Monday, April 28, 2014

Educational Responsibility, Social Sensitivity and Collective action by Chris Rambotas (PALSO Northern Greece) - Report

Christos Rambotas, President of PALSO Northern Greece, gave an extremely interesting and humanistic talk entitled Educational Responsibility, Social Sensitivity and Collective Action. The lucky ones who attended this really interesting talk were welcomed to the room by the wonderful music of Manos Hadjidakis.

Mr Rambotas talked to the audience about the role of PALSO. He said that PALSOs schools are an open window to life and the world. He used the example of his daughter to refer to different teaching methods used by PALSO schools, like students playing games in English and online platforms. He also talked about the digital communication and its incentives. He suggested that we should be traditional in a modern way and that an immersion system with a balanced approach should be used. Our students, Mr Rambotas suggested, are citizens of the world, living a universal culture.

He insisted on the great importance of co-operation using the famous phrase all for one and one for all. He went on explaining what PALSO exactly is, what it means to be a member of this federation and the different activities organised. These include seminars, schools promotion, newsletters, market surveys available to the members, free owner training seminars, high quality standards. Mr Rambotas also referred to the different available exams offered by PALSO in collaboration with English and American Universities.

According to Mr Rambotas, PALSO is a socially sensitive and supportive federation. It invests in cultural experiences, like educational trips abroad, but also in the creation of a healthy competitive spirit through the introduction of distinction awards. A very interesting part of Mr Rambotas' talk was that PALSO has organised subsidised training seminars on various topics as well as the creation of a parents school. Some other important initiatives mentioned are the collaboration with the Disabled Access Friendly campaign, the donation of books to Albanian schools, the effort to lower the prices of books, the creation of a YouTube channel with really interesting videos about the federation, the website and the Facebook account.

As for the future, Mr Rambotas concluded that PALSO will fight for more communication, more donation, more participation and the creation of a blood bank.

It was a very enlightening talk on PALSO and its very important contribution to EFL and the society in general.

By Emmanuel Kontovas

What Do They Really Mean? A workshop by Anna Parisi - Report

In this fun and stimulating workshop, Anna Parisi managed to get us all involved by thinking about the thoughts of characters in a movie. What is Dustin Hoffman really thinking when Anne Bancroft tries to seduce him in “The Graduate”?  What are Shrek’s thoughts when he sees Fiona fighting Robin Hood in the animated movie?

While watching selected movie scenes, learners think of the thoughts of the characters and can then insert these as subtitles to the movie. As Anna suggested, the timing of the subtitles may become a bit of a problem but then she gave us the solution of using scenes which have little or no dialogue, using advertisements or even music videos.

Anna moved on to show how the same activity needn’t be used solely with the use of films and technology. She demonstrated that the teacher can make use of listening texts and short stories from the coursebooks, which although may focus on particular structures and vocabulary are nonetheless quite meaningless to our students. The attendees at this workshop had fun coming up with ideas of what the speakers of a short listening text were really thinking. Anna gave us short dialogues from a coursebook, and in groups we had to think of the thoughts behind each speaker. And we didn’t just write them down but also had to act them out! While one of us was reading what the speaker was actually saying, another from the group had to say the thoughts of the speaker!  The end result was quite amusing!

Activities like these, as Anna explained, are valuable in the classroom, as apart from recycling vocabulary and structures, they encourage pair/team work, they make the learner naturally think in English, and when acted out they naturally lead to learners paying attention to intonation!

And that’s a lot to be gained from a fun activity!

By Anastasia Loukeri

Interviewed by our Roving Reporter: Theodora Papapanagiotou

Sunday, April 27, 2014

A treasure chest full of stories by Katerina Kyriakidou, Despina Vardaki & Elpiniki Psomataki - Report

With a treasure chest full of realia,  numerous oral story telling techniques and a lot of positive energy and enthusiasm, Katerina Kyriakidou, Despina Vardaki and Elpiniki Psomataki presented seven suspenseful, enjoyable teaching stories, pretending to be sailors who decided to entertain their shipmates!

