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"My students have been saying it correctly all the time, and I've been telling them that they were wrong," said Maria de Conceição. She had her head in her hands and, while not looking exactly disheartened, she did look somewhat perplexed. She was one of twenty Portuguese teachers of English who were showing pluck and determination by sitting through a twenty-five hour training course with me, and we had been looking at the alarming variety of ways of saying many high-frequency words in English.  Continue reading...
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I have to admit that I have a problem in teaching the verb to get to English language learners. It's not just that it is a verb that has multiple meanings depending on context — around a dozen, I'd say. No, the bigger problem for me is that I haven't recovered from it being a prohibited item when I was a kid.  Continue reading...
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I recently witnessed one of those lightbulb illuminating moments when someone suddenly "got it." What this language learner "got" was the difference between adjectives and nouns prefixed with un-, and verbs prefixed with un-. The adjective/noun becomes negative, but the verb typically has its action reversed: unusual vs. unwrap, for example.  Continue reading...
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Fitch O'Connell, a longtime teacher of English as a foreign language, has been musing on a dilemma involving clichés. Though they are often disparaged by writers of English, clichés are nonetheless "part of the bread and butter of speech, and thus we would be doing a disserve to our students if we didn't encourage their fluency with a significant number."  Continue reading...
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Some years ago the Portuguese government signed an agreement with other Portuguese speaking countries about the way the language was to be written, and the slow process of making it happen started to be rolled out. I was quite amused recently to learn of the number of students of English in Portuguese schools who thought that the novo acordo ortográfico -- the new spelling agreement -- applied also to English.   Continue reading...
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What happens when nouns turn into verbs, and how can language arts educators use these "verbings" as teachable moments? Fitch O'Connell, a longtime teacher of English as a foreign language, takes a look at this "trending" topic.  Continue reading...
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In his best-selling grammar book for teachers of English as a foreign language, Basic English Usage (1984), Michael Swan famously used the term "taboo words" to discuss words that we tend to skirt around in the classroom, and this term entered the EFL teachers lexicon from that point on.  Continue reading...
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1 2 3 4 Displaying 8-14 of 22 Articles