Reading for Teachers of English to Young Learners

Reading for Teachers of English to Young Learners

Great books to read or reference for teaching English to young learners ELTcampus

This list will be added to!

Film in Action, by Kieran Donaghy

Forget just putting on a video on a Friday or at the end of the school year! Make it meaningful!

“The book invites teachers to experiment with film, and provides: insights into how learners can engage with film; it includes over 100 activities for teachers to bring film into the language class; and it also includes steps for teachers and learners to create their own moving images.”

By teacher, teacher trainer, international conference presenter and writer Kieren Donaghy, based in Barcelona Spain. Kieran is the founder of the Image Conference and Visual Arts Circle as well as the man behind

  • Activities
  • Technology in the classroom
  • Create your own moving images

[button type="success" size="lg" target="_blank" link="" title="Buy this book online"] Buy this book or find out more [/button]


New or used from

Video Telling, by Jamie Keddie

Available from January 20, 2017.

Following on from Jamies talks and videos, a book version of his approach to using short videos in the classroom

Jamie Keddie Youtube Channel

  • Activities
  • Technology in the classroom

[button type="success" size="lg" target="_blank" link=""] Buy this book or find out more [/button]


New or used from

500 Activities for the Primary Classroom: Immediate Ideas and Solutions, by Carol Read

500 Activities for the Primary Classroom” is the answer to that perennial question of “What on earth am I going to do with my class tomorrow?” Aimed at teachers of children between the ages of 3-12, this is a lively, varied compendium of ideas and classroom activities.

  • Activities

[button type="success" size="lg" target="_blank" link=""] Buy this book or find out more [/button]


New or used from

Tell it Again – The Storytelling Handbook for Primary English Language Teachers, by Gail Ellis & Jean Brewster

This new edition, Tell it Again! The New Storytelling Handbook, brings together this accumulated experience as well as recent developments in language teaching, and provides
a completely revised and updated methodology section including new guidelines on how to assess pupils’ story-based work, learning to learn, learning about culture and learning technologies. Part 2 offers detailed story notes written by experienced materials writers and practising teachers on ten stories selected from Puffin’s rich list of children’s literature as well as two photocopiable stories.

This handbook is for any teacher who is – or will be– teaching English to children and is interested in using authentic storybooks.

[button type="success" size="lg" target="_blank" link=""] Buy this book or find out more [/button]


New or used from

Teaching children how to learn, by Gail Ellis & Nayr Ibrahim

A book offering Primary language teachers a new and practical methodology based on the importance, now universally recognized in curricula around the world, of teaching children how to learn.

You’ll have met these authors in our TEYL course, and we can confirm, they are passionate about how to teach “learning to learn”, looking at how we can create the optimum conditions for children to reach their full potential as enthusiastic and motivated language learners. Not just theory, the book offers practical activities,  photocopiable resources, models for teachers, interactive Teacher Development activities, keys and model answers.

[button type="success" size="lg" target="_blank" link=""] Buy this book or find out more [/button]


New or used from

Getting the Buggers to Behave, by Sue Cowley

“This book gives you advice on behaviour management that is easily accessible and equally easy to apply. This book provides plenty of information on the basic of behaviour management, lots of tips and ideas for managing the physical aspects of the classroom environment. The ideas and advice given are based on common sense observations and strategies that have worked for me.”

Sue Cowley is an experienced teacher and subject co-ordinator, whose specialisms are in English and Drama. After qualifying as a primary school teacher, she taught in a number of different secondary schools in London and Bristol. She has also worked overseas at an international school in Portugal.

[button type="success" size="lg" target="_blank" link=""] Buy this book or find out more [/button]


New or used from

A fine balance: IATEFL 2017

A fine balance: IATEFL 2017

a fine balance iatefl 2017

IATEFL's (International Association of Teachers of English as a Foreign Language) International Annual Conference and Exhibition was held in Glasgow in early April and I had the opportunity this year of attending for the first time. Over four days 500 or more talks, workshops and symposiums were held as well as smaller get-togethers of interest groups. Not doing anything by halves,  I had also decided to participate by giving a presentation along with my colleague Anna Hasper about communities of practice as well as attend the YLSig (Young Learners Special Interest Group) day that took place before the main conference.

