27 December 2012

The Language Point’s Top Five of 2012

There was an article in the last issue of Teaching Times about a new lesson share website called The Language Point. It's a great place to share your lessons with other teachers. Here's Marie O'Sullivan from The Language Point to present her fave lessons from 2012:

The Language Point’s Top Five of 2012

I’m a bit of a pushover for those end of year lists, so when The LanguagePoint was invited to share its top EFL resources from the past year, I couldn’t resist!

We love receiving great resources to share with other teachers, so we regularly choose an item uploaded at The LanguagePoint, and reward its creator with an Amazon voucher for €50.

We took a look back at our first year in operation, and here (in alphabetical order!) are our top five shared ELT resources for 2012:

  • The Art of Winemaking - Gary Jones records interviews with native English speakers for his resources, and this one is a fascinating look at the wine industry.
  • ColdplayVicky Loras loves Coldplay and loves using different types of text with her classes – what better than song lyrics from her favourite band?!
  • Eurovision Song ContestA reading/discussion lesson about why we love and hate the Eurovision Song Contest, by Phil Wade.  It is a real ‘Marmite’ event, isn’t it? I love it!
  • Interviews: Ask me a Question – Students often find asking questions difficult, so Carlos Eduardo Santanna de Souza Silva shared these activities to make practising more fun.
  • Place hacking the London Shard - reading, speaking and vocabulary activities based on an article about people climbing the London Shard building, by Mura Nava. The building officially opens to the public in February, so it’s a topical theme.

For the coming year, why not think about sharing one of your favourite resources at The LanguagePoint?  Not only could you win yourself a little treat, but you could make our list for next year!

Everyone at The LanguagePoint wishes you a very happy and successful 2013!

19 December 2012

Congratulations to Designer Lessons

Congratulations to George Chilton who recently won The British Council's blog award.

George has contributed lesson plans to our blog and a great article to The Teaching Times so we are very happy to see his efforts get acknowledged.

Have a look at his lesson here:


He runs Designer Lessons with his friend Neil McMillan and as The British Council put it "there are several fantastic lesson ideas for all ages and levels". Here is the official post about his award:

26 November 2012

ExCom election

There will be an ExCom election soon so have a look at all the people you can vote for:

Bethany CagnolBethany Cagnol

American, Bethany Cagnol met her French-American husband in a car wash while completing her BA at the University of Virginia, USA, in 1999. In 2002 she moved with him to Paris where she discovered the joys of teaching English to adults. The year 2006 was a busy one in which she received her MA in Teaching Second and Foreign Languages at the University of London Institute in Paris, founded her own freelance teaching business, International Customer, and joined the TESOL France Executive Committee. Thanks to the contacts she's made through the association she has spoken at IATEFL, IATEFL BESIG, IATEFL Poland, and the American University of Paris Conferences. She recently began writing for the publisher Cornelsen. Her professional interests include Business English, Testing and Assessment, Teacher Development, English for Specific Purposes, English as an International Language, and Materials Design.
Debbie West

Debbie West

Debbie West, UC Berkeley grad, brought up in a military family, has done almost everything from teaching French to being International Student Advisor in the United States to now teaching English to all levels and ages here in France. An educator at heart she sees education as broader than in a classroom and is definitely not very traditional in her methods. With a love for developing programs and an ever-present bank of ideas, there never seems to be enough time, energy and money to do everything. Being single helps and sometimes doesn't. Here in France she is an independent (after all the accountants were just "trying to help") and teach English and do a bit of translation. Debbie is a Representative for the International Business Program at UC Berkeley Extension, and is trying to develop a Total Summer Immersion English Program (in August). She tries to do her part in developing people's English skills. She can be reached using her website: westlanguage.com.
Colleen Brown

Colleen Brown

A Francophile since childhood, Colleen Brown decided to try her luck in Paris after graduating from the University of Michigan with a B.A. in English Literature and French. Thus began her 13-year career as an EFL teacher and trainer. Along the way, she earned a Licence in French literature (La Sorbonne, Paris 4) and a Maîtrise in French Language Teaching and Didactics (La Sorbonne Nouvelle, Paris 3). Since 2007, she has been running her own freelance teaching and translating business. Her teaching interests include learner motivation, literacy, cultural studies and using technology humanely in the EFL classroom. She is also deeply concerned about working conditions and standards for EFL teachers in France and addressed these issues in a recent workshop on Sustainable Teaching for TESOL-France in Strasbourg. She enjoys writing for the The Teaching Times and creatively, for herself.

