So, a few weeks ago I told you about how much I enjoy conferences (!) and I gave you an overview of the International Association of Teachers of English as a Foreign Language conference. It was such a packed few days that I only filled you in on the Saturday programme. So in this post I’m going to tell you about the sessions I attended on Sunday.

In Caroline Robinson's Visualising Language session we did some practical activities to demonstrate how to use visuals in the classroom.  The one that sticks in my mind is matching different pictures of holiday destinations to short extracts of music.  As it's pretty subjective it generates a lot of discussion!

It was then on to Hugh Dellar's lecture on Memories.  Hugh stressed that these days not enough emphasis is placed on memorising language.  The problem is that we teach lots of new words but if they aren’t revised then we just forget them.  So the message for students and teachers is recycle, recycle, recycle!

In Ten things (I think) I know about Teaching, Ken Wilson, a very experienced trainer, gave us the top ten nuggets of wisdom he’s gleaned from his years at the chalkface. One that I definitely  agree with is the importance of having fun while learning. What do you think - do you prefer a fun atmosphere or a more serious one? 

Next up was Personalizing Learning English with Poetry, where Larysa Sanotska presented her research on using poetry to help learners.  Teachers often stay away from poetry because they think it’s really difficult but often students enjoy reading poetry in a foreign language.  I love poetry but I don’t often use it in class – maybe I should start!  Here are links to two of my favourite English poets – Philip Larkin and John Hegley.  Let me know what you think of their poetry!



I then met up with my colleague and fellow blogger Heather to attend Janet Bianchini's session Teaching Idioms Effectively with Web 2.0.  Janet is an absolute firecracker and ran through loads of ideas for teaching idioms.  I've found that students either love or hate learning idioms!  How about you?

By this time I was flagging and glad that Jacky Newbrook's session Approaching Set Texts in the CAE Exam was the last of the day!  As a result of the session I chose to use Of Mice and Men with my CAE class.  Although the set text can be difficult it is also a great way of expanding vocabulary and students have a sense of achievement that they have read a real book in English.  By the way, I definitely recommend Of Mice and Men.  There’s also a film adaptation starring Gary Sinise and John Malkovich.  We preferred the book though!

By Laura


to stick in my mind (phr.) - to be memorable

nuggets of wisdom (phr.) - pieces of knowledge that comes from experience

to glean (v.) - to collect/gather

at the chalkface (phr.) - a comic expression which means working as a teacher

firecracker (n.) - someone with lots of energy

to flag (reg. v.) - to become tired

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