Everyone has their way of dealing with such a big conference. Thousands of people attended from absolutely everywhere. It's inspiring to feel part of such a global practice as a teacher and compare notes with people from India, China, or Russia or even see people from your own home country and catch up with what's happening there.

I applied the approach that "less was more". I carefully selected talks to attend and gave myself space in between to ruminate alone with a coffee or catch up with colleagues. I had little hope of hanging on to and making effective use of anything if I packed each day with back to back sessions and meetings.

What was my “takeaway”?

Emma Louise Pratt Communities of Practice workshop with Anna Hasper IATEFL 2017
Me listening to my colleague Anna as we start our session.

An overarching theme of the YLSig day, and other talks I attended during the conference as well as conversations with colleagues, especially those involved with the Visual Arts Circle, was empathy. I would almost call them post-ELT conversations, in the sense that we were beyond the nuts and bolts of the “how” of teaching English. That isn’t to say that the investigation and application of effective language learning methods is unimportant and wasn’t happening. Of course it was. I am only saying that the IATEFL conversation I found myself taking part in was considering the role of the English language, language learning and teachers in a changing political landscape for many of us at home and abroad.

People who become English teachers are, by default I would argue, people with a certain level of empathy. They are people who have travelled, or already speak other languages or who have been through the journey of learning English itself. Led by Dr. Joan Kang Shin, we discussed in the YLSig the process through which one becomes aware of other cultures and the stages of accepting difference –from being ethno-centric to ethno-relative and the swings and roundabouts that can have.

“Ethnocentrism is an indicator of centricity around our own cultural perspective, meaning we evaluate others based on what we experience and what we were brought up with. This is a narrow mindset that does not lend itself to overcoming cultural gaps or learning how to interact and communicate well with people from different cultures. The goal for those who wish to become culturally competent is to move from an ethno-centrist to an ethno-relativist perspective in which our perspective on culture is relative to the situations we find ourselves in.” - Lynne Putz 2014

Anna Hasper Communities of Practice workshop with Emma Louise Pratt IATEFL 2017
Anna Hasper gets our session started.

The day I realised my mother had her own life.

Our earliest experience of ethnocentrism I would argue, is up until the point when we first realise our parents or caregivers have separate lives to us. Until I was relatively old, my mother was really only an extension of myself. She was a person who cleaned and moved around me. She made my clothes, she took me to get new shoes. She put out washing a lot and cooked. She put plasters on my knees and mafde stuff better. She got angry sometimes, and stressed and tired. It would be managed. But did I ever consider who she was really? What did she feel and why? I enjoyed making her happy and doing nice things for her. But who was this mysterious person?

We are returning again to an international climate of wall building. Given this, many teachers are considering what our role is in the fine balance of honouring and responding to geo-local and cultural needs while making use of English as an international platform for dialogue and understanding.

No story about us without us.

The thread continued throughout the YLSig day and throughout the conference (or my version of the conference) with sessions by Carol Read, Kieran Donaghy, David Valente, Gail Ellis and Nayr Ibrahim that addressed issues of identity, empathy, values and “other”. David Valente challenged us to reflect on whether we were working with growth mindsets and embedding global values in our teaching and teacher development. While Gail Ellis and Nayr Ibrahim considered how teachers' views of children influence their teaching and teacher training and development.

How do we develop dialogues about global and international values, the rights of the individual, or the concept of who/what a child is, while at the same time acknowledging cultural difference? We aren’t all the same, our perspectives are different. I come from a background where Euro-centric and indigenous tribal perspectives simultaneously seem to clash, intersect and meld. The simple question of a person being an individual or part of a collective isn’t globally agreed.

Ethno-relativism calls us to consider at what point our persuasion to get people to see beyond themselves and consider another perspective smacks of pater/maternalism and when we can actually serve to do good. Does our desire to get people questioning still come from an ethnocentric point of view? Are we right? Are “they” “wrong”?

And so, we go back to those stages of recognizing “other”, stepping back if we find ourselves too often in the centre, and allowing another voice. In our session about communities of practice, I wanted to peel things back and reflect on the wider issue of what a community is.  If we want participants in our community to grow and become more effective at what they do, as leaders of that community, we need to develop ethno-relative skills, as well as geo-relative and person to person awareness. We need to then apply that to an understanding of how groups form and mature and our role as facilitators of change and growth. A fine balance it is.

