Wednesday, 22 August 2012

New Year, Fresh Start...

The only thing I really like about January is sitting down and plotting a list of new year's resolutions (although I usually make far too many in the flush of excitement of a new year and fail to keep a good quarter of them.)

There are many more things to like about August: sunshine, festivals, and balmy light evenings... What's more, I always feel that this time of year offers us the possibility of starting afresh: as a teacher I have a whole new academic year stretching out ahead of me and my learners. I do believe it is time to look ahead and make some more new resolutions. Hopefully, declaring them publicly will be an added incentive to keep to them!

Focus on Pronunciation and Listening

As I said in my last post, I  spent much of the summer exploring the link between listening and pronunciation, and bemoaning the approach that so many course books take to teaching the listening skill. This year I wish to focus on listening and pronunciation in my classes. I will look at ways of incorporating some of the listening material on websites mentioned in my last post, and explore ways of exploiting this material to its best advantage. I will also keep a diary of listening activities we do in class, experiment with different approaches and look at ways of measuring learners' success (in a supportive, non-testing way.)

Persevere with my own language learning

For the past couple of years I have dabbled in learning a few different languages, only to bale out when the going got tough. I wish to emulate the dedication and perseverance of my learners and so have decided to choose a language and stick with it!  I have chosen Italian, and am learning it at home with Michel Thomas. His method fascinates me, and I am interested to see how far I can get with it. Perhaps I will reward myself with a jaunt to Italy in the summer - better get saving.

Spend Less Time Reading About ELT

Yes, I am an ELT junkie. I admit that I can spend hours leafing through books on methodology, lexis and grammar. On discovering Twitter earlier this year my level of addiction reached an all time high as I basked in the rush of seemingly unlimited links to further reading and ELT related chat. However, this summer I've had a break from it all, and this has made me feel rejuvenated and freshly creative. Reading outwith ELT has furnished me with fresh ideas for discussions and activities that I can take with me into the classroom with me. Roll on  September!


  1. Good luck with the resolutions :)

    From a selfish POV I'd like to see you tweeting and blogging MORE - that doesn't conflict with resolution #3, does it?!

  2. Hi Clive!
    Very kind of you to say so, but I suppose it does a little! However, I must admit I have come pretty close to breaking resolution number three already today...

    Maybe I should change it to: "spend less percentage of my free time reading about ELT". As I have gained an unprecedented amount of reading time in the past two weeks this should be do-able!

  3. I've also been thinking about how pronunciation and listening work can be linked and how I don't do enough - it's an area I don't feel I've got a good handle on. Have you seen ?

    Likewise I'm tempted to get back to language learning, but after my DELTA this year I've promised myself (and my family) to take it easy with courses this year... Think my ELT addiction will be harder to control!

    1. Hi Phil,

      What a great link! I will definitely be trying out the dictations on my return - thanks a lot for this.

      I'm not surprised you feel the need to take a break after the DELTA - that is one intense experience, especially when you are trying to fit it around a family and work commitments!