Songs for Learning Vocabulary: Topics A to Z

A to Z of Song Topics

As I’ve spent the last month or so listing songs for learning English grammar, it seems to make sense to finish with a list of songs for topics to introduce or revise vocabulary. This list will grow as I remember/discover more, or people get in touch with suggestions. Read more

CPD Course 5:: Teaching English through Literature

This is a free British Council course. It’s different from the graded reader course as it includes poetry and how to exploit literature to work on all four skills. There wasn’t much that was new to me but I got some good example texts to use.

Poems for Business Classes

One common question asked throughout Adrian Underhill’s course was how could we adapt the activities for our more serious courses, the ones whose students tend to have very particular and definite aims in mind, such as Business English courses?

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Poetry Festival

Today we finished Adrian Underhill’s two-week course, ‘Pronunciation, Performance and Poetry‘. Everyone had a poem they’d chosen and had been working on over the last week, crafting the stress, pauses and intonation. One student, Lauretta, made a poster, found a performance background image and compered the event. Everyone performed. It was a beautiful way to finish the course. Read more


The Inner Voice

This phrase has come up a few times recently in different contexts and it’s one I’m interested in: a language teacher, you’d be forgiven for presuming, would tend to concentrate on the ‘outer’ voice. Read more

This is just to say… William Carlos Williams


This Is Just To Say

I have eaten
the plums
that were in
the icebox
and which
you were probably
for breakfast
Forgive me
they were delicious
so sweet
and so cold

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Performance: Humanizing the Classroom

On this course with Adrian Underhill we are preparing a poetry festival for the last class. Each day we start each session with a poem read by Adrian or another student.

I confess when I first read this on the course description I was a little wary. I love poetry but was unsure about its place in the classroom. It appeared to me perhaps as a bit of a throwback to those 70s EFL texts I was so obsessed with when I started out as an idealistic 19 year old – Mario Rinvolucri, Pilgrim’s, NLP in the classroom etc. All these years on I guess I’ve become more cynical and jaded.

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Why rhyme?

My daughter, Lyra, is learning a poem for a school poetry competition. She wanders around the house muttering lines and rhymes to herself, making up new ones when she forgets the original (which she often does).

Listening to Lyra’s evident enjoyment of the poem I began to wonder what it is about rhyme that we find so appealing.

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