domenica 12 aprile 2015

IATEFL MANCHESTER ON LINE 2015 Saturday 11th April Thinking about teaching Literature and more

             Saturday 11th April     2015


Ideas about    Languague  Learning  and  Literature

New technologies  have  changed  teaching : Harmer talks about the many editions of his famous book for  English  language  teachers. The new edition has just been released but much  has changed since he  published his first edition  thirty-two years ago. Virtual Learning and Mobile Learning and also  teachers  have changed and now they  are  expected to have a different profile and be  equipped with more  skills and competences.

Most of  teachers   who  have studied to become    English  Language  teachers used his famous  book : The Practice of Language  Teaching. The book was a must  for almost anyone who started teaching English,
I remember using it when I first did a teacher training course in  Kent in 1994, at that time I was a young teacher in Italy and I was  trying to become more  qualified. The training course  was based on  a lot of  peer observation and lesson planning but  the  Bible   for developing  most of the  activities   was this book.

Now let's go back to the  interview and what   I liked
A short interview with a mind, a  great mind and someone who has  been working in TEFL for many years and has seen so many  changes.

Literature?  What  ideas about   Teaching  Poems?  

"Poems shouldn't be too long,"  " they should  talk to the heart."

Yes, I agree, we can teach  poems, but it is up to us to  choose  the right  text:  we do need to find  something that is involving but not too difficult and also  easy to find.

So to sum up he suggests
-  looking for  accessible  texts
-  thinking  about  activities which can be  engaging  - Jeremy  Harmer talks about  poems  students can dive into- this is  a great  metaphor to talk about learners's engagement!
-  getting  students  write  poems



It was a pleasure to watch this interview because it focussed on some issues like Technologies ,Learning  and  Literature in the XXI century.

In a world that is  overwhelmed with  technology and our  students are working with almost any device at school and at home,  it seems to be difficult to talk about  literature and reading. But   Maley feels that Language Teachers should do this and  also do some Literature. He says  " people are losing their mind" but  he suggests teaching  reading skills and literature.

Some simple ideas for Language  Teachers are   using  extensive  reading  and   creative writing. 

His words are great for me because  I teach  a Language, a foreign Language but  I would like to have  my students  who are more  interested in the world around them, who can  reflect and think because  reading and writing are not easy skills to master but  they can improve and also  a good text by  Dickens or a modern novel or  a text by Orwell  can help us develop critical thinking skills. They will not become  writers but they will have thought about  what they have read .


After planning  and  in spite of  it   " a  good  teacher needs to  improvise " when dealing with  classes  and students : here are his tips:
How do you  respond to what  happens? 
If the students  respond to your offer, use it 

There seems to be a shift because  what is  presented here is an approach that cares for  those who are Learning, after planning and  checking  what went  wrong we can  now  say that we can also  try to use the learners' input while we are  talking with them.
Once more  we have  something new or  fresh :  students can be more engaged and teachers do not follow  the  lesson  plan but this is done for having a better Learning  process because  students  must be more active and  the  teacher remains  the  controller but  takes advantage of what the students  are doing.   The relationship between Teachers and Students can change if  Teachers can listen to them  and to their needs.

We should all think more  and  once we realize that  not  everything is working   self-reflection and  changes cannot but help our  teaching.

venerdì 10 aprile 2015

IATEFL 2015 Interview with Herbert Puchta and some ideas about teachers

Interview with Herbert Puchta

Just the beginning and  some interesting  people have been  interviewed at the Conference, as I said it was  just  the starter for  a great weekend and some more days next week. I arrived home and just looked for the beginning of the Conference and tomorrow I will be following many more.
Just a short interview- the first one for me today- and what I liked were the  key words used by Puchta:
  • Engagement with adult learners
  • Teachers as a model
  • Teaching  values

 We are  responsible for building activities which have to do with values : I like the ideas because what I have done so far is also  trying to build and  establish  values.  Love for the environment, resperct for  other  people, talking about the past and its importance for the present. In my school we have  a project which has to do with  MEMORY, it is the memory of our  past,  NEVER  FORGET WHAT HAPPENED IN EUROPE IN THE YEARS OF THE HOLOCAUST. Today we have more people who are  suffering, so  why not trying to do  something that links our  sad past with the PRESENT?   I am teaching  languages but  I am also  a teacher and  I like the idea of   talking about  such  issues and topics with  students and  getting them more  INVOLVED.  

to be continued...............................................................


