Best-of-ELT-Blog-Posts (Karenne's picks) January 2011

molten earth
What was really "hot" this month
Dave Dodgson kicked off a bit of controversy, striking a nerve when he asked why he should have to pay to present at conferences; George Vassilakis explores their commercialization; Adam Simpson delves into the costs and effort that goes into hosting a conference and explains why he thinks that yes, in fact, you should pay for the privilege and Sharon explains that, from her perspective, by paying a fee you are actually permitting a fellow educator to sit down at the same conference table as you, thereby contributing to the democratization of education.  What do you think?

Although unconnected to the discussion, Anna Varna pipes up with how a presentation she attended didn't live up to her expectations and ends with a touching recall of what keeps us teachers teaching!

Teacher training
In Unplugging Teacher Development, Willy Cardoso challenges us to think about the value of  staffroom discussions with peers over workshops and conferences.  I think he's touched on a major point on why so few teachers do pursue professional development.  He also describes what he would like to see in teacher-training programs.  Although I didn't quite catch the connection to rugby, David Warr then provides ideas on teacher-training-unplugged that are worth reflecting on.

John Hughes, in a very practical series on the management issues involved in teacher training, presents a tick-off list for recruting and managing teacher trainers and Alex Case, ever taking the piss,  suggests 25 different ways to get away with being a crap English teacher.

Adam Simpson lays out a more serious and very helpful list of 10 motivation theories and thinks about why our students are "just not into it... "   Professor Baker has started an interesting series of posts entitled "Explain it to me like I'm an 8yr old" and his post: Connectivism and Connected Knowledge is a must-read.   

Scott Thornbury creates a video conversation laying out the history and criticisms of PPP in ELT - sparking off a highly dynamic discussion: it's worth watching the vlog but especially  reading the ensuing points of view of his contributing commenters.  In the knowledge sharing marketplace, Phillip Towndrow explores ICT and pedagogy: should it be teacher-centered, technology-centered or learner-centered?  

Language & linguistics
Voxy's Theresa Dold shares 15 insightful language and culture infographics.  Beautifully presented and interesting particularly the one made up of the demographics of English on Planet Earth.   Gabe Doyle shares a story about the need for linguistic humility and thinks about the culture of the words we use, a lesson we can all learn from!   Vicki Hollett unveils an ad for the British television show, Law and Order, and discusses translations from UK English-to-US English.  (p.s. Vicki, you really must see The Wire: finger-nail-biting-brilliant!) 

Key Dogmeist and YahooGroupMod, Fiona Mauchline, writes up a guest post for Ceri Jones on ways translation can have a valid position in language learning and shares some excellent tips.  Mark Liberman, in another humorous piece shares with us a bit of grammar's history relating to the  emergence of progressive passive (passive continous) and how it replaced the passival.  Bet you didn't know that!  

On being in the classroom
Cecilia Coelho reveals a personal error in the way she communicated with a student in  her post, the power of the words we say.   Debate opens on the position of the educator vs the intrinsic beingness of teachers' humanity, responding spontaneously to difficult classroom situations.  Also on her blog, she hosts a post from Dave Dodgson who reflects on his life as language learner.   

In his quintessentially philosophical style, albeit that I think I disagree with him...  Diarmuid Fogarty suggests that the deeper we move into getting students to understand and analyze language,  the less they learn.  Candy von Olst faces the word "unless" head on and winds up with a headache, leading me to laugh and speculate that hmmm... perhaps, Fogarty's on to something.

Eva Buyuksimkesyan shares an extremely clever idea of listening to music in another language while trying to guess at the lyrics and writing poems in English; Mike Harrison collaborates with David Warr to create a language plant of Martin Niemöller's poem: First they came; Claudio Azevedo shows us  how to use the film, Did you hear about the Morgans, as a way to practice imperatives.  

