52: Bailout

52 by Lindsay Clandfield and Luke Meddings is an e-book collection of subversive activities for the ELT classroom (see also the support blog Subversive Teaching 52). Each of the activities in the book attempt to engage the learner and the teacher in a challenging conversation. They are both forced to question, investigate and debate the world that we live in.

Since I like to push my students to engage critically with materials, I’m always on the lookout for interesting and demanding stimuli for my lessons. Subsequently this book was just what I was looking for.

Continue reading “52: Bailout”

Silent Movies 2: The Sequel

It’s time for the second part of my silent movies round up, my favourite short films with little or no dialogue. To read why I like using these films in my lessons, have a look at part one here.

Each film is accompanied by a short idea which you can use, adapt or ignore as you wish. If you have any ideas for how you’d use the films, leave a comment below. Continue reading “Silent Movies 2: The Sequel”

Ideas From The Guardian: Family

I like to challenge my students. I like to choose activities and stimuli that will prove to be thought provoking and different. I have no desire to make them, or me, feel uncomfortable, but I do feel that I need to be pushing them mentally in order for them to come up with an interesting response to the materials I provide.

So in the spirit of 52, I took a look in the January 28th Family supplement of the Guardian newspaper to see what I could find…

One Postcard

In my one to one class the other day, my student pulled this postcard out of her bag.

No to Contemporary Art # P4, 2006 by Patrick Guns (www.patrickguns.com). Printed by www.kletandko.be.

I immediately seized upon the image as I thought it was an arresting image and just the kind of thing I like to use with my students. It’s an ambiguous image, probably photoshopped, with a small amount of interesting language and with plenty of scope for investigation.

Below I’ve listed 41 different things you could say to your student(s) in response to this image. Continue reading “One Postcard”

Teaching Business People to Tie Their Shoes

Here’s a video I’ve been using with my business students. It uses a very short TED talk by Terry Moore, all about tying shoes:

What I love about his video is how he takes something so commonplace and mundane and makes his incredibly intelligent audience realise that they are doing it wrong. He does this with great wit and flourish, before ending with the moral of his story which is the real message behind his talk.

That sometimes a small advantage someplace in life can yield tremendous results someplace else.

Continue reading “Teaching Business People to Tie Their Shoes”

Free iPad Apps for the ELT Classroom


One of the great things about having an iPad in the classroom is the quick and immediate access it gives you to relevant and authentic content. It’s the perfect tool for a materials light, one to one teacher like me because something interesting can crop up in conversation and I can almost instantaneously bring up a great resource to share with the student. Continue reading “Free iPad Apps for the ELT Classroom”

Ideas from the Guardian: Experiences

Generally I’m not in favour of promoting products or companies in my teaching activities, unless I’m trying to engage my students in critically analysing a subject, for example advertisings effect on children. I’m going to make an exception here though because the Guardian is a news organisation that I think deserves any publicity it gets. I believe it through it’s pursuit of quality investigative journalism, it is actively trying to make the world a better place. In this series, I’m going to share some of the ideas that I get from its online content. Continue reading “Ideas from the Guardian: Experiences”

Just One Infinite ELT Idea

I’m really enjoying Sandy Millin’s blog Infinite ELT Ideas, where she gives us a prompt, such as a toy a photo or a website and asks us to come up with ideas of how we could use it for a class activity. I always enjoy reading blogs that give practical advice and ideas that we teachers can use in our everyday lives.

With that in mind, here’s my homage to (or copy of!) her idea. I’ve started using this apple shaped drinks coaster in a one to one class. What do you think I’m using it for? How would you use it in your classes?