Post CELTA: Managing the Young Learner Classroom

Post CELTA: Managing the Young Learner Classroom

YL Classroom Management ELTcampus

This month, Moira Allen, a Young & Very Young Learners teacher based in Seville, Spain, has shared with us some of her advice for teachers who find themselves in a YL classroom. Read her highlights below and listen to us talking about classroom managment on the podcast.

Ok, so you have finished your CELTA training and are armed with lots of pedagogic knowledge, principles of effective teaching and files full of perfect lesson plans. Next step, you get a job. Great! First step achieved. Next stop the classroom.

Well, very likely you are on your own with no tutor or peer assessment and the niggling suspicion that perhaps this might not be as easy as you might like to think it is, to actually put it into practice.

My first class after the CELTA course was a class of about 12 six year olds. Now looking back, I think, what a doddle and it was only 45 minutes! At the moment, I teach 23 five year olds and have been in Early Years Education for about 8 years and prior to that 7 years in academies.

Before landing myself that first job in teaching, like many people I had come from a different background. Mine was in HR and training and I naively thought it might help, as I had been giving training sessions to adult professionals for many years and thought that quite challenging. However, I would have to say that nothing quite prepared me for the intimidating audience that is teaching kids in a language that is not their own.

My first experience of a large three year old class I will never forget. As armed as I was with theory and some practice, nothing quite prepared me for it. As I stood there with my cheery “Hello Everybody” and interactive whiteboard plans I scanned the room of little faces to see at least 2 or 3 randomly moving towards another part of the room or the toilet, one or two almost asleep, a few more under the tables and quite a lot looking at me with fearful faces and maybe less than half a dozen actually listening, as far as I could tell. But I wasn’t even sure if they were! And, I almost forgot, there was one pulling on my trouser leg as I was talking.

Where do I go from here? Grab my bag and make a run for it or stick it out? Well as you might have guessed I stuck it out, but it was touch and go.
So what advice can I offer? Well I will begin with this.

Do what works for you.

Make the class your own, and the students. This is true for any age. It is your space and theirs, for that time whether it is an hour class or a 3 hour class.
Be practical and learn to think on your feet. That is, if something is not working think of a way to change it or make it work. Of course it is important to have a lesson plan but teaching is also about your learning, learning from your mistakes and your successes.

Be creative in terms of your teaching methods.

A child may quite often bring in a toy or an English book they have at home. Use it or any other resources (something you bring in from home yourself) to make it an interesting learning experience for all.

Have routines too.

This is especially true for young children as they like routines and although they can be the backbone of any class, learn to expand on those routines and add to them.
Pay attention to the mood of the class. That is listen and observe your audience and go with the flow. So if you feel they need to play, let them play for a bit. If you feel a chat would work then go with that. Be prepared to change your plans. This doesn’t mean you don’t follow your lesson plans but let them have a say in how they learn. It is up to you to guide them and bring them back to task when the time is right.

Kids spend so much of their time in schools being talked at as opposed to communicated with, it is no wonder they can’t pay attention or don’t want to. Would you be able to spend all day being talked at, while sitting still?

Be prepared to have good days and bad days, good classes and bad classes.

Everyone does, even after all these years I still do. You will think oh that worked really well or that was a disaster. You will find yourself wondering what am I doing wrong and comparing yourself to that teacher in the next class who seems to be getting it all right. They will have their bad days too.

Gain the students respect and demand it from them too.

I remember hearing that old chestnut...”Don’t smile until Christmas”. I realise now what they were trying to say was don’t let them “rule the roost”. Of course demanding respect and some kind of order within the classroom is very important but what I would suggest is this:

Get to know each individual

Engage with each of your students on an individual basis and although this might take until Christmas it will be worth it. So eye contact, a smile at the right moment, a question an observation or comment will help towards that engagement. Don’t get me wrong, you are not trying to make them your friends so I am also talking about picking them up on negative behavior but you do need to build a bridge of sorts between you and them. So be firm and be fair but also be human.

Learn some tricks of the trade.

That is, learn or invent some motivational techniques to get their attention. A counting game, a song, a clapping game, a chant, whatever it is, it will be worth its weight in gold when you need it.

Learn or rob ideas from other teachers, teaching websites, Pinterest or whatever comes your way. That is ok, everyone does it, but do amend or change those ideas to suit you and your class.

Monitor you mood.