And then on the way to work one day, Paul Braddock spontaneously snaps pics of a rather unpleasant lad cutting his nails which leads to him dreaming up an extremely clever lesson tip for using camera-phones with our digital students.   David Vincent found a funny picture he recommends using as  a conversation starter and Ceri Jones closes in on translations in a truly inspired lesson plan comparing literature texts.

ELT EdTech
On the DELTA blog, Nik Peachey lays out the advantages and disadvantages of iPads in the classroom;  Angela Maiers shares a very interesting infographic on cell phone usage - worth exploring with adult Business English language-learners: how are mobile phones affecting their industries or responsibilities?    David Reed, of  the best ELT mobile learning blog out there in the 'sphere, shows us how students can blog directly from their phones to the platform, Posterous.

Ozge continues her alphabetized analysis of Web tools - very useful, I love this series!  Tyson Seburnt presents SoundCloud - a very interesting way to work with authentic listening materials; Ana Maria Mendes shows us a cool way to share youtube videos and Jen Verschoor shares with us how she lost a job due to the fact she teaches with technology in her classroom :-(

The business of teaching
Larry Ferlazzo discusses Merit Pay and provides links supporting why he thinks it is a bad idea:  Jason Renshaw worries about the ELT industry and  questions whether or not a superpower is emerging and how we might be feeling about that.  

And finally, David Truss neatly presents a case for educators being in the learning business not the teaching business and asks why time for professional development can't be embeded into our paid responsibities.

Well, that's it... my wrap up of do-read-these-they're-top-notch-articles written in January, if you'd like to read what else has been circulating the 'sphere, visit this link.  To read what I wrote about in January, come here.

Hope you've now found many new articles to enjoy reading at your leisure,

p.s.  also, do visit this month's ESL Carnival by Alice Mercer, it contains an absolutely superb list of posts!

23 Responses to “Best-of-ELT-Blog-Posts (Karenne's picks) January 2011”

  • paulinbcn says:
    February 06, 2011

    Hi Karenne

    Thanks for mentioning my nail-clipping man lesson. Just one tiny little thing though... my name is paul Braddock not paul linden (not sure who he is! :)

    February 06, 2011

    Sorry, Paul! Done!

  • David Warr says:
    February 06, 2011

    Hi Karenne, a lot of work in this post, well done, a great summary. Thanks for the mention. Sorry my rugby analogy was obscure. What I meant was, how they scored the try was all unplanned. Unlike American football (with the Superbowl on tonight), which is all about set plays that last a few seconds, this was all spontaneous. But in order to be able to do that, they needed great skill. Teaching unplugged requires a lot of knowledge, so that a teacher can go with the flow and react to the circumstances.

  • Brad Patterson says:
    February 07, 2011

    Hey Karenne

    Enjoyed this resume. Nice to see the ELT blog world from a global level, as well as catch up on a few stories I hadn't followed. David sure did set off a fire, didn't he!

    Wanted 2 mention too that I was impressed with your story about how you became an EFL teacher. Quite the adventure, and nice to see a bit more of the personal side of one of the folks I follow virtually. :)

    Thanks 4 sharing.

  • Unknown says:
    February 07, 2011

    Hi Karenne,

    This post of yours is a work of art, a labor of love, a deity of dedication and determination on your part.

    It is excellent, and I feel honored to have been considered worthy by you to be here with such a group of talented writers.

    I thank you doubly, and encourage you to continue with your valuable synthesis here.

    Best regards,
    Thomas Baker

    February 07, 2011

    Thanks very much, David, that was very helpful - (I don't know much about Rugby) but I knew I liked what you'd written. Actually I pretty much enjoy every visit on over to your blog - you've a very unique perspective!

    Brad, ta! I'll continue it in bits and pieces. It makes me feel a bit like an old woman, writing autobiographical pieces, but last night my Dad said I should write about the things I've experienced... he figures others might get something from hearing the way I've landed on my feet, no matter hard life has been at times... Part ii is hairy-scary, it'll take a bit of bravery to write it all down. :-)

    Thank you very much, Tom - I really enjoy reading your blog: you challenge me often to think in new ways.