Sky Basses – A string story
Despina Vardaki was the first one to start with a story of a pirate called Sky Basses and her confrontation with an annoying mosquito, which constantly disrupted her from weaving! Despina used finger knitting to visualize parts of her story and made matching sounds to emphasize the mosquito’s buzzing noise.

Naughty Marysia – Use of puppets
This story was presented by Elpiniki Psomataki. It was about Marysia, a naughty little girl, who decided to play hide and seek with her younger sister, but stayed hidden for so long that her family got worried and set out to look for her. Elpiniki used a set of five nesting dolls (wooden dolls of decreasing size placed one inside the other) to represent the family members. She started off with the biggest doll (the grandmother) and she gradually took one doll out of the other, while telling the story. Repeated, rhythmic speech patterns successfully introduced new vocabulary.

At the playground – A string story
The next story was presented by Katerina Kyriakidou. It was about two girls, playing in the park. Hide and seek and skipping were just a few of the games mentioned in this descriptive story. Katerina used a string to visualize an amount of related to the games vocabulary.  So the string turned into a smile, a slide, glasses, a jump rope, a stethoscope and many more. Children’s rhymes, relevant to the games, were also harmoniously incorporated in the story.

The Little Duckling – A puppet story
It was again Despina’s turn. Her story was about a plain duckling, whose unadorned appearance made him sad. Amazed by other animals’ outstanding characteristics, every time it admired something on an animal, it got it on the spot! What would it look like in the end? Would it be happy? Despina used a hand puppet, which she cumulatively created through simple clothing items, as she went along with the story, to show the duckling’s transformation. So she put on a woman’s long white glove to show what the duckling would look like with a swan’s neck and two blue stone rings to symbolize the Siamese’s sapphire blue eyes. Gestures and facial expressions, heightened speech and clearly enunciated words added to the understanding of the story.

The paper hat – An origami story
Elpiniki moved on with another story which she presented using the origami technique. In her story we followed the adventure of a man who started off with reading a newspaper in the park and ended up in a boat in the middle of a terrible storm! Through graduated paper folding and cutting, Elpiniki constantly transformed the newspaper into something new, into a fireman’s hat or a boat to support her vivid narration. The outcome surprised us every time, as the paper shapes emerged at the right time, following the narration and sometimes even preceding! Elpiniki also used her voice a lot to create the appropriate tension.

A cloth roll
For this story Despina used a cloth roll with drawings on it. Together with Elpiniki they held it upright by its two ends. While telling the story, Despina slowly unrolled the cloth roll, showing us the drawings of the scenes. It was the story of a young pirate who left his ship, went through a dark forest and other places, up a hill and into a dark cave to find a treasure. But instead of finding the treasure, he bumped into something in the cave that scared him so much he ran off to save his life. After this unexpected twist, Despina started rolling up the cloth roll, following the pirate back to his ship, through the same route he took to get to the cave, this time speeding up the pace of the story to create the appropriate atmosphere. Despina revealed us what was in the cave only at the very end, this way  keeping  our attention alive during the whole time.

Little Red Riding Hood – A scarf story
The tale of Little Red Riding Hood came to life by Katerina who embodied all the characters in a theatrical performance without narration, just monologues and at some points even dialogues. She used a scarf which she quickly put on differently each time she shifted from one character into the other.  A specific way of wearing indicated the corresponding character. Grandma wore it, for example, on the head, whereas the lumberjack had it around his neck. Katerina also made different voices and changed her posture, giving each character their own unique existence. This way we got to know the grumbling grandmother, the devoted lumberjack, the devious wolf and the carefree Little Red Riding Hood. The same well known tale, but yet so different and fresh, due to a witty script and a captivating performance!

Listening to all these imaginative, entertaining stories, so grippingly and skillfully presented, we all had the chance to step into the learner’s shoes and experience the benefits of oral story telling first hand. A precious stepping stone for us teachers to guide our students on their learning journey!