Stay calm and try not to let the little things get to you. Your mood will most definitely affect the class, more than you might like to think, so try to keep your cool and most of all try to enjoy it because there will be many more classes to get through before you are done.

Keen to get equiped for the YL classroom?

Our Teaching English to Young Learners Course covers what Moira has experienced drilling down into the issues, with lots of techniques, ideas and approaches for effective and fun classrooms.


Teaching English to Young Learners: Anna Hasper talks about her career in ELT and her work with our online YL course

Teaching English to Young Learners: Anna Hasper talks about her career in ELT and her work with our online YL course

Anna Hasper Interview

Anna is the Director of TeacherTrain and a self-confessed addict to learning and teaching. Her passion is enabling teachers to become the best teacher they can by enhancing all students’ learning opportunities through effective teaching and engagement. Her work as a Director of Studies and primary school teacher in New Zealand has given her an insight into curriculum development as well as setting up CPD programmes for teachers. She’s passionate about working with young learners and provides face-to- face and online tutoring on various teacher development courses and develops, writes and delivers bespoke teacher-training courses and education reform projects around the world.

In this podcast, Emma and Anna talk about Anna's career in teaching and the course they have worked on together that will be rolled out in April 2017.

Find out more about the course

Building an ELT Community in Iran

Building an ELT Community in Iran

Bita Rezaei IELTA Iran

It takes a special kind of person to bring people together and forge communities. It takes leonine qualities to get things to happen in restricted circumstances and within a culture not famous for its teamwork.

We talked to Bita Rezaei, Director of the inaugural IELTA* Conference taking place in Tehran, Iran in February 2017. She puts it like this:


“Think of what Iran is famous for in the Olympics. We're very good wrestlers, tennis players of chessplayers, but get us in a team sport, like football, and everyone wants to be the one scoring the goal!”



No. Bringing people together in Iran isn’t easy. Especially when different groups are at odds with each other professionally. In order to begin a language school in Iran, you need to obtain a license. There are, according to Bita, as least three or four state authorities issuing these licenses, including for example the Ministry of Culture, or of Education and of Higher Education. Adding to that, various municipalities have their own educational services and other different entities exist as well. Lots of stakeholders. Lots of agendas.

Bita hasn’t let any of this stop her. Apart from spearheading IELTA, she is also the Director of Studies at the Hermes Institute of Science and Technology and a CELTA trainer.

Bita Rezaei

English had become part of Bita’s life by the age of five and grew happily alongside Farsi. So much so, that she became proficient in English without ever having left Iran. In fact, she started teaching English at the age of sixteen when she was entering her last year of High School. By the time she was 20, she was in charge of a language school that served 5,000 students per term. Bita finally did leave Iran, in order to do her CELTA, a relatively unknown qualification in Iran at the time. That accompanied an MBA in Wurzburg in 2007 and a Master’s Degree in TESOL and Applied Linguistics at Leicester in 2014.


The Language of the Enemy or the Language of Progress?

Some thirty years back, the French language used to be the “significant other” in Iran for anyone who considered themselves educated. However, with time it gave way to English. Following the Iranian Revolution of 1979, the United States imposed economic sanctions and expanded them in 1995 to include firms dealing with the Iranian government. In 2006, the UN Security Council passed Resolution 1696 and imposed sanctions after Iran refused to suspend its uranium enrichment program.

As a result, and not surprisingly, English has often been viewed by extremists in Iran as the language of aliens or of the enemy. A lot of English language schools simply ceased to exist under this pressure and the ELT industry fell into a state of dormancy. Bita herself suffered. She had set up a CELTA teacher training centre in Tehran which operated for two or three years. But the increased sanctions and embargoes against Iran led to Cambridge having to remove from the country and everything collapsed. Not to be put off, Bita continued with her Delta and became a CELTA tutor in 2013.

In Iran, like many countries, higher education is a symbol of status. According to Bita, the average level of higher education in Iran is a Master’s Degree. This detrimental attitude to a language in which large amounts of cutting edge research is written needed to be tackled from the very top.


“Our great leader is quoted at the beginning of all Ministry of Education English books and material where he says that English is not the language of the enemy, it is the language of knowledge and needs to be learned.”


So how are Iranians approaching English language learning and acquisition? My own experience of seeing English heavily promoted in Spain is that a lack of confidence often blocks people from using it for fear of failure and looking ridiculous in front of their peers. Not so it seems in Iran.


