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Haven’t blogged for a while – apparently “it doesn’t work if you don’t do it every day”.Ah well… Here goes anyway.

Have just watched Gavin Dudeney’s interview with James Schofield on the main page. It is always interesting – and very reassuring – for me when some of the big names in EFL/BE are doing exactly what I’m doing. It does concern me in this specific case, however, that teaching students only for a week needs more than just being a good listener and asking intelligent questions. That is a huge part of the programme, obviously, as it is what students need at the end of the day. But on the other hand, it is probably something they can do anyway because they do it all the time: when they are not at the centre. For what it’s worth, here are a couple of things that nine years in BE has made me aware of.

1) Advanced students very often come to the centre because they don’t know how good they are or what they still need because their English is good enough for them to get by. What they very often need is feedback on what they can and can’t do. So giving HONEST, STRAIGHT FORWARD feedback is critical.

2) Teaching chunks and scripts is more valuable than teaching single words.

3) Most students WANT to be able to talk about “general stuff” – they know the vocab associated with their jobs, but they have no idea how to relay a football score.

4) A lot of students actually ask for grammar – my job is to put it into relevant contexts and practise it within those contexts – no more “The inkpot of my uncle is in the garden”….(!)

5) Students LOVE working with I suppose what one would call “Business Realia” – actual live news, real presentations, non-adapted listening texts in fact. Thank you YouTube, BNET and the BBC.

That’s my lot for the moment.


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