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January 2021 issue out now

As you know, our last two magazines have been themed around online teaching but for this one, I can detect a real desire to move forward, possibly still online but at least offering a blended course. Just like the medical staff all over the world have adapted to the experience and learned from it, so have teachers.

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In the current issue of Modern English Teacher...

Training and development in materials writing
John Hughes describes the process of helping teachers to write materials for classroom use and self-study. Teachers of all levels of experience can benefit from such training.

Watch and learn
How can a video drama be used as a source for grammar, vocabulary and pronunciation? How can we improve learners’ listening and thinking skills though video?

Creating writing tasks for online learning
Are you looking for personalised activities which are both motivating and useful? Find out more about some communicative and creative online writing tasks suitable for young adults.

Creating a series of life skills readers
Andrew Boon describes the steps of a publishing project to develop a set of readers covering a wide range of life skills from critical thinking to cooking.

Fuelling the future – a take on ESP
Are you teaching ESP courses? Find out how to develop interesting activities to practise work-specific language based around a text.

“The sweetest sounds”
Keith Mason provides a wide range of sources for teachers who want to use musicals as part of their language course. Classes can watch or perform extracts from a wide variety.

A picture can generate a thousand words…
Some reflections from Rachel Connabeer on where to find and how to exploit a wide range of images.

Two paths to creativity
Nick Michelioudakis discusses two ways to develop creativity in your classes. Using ideas from both teaching and marketing he suggests a wide range of approaches using stories, advertising and projects.

Creative language activities for students
Ekaterina Arshavskaya investigates the use of other languages in promoting creativity in the English language classroom. How can we use literature and film to develop students’ creativity? What are the benefits of developing critical and creative thinking?

Ethos, logos, pathos and kairos
How do you make your self more credible? What does a listener expect from you in order to be persuaded? How do you back up your opinions in a discussion. Dealing with this in English can be helped with reference to these classical concepts.

Mediation activities for CLIL
The article looks at ways of helping students to mediate texts, communication and concepts. These skills are valuable not only in the CLIL classroom but probably any classroom or workplace.

Developing thinking
Ethan Mansur argues that developing thinking skills in class is not only engaging but empowering. He offers a wide range of activities to help learners develop their curiosity and their confidence in discussing topics.

Seeking new criteria for grading students equitably
Charlie Taylor argues that the traditional ways of assessing language learning do not always give the full picture nor are they necessarily fair. He suggests other aspects to consider such as overall improvement and in-class participation.

Being the new Director of Studies – Part four
Matthew Hallett completes his account of an interrupted academic year at a school in Italy.

Raising your profile
Do you know what your strengths and weaknesses are? What are you doing to improve? How much and how often do you network? Do you prefer to stay in your comfort zone?

Struggling readers
Chi Cheung Ruby Yang describes three important areas when helping develop reading skills. Collaborative reading and chunking texts are useful activities as is reinforcing the content or topic through a video.

PowerPoint design in presentation skills classes
A group of teachers offer insights into slide design which is of use at all levels and in all subjects.

Teaching and the teacher: lessons learned along the way
Why do we go into teaching? What are we trying to offer? What are the constraints? Richard Gabbrielli reflects on his own personal journey and considers what he has learned.

Speaking beyond the pain
Wing Wu describes the impact recent events has had on learners and suggests ways of making the classroom a safe and supportive space. He also suggests activities which might help leaners express their emotions and share them with others.

A mini-guide to teaching beginners – Part 1
Rhona Snelling offers some definitions of beginner level learners and considers what learning theory has to say about the progress they will make.

The McDonaldisation of language teaching
What aspects of a school are of the most interest to owners? Is teacher development worth spending time on? Good lesson plans? How important are Interesting resources?

Making the most of your online workshops
Dina Rosita Sari describes how she deals with the volume of workshops now available. From note-taking to further research and finally to applying new ideas in the classroom, she describes the process she uses.

From isolation to interaction: a reflection
Instead of using web-based video conferencing, this teacher chose a more flexible use of email and WhatsApp for one of her classes. She used the class for an interesting piece of classroom research.

Life competencies: how can we teach them?
Skills such as collaboration, communication and creativity can be taught quite naturally in the language classroom. What about critical thinking and social responsibility? Matthew Ellman gives a guide to these new areas.

Rethinking teaching and training in times of Covid-19
Anna Hasper looks back at two of her recent online classes and reflects on the role of the teacher. How can you create a caring environment online? How can you stop learners feeling isolated? Some useful activities are suggested to make learning more personal and inclusive.

Using data-driven learning to target vocabulary
Michael McBride describes a data-driven approach to vocabulary acquisition with some useful activities to try out.

Teach me and I will forget, surprise me and I will remember: the role of surprise
Chaz Pugliese describes why surprise can be such a useful teaching tool and describes three activities which take advantage of it.