Guest post: BESIG Summer Symposium 2012 report

On 16 June 2012 the Besig Summer Symposium took place in Paris. Unfortunately I couldn’t be there, so I asked Mieke Kenis and Vicky Loras, two people who were lucky enough to be present, to report back for me.

I was really looking forward to the symposium for various reasons. It would be my first ever Besig event, David Crystal was going to be the plenary speaker and the programme looked very promising. Furthermore I was taking a colleague of mine, whom I was going to introduce to some Twitter friends. The train journey from Brussels to Paris wasn’t long enough to tell him all about the benefits of a Twitter PLN 🙂

Mieke with Sue Annan

But what was most exciting was the prospect of finally meeting Vicky Loras. We had been talking to each other on Twitter for some time when one evening, a few tweets led to our collaboration on some of Vicky’s poems. It was just great I was going to see her live 😉

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Guest Post: Mieke Kenis on Raymond Murphy

I actually remember the first time I saw a copy of Raymond Murphy’s English Grammar in Use. I hadn’t been teaching long and I was sitting on a bus in Brasília, going from one class to another, when I spotted it. “Sounds like the kind of book I need to read” I joked half seriously to myself.

It then started to appear more regularly, as students would turn up to their classes with it under their arm, just in case their native speaker teacher wasn’t particularly au fait with the rules behind verb + preposition + -ing, although I’m not sure where they could possibly have got that idea… 😉

I really got an idea of the books success when I moved to Korea and saw the same piles of copies in book shops, just as I’d seen in Brazil, and I thought to myself “Man alive, I don’t know who this Raymond Murphy fellow is but I think he hit the jackpot.” Until recently, I still had no idea who he was. In my mind, he was a recluse, living in a solid gold house on a tiny Pacific island, surrounded by pots of cash, a bit like this.

To be honest, I think that says more about the state of my mind than anything about Mr Murphy…

Someone who has an altogether more well rounded idea about him is Mieke Kenis, known to most of you as @mkofab on Twitter. She had the pleasure of being his student 30 years ago and of being a guinea pig for what was to become the world’s English language grammar bible.

Here she shares with us of her memories of her summer in Oxford with the English language learner’s grammar guru…

Guest post: Loving the Greens – Montessori and Dogme

This is part one of three guest posts this week by Yitzha (Icha) Sarwono, a kindergarten Montessori school teacher in Jakarta, Indonesia. We were recently discussing Dogme during ELTchat, and as I have no experience Montessori teaching, I asked her to write about the possibilities for teaching unplugged in her particular situation. I started by asking her about the main elements of Montessori (as quoted on Wikipedia), and how they apply in her classroom:

Guest post: Not a Drama Queen but a Drama Teacher

Here is part two of Ania Musielak’s takeover of my blog. After last weeks interview, she has now written a post for us all about her great passion in teaching, using drama in the classroom. I have asked her to write here because this is an aspect of teaching that doesn’t come naturally to me at all. It seems to me that the majority of teachers I’ve worked with have an exhibitionist streak within them, and teaching gives them a great chance to be the centre of attention. The good teachers, of course, can control this feeling and harness it to their advantage. The bad ones allow their ego to take precedence over the needs of the students.

But what about the other teachers, like myself, who are more introspective and could subsequently be missing out on some useful classroom techniques? I asked Ania to give us some advice, and she’s done a great job in helping us to understand how we can harness the acting skills she believes we all have within us.

Smile & Frown

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