Oct 11, 2016

When we were young

Based on Adele's song from her third album 25, this activity can be used with Intermediate level and up. The main focus is listening to chunks, followed by discussion of the song and reviewing the use of like/as.

It's been a while since I posted a song-based activity, so here's one for one of my favourite songs this year.



Activity A (Pre-listening)

Play just the second chorus - from 2.58 to 3.51 in the video embedded above.

Activity B (Listening)

Play the whole song (from 0.42). Students listen and tick the chunks they hear. Allow 1 min to compare the answers in pairs before taking feedback. The answer key can be found in the Teacher's Notes below.

Activity C (Post-listening)

Encourage discussion about the meaning of the song. Most of it, of course, is open to interpretation; however, some possible answers are suggested in the Teacher's Notes.

Activity D (Language focus)

This can be assigned as homework and done using netspeak.org. See how this online tool can be used to teach common lexical chunks HERE

Activity E is adapted from LeanEnglish website, which also has a brief explanation of the rules.

Teachers' Notes

Let me know how it goes. For other song activities, click HERE

If you have used other songs for listening to chunks, do share in the comments below.

Jul 24, 2016

Does the chunk argument trump the plagiarism allegations?

Photo by Marc Nozell via Flickr
One of the hottest news this week has been Melania Trumps’ allegedly plagiarized speech. Why allegedly? Because although Donald Trump’s wife address at the 2016 Republican Convention bears marked similarities to Michele Obama’s speech at the 2008 Democratic Convention, there is not much in it that would effectively constitute stealing in the linguistic sense.

Jul 12, 2016

The L in ELT

A report from the International ETAI Conference "Engage Enhance Energize" which took place in Ashkelon, Israel, between 4 and 6 July 2016

When Naomi Epstein asked everyone who was planning to attend and present at ETAI 2014 Summer conference to sum up their teaching career and life in seven words, I wrote “Let’s put the L back in ELT” as my 7-word bio. Nobody seemed to mind or make a big deal. This is unlike LexicalLab's similar-sounding strap-line "Putting the Language back into Language Teaching" which has drawn criticism from some who found it arrogant and insulting.

May 14, 2016

Those who can't

I'm a ________ (1) teacher of English (what has recently become a bad word has been blanked out as to not offend anyone). As readers may have gathered from the content of this blog, I love language. I’m also a language learner. I’ve spent all my teaching and training career improving my knowledge of English and honing my understanding of how it works. Especially since I started teaching more lexically, I’ve been paying more attention to how words combine into patterns and how vocabulary interacts with grammar to create meaning.

Feb 20, 2016

Criticism of the Lexical Approach

"All chunks and no pineapple?"
Image by Andrew Malone via Flickr [CC BY 2.0]
Writing an essay or working on a paper on the Lexical Approach and looking to include some sources that criticise it to make your writing balanced? I've collated a list of relevant articles here.

Jan 31, 2016

Be like Bill for grammar (and vocabulary) practice

The third person singular of the Present Simple tense is known to be particularly problematic for learners and when the "Be Like Bill" meme took social media by storm last week, I thought that it presents a wonderful opportunity to practise the problematic structure.


If you don't know Be Like Bill, it works something like this: you see in your feed an image one of your Facebook friends has posted which looks like this.

Jan 7, 2016

News quiz 2015 - Follow up

Activities for reviewing lexis from News Quiz 2015

Photo by Dustpuppy72 via Flickr 
[CC BY-NC-ND 2.0]

Here's the promised follow up to the end-of-year news quiz: five pages of lexis-focused activities aimed at reviewing and consolidating language from the quiz. If you haven't seen the news quiz, click HERE.

You can preview the activities below or download them in Word format and edit/adapt them as you wish. The key (answers) follows below.

Update: Vocabulary from the quiz on Quizlet: https://quizlet.com/_1x0vbs

Dec 29, 2015

News quiz 2015

Traditional end-of-year news quiz for the first lesson of the new year

The dress which went viral
To tell the truth, I almost broke the tradition this year when I decided not to publish my annual quiz. The year has been so depressing I simply couldn't think of the news items that wouldn't be about terror and murder. But, at the insistence of friends and colleagues, here's this year's edition of the lexically enriched news quiz, which I've tried to keep light on politics.

Nov 29, 2015

10 things you can do with "10 things you didn't know last week"

10 things you didn't know last week is a digest of news snippets published every Friday on the BBC website. You can find it in a section called Magazine Monitor. The items chosen for inclusion tend be offbeat and quirky news - very often to do with science. Each story is linked to its source - on the BBC website or elsewhere on the web.

Below are some ideas on how you can use 10 things you didn't know in class. You will see that all of them require no preparation on the part of the teacher.

Oct 17, 2015

Colligation and a bottom-up approach to grammar

Summary of Hugh Dellar's IATEFL webinar Following the patterns: colligation and the necessity of a bottom-up approach to grammar - September 2015

For most people, the Lexical Approach is about focusing more on vocabulary in general and collocations in particular. Personally, however, I have always thought that the crux of the Lexical Approach is a different approach to teaching grammar. Lewis himself acknowledges that the Lexical approach “means giving attention to a much wider range of patterns which surround individual words […] In this respect, it is a more ‘grammatical’ approach than the traditional structural syllabus“ (2000:149-150, author’s emphasis).

Oct 1, 2015

The return of translation: opportunities and pitfalls

For most of the 20th century, there was a deep-rooted tradition in the ELT, which dates back to the Direct Method, that L1 in the classroom should be avoided at all costs. Although there were some alternative methods, such as Community Language learning (aka ‘counsel-learning’) and Dodson’s Bilingual Method, which made use of the learners’ L1 and used translation, most ELT methods of the last century were clearly ‘target-language’ only and some even went as far as to take a clearly anti-L1 stance in order to avoid interference.

Aug 8, 2015

8 things I've learned about Special Education Needs this summer

Public Domain image
Last week I was involved in another Train the Trainer course (Summer School) organised by the British Council in partnership with the Ministry of Education of Israel. The focus was Special Education Needs, and I had the privilege to work together with top expert in the field, Aharona Gvaryahu, MOE National Counselor for Students with Learning Difficulties, who was my co-trainer. While my role was sharing my knowledge and experience in designing and delivering teacher training workshops, my co-trainer as well as the participants of the course were a source of number of interesting insights into Special education, which I would like to share below: