• English Teaching Forum now features articles from six different categories: Articles, Teaching Techniques, My Classroom, Try This, The Lighter Side, and a Reader's Guide.

  • In Swiss schools, English language textbooks for eight- to thirteen-year-old children contain many arts-and-crafts and science-experiment lessons with a focus on following simple instructions.

  • The phrase “a picture is worth a thousand words” indicates that a complex idea can be communicated by a single image.

  • Ethiopia

    With a bachelor’s degree in English and a master’s degree in Teaching English as a Foreign Language, Mr. Negeri is familiar with the subject, using his knowledge to share with students the importance of acquiring this global language.

Articles
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How Many Words is a Picture Worth

The phrase “a picture is worth a thousand words” indicates that a complex idea can be communicated by a single image. We might spend an hour reading an article about the devastating effects an oil spill has on wildlife ecology. But a photograph of an oil-drenched pelican gasping for air evokes in us an instant emotional response. While both the article and the photograph communicate the magnitude of the damage that oil spills can cause, the power of an image allows us to grasp this message within nanoseconds.

Indeed, cognitive research has shown that the human brain processes images quicker than it processes words, and images are more likely than text to remain in our long-term memory (Levie and Lentz 1982). With the expansion of technology that allows people from all walks of life to create and share photographs with a few clicks, our world seems to value visual media more than ever before.

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Encouraging Learners to Create Language-Learning Materials

Student-produced materials are a powerful tool for promoting learner autonomy. They challenge the traditional paradigm of education because the very concept of learner-produced materials is based on trust in the student-centered learning process; when developing materials, learners do not rely on the teacher to make every decision.

Although material-development tasks are typically initiated and guided by the instructor, students are eventually left alone to create and shape their own learning. They brainstorm, plan, and make decisions as well as assess and improve their work. In short, they use their English and critical-thinking skills. The nature of English also changes in such a context: it is not only a language to be learned but also a means of communication to complete a complex task.

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Listening Cloze Meets Info-Gap: A Hybrid Activity to Exploit Listening Materials

In twenty-first-century language teaching, the class should be student-centered and provide learners with skills that empower them in real-life situations. In this regard, it is commonly said that practice makes perfect. It therefore makes sense to ask ourselves how much our listening activities demand from students and to evaluate whether we are getting full benefit from the listening materials we use.

For example, a teacher distributes a handout to the students and tells them that they will listen to a recording several times and write some information on the handout. Afterwards, the teacher checks the students’ work, and that might be the end of the activity. Could more have been done? The students’ role in activities like this one is rather passive, not to mention that limited integration of skills takes place. Finding good listening materials and designing handouts can be time-consuming, and I believe these efforts could be exploited more than they typically are.

A guide designed to enrich your reading of the articles in this issue.

Teaching Techniques
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Teaching Techniques: Using “Storybird” in Young Learners’ Creative Writing Class

Major changes in technology have had an influence on education. Teachers cannot neglect the impact of new technologies and fail to incorporate them in their teaching practice because that would not cater to many students’ needs. Ignoring technological advances would also entail not benefiting from an array of online teaching resources and academic material. The question that arises then is: why not make use of the tools at our fingertips?

I reflected upon my own teaching practice and decided it was time I tried something innovative in my classes. I have been exploring different online tools and have chosen Storybird as part of the new media to exploit in creative writing lessons. In this article, I will share the experience of using this website (www.storybird.com) in the classes I teach and describe the effect it had on learners’ writing process.

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Teaching Techniques: Running for Your Words!

In Swiss schools, English language textbooks for eight- to thirteen-year-old children contain many arts-and-crafts and science-experiment lessons with a focus on following simple instructions. An example of one is making an origami frog (First Choice–Animals activity book).

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Teaching Techniques: Beat the Clock

The lack of oral language in the classroom, combined with our students’ lack of confidence speaking with native English speakers, encouraged us to develop a simple technique to increase speaking in the classroom. This original technique, “Beat the Clock,” encourages students to speak in English and increase their oral proficiency at the same time.

 

Download notes for teachers, for use with this issue

My Classroom
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Ethiopia

Dawit Negeri has been teaching in the English Department at Ambo University for the past five years. With a bachelor’s degree in English and a master’s degree in Teaching English as a Foreign Language, Mr. Negeri is familiar with the subject, using his knowledge to share with students the importance of acquiring this global language.

Try This
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All in the Family Photo

Level: Beginner and Upper Beginner

Time required: 30–45 minutes

Goals: To use vocabulary about family members; to practice using basic pronouns and comparative and superlative adjectives; to write sentences about and talk about family members

The Lighter Side
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Classroom Clues

Unscramble words to spell things, verbs, and phrases related to the given photos.

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Search Past Issues of Forum by Year

Format: 2016
English Teaching Forum Volume 53, Number 4
English Teaching Forum supports the teaching of English around the world through the exchange of innovative, practical ideas. Below is a description of each section of the journal, along with suggestions about how to use it.

How Many Words is a Picture Worth?

The phrase “a picture is worth a thousand words” indicates that a complex idea can be communicated by a single image.

Encouraging Learners to Create Language-Learning Materials

Veronika Moiseenko
Student-produced materials are a powerful tool for promoting learner autonomy.

Listening Cloze Meets Info-Gap: A Hybrid Activity to Exploit Listening Materials

Juan Pablo Zúñiga Vargas
In twenty-first-century language teaching, the class should be student-centered and provide learners with skills that empower them in real-life situations.

Reader's Guide

This guide is designed to enrich your reading of the articles in this issue.

Teaching Techniques: Using “Storybird” in Young Learners’ Creative Writing Class

Laura Giacomini
Major changes in technology have had an influence on education.

Teaching Techniques: Running for Your Words!

Laura Loder Büchel
In Swiss schools, English language textbooks for eight- to thirteen-year-old children contain many arts-and-crafts and science-experiment lessons.

Teaching Techniques: Beat the Clock

Alexis Cullerton, Inés Torres de Muñoz
This original technique, “Beat the Clock,” encourages students to speak in English and increase their oral proficiency at the same time.

My Classroom: Ethiopia

Matthew Jellick
Dawit Negeri has been teaching in the English Department at Ambo University for the past five years.

Try This: All in the Family Photo

This activity can build community and relationships in the classroom.

The Lighter Side: Classroom Clues

Unscramble these words to spell verbs and verb phrases.
English Teaching Forum Volume 53, Number 3
English Teaching Forum supports the teaching of English around the world through the exchange of innovative, practical ideas. Below is a description of each section of the journal, along with suggestions about how to use it.

A Ten-Step Process for Developing Teaching Units

Geoffrey Butler, Simon Heslup, and Lara Kurth
Curriculum design and implementation can be a daunting process. Questions quickly arise, such as who is qualified to design the curriculum and how do these people begin the design process.

Literature Circles as Support for Language Development

Mohamed Elhess and Joy Egbert
There are many instructional approaches for helping English language learners improve both reading comprehension and overall language proficiency.

The Rio–Warsaw Connection: Encouraging Interculturalism among Students

Hugo Dart
It all began in Norwich. As they do every year, teachers from different parts of the world went in July 2012 to that beautiful little city in the east of England to take part in one of the two-week professional development courses offered by the Norwich Institute for Language Education (NILE).

Reader’s Guide

This guide is designed to enrich your reading of the articles in this issue. You may choose to read them on your own, taking notes or jotting down answers to the discussion questions below. Or you may use the guide to explore the articles with colleagues.

Teaching Techniques: Critiquing Questions

Lynn W. Zimmerman
Question formation is a basic part of teaching and learning English. However, we often focus on the ability to form the question properly and not as much on the quality of the information the question is seeking.

Teaching Techniques: Cultural Introductions by Way of Storytelling

Matthew Jellick
This introductory lesson is something I have used on the first day of class with students around the globe.

Teaching Techniques: Group Grammar

Karen Adams
Before becoming a teacher of English to speakers of other languages, I taught French, and too often I saw that impersonal grammar exercises about “Jacques” and “Nathalie” were meaningless to the students. Worse, those exercises led to apathy and stagnation. So I decided to do grammar activities in which students used each other’s names, instead of random ones, and used the grammar to express ideas about their own lives.

My Classroom: Moldova

Eve Smith
Aliona Podolean knew from the moment she started teaching English that she had found what she wanted to do.

Try This: How Was Your Weekend?

This activity is a kind of mingle. In a mingle, students move individually from classmate to classmate, usually with a question to ask or specific information to find.

The Lighter Side: Small Talk

“Small talk” refers to short, friendly conversations about topics that are not serious.
English Teaching Forum Volume 53, Number 2
Cover image contains illustration of the backs of four men standing in a line all wearing top hats and trench coats
English Teaching Forum supports the teaching of English around the world through the exchange of innovative, practical ideas.

Applied Theatre, Adolescent English Learners, and the Performance of Literacy

Beth Murray, Spencer Salas, Michele Ni Thoghdha
Youth in middle and secondary grades, between childhood and the adult world, sometimes struggle with their identities as readers and learners. Too many describe themselves or are described by their teachers and parents as “reluctant, disengaged, and/or unmotivated” by classroom texts or by the rows of books in school libraries.

