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Exercise of the month


This exercise works well as a basic warmer or a vocabulary exercise and can be presented on an interactive whiteboard or an overhead projector or simply by cutting up sections of a large picture.

  1. Find a picture which tells a story or shows some kind of narrative progression.
  2. Divide the picture into several sections.
  3. Reveal each section of the picture one at a time. At each stage ask the students what they can see and what they think might be in the rest of the picture.
  4. The last section should reveal the end of the story.
  5. When you have completed revealing the picture, discuss any emergent language.

This activity practises modal verbs of speculation and other language related to speculation, e.g. perhaps, possibly, maybe. It works best if you can also revise other language you have studied in recent lessons (the picture used in the podcast can be used to describe people’s appearance).

Picture used in the podcast: The Child Hater by Ronald Searle (Punch 1954)

Word of the month

Inductive and deductive learning: Two distinct and opposing instructional approaches. In deductive learning, teachers introduce and explain concepts to students. In inductive learning, students are presented with examples of the concept and required to notice it for themselves. 


Nicola Prentis talks about gender imbalance in ELT, the cult of ‘big name authors’ and how to prep for a conversation class. 

Teacher’s dilemma

A student approaches you at the end of class and explains they are applying for a job and would you mind having a quick look at their CV and cover email? You glance down and realize this is going to be more than a ‘quick check’. Both documents are going to need a complete overhaul. Your student needs to send it all off by the end of the week but you’re not sure you’ll have time to get the job done properly – and actually, this does feel a bit ‘beyond the call of duty’! You want to help, of course, but this is a BIG JOB.

What do you do?


  1. Is it appropriate to teach pronunciation topics like elision, intrusion and linking at lower levels?
  2. Do you ever use graded readers in class?
  3. Is there an alternative to the horseshoe?


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