Only words … child’s play

April 3, 2013

imagesNothing strange about a younger learners book introducing clothes vocabulary. Curiously, however, when personalising the activities and playing games withthe clothes they were actually wearing I had to introduce a whole new lexical set: tracksuit, uniform, trainers etc. Nothing wrong with that but it is interesting how irrelevant textbook material can be to real life … or vica versa.

Twenty years since Lewis proposed a more lexical approach based largely on findings from what was then recent field of computer based Corpus research. Suddenly it seemed impossible to distinguish grammar from vocabulary; everything became a chunk of language. Twenty years on, text books and possibly teachers still pay lip service to the concept but it nevery fully brought in radical changes in the way it initially urged.

It may just be that it takes that long or even longer for academic thinking to seep down to the chalk face. That is one of the ideas in this Guardian article on why the lexical approach has never been as influential as perhaps it should. The same probably applies to effective use of IT in teaching: despite all the initial enthusiasm, the reality at the chalkface or even the IWBface is that really creative use may take longer than expected.

The author of the Guardian article above has a blog which is a great resource site for ideas on exploring lexis in class. The TOOLS section has an extensive list of very useful links for vocabulary and corpus information on the web. Some of them you will know and others perhaps not, but great having them all in just one place.

untitledMy message for today then? Let’s not let Lewis haunt us. The lexical approach is too important to be hidden away, another EFL skeleton in the wardrobe.


Peas in a pod

February 11, 2013

Here is a link to fifty podcast sites shich students and teachers could find of use. A great resource to cncourage mobile learning. Set oone of these for homework and think about how to exploit in a later class. Flipped learning in action!

Don’t be spooked!

October 29, 2012

Quick search on google turned up this which I think should fulfill my needs for classes this Halloween. Good luck at keeping the witches at bay.

Treasure trove

October 22, 2012

A colleague, who in turn had been shown by a student, led me to this site recently. Not sure why I had never come across it before as it is an incredible resource for games and material which can be either printed or used on an IWB in class. My kids have also used it for fun and practice at home. Well worth checking out.

Time for a consultation

September 26, 2012

The company that provides excellent online ICT training courses also has a blog full of completely free information, ideas and links to online material and tools which could be used in the classroomm or by students at home. Wonderful resource at: theconsultants-e

Killing the radio star

September 18, 2012

I am surprised I haven’t seen this before but an incredibly useful blog full of video and lesson plans if you are interested in killing the radio star in your classes.

Check out the ideas and links as well.

Great start to the new course.

Box those tools

September 13, 2012

Starting the new school year here so a couple of sites worth exploring. They are not TEFL based but offer lots of ideas and tools which are worth investigating. is a site of classroom tools, simple, even basic but ideas worth exploring here. is a little bit “glossier” but again has some fine material. Check out the templates on the right from a simple stop watch to time activities to a random name generator which decides which student answers the next question!

If you are also starting back these day have fun and good luck.