I don’t know who I originally heard this from, but it was in the context of running theory.
The idea is that in order for a physical body to move in any direction, it cannot be in a position of balance. That is to say, it cannot be maintaining a given position against the pressure of gravity.
For movement to occur, this balance needs to be destroyed, if only momentarily and if only slightly. In order to run, all we need is a very slight forward lean from the ankles, and gravity takes care of the rest. We realign ourselves with gravity by bringing our feet up fast enough to catch ourselves from toppling, and repeat the process.
This got me thinking about learning. It made me realise the following: learning is the destruction of knowing. Continue reading →
A 20-minute exploration of how conventional treatment of the”rules” for using the passive voice (as, for example, presented in coursebooks or standard student grammar books) misses the chance to introduce learners to a simpler, more elegant and more generative rule.
A couple of days ago I taught a short (35 minute) lesson to the teaching practice students on the CELTA course we are running in Hamburg at the moment. I had used a personal story to introduce the structure “used to” and, while setting up some controlled practice, I had told the students that I used to have long hair.
Several of the students didn’t believe me and demanded to see photographic evidence. This demand led to one of the most enjoyable lessons I have ever been part of.
This is the substance of a conversation I heard on the train recently.
Initially I only vaguely listened while trying to concentrate on my book, but the conversation began to grip my attention and I transcribed it.
Names, while overheard, have been omitted in the interests of privacy.
This conversation was one of probably hundreds of similar conversations between parents and children going on throughout the UK at the time.
Scene: a train carriage in the UK
Protagonists: a mother and male child, late nursery or early primary school age. Child is reading aloud, mother is encouraging the child to continue and is engaging the child in conversation about the book he is just finishing. Continue reading →
I am lucky enough to be one of those invited to speak at the upcoming IH Barcelona ELT Conference, 8-9 February 2013. The event has already sold out, but if you are going to be there and have no other plans between 12:45 – 1:45pm on Saturday 9 February, then come along to room B at the venue, where I’ll be talking a good fight about how to knock seven bells out of your lessons in future!
The basic distinction that teacher training tended to occur more in a pre-service setting (hereafter: PRESET) whereas teacher education tended to happen more at in-service (hereafter: INSET) level was queried but not seriously disputed by most participants.
However, as the chat went on, it became clear that this “false dichotomy” (as I called it) led, once accepted, to some fairly radical statements about the nature of teacher training.
THE SE7EN DEADLY SINS OF ELT (talk) is an old video version of the talk I gave this year at IATEFL that I know some of you wanted to attend but couldn’t because the room was full. Although the sound quality is not optimal and my hair is a good deal longer, I thought I would share it and I hope you find it useful. You can find it here.
I’ll keep adding to the site as and when I have time, so thank you for your patience and for reading!