Federico EspinosaFederico Espinosa

Federico Espinosa is an American with a B.A. in Chemistry from Reed College. He started his career in 2008 working as a Chemistry and Physics Teacher in with the U.S. Peace Corps in Guinea, West Africa. The administrators at his rural college convinced him to teach English as well, and he quickly realized how much more fun and interactive it is to teach languages. Post-Peace Corps life brought Federico to France as an assistant in Besançon, then a lecteur in Bordeaux. In early 2012 he set up TESOL France Bordeaux, and has big plans for this new regional Branch. Personally he plans on pursuing an M.A. in TESOL to continue growing professionally within the French higher education system.
Gillian Evans

Gillian Evans

My working life and professional career began not as a teacher, but as a production assistant in the Latin American Service of the BBC. As both my parents were teachers, I thought there were enough in the family, so decided to use my language degree in other ways. From working in Latin America Embassies and in companies as a translator in both England and France, I gained an insight into the business world and the life of a company. I never regretted my decision to study for a teaching diploma and for the past twelve years have been teaching business English in a variety of large companies, and designing programs for students of English in all fields of industry. I have given evening classes at the Mairie de Paris and organized programs for the unemployed. I am now very happy to help on the TESOL ExCom team. The teaching world is my world.


Christine Mintcheva

Christine Mintcheva graduated from the Institute of Education London with a degree in teaching. Christine moved to France in 2007 and works in higher education institutions EM Lyon, ENTPE. Christine owns her own freelance company ‘Speak’ and provides English lessons and recruitment services. Christine is currently the TESOL FRANCE, Lyon regional Coordinator. Christine is passionate about all related to teaching, learning and pedagogy and enjoys sharing teaching methods with other practitioners.

Christina Rebuffet-Broadus

Christina Rebuffet-Broadus

Christina Rebuffet-Broadus has lived in Grenoble, France since 2004. She works as a freelance trainer in companies and universities and also writes for several language-learning magazines. Her interests include unplugged teaching, arts in ELT, professional development, and building learner autonomy through technology. She is regional coordinator for TESOL France Grenoble and a member of IATEFL.
Jane Ryder

Jane Ryder

Jane Ryder is the TESOL France Strasbourg Coordinator has been working for over ten years in EFL in the Alsace. For five years she was the pedagogic coordinator for Greta Nord Alsace, the continuing education branch of Education Nationale. In November 2010 she set up ESOL Strasbourg, in partnership with the Pole Formation of the CCI Strasbourg, to offer the CELTA & DELTA teaching qualifications. Jane is committed to changing the status of EFL teachers in France and, with TESOL France, intends to shake things up in the Alsace. She is a published writer (incl. ELT Journal) and holds an MA in Applied Linguistics and TESOL from Leicester University. Previously she was a TV documentary maker, an ethologist and, in her words, sometimes failed revolutionary.
Laurence Whiteside

Laurence Whiteside

I started out teaching English in Spain in 1993, and have stayed in the profession continuously since then. I worked in the private and public sectors in England and ran a modern languages department in a further education college in Cambridge for 4 years. I was also active in my union both in my workplace and in the East Anglia region.
I moved to Paris in 2005 to join my partner (now wife) and take up a lecteur post, and I joined the TESOL France ExCom as Membership Secretary in 2006. I passed the CAPES exams in 2007, and I currently teach Business English in the UFR d'Economie et Gestion of the University of Cergy-Pontoise.
Ros Wright

