26 December 2016

Pearson ELT Teacher Award

This year, Pearson ELT has launched the inaugural teacher award, recognizing innovative ELT teaching around the world.
Six lucky winners will receive an all-expenses-paid trip to the IATEFL or TESOL conferences in the U.K. or U.S.
You can submit your entry or nominate a colleague.

The Award is open for entries until January 1, 2017 via the Pearson ELT website. 
The winners will be announced on January 25, 2017.

Good luck!

27 November 2016

128 Words To Use Instead Of ''Very''

If you are not fond of using very (because it's weak or vague) and wish to replace it with a more accurate or vivid word, this enormously helpful infographic shows 128 words that you can use instead. 

27 September 2016

Bringing Grammar to Life

This webinar provides the tools to bring grammar to life through examples of everyday situations, as realistic contexts are always the best way to introduce and practise grammar.

Dates: 26th or 27 October 2016

Times: 10:00-11:30 or 15:30-17;00 (BST)

Speaker: Briony Beaven

4 September 2016

Webinar - The Potential of Smart Devices

Join the webinar to discover how technology can become a significant part of the learning process for your students. 
The webinar will be presented by Thomas Healy, Smart Choice author and an Assistant Professor in the Intensive English Program at the Pratt Institute, New York City.
You can choose one of the following dates:
7 September 2016, 13:00-14:00 BST
8 September 2016, 00:00-01:00 BST

10 July 2016

Cambridge English Test for Adult Learners

If you are an adult learner of English  and would like to take a free online test just to get an approximate level of your knowledge of the language, here is a Cambridge one consisting of 25 questions.

Click on the photo below and start your adventure.

15 May 2016

Say It With Oxford 2016

Another year and another Say It With Oxford Competition. For all of you who are not familiar with this competition, here's what it is all about and what you should do to participate.
Organized by Oxford University Press,  the competition is for teachers who would like to win a place on the Oxford English Language Teacher's Academy Summer School 2016

Worcester College

The prize for the winning teacher includes: 

- A two-week professional development course at Worcester College, Oxford

-  Half-board accommodation and flight costs

As the engagement of students is necessary, there is a prize for the students as well, and it means a Mini iPad and a certificate for each.

What students need to do:

What teachers need to do:

2. Upload your students' video (s) on YouTube
3. Fill in the entry form and upload the URL of your YouTube video. If there's more than one video, you should fill in one entry form per video.

For more information, visit OUP.
The closing date is 31 May.
Hurry up! 

Good luck!

30 April 2016

IATEFL 2016 - Plenary by Jan Blake

This year's amazing IATEFL ended on a cheerful note, and its 50th anniversary was a good enough reason.

Have you heard of Jan Blake?
Jan Blake is one of the leading storytellers and performers, specialising in stories from Africa, the Caribbean and Arabia. Her storytelling is known as dynamic, exciting and witty. The way she performs is extraordinary. She is the winner of many storytelling awards.

I highly recommend watching the plenary of Jan Blake, in which she shares a selection of her favourite stories (the ones she read, heard, told to herself).
Storytelling represents one of the most powerful learning methods, thus the session is well worth hearing.

24 April 2016

IATEFL 2016 - Plenary by David Crystal

Although, unfortunately, I didn't attend the 50th (a golden jubilee!) IATEFL conference, I have the honour to be one of its online registered bloggers.
Today's post will briefly discuss the plenary by one of the greatest linguists - Professor David Crystal, who is the patron of IATEFL.
I met the professor a couple of years ago at a conference and I find his work truly inspiring.

You can watch David Crystal's presentation here.

The focus of Crystal's talk is on principal changes in all areas of the English language, referring to the changes of vocabulary, grammar, pronunciation, etc. that have occurred in the last fifty years and those that are likely to happen in the next five decades. We see swift language change as a consequence of different factors, such as the Internet and globalization. He even expresses sympathy for language teachers, as English and its norms change at such a rapid rate that the language teachers once learnt to teach is no longer the same and acceptable. Of course, every living language is destined to be altered, but now we can talk about words and phrases that have a very short life - becoming old-fashioned quicker than it took them to get popular. I'm afraid that the future will only quicken the pace of (vocabulary) change and that teachers would need to learn how to best adapt for the sake of pupils.

Grammatical change is far less evident than vocabulary, and several processes of that change have been identified:

1. The frequency of modal verbs is declining, such as shall, must and may, both in spoken and written English (especially in American English), in all text categories, and have been replaced by semi-modals, such as have to, be going to, want to = hafta, gonna, wanna (colloquially); 

2. The progressive aspect is on the increase, e.g. I'm lovin' it.
Stative verbs have been used dynamically, once only in simple form (I'm needing a new coat, I'm wanting a new fridge, It's mattering to me greatly, I'm knowing the answer);

3. Change in the use of relative pronouns - that and which. That is used much more than which, and the use of which is greatly decreasing. 
As Crystal put it, it is the direct result of antagonism towards the use of which by the prescriptive grammar tradition.