“People of Iran in general are very hospitable, friendly and out-going and they are very proud of what they have in terms of culture and civilisation. They see English as a medium of communicating with anyone across their borders…You will be surprised by the number of people who will try to speak English with you when you come here. That attempt is quite exceptional.”

I asked Bita what the Iranian character possessed that made people so positive about speaking English.


“I think we Iranians have an inner desire to express ourselves. We also have a silent fight - each and every Iranian is fighting against that distorted image of “the country which is cornered”. In every endeavor, in every encounter with people of different nationalities, we try to mend that image that the western media has built up of Iran.”

The Shape of Things

Today in Tehran alone there are more than 1000 language schools with similar numbers for other provinces with an average of 500 students per term for eight terms a year. Children are starting at English language institutes from the age of four.

Supply and demand means a lot of people are entering the ELT profession in Iran, but frustratingly, and like the ELT community globally, the working conditions are not always as good as they should be. Teaching as a profession is valued, but the fledgling private ELT industry still lacks a governing authority that supports teachers’ rights, and working conditions are an issue. Gathering anybody together in large numbers with a shared cause is fraught with tensions. Bita’s primary objective in her work is to first raise awareness, and given the political climate, it requires a delicate balance and lots of patience.


“I think we need two to five years for teachers to find their place in society, to gain enough popularity and strength for us to be able to claim those rights.”

Receptive Skills

Given the academic application of English in Iran generally, English learners often focus on and gain high levels of English literacy for academic purposes. They need to be able to draw on and make sense of current research papers written in English. They also need to be able to write papers with an academic voice and structure, however in schools, reading comprehension remains the primary focus. As a result, classes in formal mainstream education don’t tend to be very dynamic or communicative, instead they are often transmission based and focus on accuracy with a lot of controlled grammar-focused practice.

In 2013 the curriculum changed to include an increased focus on spoken production and communication. It’s an eclectic mix of approaches that an English language teacher needs in his or her toolkit to be able to deliver effective lessons and programmes. Policy changes are highlighting a short fall in teacher development, especially in rural areas, where practitioners have been teaching receptive skills only, in a predominantly grammar-based curriculum. They have never been exposed to a learner-centred, communicative approach.


“Many of our teachers can’t speak English. They know all about the grammar but can’t really speak it, so they wouldn’t be able to train students up to do a simple speaking task.”

That so many students are attending the local private academies, where communication, functional language and fluency take precedence, poses problems for the state school teachers, and even a threat. The private sector through training and being on top of the latest ideas in teaching methodology and learning psychology is eclipsing the establishment. So much so that the Department of Education is currently negotiating the outsourcing of some language learning hours in state schools to the private sector, providing credits toward school qualifications.

IELTA is Born

Given the need for an umbrella association to bring the booming ELT industry of Iran together into a community of practice, in 2013, Bita was presented with the challenge to make it happen with the support of IATEFL. It’s taken two years to set up the NGO, but today IELTA is 1,500 members strong and growing. More than 700 people have registered for the association’s inaugural conference a month before it starts. The objective of the first conference is to consolidate their presence, cultivating enthusiasm for the profession and nourishing it with more ongoing teaching development.


“We have set up the event in one of the most luxurious locations in Iran, offering a state of the art precinct. It’s funded by us and two or three other language schools because I want to give them that sense of belonging. In a way, I want them to feel respected…that good feeling that you get when you are surrounded by a certain group of people.”

As we near the opening of this first IELTA event in Iran, as I mentioned, the conference is almost full. This is, in itself, an achievement. The existence of IELTA is an achievement. Bita confided that in Iran, and in this I know they aren’t alone, trying to do something new is met initially with laughter and derision. With time, if you persist with your vision, you will gain followers. But that initial stage in Iran is very, very hard. You don’t always make friends being a leader. To initiate change, you need to judge carefully, lead at times from behind with the fine touch of diplomacy, ever wrapped around an iron persistence and fierce tenacity.

  • by Emma L Pratt

*Iran English Language Teachers Association



An Interview with Jeremy Harmer

An Interview with Jeremy Harmer

are you paying attention an interview with Jeremy Harmer

Popular English Language Teaching (ELT) author, practitioner and trainer, Jeremy Harmer graduated with a BA Hons in English and American Studies followed by an MA in Applied Linguistics from the University of Reading and has trained as a Teacher Trainer at International House, London.