By Aspa Georgopoulou

Interviewed by our Roving Reporter: Jo Psarra

Tune into FCE Use of English by Lana Lemeshko - Report

Tackling the task of FCE Use of English can be a challenge for both teachers and students due to a number of reasons. On the one hand, bored teenagers – as the majority of Greek learners of English language are – struggling to memorize phrasal verbs, collocations and grammar rules and derivatives pertinent to all parts of the FCE Use of English. Teachers on the other hand, have been laboring for it, trying to make this process more interesting.

Ms Lemeshko’s   interesting approach to the FCE Use of English was to incorporate songs into teaching/learning. She handed out 4 songs of different genres adapted to each of the four parts of the exam. The class has to come up with the right answer first and then listen to the songs to check the answer. No matter what the score is, everyone gets to be rewarded with a song. So, tuning into FCE use of English will keep students more alert and happy and motivated. From the latest house music hits and rap to classic rock and disco, the sky is the limit, we are bound to find adaptable lyrics. Ms Lemeshko pointed that many of her students started bringing in their own favourite songs, thus initiating a musical exchange. Additional exercises can be built around each song/part.

Ms Lemeshko’s entertaining and informative presentation  finished with her supplying us with some more hand outs with lesson plans for a whole week!

So be aware of the latest (but not only) hits, use the lyrics and tune into grammar.

By Fani Dafnopatidou

Interviewed by our Roving Reporter: Theodora Papapanagiotou

Božica Šarić-Cvjetković - Interview

Interviewed by our Roving Reporter: Theodora Papapanagiotou

Dare to Share by Despina Karamitsou - Report

Saturday, 29th March. First day of TESOL Macedonia Thrace Convention.  I had the privilege to attend Despina Karamitsou’s presentation – Dare to Share. I had met Despina a few months ago when she introduced us to the world of Lapbooks and Dioramas at TESOL MTh Christmas event.

In our interview earlier she briefly expressed her belief that education becomes better for everyone if we share. At first she wanted to break the ice by giving us various reels which we had to unroll by passing them on to our co-attendants. At their ends there were quotes written on small notes. To reach the goal we had to cooperate.

Then she moved on to present to us what could be shared and how we could do that. For instance, educators could share lesson plans, ideas, and advice by using technology and social media sites, i.e. YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, or Pinterest.

However, the most interesting part was when she shared a Team Activity with us; it was about survival on a desert island. We went through the various phases from warm-up questions to survival ideas, suggestions and advice. There were interactive tasks and we all participated in finding solutions to health problems, danger and risks.

It was a worthwhile experience and I must admit that I have learnt a lot about surviving on a desert island, which, of course, satisfies me as a life-long learner. The students learn and practice vocabulary, think critically and expand their general knowledge in health, nature and science.

If you wish to find out more about the activity, you can find Despina’s presentation at

By Georgia Psarra

Interviewed by our Roving Reporter: Jo Psarra

Positive Psychology in Education by Danai Kirla - Report

Most of us teachers envisage how we could focus on the potential for the development of positive emotions among our students. Ms Danai Kirla an MSc Clinical Psychologist tried to help us achieve this during her session.

Ms Kirla initiated her speech by pointing out that positive emotions feel good and at the same time they have numerous benefits.The first of them is the investment in one’s future and the possibility of their transformation. How can it be achieved? By investing in activities that generate positive emotions. Then, the art of gratitude followed which is ideal  to teach the young and the vulnerable. Gratitude is about noticing what is right in your life and not about what is wrong. The technique for developing the art of gratitude is: ask your students to come up with three specific, good things in their lives. When they do, they can reflect on them at bedtime. The good things range from achievements and feelings to relationships and experience. Of course, it doesn’t matter if they are big or small. As to what young people,all of us should be grateful for Ms Kirla reminded to us health, home neighbourhood, family, friends, pets, people who support us, work, organizations which have helped us, a temperate climate…

Next, she explained what a crucial role resilience plays in moving on after a crisis. How can this be achieved? By being emotionally aware of oneself and capable of regulating one’s emotions, by controlling your impulses,by analyzing the causes of, e.g. trauma, by having empathy. Additionally, we can strengthen our students and our selves emotionally by simply being optimistic. A number of our students tend to avoid making efforts as a result of previous failure. There is an antidote to this and it’s called “learnt optimism”.

