English Banana.com ESL Blog

The latest free material and news from English Banana.com


Next Class in our Free Teacher Training Course for English Teachers

Dr. Muhammad Schmidt, IFTS, Nairobi, Kenya

Dr. Muhammad Schmidt, IFTS, Nairobi, Kenya

You are welcome to join us for the next class in our ongoing free teacher training course, which will be presented by Dr. Muhammad Schmidt of IFTS, Kenya.He will be speaking on the subject of: You Are The Course Book Method within the larger framework of communicative ESL Teaching.

This class will take place on Wednesday, January 15, 2014 at 8:00 p.m. CET on Skype. If you would like to participate, please contact Dr. Schmidt via Skype. His Skype ID is: turnoi

The class will last for around one hour and there is a free handout which you can download here.

You can join our free teacher training course here. There are already 126 course learners. We would be delighted if you wanted to get involved!

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100+ English Language Teachers Attended My Seminar at Language Show Live 2013

It was fantastic to be greeted by over a hundred English language teachers at my seminar at Language Show Live last weekend! They attended my seminar at Olympia, London, on how to teach English without a course book, and it was great to see so many people who were interested in trying something new in the classroom – rather than just the usual gap-fills, multiple-choice questions, and reading comprehensions provided by the usual uninspiring ELT course books.

Waiting to do my seminar at Language Show Live 2013. A Penguin Classic, a bottle of still water, and a quiet corner away from it all...!

Waiting to do my seminar at Language Show Live 2013. A Penguin Classic, a bottle of still water, and a quiet corner away from it all…!

You can download the PowerPoint presentation that we discussed here.

In the video below I’m discussing Slide 18 and complaining about how with the course book, the writer of the course book gets to be creative, while students are reduced to completing cloze activities or reading in silence. With YATCB Method students get to experience the buzz of creativity; they are able to have ideas and work on them with their partner or group.

Language Show Live 2013 (1)

Language Show Live 2013 (1)

At the end of the seminar there were many questions from the audience. We discussed using this method within a syllabus and with ILPs; assessment, and how to persuade Directors of Studies to let you deviate from doing the book. This seemed to be the most common problem for the teachers I encountered there. They said that they would like to be more free in what they do in class, but don’t have time to let their students be creative after completing the set course book pages – which they “have to” do. Frustrating! It was great to chat to so many of you face to face after the event. I felt encouraged that there are many teachers who, like me, desire a more creative and productive approach to teaching English. One delegate, Joanna Dudzinska, asked me for the origin of the name “English Banana” and then promptly presented me with a pair of fresh bananas that I could take home! Thanks, Joanna. You can see pictures and read her side of the story in her blog here. She commented:

“The highlight of today was The Language Show at Olympia in Kensington. It was the third and last day of the annual event related to languages: teaching, learning, interpreting, translating and also travelling!

“A friend had told me about the presentation for EFL teachers. It had an interesting title: YOU ARE YOUR OWN COURSEBOOK. I agree with Matt, the speaker. Coursebooks are boring and they do not allow free thinking often suppressing  creativity. I could elaborate more on that particular topic, but there is no time… However, I shall definitely be going back to Matt’s website…”

Language Show Live 2013 (2)

Language Show Live 2013 (2)

 
Language Show Live 2013 (3)

Language Show Live 2013 (3)

My heartfelt thanks go to Claire Shilling and the wonderful team who organised Language Show Live 2013, as well as the army of people who ensured that the event ran so well. I really enjoyed taking part – thanks for having me!

If you would like me to speak about You Are The Course Book Method at your organisation, or run a training session, please do get in touch!


Get Free English Learning at English Clip.com!

We’re always happy to find websites that offer “FREE ENGLISH LEARNING” – and here’s a great one:

EnglishClip.com

www.englishclip.com

English Clip.com features lots of fun activities and ideas for improving your English, including 40 free podcast lessons, English through songs, and vocabulary building games, to mention just a few.

Site creator Justin Time (do you get the pun?) told us:

“There are so many different kinds of people in this world and many different ways to learn. Keep trying different things and find a good way for you! Our site offers free English learning online for ESL and EFL students. Improve your listening with Justin Time’s funny podcast and songs. Play online vocabulary building games and puzzles. Boost your writing skill with a step-by-step guide. Justin Time says: “It’s got to be fun!” 

“Stop by and have a laugh with Justin and get some lovely new words!”


English Banana free resources featured in The Guardian this week!

English Banana free resources featured in The Guardian

English Banana free resources featured in The Guardian

English Banana free resources are featured in The Guardian newspaper this week, as part of a special article for teachers entitled: “How to teach… English as a foreign language”. Emily Drabble reviews a range of English Banana books, including Big Grammar Book, the Talk a Lot series of books, and the new release You Are The Course Book 2. You can read the article here:

http://www.guardian.co.uk/education/teacher-blog/2013/jun/18/teaching-resources-english-as-foreign-language


Teacher Training with Russian Teachers in Poland!

We were lucky enough to host a fantastic group of teachers from Saratov University recently at our school – Study English in Ostroda. They joined us for five nights for one of our language holidays.

The visit was a great success with all of the teachers saying that they enjoyed it and learned many new techniques that they could take back to their university – and private – students in Russia.

The group leader Tatiana M. commented:

“The course provided the opportunity for the students to be active and creative at the classes, work together with other students and speak English while performing the tasks. The course integrated all of the aspects of language learning (speaking, reading, pronunciation, grammar, writing and listening) and actively involved students into the learning process. The organisation of the course (flexible schedule, the timing, course materials and accommodation) were arranged and provided on a high level. New things I learned:

  • organising the learning process without a textbook
  • a new approach to teaching phonetics 
  • reiterating the most important language points at every lesson
  • a captivating and enjoyable way of working with newspaper articles”

Here is a picture of the group hard at work:

Teachers from Saratov University, Russia

…and at play, enjoying a barbecue with some of our local students:

Polish hospitality - a good old fashioned grill!

We even got an article in the local paper!

Article in Nasz Glos newspaper in Ostroda

If you would like to join us for a language holiday – to improve your English language skills, or to brush up on your teaching practice – you are more than welcome to join us! Please click here to find out more about our offer.


Where is English Banana.com on The Internet Map?

…We’re south-east of Google.com in the Download.com constellation! You can find our precise location on the fully-interactive map here.

From The Internet Map website: “The Internet map [by Ruslan Enikeev] is an attempt to look into the hidden structure of the network, fathom its colossal scale, and examine that which is impossible to understand from the bare figures of statistics… Every site is a circle on the map, and its size is determined by website traffic, the larger the amount of traffic, the bigger the circle.”

Follow the amazing pictures below to locate englishbanana.com among the 350,000 most popular websites on the internet today:

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