Ros Wright

I would describe my 16-year career in ELT as fairly rounded, having worked not only in teaching, teacher training and professional development, but also in publishing and more recently as a freelance materials writer. A career that has taken me to Japan, France and the UK, and one that spans most branches of the field; from general and business English, through ESP and EAP, to e-learning and exam preparation – including the USMLE oral component (equivalency exam for qualified foreign doctors wishing to practice in the US). Having earned an MA in Materials Development for Language Learners from Leeds Metropolitan University under the guidance of Brian Tomlinson in 2003, I have since co-authoredGood Practice: Communication skills for medical practitioners (CUP), as well as online materials for nurses (onestopenglish.com) and an ESAP Medical English title for Garnet Education. Good Practice was short listed for the British Council 'Award for Innovation 2008' and has just received the first IATEFL BESIG/Macmillan 'David Riley Award for Innovation in Business and ESP'. I am an active member of TESOL France and having already completed a stint as Vice President, I am now in my second year as President. I have also recently been elected to the IATEFL Conference Proposals Committee. My fields of interest lie in ESP and the use of spoken corpora and audio-visuals in the training of effective communications skills.

And the latest addition is...

Hal D'Arpini  
As a CELTA graduate, I've only been an English teacher for a little less than a year but have already gained a variety of experience teaching legal, business, aviation, and general English to both groups and individuals. I teach for the Pole formation CCI de Strasbourg/Bas Rhin, the Ecole de Chimie at the University of Strasbourg, and privately.

"I've likewise been involved behind the scenes at TESOL France - Strasbourg, helping to plan and execute our events since last December. It's exciting to be part of bringing something of value to teachers in the Alsace area, and I know that I would bring that same enthusiasm to TESOL France as they continue to enrich the professional lives of teachers in France and beyond.

20 November 2012

Conference reviews

A HUGE thanks to Mark Hancock and Annie McDonald for these great reviews of last weekend's conference:


This is a good chance to read about anything you missed out on.

19 November 2012

November Conference

I case you didn't attend the November conference last weekend or if you did then take a look at the countless photos Bethany has spent hours uploading:


You can also watch them in the slideshow in the sidebar.

If you have some photos of your add then why not add them to the album. Contact Bethany and she'll tell you how.

Thanks once again to everyone who contributed, participated, attended and even if you just followed on Twitter.

See you next year!!

13 November 2012

November Conference preview 15

One more preview....maybe....

Here is our very own .....

Christina Rebuffet Broadus

12 November 2012

9 November 2012

Conference Programme

To access the full conference programme click on the link below:


You can download it or print it off.

See you there?

7 November 2012

November conference preview 13

Maria Heron

Speaking on Sunday 18th at 11.10am
Room: Estaunie

If you find it difficult to get your students to speak in the classroom or you need some new ideas for speaking activities, come to my session on Sunday 18th at 11.10 in Estaunie.  It’s a practical session where you will get the chance to try out a range of my favourite speaking activates.  You will leave with lots of new ideas to try out in the classroom on Monday morning!


This hands-on workshop will give the participants the opportunity to try out a range of communicative speaking activities which will give their learners the chance to become more fluent and confident.  They will also have the opportunity to discuss how the activities can be adapted to their own contexts, and look at what changes may be appropriate for different levels of language learner and areas of interest.
The workshop will start by evaluating some speaking activities and deciding what elements of designing, managing and reflecting makes such activities successful.  We will also look at what the teacher’s role in such activities is and the extent to which this changes with different types of learner.
The audience will then have the chance to try out different activities which focus on personalisation and move from controlled to free. Depending on time, the workshop will include some of the following:

·        Communicative Activities – for example, information or opinion gap activities.

·        Mingling Activities – for example, getting to know each other or collecting data.

·        Pyramid discussions – for example dessert island or balloon type debates.

The workshop will finish with a chance for teachers to ask questions and share their own experiences and issues.

2 November 2012

November conference preview 12

The TPRS Revolution

An exciting new approach to teaching foreign languages is spreading like wildfire in an unexpected place, the United States, the world’s most monolingual country. It’s called Teaching Proficiency through Reading and Storytelling. Recently a teacher said, “This is my first year with TPRS. I taught with the books for the past 15 years
and after just two months, I can tell you that I will never go back.”

