Tag: News

ELT Research Bites

ELT Research Bites

Followers of my blog will know that I believe we, as language teachers, all need to understand the pedagogical underpinnings of what we do in our language classrooms. That’s why I aim in my blog posts to provide information on theoretical backgrounds and lesson materials which apply them practically. I would also love for more teachers to read the research and background articles for themselves. But I know that teachers are all busy people, who may not have access to or time to access publications on the latest developments and findings from language education research.

ELT Research Bites is here to help!contributors.JPG

As the founder, Anthony Schmidt, explains: ELT Research Bites is a collaborative, multi-author website that publishes summaries of published, peer-reviewed research in a short, accessible and informative way. 

The core contributors are Anthony Schmidt, Mura Nuva, Stephen Bruce, and me!

 

Anthony describes the problem that inpsired ELT Research Bites: There’s a lot of great research out there: It ranges from empirically tested teaching activities to experiments that seek to understand the underlying mechanics of learning. The problem is, though, that this research doesn’t stand out like the latest headlines – you have to know where to look and what to look for as well as sift through a number of other articles. In addition, many of these articles are behind extremely expensive pay walls that only universities can afford. If you don’t have access to a university database, you are effectively cut off from a great deal of research. Even if you do find the research you want to read, you have to pour through pages and pages of what can be dense prose just to get to the most useful parts. Reading the abstract and jumping to the conclusion is often not enough. You have to look at the background information, the study design, the data, and the discussion, too. In other words, reading research takes precious resources and time, things teachers and students often lack.

And so ELT Research Bites was born!  

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The purpose of ELT Research Bites is to present interesting and relevant language and education research in an easily digestible format.

Anthony again:  By creating a site on which multiple authors are reading and writing about a range of articles, we hope to create for the teaching community a resource in which we share practical, peer-reviewed ideas in a way that fits their needs.

ELT Research Bites provides readers with the content and context of research articles, at a readable at the length, and with some ideas for practical implications. We hope, with these bite-size summaries of applied linguistics and pedagogy research, to allow all (language) teachers access to the insights gained through empirical published work, which teachers can adapt and apply in their own practice, whilst not taking too much of their time away from where it is needed most – the classroom.

CHECK OUT ELT Research Bites here:

FOLLOW ON TWITTER: @ResearchBites

 

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Practising English with News Items

Many EFL teachers tell their learners to watch/listen to the news as a way of practising their English. I’ve come to realise that simply watching/listening is less helpful than engaging with the news item on a more productive level. That’s why I had a bit of a think and came up with some activities that learners can do with news items – either listening texts or written news items. The list can be used by teachers looking for classroom/homework ideas, or by students themselves in need of inspiration for self-study activities. Please feel free to add your own ideas in the comments below!

It is usually easy to fit catching up on the news into one’s daily routine, as you can get news…

 Simply watching, reading or listening to the news may provide you with current information, but here are some activities that can extend that learning:

  • Analyse the headline – what do you expect the story to be about? What style of language is used? Why? Could you phrase the headline another way? Would this change the implication or feeling?
  • Prepare a short written or oral summary of the news item. Make sure you answer the questions Who? What? Where? When? Why? How? in your concise text. You can compare your summary to friends’ summaries, or each summarise a different news item to present to the others, then ask comprehension questions or start a discussion on the topic(s).
  • Compare two reports on the same event: Do you notice any differences in the information they give or in the attitude they express towards the event? Can you explain why these differences may exist? How can you avoid believing biased news items?
  • Give 10 bullet points of background information someone would need in order to understand why this news story is important.
  • Invent interview questions you would ask one of the people involved in the story. You can either try to remain neutral, like a journalist, or try to present a certain image of that person, like a lawyer.
  • Pretend to be one of the people mentioned in the news report and re-tell the story from their perspective (using first-person narrator).
  • Pick a statement from the news report that you feel is more of an opinion than a fact, and make a list of examples and evidence that you would use to argue against it.
  • Draw a mind-map of the key vocabulary used in the news report. Look up words’ meanings, other word classes (e.g. nouns, adjectives, verbs, etc.), and also synonyms and antonyms to include.