Where will such trends lead us to? How should we perceive grammar in the future? Should a trend become a rule? I would love to hear your answers.

As far as English pronunciation is concerned, the professor suggests two major changes over the last 50 years:

1. The people's attitude towards accents changed unpredictably;

2. Some accents changed their phonetic character significantly.

If an accent attracts positive values, it can be trusted and will be widely used.
The attitude towards accents will certainly remain unpredictable, as different influences will occur. Even the Queen's accent doesn't stand still.
David Crystal argues that the future seems to be syllable-timed, but we will see whether it would (still) be dominant and to what extent. 

Spelling is affected greatly as well:
- Full stops are dropped after abbreviations (B.B.C. -> BBC);
- Apostrophies dropped (1960's -> 1960s);
- The use of capitals in names (vodafone, eBay).

''The pressure to maintain correct spelling is so great through educational and publishing systems that it will take a great force to change public perceptions of what counts as correct. The Internet may be that force.''

So, the Internet plays a key role in bringing language change to the attention of the general public, as well as the broadcasting media and literature. There are numerous examples.

Simplification seems to be the prevailing trend in every aspect of language, as it has been present in every inch of our lives.

''The most difficult jobs in the world are language-related jobs.''

13 April 2016

ELTA Competition for Teachers and Students in Serbia

To mark the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare's death, ELTA (English Language Teachers' Association in Serbia) is organizing two competitions for English language teachers and students.

You are invited to send your authentic lesson plans, quizzes, games and other Shakespeare-related classroom activities, which will be posted on ELTA's website and Facebook page. Each month from February to May 2016, two book prizes will be given to teachers who send the most inspiring ideas, and a special prize will be given to the teacher whose activity gets the most likes on Facebook.

You are also invited to send your or your students' drawings, illustrations, paintings, photos or collages of Shakespeare's quotes which will be posted on ELTA's Facebook page, and in June 2016 the best illustration will be chosen and its author will be rewarded.

You can send your contributions here.

Good luck!

20 March 2016

Number Idioms

Here's a selection of number idioms divided into three categories. Each example is followed by a picture for better understanding of the idiom. I hope you find it helpful.

I 1, 2, 3, ... 

  • Two heads are better than one!


  • It takes two to tango.


  • Two's company, three's a crowd!


  • First come, first served.


  • It was six of one and half a dozen of the other.


  • I just put two and two together.


  • You could kill two birds with one stone.


  • Once bitten, twice shy.


  • You have a one-track mind!


  • I was in two minds whether or not to go.


II Millions, thousands

  • I wouldn't have thought she would have done such a bad thing - not in a million years

  • Thank you again and again - you're one in a million!


  • I believe you! Thousands wouldn't!


III Third time lucky

  • The decision was made at the eleventh hour.


  • Have you tried this app? It's second to none

  • I've failed twice before, but I won't give up. You know what they say: third time lucky (US - third time is the charm).


  • All our work was in vain. We are back to square one.


  • Ann, are you ready? No, I've lost my phone, my keys, my glasses, ... I'm all at sixes and sevens this week.    


  • Sometimes I feel people are (two or) ten a penny in today's world.


  • I was on cloud nine when I got married.


  • You are not having second thoughts about going to college, are you?

  • The news of his sickness knocked her for six.

Do you often use number idioms? Can you add some more?

17 January 2016

TOEFL Tips&Tricks - A Course in Belgrade

With the help of the US Embassy in Belgrade, Serbia, American Corner Belgrade is organizing a new round of TOEFL advisory classes that will begin on January 23 2016 and will last 5 classes.

This course will be held by an English language teacher - Igor ZagrańĎanin.

The course is a workshop rather than a typical course, for those in the final stage of preparation for the TOEFL test.

If you are interested in applying, all you need to do is send a short letter of motivation in English to this email, and it should include:

- Your name and surname

- Why are you taking the test

- When are you taking the test or when do you plan to take it

The advantage will be given to those who have registered for the TOEFL exam.

*If you find this kind of posts useful, please share it! And make sure to subscribe! 

10 January 2016

Many Languages, One World 2016

The United Nations Academic Impact (UNAI) and ELS Educational Services Inc. (ELS) are organizing the Many Languages, One World essay contest for the third straight year. 
It is open to full-time university students (18 years or older).
In order to participate, students must write an essay of 2,000 words or less regarding multilingualism in the context of global citizenship and of their personal, academic, and cultural background. The essay must be written in one of the six official UN languages (English, French, Russian, Arabic, Spanish, Chinese) that is not their mother tongue or primary language of instruction.

A total of 60 winners will be selected to attend a week-long (25-31 July) Global Youth Forum in New York City and present their ideas at United Nations Headquarters.

Essay submission deadline: 31 March 2016.

For more information, please visit the official website.

The following video shows how last year's winners enjoyed Global Youth Forum:

Good luck!