Engaging Students as Tutors, Trainers, and Leaders

Deirdre Derrick
While starting a tutoring program may seem like a daunting and time-consuming task, it does not have to be. The best way to approach the creation and development of a tutoring service is with a list of clear objectives. In this article, I describe the process I used to create a tutoring program with my English as a foreign language university students.

On How Thinking Shapes Speaking: Techniques to Enhance Students’

Myrian Casamassima, Florencia Insua
The institution where we work in Buenos Aires—Asociación Ex Alumnos del Profesorado en Lenguas Vivas “Juan Ramón Fernández” (AEXALEVI)—is devoted to the teaching of foreign languages, particularly English, and it administers examinations all over Argentina.

Reader's Guide

This guide is designed to enrich your reading of the articles in this issue. You may choose to read them on your own, taking notes or jotting down answers to the discussion questions below.

Teaching Techniques: Nouns on the Job Market - An Approach for Recognizing Noun Position

Sandra Tompson Issa
Using the employment analogy provides a fun and memorable way to help students relate to this sentence-level grammatical concept.

Teaching Techniques: Teaching Descriptive Writing through Visualization and the Five Senses

Katherine Carter
This technique could be useful for teachers in a variety of EFL teaching contexts, from primary school to university, and can be used with a wide range of texts that are particularly vivid and that stimulate the senses.

My Classroom: Peru

Deanna Paglia
This article was written by Deanna Paglia, an English and Spanish second language teacher and teacher trainer who is currently the English Language Fellow hosted by Centro Cultural Peruano Norteamericano in Arequipa, Peru.

Try This: Role-Play Party, Talking About Jobs

This section presents a stand-alone language-learning activity emphasizing speaking. Specifically, students will participate in role plays to describe occupations and job-related duties.

The Lighter Side: Stage Directions

Stage directions describe characters’ emotions or actions; they help actors interpret scripts.
English Teaching Forum Volume 53, Number 1
Forum Cover Image
Forum has a new look, but its purpose remains the same: to support the teaching of English around the world through the exchange of innovative, practical ideas. English Teaching Forum now features articles from six different categories: Articles, Teaching Techniques, My Classroom, Try This, The Lighter Side, and a Reader's Guide.

Teaching Techniques: Guided Meditation in the English Language Classroom

Amy Jenkins
This teaching technique focuses on meditation in the classroom. Meditation has been linked to increased ability to focus and to lowering depression, anxiety, and stress. Meditation is an act of focusing one’s thoughts completely and fully. It is being present in the moment, silencing other thoughts and noise running through our minds.

Teaching Techniques: Speed Drawing for Vocabulary Retention

Sara Hendricks
This exciting drawing activity helps students remember vocabulary. The students were 12 to 14 years old and had a limited vocabulary. Speed drawing is a fun and successful way to help them practice asking questions and using targeted vocabulary.

Increasing Awareness and Talk Time through Free Messaging Apps

Andrew Pollard
For many people, mobile phones are a part of modern life. Although the purpose of this technology revolves around language and communication, its application to language learning still appears to be underutilized. This is changing, as the widespread use of this handheld technology offers numerous opportunities to use functions that are ideal for exposing learners to communicative interaction on their language-learning journey.

My Classroom: Indonesia

Alief Noor Farida is a junior lecturer at Indonesia’s Universitas Negeri Semarang (UNNES). Now teaching her fourth semester and an alumna of the English Education program at UNNES, Ms. Farida is an especially motivated and dedicated educator. She teaches 18 hours per week, specializing in grammar and writing-skills courses. The Intensive Course she teaches, focusing on reading, writing, speaking, and grammar skills, serves as a foundation for incoming English Department students.

Try This: Listening and Logic

Heather Benucci
This section presents a stand-alone language-learning activity emphasizing listening, critical thinking, and teamwork, along with five ready-to-use examples.

The Lighter Side: You’re Not Listening!

The Lighter Side activities related to listening in the classroom.

Reader's Guide

This guide is designed to enrich your reading of the articles in this Forum issue.

Practical Tips for Increasing Listening Practice Time

Kevin McCaughey
This article help teachers of English reconsider how to think about listening tasks. It provides guidance for increasing classroom listening practice through short, dedicated tasks, with an emphasis on the practical business of setting up and “class-managing” listening activities in order to give students more practice.

Observation Tools for Professional Development

Kathleen F. Malu
Professional development of teachers, including English language teachers, empowers them to change in ways that improve teaching and learning. In their seminal research on staff development—professional development in today’s terms—Joyce and Showers (2002) identify key factors that promote teacher change. Three of these factors are observation, feedback, and practice.