We all have character strengths. Let encourage our students to discover theirs. Why not create a positive relationship with our students by becoming closer to them? Ms Kirla rounded off  her speech by giving us two lists of tips, one for parents and one for teachers.


  • Find out about your students' strengths and weaknesses: have them depend more on their character strengths (for example, open-mindedness, creativity, novelty seeking, curiosity, zest, etc.) in the learning process.
  • Try to use positive language. Comment on the good more often than on the bad and teach your students new words and phrases for positive experiences they cannot still express.
  • Encourage! Congratulate the pupils on every little achievement, give plenty of positive reinforcement and create an atmosphere of positive feedback in the classroom.
  • Nurture the relationships between the students and explain the benefits of friendship and companionship. Try to include any peers that are left aside by stressing out their talents/charismas.
  • Don’t forget about the mind approach in teaching: adopt various physical/breathing exercises to introduce meditation to your students and discourage multitasking by giving distinct chores in certain time intervals.
  • Expand the positive social environment by exercising love, kindness, team work, fairness, just leadership, forgiveness, modesty and gratitude in your everyday educational routine.
  • Playfully use humor and do not hesitate to laugh along with your students!


  • Enhance positive experiences by reflecting on them afterwards. Explain what was good about this particular experience and ask for feedback.
  • Strengthen the power of positive emotions by verbalizing your emotional state. Psycho-educate your child with the meanings of positive words like awe, inspiration, joy, bliss, creativity, excitement, serenity, etc.
  • Practice the “art of gratitude”: teach your child to name 3 things he/she is grateful for in the past day/week. You can share this experience with the rest of the family at dinner time or you can instruct him/her to do so before going to bed.
  • Pay attention and savour every moment with your family. Don’t get distracted by the phone or the TV or the computer, don’t let any virtual reality get in the middle of your quality time with your children. Teach them to live in the moment and let yourself be spontaneous with them.
  • Share physical activities with your children and encourage them to be active and energetic. Take them for a walk in nature and play with them outdoors on a sunny day.
  • Get actively involved with parenthood, just enjoy it! 
TESOL MTh Northern Greece hopes that speech was as useful and inspiring as it was well-attended.

By Elsa Tsakiri

Interviewed by our Roving Reporter: Theodora Papapanagiotou

Developing 21st Century Skills to Cope with EFL Exams by Dimitris Primalis – Report

In his inspiring, exhilarating presentation, Dimitris wanted to promote the 4 c’s (as he said) super skills for the 21st century – Communication, Collaboration, Critical Thinking, and Creativity.

Do students think? He played the role of an oral candidate of an EFL Exam – very eloquently I must admit. We would all agree that most candidates cannot cope with questions that they are not prepared for. Most of their responses do not reflect real life and they are too formally expressed, i.e. My family consists of 4 members. They should be taught basic communication skills and how they could fill long pauses in their speech.

Then we saw a video with Jeremy Irons who argued against the death penalty. We had to take notes and then we had a discussion using the arguments. We had to decide whether we are against or in favour of capital punishment. During our discussion we recorded ourselves. It was an opportunity for Dimitris to show how we can use devices like smartphones or tablets as a recording tool and check the speaking skills of our students with them.

How can we teach filling long pauses? There was a lovely sketch by 3 colleagues who had to use phrases in their acting, i.e. Let me think…, Well, for a start…

At the end he shared ideas of how EFL teachers can help exam candidates survive the exams. We should keep a balance between exam practice and skills development. We should implement pair and groupwork, urge critical thinking and brainstorming and technology can be used for learning besides entertaining.

