Nagging questions

‘Nagging questions’ was the topic that started this blog off (and more generally, they are the thing that drive me and make me love this profession).

This blog was registered over 5 years ago, but I only started writing here in October 2014 after I’d come back home after Delta Module Two in London, my head teaming with unresolved questions and my suitcases full of ELT books (I think I’d carried home over 50 titles).

To start making some sense of the chaos going on in my head, I started making collages and posting them on this blog: part 1 and part 2. I estimated that those two collages accounted for about two seventh of all the important topics that came out of Delta, but I never got round to writing down the remaining five parts.

What followed was lots of reading, thinking and eventually blogging. At one point there started to appear a lot of other material on this blog, e.g. lesson plans and other people’s talk summaries, so I decided to collect links to the post related to those pesky questions on one page. All posts listed here contain ideas that are potentially incorrect. I find all these topics absolutely fascinating so I’m happy to chat about them and be proven wrong any time of day and night. 🙂

Questions: How to help learners of English cope with authentic speech? Not a native speaker of English myself, I’ve had lots of disconcerting experiences (post reaching C2 level) when I was unable to understand what people were saying to me in the street, or didn’t quite catch everything in my favourite TV series.

Some ideas and field notes:

Questions: How much progress can be made by the llearners who don’t get exposure to English and claim to be ‘too busy’ to do any reading or listening outside class? How to help those students who do read and listen to benefit the most from their work? How effective is extensive reading in terms of acquiring vocabulary – don’t learners just skip over most expressions, as they’re not encouraged to test themselves or notice new language?

Some ideas:

Questions: What do ESP students really need and how much do coursebooks help them to get that? Where to get corpora for ESP students? Some ideas: Mining professional forums.

Question: How to help students develop fluency? A summary of research, with examples from authentic speech: Working on Fluency. Part 1: the theory

Question: How are languages acquired? Why do adult learners need rules and children don’t?


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