  • Brad Patterson says:
    February 07, 2011

    "Brad, ta!" don't know y but it had me laughin...

    Only the second time I've seen the "ta". I like it, and will use it from here on out.

    I'm ready for the hairy-scary. We all have tales to tell, and yer Dad is right to encourage you to share.

    And I love Tom's range with the written word : "a work of art, a labor of love, a DEITY of dedication and determination on your part." Wow. May the ambrosia flow, and the fun continue!

    Cheers, b

  • Rachael says:
    February 07, 2011

    Thanks, such a helpful overview when there is so much out there and not much time to sift through everything!

  • Adam says:
    February 07, 2011

    Great summary, Karenne. Looks like I've got me some reading to do.

  • wheelchairs says:
    February 07, 2011

    I really appreciate your post and you explain each and every point very well.Thanks for sharing this information.And I’ll love to read your next post too.

  • Anonymous says:
    February 07, 2011

    Thank you for the mention Karenne. You are a shining light in the blogosphere, the Twitterverse and everywhere else you sprinkle your magic.
    Thank you again.

  • Marisa says:
    February 07, 2011

    Hi Karenne!

    Thanks for sharing this post full of valuable links!!!!
    Hugs from Argentina!

  • Sharon Turner says:
    February 08, 2011

    Thanks Karenne for putting all of this in one place. I am really pleased that you decided to synthesize it as there are many valuable points and issues which won't go away any time soon.)

    February 08, 2011

    Thanks so much, everyone, am glad you enjoyed it - felt like I was telling a story. We live in an amazing globally connected world through our blogs. And hugs back, Marisa!

  • Mike Harrison says:
    February 10, 2011

    Only just caught up with this here. As others have said, a wonderful round up, one in which I am very humbled to have garnered a mention. It was interesting to work with David's suggestion of making a language plant. He even made another version here:



  • Adam says:
    February 24, 2011

    Forgot to add, thanks for the (double) mention. Sorry I don't get round to commenting more, guess I'm as busy as ever :-(

    February 24, 2011

    Hear that, Adam! I still have starred comments on my blog to answer to from last week let alone commenting on others so totally understand and glad you enjoyed the mention!

    Hi Mike, always a pleasure! Saw David's too, loved too!

  • Tyson says:
    March 20, 2011

    I noticed an incoming link on my blog and 'lo and behold, it was your mention here. Thank you. =) Have a great day, Karenne.

  • David Truss says:
    March 26, 2011

    A summary like this must take hours to do! I'm always impressed by the quality of ELT bloggers and also their ability to take educational content and apply it specifically to language learning. Educators in every field need to pay heed to those sharing resources in ELT... and specifically to you too Karenne! :-)

  • David Deubelbeiss says:
    March 26, 2011


    Be careful! Nobody's going to read any blogs anymore - just wait for your perfect summaries! :)


    March 26, 2011

    Wow, thank you so much David T - we are a motivated (or mad) bunch, it's true...

    I think when one enters the field of ELT this mega filter develops of processing input based on whether or not it'll be interesting to our students... the filter's on all the time - the how can I use this to teach English - but this can spill on over to our normal lives which gets dull for friends and family so blogging about it certainly helps us release that energy!!

    March 26, 2011

    :-) ta, David D... I was just thinking I'd better get started on the March post...

  • teflbook says:
    June 06, 2013

    Currently in the process of setting up my own ELT blog. A wealth of information here, many thanks.


Visitors and Regular Readers


FEEDJIT Live Traffic Feed

Communities of Practice

Directories, catalogs and Back Links

Adult Blogs - Blog Catalog Blog Directory Add to Technorati Favorites

The EFL ESL Blog List - ESL/EFL/TEFL Teaching Jobs and Teacher Resumes

International Blogging Directory

Recent Posts

Simply Conversations

Pedagogically sound materials designed to get your students actively talking:

Free Samples
Conversation Control

General English
Business English

Learn more on why these work