Dimitris' presentation is available here 

By Georgia Psarra

Interviewed by our Roving Reporter: Jo Psarra

The effects of Processing Instruction on School-Age Learners and Adult Native Speakers of German: the Acquisition of English Past Simple Tense by Alessandro Benati - Report

Dr Alessandro Benati ‘s presentation consisted of three parts in which he explained in detail the study  of  the effects of Processing Instruction on school-age learners and adult  native speakers of German.

In the first part, Dr Benati gave a brief account of the background and the motivation of the study where he also defined the terms Processing Input and Processing Instruction, as stated in Van Pattens’ current theory of Input Process. The input that is actually processed is called Intake and is closely related to the internal strategies by which the L2 learners derive intake and correct the information. Dr Benati explained that studies have tended to use adults while he and J.F.Lee have used 12-13year- olds in their research, in their search to make Processing Instruction effective, pointing out that further research has to be conducted.

In the second part of this presentation, he went on to explain the research design and how it had been conducted. -The aims of the studies were to address the role that age might play in the results generated by processing instruction (P.I.) He demonstrated tables containing the participants linguistic features, age and the material they were given, e.g. sentence-level interpretation tasks, based on explicit information input activities, e.g. the passive construction the past tense and the 3rd person in the present tense.

During the third part, he demonstrated the results and the conclusions highlighting the fact that both adult and child groups had very similar results in Instruction and Detention (retaining their ability of comprehension), and secondly the limitation of this study which were the limited size and the short period that detention was measured (2-3 weeks).

By manipulating the Input of language we might focus on the meaning thus  forcing learners to make connections so that language grows is what he concluded and I believe is the main key element of teaching a foreign language successfully.

There was room for discussion after Dr Benati ‘s thorough presentation where a few questions were asked and some issues were clarified.

Dr  Benati's book Studies of Language Acquisition (SOLA) is only one among his many publications and articles emphasizing  the connection between  grammatical forms and language acquisition , a valuable tool to both  teachers and students of Applied Linguistics.

By Fani Dafnopatidou

Interviewed by our Roving Reporter: Theodora Papapanagiotou

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Plenary talk by Dr Terry Lamb - report

Perspectives of 21st century English language learners

How is the 21st century English language learner different from the one of the past? And how can the teacher cater for this in the classroom? These questions were asked by Dr. Terry Lamb in his plenary talk during the TESOL MTh 21st Annual International Convention.

In times where ‘Globalization’ is an everyday word and classrooms are more diverse than ever, what skills and attributes are needed for today’s learner? A few which were mentioned were collaboration across networks, agility and adaptability, critical thinking resilience and empathy.  In short, learning needs have become so diverse that learner autonomy has become more essential than ever. As a result, it is important for learners to take control of their own learning, and in order to do this to know what their individual strengths are. The teacher’s role is then to help them make decisions so as to continue life-long learning.

As Dr. Lamb explained, the learner becomes a collaborator in his own learning, setting his own goals and taking some control over assessment. However, this does not mean that learners are prepared to take this responsibility or are even aware of how to do this, especially where traditional learning environments have prevailed. The teacher needs to become a guide by sharing what was previously considered their sole responsibility as mentor or tutor. By gradually and systematically involving the learner in the process of learning -how to plan, evaluate and monitor themselves - by explaining the reasons for a task as well as the learning outcomes of a specific task, and by doing so, being able to create their own tasks, the teacher will be able to lead the learner to take control over their own learning and hence, reaching the goal of becoming autonomous language learners.

By Anastasia Loukeri

Dr Terry Lamb - Plenary Talk

Plenary talk by Carol Griffiths - report

Using Narrative as a Strategy to Teach Language

Carol opened the convention with the first plenary presentation entitled ‘Using Narrative as a Strategy to Teach Language’.

Story telling, she began, is universal, it cuts across cultures and it is timeless; but why use it as a strategy in the language classroom? She answered by saying that it provides motivation in that it is integrative and is not necessarily culturally bound, it is instrumental and takes into account both extrinsic and intrinsic motivation and it can be dynamic. She went on to explain that it also has authenticity because it is not formulaic as is much material found in course books. This authenticity creates a sense of identity in the learner and because there is such a wide range of genres it caters for a variety of learning styles.