If you want to know what TPRS is and why respected and successful teachers with years, even decades of experience, have discarded whole libraries of textbooks, grammar exercises and worksheets in order to teach with TPRS, come to see me in the Rubis room, Sunday, November 18th, at 10:00.

Judith Logsdon-Dubois

24 October 2012

November conference preview 10

Talk: Todays news in your classroom - Rapid Authentic Text Lessons using Technology
By Ian Butler, CEO, LingleOnline

Using authentic text in class is recognized best practice. But it takes soooooo long to do.
Well, not any more!!!.

Come along to our session at room B312 @ 11:10am, Sunday Nov. 18th to see how you can use this award winning technology to turn current news into learning materials in minutes.

Hope to see you there.

18 October 2012

November Conference preview 9

 What’cha  Lis’nin  2?  

                  Taking music from the CD to CDA
     Julia Alivertis                           and                       Jeffrey Doonan

             Saturday  17th November  10-11am,  Room  Opale

   “Each utterance is filled with echoes and  reverberations of other utterances.”   -Bakhtin

Music is a big part of our students’ lives, but how much of it do they really understand, comprehend? 

In this workshop we aim to take the music from simple listening pleasure to a deeper level of understanding through an analysis of what the lyrics “say” with Critical Discourse Analysis, providing ready-to-use examples. 

Join us if you believe in the power of music and if you agree that although teaching  teenagers and young adults can be challenging at times, it is also fascinating and rewarding, full of interaction and fun.

13 October 2012

November conference preview 8



[Nick Michelioudakis / Saturday 16:45 ‘Thevenin’]

Think about some of the ELT-related theories you have studied / heard about so far. The ‘Natural Order’ hypothesis, Halliday’s theory of Lexical Cohesion, Transformational – Generative Grammar etc. etc… Q: What do they have in common? A: They are not much use outside the classroom. Now compare these with the following two principles for example: 1) ‘The more we see something/someone, the more we tend to like them’ (The ‘Mere Exposure Effect’) or 2) ‘People like you more if you are less than perfect!’ (The ‘Pratfall Effect’). The difference is that these two principles are useful both in class AND everywhere else! What is more, they are far more interesting for the average person, which means you can discuss them with people outside our field.

This talk / workshop draws on findings from the field of Social Psychology. It is meant to be useful, practical and enjoyable. It is based on the firm belief that we stand to gain enormously by looking at ideas from other fields and ‘importing’ the ones which are relevant to our work. To find out more about the rationale behind this presentation, just watch this short video:

To read some articles in the ‘Psychology and ELT’ series, just click on this link:

12 October 2012

November conference preview 7

Literature strikes back! Teaching  literature with technology.

"Literature strikes back!" by Dimitris Primalis 17th November, Opale Room 6.p.m.

In the era of digital literacies, 21st century skills and social networking, the revival of literature seems to be more imperative and challenging than ever. Doukas school in Athens –  awarded twice for innovation and a Microsoft Mentor school for its innovative approaches -  introduced the 1:1 approach (one student to one computer)in 2009  in primary school starting from 4th graders. The students adored their netbooks but concerns were expressed by some parents that literature would become extinct because of technology. How can you acquaint the generation of computer whiz kids with fiction, science fiction and other genres? How can you stimulate students’ interest to start reading? How about using technology? Literature and technology need not be rivals. The split viewing/listening technique, Internet resources and free Web 2.0 tools can be powerful allies to attract learners’ attention.   A workshop for tech-lovers, bookworms and front line teachers, based on activities done with advanced (C2 CEFR) and primary school learners (A1-2 CEFR)

6 October 2012

November conference preview 6

Surefire Activities to Get Your Students to Speak

Yeşim Çakır    Istanbul Technical University    Istanbul, Turkey

Saturday, November 17     11.15-12.15

Do you have students who are...