His teaching career as an English language teacher took him to Mexico, for which he retains an abiding love, and later he returned to the UK. He has trained teachers and offered seminars all over the world and is a writer of both course material and methodology:  Harmer is the author of methodology titles including How to Teach English‏‎, The Practice of English Language Teaching (which you'll find in our recommended reading list), and How To Teach Writing as well as Graded Readers‏‎. He is a faculty member on the MATESOL at The New School, New York.

In this podcast for, I talk about the issue of observation skills which we are often lacking as learners as well as teachers. I mention it in ann earlier post The Power of Noticing. In the TEFL Preparation Course, we talk about "noticing" in Module One - how we can help learners of language to notice form, grammar rules, meaning, etc. for themselves in a guided discovery approach, instead of simply spoon feeding students with answers.

Phonics and Phonemic Charts ahhh!!!

Phonics and Phonemic Charts ahhh!!!

Phonemic Chart

I was asked yesterday by one of the course participants about pronunciation and how much we need to know before we do a course like the CELTA, or how much knowledge we need to demonstrate at the interview stage.

Having a basic awareness of what phonemics is and the phonemic chart will help. During a course like the CELTA, the tutors will guide you in the use of the sounds and symbols and how to teach pronunciation. That’s what the course is for: for giving you the techniques and tools to be able to do that. You aren’t supposed to be an expert going in. But here's a little heads up - a quick intro to the wonderful word of pronunciation!

Phonics and Charts

The awareness of sounds or phonemes in spoken words and the ability to hear, identify, and manipulate phonemes is called phonemic awareness.  A Phonemic Chart is a chart of symbols that represent the sounds of English - the head image is a phonemic chart.

There is a lot of info on YouTube, this is just an example from Cambridge English:



This video below is comprehensive session dealing with the phonics chart and it's sounds. Adrian Underhill covers all the individual sounds here.

Apps: Macmillan Publishing have an app called Sounds. It’s a free app for pronunciation with the phonemic chart.

Phonemic Typewriter: If you need to type out phonemics for a word but can't find the keys this website will help:

Reading: here you find Tony Penston’s book on teaching pronunciation.


What's goin' on in there?

This video is getting technical and you aren't required to know all this going into teaching, but it's good to refer to and consider how you can demonstrate sounds to people. How do they know what's happening in your nose, throat and mouth? Where is the tongue? What is the air doing? Is there a vibration in the neck or is it just air?

Let's try it:

Hold a hand to your throat and say "this" and "teeth" - what is the difference?

Put your hand in front of your mouth and say "happy" and then "people".  With what word did you feel your breath? How?

Phonetics and Phonics is one part of English language teaching. If you wan tot know more and get a really good grounding in the basics before dong furhter face to face teacher training see our Pre-CELTA course:


Phonics with Children

Many of you may end up teaching younger ones. For Young Learners, teaching them not only how to recognise letters but also another symbol for sounds of combined letters is too much information. The movement of Phonics as a different system of teaching children how to read and write in English (used in English speaking and non-English speaking countries) and is becoming very popular (Lots of videos on YouTube).

This system doesn’t use a separate symbol for the sounds, but teaches letter combinations that cover all the sounds in English. Children don’t learn “ABC” but instead learn the sounds and letters and letter chunks with songs and movements. It is showing good results.

This system (bottom up processing) combined with reading meaningful and relevant material (bottom down processing) that kids can relate to, is a great combination for literacy, pronunciation and spelling in English. The system, especially by Jolly Phonics publishing comes with graded readers and high frequency sight words for reading as well as whole lessons and activities.


Here is a teacher who has taught her kids a dance to help them remember the 42 sounds of Phonics:


And here is a group of kids doing it

This has been a very short little intro, but it's just to get you started. Have fun!!

Further Reading


Technology in the Classroom series: Working Walls

Technology in the Classroom series: Working Walls

Working walls ELTcampus

What is the Working Wall?

In this video, we look at how walls can be used as tools in our classroom. The low-tech classroom lives!

Time for you to reflect.

The ideas we present are but a few, there are so many more. Think about it and  share with us below, your thoughts on the following: What other ideas occur to you for making walls work?

What can you do if you can't leave things up on the wall?