Carol then went on to demonstrate the importance of input by giving a practical example. She began with a picture of a pair of nail scissors and invited a response from the audience to the question of whether anyone had any regrets about the past. This could lead into a group speaking activity as the first stage of what she referred to as an ‘instructional sequence’. She then suggested that learners could listen to a story read out aloud by the teacher and ask questions about the content. All of this should come before handing out the text. She used a quite moving story written by one of her students about a girl’s memory of her grandmother cutting her nails.

Carol then outlined the next stages in the sequence. Learners could read the text either silently or out loud to each other. This stage could be teacher led or student led depending on the nature of the class and learner preferences. This is followed up with a focus on the comprehension of the text with students writing their own questions on the content of the narrative and their understanding of it. Carol also suggested that students could go beyond the surface detail and make their own inferences about events and characters. Any vocabulary or grammar items contained in the text could be dealt with as a supplement at the end.

She also raised some issues about using simplified texts and the accessibility of materials and touched on the use of translation as an approach and the question of copyright.
All in all, Carol’s talk was both instructional and inspirational and those attending certainly went away with food for thought.

By Roger House

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Plenary Talk by Vicky Loras - report

The Human Touch

In her plenary, Vicky touched us all.

Starting off with her personal story, about how a colleague – not just anyone but an international figure who, however, took the time and interest to advise another  colleague – virtually changed her whole perspective in life and helped her become who she is today by simply communicating with her, advising her and offering her ideas. It is this, she pointed out, that makes us teachers a special community who support each other, encourage, mentor, share and make this a better world for all, this human touch that unites us, wherever we are and whatever our teaching situation, from novice to university professor.

She then moved on to reminding us of how many souls we touch every single day of our teaching careers. All those children, ‘our kids’, as she rightly put it, that we teach. They quite often spend more time at school than at home and we become their parents, confidants, mentors, carers and they trust us with their secrets, their anxieties. Our kids that we watch grow and grow up and we grow fond of, that inspire us and are inspired by us, their teachers. It is they that feel comfortable at school even after their lessons are over, that just pop in on their way to their friends, just to say hello, they that are our treasures.

Vicky then took us on a journey to meet some colleagues who really fired us up. Starting from home, with two teachers who tirelessly work for their children, two passionate colleagues who, with whatever means they can, share everything with  other colleagues round the world, and their respective pupils, children from Taiwan and their teacher communicating with children from Greece, children from Argentina sharing projects with  children from Greece. Then a colleague from Turkey who has 55 little souls in his classroom and has the passion to be with them daily, influencing, as he put it, not every one every day, but at least some everyday. Particularly inspiring was the teacher from India who swims across a river daily to get to his classroom sooner rather than later, one who finds the time to teach his children to swim and to care for the environment. And the novice teacher from the U.S. who worked three jobs to buy books for her kids in a school at Long Beach, a crime infested community, and formally gave them the books they were denied by the management because they were  ‘underachievers’.

The Human Touch, then. We all interact with all, and in our wonderful global village we all influence and are influenced. And how easy today to get this touch. Social networks, blogs, journals, conferences, webinars or just the plain old snail mail. All it takes is not to isolate ourselves.

Thank you, Vicky!

By George Raptopoulos

Plenary talk by Kieran Donaghy - report

Using Film to Teach English in a World of Screens

"Today, our society and our world are saturated with visual stimulation. The visual image has taken over, in a sense, for better or for worse" (Martin Scorsese). This new reality can be a real challenge for some of us, teachers of English as a foreign language. In his plenary, however, Kieran Donaghy, managed to convince us that using film to teach English can be not only effective, but also lots of fun.

During his talk, Kieran discussed the benefits of using film critically and creatively in language teaching, but the focus on his talk shifted towards the use of short films the popularity of which has created a goldmine of resources. The benefits of using short films are numerous. To mention just a few, such films can be easily shown and discussed within one class, and they usually create a great impact on the students. They are coherent and usually focus on a single idea which can be easily assimilated. Such short films focus on contemporary issues, often controversial ones which are not covered in traditional course books. For this reason, they can be an excellent springboard for engaging in-class discussions, writing tasks, or other activities, for which they create an interesting context. Finally, short films should be used in the ELT classrooms for practical reasons: they are easily and freely available online, and can be used without any concern about copyright issues.

