‘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:
- A generic listening plan focusing on decoding skills Seems to produce quite good results, but how to measure them? And how to incorporate more meaning-building activities?
- Where does decoding break down? Hearing what my students hear Just a fun overview of what my students heard while transcribing a certain video clip. Might be an illuminating read for someone who has no problem decoding English speech.
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?
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?
- Some lessons from my language learning experience This post is a rather long ramble, but the last bit (section 4) is probably interesting, as that particular experience suggests what to focus on with students who only start out speaking.
- My current understanding of how grammar is mastered This might be total nonsense – and I’d love to be told so, if you can point me to specific articles and book chapters to read. 🙂