Join my workshop to find fun and creative activities to boost their speaking confidence! ...........

1 October 2012

November conference preview 5

The Power of the Image

Paul Dummett Cenage / National Geographic Learning  Oxford,  UK

Friday, November 16     18.15-19.15 

How much do you make use of Images in your teaching?...

Join my workshop to find out how powerful and generative a teaching tool images can be.

30 September 2012


It was announced yesterday that the French government wants to cancel the Autoentrepreneur status.

As most of us ELT teachers are AE, it means we will have to register as a company and probably pay higher tax and possibly at a fixed rate regardless of how much we earn. I'm no Economist but this is seriously bad news for the teaching industry. As French unis and schools are reliant on AE employees, well, they are going to have problems and we teachers will need to earn a lot more than we do now.

Check out the full story here:


And sign the petition here:


20 September 2012

4th preview

Struggles in higher ed reading averted through collaborative reading circles

Tyson Seburn (4C, University of Toronto) - Sunday November 18, 12:45 - 1:45, Room Estaunie

Look at this image. What is Superman doing?

Yes, that’s what I first thought too. I’m sure we’re not alone. Given what we know about Superman and his adventures, a second look enables us to realise he’s not trying to extinguish the light coming from that bad guy with his bodily fluids. We know that superhero cartoons don’t include that type of behaviour (at least ones with classic superheroes!). We know that it wouldn’t be befitting for the character of Superman even if they did. We search for other explanations for what is actually happening and (eventually) make more probable judgments based on our understanding of context.

Imagine, however, that you didn’t know anything about Superman. Or superhero cartoons.  Or hoses, for that matter.  If this were the case, our brains wouldn’t be able to connect this apparent situation with the hidden context. Our non-existent background knowledge wouldn’t fill in the gaps like it did above. What you see would be what you know. We would lose the cartoonist and writer’s intended meaning.

This same problem with context and background knowledge applies to our learners in their exposure to texts they encounter in their university classes, the news and even blogs. So often authors utilise references to key figures, events and places to demonstrate and strengthen their points. When our learners read texts they are assigned or even given for language practice, these contextual references are often missed or skipped over, leaving comprehension superficial and inadequate.

The “Contextualiser” role gives learners practice identifying and using contextual references in texts to help them better understand what they read.  It, along with five other specialised roles in the collaborative reading circles activity (I refer to as “academic reading circles” or “ARC”), have greatly contributed to improving my students’ reading abilities at higher levels.

If you attend this workshop, we will take a closer look at all six roles (Discussion Leader/Devil’s Advocate, Visualiser, Connector, Summariser, Highlighter & Contextualiser) and how they can help your students with their higher level reading too.

15 September 2012

3rd preview

From Coach to Awakener, Bonnie Tsai Pilgrims Teacher Training Sat. at 11:15

This workshop will explore how coaching  is being used to involve learners in determining their own outcomes and to find the path that is best suited to their needs.

I will be representing Pilgrims Teacher Training and I look forward to welcoming you to this workshop.

11 September 2012

2nd November conference preview

Getting students to think in CLIL classes

Amanda McLoughlin, British Council, Bilbao, Spain:
Saturday 14.00 - 15.00

9 September 2012

November conference preview 1

This is the first preview of one of the talks at the upcoming November conference. If you are presenting and would like to give us a preview of your talk, please follow the instructions in the email I sent out yesterday.

Teachers can have their cake and eat it, too!

Gabriel Diaz Maggioli, THE NEW SCHOOL, New York

Saturday, November 17th - 1:00 - 2:00 pm - TEVENIN

Is this what you feel when asked to attend yet another mandated workshop?

What if your professional learning were rather like this?


Come to my presentation to explore over 10 strategies that will make your professional development (and that of your colleagues) not only effortless, but FUN!

4 September 2012

Tiny Texts Lesson Plan

For your viewing and teaching pleasure here is a great lesson plan by the amazing Annette Porte, the teacher behind Tiny Texts. If you fancy using short and motivating texts with audio and vocab in your class have a look at her sight AND there's even an app too.