Think about shoe organisers for storing, or capturing your temporary working all on your phone as you might capture your board work to upload on the class blog or online class platform. If internet is not dependable, students could capture the wall on their phones and store them in a file dedicated to the class.

Capture your board work or wall on your mobile. ELTcampus
Capture your board work or wall on your mobile.
Alternatives to using walls in the classroom. ELTcampus
Alternatives to using walls in the classroom: Pegs on the line!
using pegs for vocab eltcampus
Colour coded pegs can be attached to activity cards or organised according to lexis or theme.
shoe-organiser eltcampus
Then put things away in a shoe organiser.

The Arts and Artists in Schools: Arts Integrated Learning

The Arts and Artists in Schools: Arts Integrated Learning

Art in Schools

Following on from my introductory talk at the Image Conference Malta 2016, I plan to research and develop my practice as an artist-educator through looking at the learning that emerges when artists work with students, in our case, foreign or second/third language learners. I'm not only thinking of what artists can do for these learners, but also what learners can do for the artist's own practice.

Visual Arts Circle Announced at the ELT Conference, Malta 2016
The Presentation of the Visual Arts Circle by Kieran Donaghy. The ELT Conference, Malta 2016. Image: ELT Council

The Visual Arts Circle

The Image Conference took place on Thursday 6th October at the Mediterranean Conference Centre, Valletta, Malta, where the Visual Arts Circle was announced. The Visual Arts Circle is a community of teaching practitioners whose aim is to explore the issue of multiple literacies and our role as teachers to be, not only teachers of language, but of multiple languages.

This is a response to the immense amount of communication and information that we consume daily in our Social Age (Social as in Social Media). We're dealing with a particularly visual language, but not exclusively. The image, moving or otherwise, is just one part of a convergence of multi-model communication, such as video, music, graphics and games. We find ourselves reading many modes of communication at once, in different contexts and in very short spaces of time. Due to the sheer volume and the time and space we are exposed to it, our reading is not always well done (due to lack of tools, time and decoding skills) nor is it very critical or deep.

Our ability now and in the future to decode then encode, that is to say, utilize these languages to communicate effectively, is called into question. Not only that, but we face a future where more than half the jobs we have today, will be obsolete. Where a "post-work" society looms. Meanwhile, because we live in a world of extremes, others continue to live in poverty and enslavement of mind, body and spirit, where just one literacy is beyond their reach. Where their voice is not heard, their plight unseen.

How can we equip ourselves and our learners with the creativity and spirit of adventure to navigate these issues?  As teachers of language, what is our role?


Chauvet Cave: The foundations of the creative process haven't changed in over 30,000 years. Image: Wikipedia

Artists in Schools

My area of interest is Artists in Schools: artists working with learners with and through their arts practice.

The arts equip people to read and utilize these multi-modal languages competently and effectively. New technologies zoom in, appear and morph before us, often so fast we can't absorb them or keep up. Meanwhile, the essence of the creative process, in my case the visual arts, hasn't changed over the 30,000 + years we have been communicating and reaching out to each other.

I aim to encourage teachers to embed the arts in their classrooms and infuse their language teaching practice with the empowering abilities of creative thinking and all forms of communication- be it sound, music, performance or of course,  painting and drawing - my own arts practice.


Emma introducing Kieran Donaghy, Founder of the Image Conference and the Visual Arts Circle, Malta 2016
Me busy introducing Kieran Donaghy, Founder of the Image Conference and the Visual Arts Circle, Malta 2016. Image: ELT Council

As I develop my own investigations, this body of work will naturally expand beyond this single initial post and  I will be contributing to the Visual Arts Circle community as findings emerge. But here we begin. And I would like to begin by presenting the inspirational work of Tim Rollins and the K.O.S. Everything I want to explore, discover and refine for myself is embodied in his transformative practice - transformative, not only for the students, but for the artist himself.

Here is part one. The next parts of the documentary continue on in YouTube. The age of the documentary shows how these concepts are not only NOT NEW, but also how low-tech and timelessly effective Artists in Schools projects can be. Following is TapeArt New Zealand, a team of artists who have been working with and alongside communities for over 20 years.




Tim Rollins and the K.O.S.

TapeArt New Zealand: Voyagers - Tape Art NZ at Dubai Canvas 2016

Further Reading

While a lot of the links below are focused on younger learners, with a little creativity the principles can be applied to adults and private language schools.