Category Archives: Teaching

Ideal L2 Self

I was reading an article recently by Yashima (2009) about the concept of an ‘ideal L2 self’. The article described the difficulties that many Japanese students in particular have in imagining an L2 Self that is separate from their L1 … Continue reading

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Clause vs Sentence

The difference between a clause and a sentence can be difficult, but important. A clause basically must have a Finite whereas a sentence is just an orthographic convention beginning with a capital and ending with a full stop. Here is … Continue reading

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Discourse function of “How are you?”

A bit further to my post on the XKCD comic, I’ve been spending time recently in class on the discourse function of “How are you?”. While it may seem like a small and basic point I think it actually gets … Continue reading

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In defence of “How was your weekend?”

Recently, a (Japanese) staff member came up to me and said that a student had asked her, “Why do teachers always ask ‘How was your weekend?’”. We ended up having an interesting chat about the role of ‘casual conversation’ in … Continue reading

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Teaching tenses

This is how I often picture tenses for students. The secondary tense (on the right) construes some kind of change:

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Activity: Verbal group, discourse and Harry Potter

If we teach ‘the tenses’ separately, I think students might not get the¬†interaction between them and how they are used in discourse for different effects. Here is an activity I’ve used with Upper Intermediate – Advanced students, though you could … Continue reading

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Creating an ‘audience’ for EFL writing

For writing, a key concept is that of audience – how writers adjust their message to suit the (often imagined) audience. For example, a scientist, writing about their area of expertise, may adjust their language depending upon whether they are … Continue reading

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Stories from the Classroom

I thought I’d share here two stories from my own class that might illustrate some of the problems implementing a sociocultural approach within a specifically English as a foreign language classroom and what is says about, perhaps, cultural or contextual … Continue reading

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Book: Language Learning and Teacher Education

I’ve been reading recently Hawkins, M.R. (Ed) Language Learning and Teacher Education: A Sociocultural Approach. It has a number of articles influenced by SFL and also similar approaches focusing learner identity within the classroom and, in particular, a Vygotskian perspective … Continue reading

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some/any distinction

Carrying over from transformational grammar teaching, the some/any distinction has generally attained the status of a basic structural ‘rule’ of English within foreign language teaching: positive = some (There are some books); negative = any (There aren’t any books); question … Continue reading

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