Annette has recently submitted an article to the Teaching Times to give teachers some ideas about using short texts but before that here's a lesson plan from Annette. Enjoy:

24 August 2012

30 June 2012

Teaching with films

I hope you enjoyed the last couple of lessons we've posted on the blog. If you read the last issue of Teaching Times you will have read about Kieran Donaghy's blog Film English and also Claudio Azevedo's Movie Segments to Assess Grammar Goals and Movie Segments for Warm-ups and Follow-ups. Both are worth a visit.

Another good website we mentioned was FILM EDUCATION and you can check out some of their lessons on The Language Point blog.

Busy Teacher also have quite a few lesson plans based on films.

For more on Kieran and his blog have a look at his latest interview at the great iasku: http://iasku.wordpress.com/2012/07/12/kieran-donaghy/

23 June 2012

A Lesson by Kieran Donaghy

This week we are happy to post a guest lesson by the award-winning blogger behind Film English. None other than Kieran Donaghy. If you haven't seen his blog yet where have you been? Take a look now and see what all the praise is about: http://film-english.com/

Kieran will also be appearing in an upcoming issue of Teaching Times so keep an eye out for it. In the meantime enjoy this lesson:

18 June 2012

30 days: Using English Outside the Classroom-A Lesson Plan by George Chilton

We will be publishing a great article soon by George Chilton of Designer Lessons about teaching with real issues. To give you a taster George has very kindly contributed a lesson plan to our blog. Here it is and don't forget to check out his great blog too at: http://designerlessons.org/.

11 June 2012


Bethany has very kindly spent a lot of her weekend uploading photos of various events for everyone to enjoy.

Here are links to all the current photo albums. If you have photos of any past or recent events you would like to add PLEASE get in touch. Videos are also VERY welcome.

Main album
2012 Spring day in Strasbourg
2011 Spell Event
2011 Conference

Last weekend's BESIG event hosted by TESOL France and created by Jen Verschoor:

2012 Besig Summer Symposium in Paris on PhotoPeach

Here's Mike Hogan's Photostream of the event:


12 May 2012

IT English worksheet

This month Phil Wade won the One Stop English lesson share competition for his worksheet on the Raspberry Pi computer. You can view, download and print it here or from One Stop English at: http://tinyurl.com/cyjkr9e

13 April 2012

New TESOL France magazine-only membership option

You may be interested to know that we now offer the chance to subscribe to the TESOL France magazine, Teaching Times, without needing to become a full member of the association. This is intended for people who find it hard to attend our events but would still like to stay up to date with us by receiving our latest news, articles and comments.

How much does it cost?

A year's "magazine only" membership costs 17 euros.
No. You will only receive the magazine, though you are, of course, welcome to attend events if you pay the "non-member" price - typically 8 euros for a workshop, more for longer events.You can become a full member of TESOL France at any time by joining in the normal way, and paying the membership fee (49 euros waged, 27 euros unwaged). Your full membership will be valid for 12 months from that point on, but any unused "magazine only" membership will be lost.1) Complete the online form here: https://docs.google.com/spreadsheet/viewform?pli=1&formkey=dElrckVOMVRjZzlRUDJBMHlpRWVHT2c6MQ#gid=0

Does this entitle me to attend workshops and other events?

Can I "upgrade" to full membership?

How do I sign up?

2) Send a cheque for 17 euros to TESOL France, Télécom Paris Tech, 46 rue Barrault, 75634 Paris Cedex 13. Due to high bank charges, we can only accept cheques from French bank accounts.

7 April 2012

Carpooling to the Strasbourg Spring Day

Are you planning on attending the Spring Day in Strasbourg on April 21st? Are you travelling by car? If so, TESOL France needs your help.

If you have a car and are able to give a lift to other members, please leave a comment below along with your email address so people can contact you. To prevent your address being harvested by spammers , write AT rather than @ and DOT rather than . when giving your email address, like this: yourname AT hotmail DOT com

If you would like to attend, and need a lift to Strasbourg, please directly contact people who comment below.