An Orgy of Evidence

While writing yesterday’s post about future forms, I took a little time to think of useful example sentences for each form. Not as much time as I might in the classroom though because if you’re reading this you know and use these forms quite well, either through being a native speaker, or having learned to a high enough level to be able to read blogs in English. The examples therefore didn’t need to do any heavy lifting in terms of demonstrating meaning.

But of course that’s different for people who are still figuring things out, and therefore need a little more guidance. Consider the following exchange:

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Practice Makes Perfect. Or is that “Practise…”

This post is something of a companion piece to yesterday’s.

Up until early February 2008, I never gave much thought to the spelling of the word practice. Or practise, for that matter. What happened then, in the last depths of winter, to change that?

I wrote my lesson plan for my first teaching practice on my teacher-training course, that’s what happened. Somewhere within that incredibly detailed plan, I wrote something along the lines of Students practice using the target language. Continue reading

A Slice of Life

You might have noticed that I haven’t been so active in the last few days. Well, not to worry (I assume you’ve been worrying): I’ve just been a little busy. As I work in an English-language school, this is always the busiest time of the year. People always get surprised at that. They assume that because we’re a school, we have the same schedule as state schools, and have generous summer holidays, and mid-term breaks to relieve some of the monotony that sets in after a few months of work. Yet alas, that’s not the case (we only close for 2 weeks at Christmas), and as most normal people are enjoying their holidays, my colleagues and I are working harder than at any time of the year.

And there’s a lot of work involved in a language school. Taking bookings, processing payments, arranging transportation and accommodation, hiring and training teachers, planning and booking activities, testing and placing students, dealing with their issues about classes, books, their level, accommodation, personal problems…well, there’s a lot to it. And in July and August we’re doing it for much larger numbers of students, which in the summer includes individual adults and teenagers, big groups of teenagers, and families. I’m not complaining though: I thrive on the pressure and think that it pushes me to work at my best. Continue reading

Teaching on TV


Teacher: Good morning class!

Class: Good morning!

*teacher writes Hello, my name is Niall. on the board*

*teacher points to self, says Hello, my name is Niall*

Teacher: Now Saud, you!

Pedro: Hello, my name is Saud.

Teacher: Very good! Now Anna, you.

Anna: Hello, my name is Anna.

Teacher:Yes Anna, very good! Now Chen, you.

Chen: Hello, my name is Anna.

*everyone laughs*

Teacher: Ha ha, no Chen, your name is Chen!

Chen: Ah sorry! Hello, my name is Chen!

Teacher: Excellent!


*bell rings*

Teacher: Ok everyone, before you go, I want you to write Hello , my name is… 50 times on a suitably blank surface. Class dismissed!

I think the above is pretty representative of most of the depictions of English-language classes I’ve seen in films and TV programmes. I know everyone gets annoyed when their profession is depicted on screen and it’s quite inaccurate. We can’t expect film and TV writers to be experts in a job that might appear briefly in only one scene. But what annoys me about the way English classes are shown is that it’s indicative of a lot of people’s misconceptions of English-language classes.

Let’s look at what’s wrong with the lesson above.

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