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  • Writer's pictureFred Moore

Fred's takeaways from the TESOL Spain 2023 conference

Myself and some of the other teachers from The North Station Academy recently went to the TESOL Spain 2023 conference on English-language teaching, and explored new ideas and research about how to help our students. Here are two main themes of notes that I felt were worth sharing.

For B1+ students: The Phrasal verb grid.

An inventive way of practising the phrasal verbs that cause so many problems in the exams.

  • First draw a 4x4 table and fill it with the most common prepositions and space for a verb.

  • Then each day, without a dictionary, internet or any other kind of reference, try and write 16 sentences using a phrasal verb. Try to use all of the prepositions in the box. Write the verb you use in the box once you have written your sentence.

For example:

I looked after the sick cat.

I gave up when it started raining.

I ran out of water while I was running.

You are put through difficult training situations when you join the army.

The teacher came across an interesting book.

  • Check your answers with a phrasal verb dictionary or your teacher. Then try and learn some more phrasal verbs.

  • The next day, try and write 16 sentences again, this time with the extra phrasal verbs you studied last time.

If done correctly, this should help with making the phrasal verbs second nature to you so that you can impress examiners, your teacher, your parents and badgers (all badgers understand English, they just can’t be bothered to talk back to you).

For all students: being aware of receptive and reactionary mindsets.

At this conference, there were some very clever speakers with backgrounds in educational psychology and neuroscience. Very brainy indeed.

First and foremost, the evidence and studies on the effect of posture on the brain was the most eye-opening of these sessions. I won’t go into the details, but basically it boils down to sitting properly when you’re studying, or anytime really and letting your brain do the magic.

Next, from an English teacher with a background in Yoga, it is important to direct your mind to a “receptive” state as opposed to a “reactionary”. The context of this talk was aimed at calming excitable young learners yet a lecture on Emotional Intelligence took this further to consider the importance of ‘being aware’ for all learners and teachers. To be specific, learning and life can be difficult and challenging, and with study we can feel a lot of pressure. Therefore, we should:

  • Take a moment, breathe, massage your face.

  • Think about how you actually feel.

  • Think about why you might be feeling that.

  • From this perspective, consider what your next action will be.

Which of these do you apply in your class or learning?

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