’s an often unchallenged mantra of many ELT writers, methodologists and commentators that ‘reading aloud’ is an ineffective or misguided practice in English language classrooms (e.g., Wilson, 2019; also see this recent Twitter discussion). This mantra is frequently propagated by trainers on generic initial certification courses designed for teachers of adults, such as the Cambridge … Continue reading “Reading aloud”: What it’s really called and why it’s essential to formal language learning

The difficulty of defining reflection

The difficulty of defining reflection

My recent contribution to the ELT Journal Key Concepts feature (Anderson, 2020a) provided an opportunity to investigate the concept of reflection. Since the 1980s, reflection has become one of the most popular buzzwords in practitioner development, including teacher education, despite Dewey’s (1910/1933) much earlier discussion of its importance, which, while frequently cited retrospectively, received comparatively … Continue reading The difficulty of defining reflection

The beliefs they had

The beliefs they had

“Wait. Let me just get this straight,” Barsha looked incredulous. “You’re saying that they believed that the materials that had been created specifically for the students weren’t authentic, but any text that wasn’t created with the students’ needs in mind was considered ‘authentic’, and better, as a result?” “Yes. At least some of the writers … Continue reading The beliefs they had

The TATE framework for curriculum design in language teaching

The TATE framework for curriculum design in language teaching

Rod Ellis recently proposed (2019) a modular framework for curriculum design in language teaching combining task-based language teaching (TBLT) and task-supported language teaching (TSLT). When I first read his proposal, I was somewhat surprised, because these two approaches are often perceived as incompatible (e.g., Long, 2015), based as they are on very different theories of … Continue reading The TATE framework for curriculum design in language teaching

Can teachers learn from interactive reflection? A study into Schön’s reflection-in-action

Can teachers learn from interactive reflection? A study into Schön’s reflection-in-action

Reflection-in-action is a highly influential, yet often misunderstood construct that is central to Donald Schön’s epistemology of practitioner learning (Schön, 1983, 1987). Particularly in the field of teaching it has often been understood to mean simply ‘thinking on one’s feet’ (e.g., Francis, 1995). Yet, within Schön’s epistemology, its importance was much more than this, as … Continue reading Can teachers learn from interactive reflection? A study into Schön’s reflection-in-action

Activities for Cooperative Learning

Activities for Cooperative Learning

Activities for Cooperative Learning is one of two new titles inaugurating a new series from Delta Publishing called ‘Ideas in Action’. The idea behind the series is to link the theory behind a specific aspect of teaching or language learning with activities that teachers can use in their own classroom. This blog post provides a … Continue reading Activities for Cooperative Learning

On the origins of ‘jigsaw’ and ‘information gap’

On the origins of ‘jigsaw’ and ‘information gap’

This blog reports on research I conducted into two widely used terms in communicative language teaching; ‘information gap’ and ‘jigsaw’, as part of a wider research project for my book Activities for Cooperative Learning in the Delta Publishing Ideas in Action Series, and my work on a taxonomy for jigsaw activities, presented in this article … Continue reading On the origins of ‘jigsaw’ and ‘information gap’

Translingual practices in English language classrooms in India

Translingual practices in English language classrooms in India

My latest research paper, co-authored with Amy Lightfoot of British Council S. Asia, explores the complexity of language use practices in English language classrooms across India. It reports on a survey (quantitative and qualitative) that we conducted with 169 Indian teachers last year, and sought to find out about what have traditionally been called ‘L1-use … Continue reading Translingual practices in English language classrooms in India

‘The future of training’ or The elephant that swallowed the room

‘The future of training’ or The elephant that swallowed the room

This is a copy of the guest blog I wrote for the International House Teacher Training Blog here. The IH ‘Future of Training’ Conference (23-24 November 2018) will mark 65 years of teacher training at IH London, the ancestral home of the initial ELT certification course that later became the Cambridge CELTA. It promises both … Continue reading ‘The future of training’ or The elephant that swallowed the room

If only… The dangers of positivist bias at the Education Endowment Foundation

If only… The dangers of positivist bias at the Education Endowment Foundation

Never heard of the EEF? You’ve just proven my point. Two weeks ago I went to see an invited speaker at the University of Warwick. It was a member of the Educational Endowment Foundation (EEF) team, which is the single biggest funder of research on education in the UK, and was given a £125 million … Continue reading If only… The dangers of positivist bias at the Education Endowment Foundation