Thursday, 30 April 2015

'Native Speaker' or 'Lingua Franca'?

For me, teaching mostly to Italians, I find that they learn English easier, by which I mean that they understand what is being said to them, their listening skills develop quicker and so their speaking improves faster, when they are presented with opportunities of American or Irish pronunciation.

There is something about the nasal intonation of these nationalities that pierces the ear of Italians much better than British English.

However, compare that to students who are Russian, Polish, Danish, or German, they seem to ‘hear’ and actively prefer British pronunciation.

Yet for all nationalities that I encounter there is one consistent piece of feedback, that they understand more and can communicate better when speaking with someone else who is not a native speaker.

So... what is the most appropriate model, native speaker or lingua franca, for our individual teaching contexts?

Monday, 27 April 2015

Lost in translation

A lot of the actual meaning of a phrase or sentence can be lost when translating one language into another. Translation is more of an art form than a skill, in my opinion, and much the same could be said of language tutoring. One language usually differs from the rest in many ways, not just the alphabet and words, but also in form and structure. Therefore, it is sometimes extremely difficult to accurately translate one language into another, without using a bit of artistic license.

Thursday, 23 April 2015


Do you use drills and chants in your lessons? I wasn't sure I should as I felt they were a little old fashioned, however they can be a very useful and, in fact, fun way to remember certain rules, especially for smaller kids.

I found this page of useful chants and wanted to share it with you.

Monday, 20 April 2015

Just a reminder

Back in October I did a great course with Future Learn which led me to starting an MA in English Language Teaching with Southampton University. I am really enjoying it, and the Future Learn course is back up again, so I wanted to suggest it to you all again to give it a try. It is free afterall!

Thursday, 16 April 2015

IELTS exam practice

There is a great new course on Future Learn for teachers and students alike to familiarise themselves with the IELTS exam.