There are several misconceptions regarding using film in the ELT classroom and they are related to the traditional methods which are unfortunately still quite popular. Using film in the ELT classroom should no longer mean staring at the screen for 90 minutes continuously without any meaningful task or goal. Film should not be a "filler" for a Friday afternoon class when everybody feels like taking it easy. Students can get engaged in a variety of activities instead. During the pre-watching phase, students can be asked to predict the story from the title or from a screenshot. They can be asked to write observation questions based on the content of the film they have watched, or even write a prequel or a sequel to practice their writing skills in an imaginative manner.
Sounds challenging? Scary? Possibly, but only if you were not with us during Kieran's plenary talk. His guidelines and practical tips convinced us all that going digital with our students is the way to go, and that film is a valuable tool on this new path. We are in the midst of a digital revolution and our teaching methods need to be readjusted, as we are addressing the audiences of digital natives and moving image enthusiasts.
We all walked out of Kieran's plenary talk with plenty of ideas and practical tips for implementing film in the ELT classroom, but I personally retained this memorable line (quoted after George Lucas, an American film director):  "If students aren't taught the language of sound and images shouldn't they be considered as illiterate as if they left school without being able to read and write?" Something for all of us to consider…

Visit Kieran Donaghy's award-winning website ( for practical tips and ready-to-use lesson plans for innovative and creative use of film in English language teaching and learning.

Some of the useful sites recommended by Kieran:

Film guides
Film Club -

Film in Language Teaching Association -
Film Education -
The Film Space -
ESL Notes -

Animated movie makers
Go Animate -
Zimmer Twins -
Subtitling and revoicing
Bombay TV -
Clip Flair -

Flipped Classroom sites
ESL Video -
EduCanon -
TedEd -
Vialogues -

By Margarita Kosior

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Report on Roger House’s Talk “Look to See”

Look to Seewas the title of Roger Houses, Chair of TESOL Macedonia- Thrace, Northern Greece talk. In a crowded room Roger presented in a very interesting, engaging and humorous way how pictures can be used in teaching. He recommended some practical and easy-to-use and prepare activities that really excited the attendees.

Roger started his talk by showing a famous painting. He then went on to read a story, like a dictation. The task the students had to complete was to write down only the sentences that were true about the picture, but they had to be very observant and try to distinguish between the things they could see and the things they could imagine. In a real classroom situation, students can work in groups and compare what they have written down and then sequence them. They use past tenses and create a narrative.

The next activity Roger presented was based on a photograph depicting people. At first, the teacher dictates just some names without providing further information to the students who keep notes of the names. Then the teacher reads out a text with a description and the students have to guess who each person is. This is an excellent listening activity, but it also practices Present Continuous, speaking and studentsnarrative abilities.

The third activity Roger showed was based on four different photos and a text turned into a word cloud. The teacher dictates a story and then the students try to reconstruct the story based on what they have heard and the photos. It is important to note that authentic material can be used in this activity.

Another idea suggested was to use a picture and ask students to create a blurb to describe a book cover. Roger, then, went on to show some photos on a theme. Students had to look at the photos, think of two of them that have stuck in their memories and then try to explain what connects these two photos.

The last two activities Roger demonstrated were The Special Photoactivity and a short Pecha-Kucha-style presentation based on four photos of the student's choice. In the first of these two activities, students choose a photo they want and they show it to the rest of the class. Other students ask questions about the photos. This activity manipulates and exploits our natural curiosity and it is excellent for pair work. In the second activity, students choose four photos and they have to prepare short presentations explaining why they chose these four photos.

It was a great presentation, full of group work and many laughs as Roger presented all these activities in his own unique style and nobody should have missed it.

By Emmanuel Kontovas