The Conference has  just  started : just click on 

MANCHESTER ON LINE CONFERENCE 2015         or  follow  @iateflonline     and you will be part of this  world.  Tomorrow and the next  days will be inspiring!!

 It will be a virtual conference:  I will be sitting at my  desk and follow interesting people who are going to talk about  teaching and learning  English.
It will be my  first time but I am eager at learning and  I am interested in the news about the developments in the world of English.  What news?  How is  English  teaching  changing?

My new website has just  started  and will continue my  PLN  and CPD  on line  and  what's more I will  meet interesting people on line too. Here is the link to it:

I forgot to tell you that  after receiving so many  e-mails from  CUP, BRITISH COUNCIL, MACMILLAN  and more ..........  I couldn't but  decide to see what's happening in  Manchester.


10th April  2015                              Tiziana  Angiolini

sabato 4 aprile 2015

PLN An English teacher who continues learning and wants to be updated thanks to MOOCs

What I have been doing in the last  months is  a personal study which I carried out thanks to  COURSERA and also the platform  FUTURELEARN.(

Last year I could  follow an inspiring course about  literature of the  English Countryside and I must confess that  the journey was  great since  I  learnt a lot about  English writers and the study was interesting since I could see houses and nice  places in the English countryside.   In September I continued my journey and  could learn more  about  Ireland and its past history. In January I learnt more about the  British Empire thanks to the MOOC  " Empire" which was  organized by  Futurelearn.

What I liked was the idea of  presenting history and literature with  lots of  images and documents on line, the professors made the courses  lively and there was a lot of  interaction among  students in the courses, It was an international group of people like me who wanted to continue  studying on line and the courses were  free.  With  Futurelearn  you just need to pay for  a  certificate once you have done most of the activities.
Futurelearn is  a great  course  provider : in most cases you can can  download videos for the MOOC that you are doing and what's more  at the  end of each  course you are provided with web links  and lists of  interesting books you might  decide to read as a follow up.

For the  British Empire we had an interesting  blog which was  updated and as a result people could follow interesting ideas  about what had been presented in the course: ( this part of the  blog deals with the  main issues presented in the course )  ( the blog is full of  information about  the British  Empire and  studies)

Students who worked and studied on the Mooc presented images on padlet, which  I discovered is  a web  2.0 tool that is  widely used  now  by many  educators and  in Mooc courses.


Right now  I am doing  the final part of another course with Coursera: it is  a " rough" study of Australian  Literature  but I have  learnt something new about this country and its people.  I am going to write about this journey into literature because   as  a Teacher of  English   I need to use any documents in English to  present a culture and also the  past history of the British Empire or the new born  nations : I learnt about the end of the Empire but  I did not know much about  the other  Literatures in English . At university I had never studied   Australian literature , I just read some short stories by   Catherine  Mansfield who was born in New Zeland.  I did a lot about  Shakespeare but almost nothing about  Australian and South African novelists or poets.   It is going to be a nice weekend spent on some  Australian  writers and poets  and I will describe later what  was interesting and  new in terms of themes and also  names. My journey has just begun!
This is an interesting link for further research on line:


You might also like to  read about  poetry from Australia:

Australian poets

What I have studied so far has made me become more interested in these authors because I have read about  " beautiful minds", women and  men who have loved, hated their country but have described it.

D.H.Lawrence moved to Australia and  hoped to find  a place where to live and find  his ideal world. You could read this  interesting essay about   D.H. Lawrence and the  bush :

I have  learnt  about  Patrick White  and his  great  novel VOSS:  this  is  a masterpiece of literature
which was published in 1957.

 It is the story of  Voss , a German   naturalist and  Laura but it is  based on the  past  history of  Australia. The plot is interesting and  it  describes their  relationship and  how he will  disappear.

The novel is  considered one of the most important ones  and  if you want to learn more about  it just  read this  comment  which  I found on the GUARDIAN ON LINE:

Patrick White  got the Nobel Prize in Literature and  much has  been written about him: to learn more  just  check this weblink

Enjoy  learning and reading more about  culture  and literature in English!