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New book update

Just to let you know that the typescript of my new book Becoming an Outstanding Languages Teacher is at Routledge and I'm hoping it will be available very soon. It's one of a series of books covering different subject areas. Maths and English are already published.

There will be around 200 pages and this is what what the Contents page looks like:


Introduction

1. Running a room
2. Dissecting a lesson: visuals
3. Dissecting a lesson: using written texts
4. Dissecting a lesson: task-based lessons
5. Enjoying sounds
6. Great games
7. Getting grammatical
8. Words and chunks
9. Dissecting a lesson: speaking
10. Dissecting a lesson: writing
11. Teaching all abilities
12. Pace, questioning and other interactions
13. Moving them forwards
14. What makes an outstanding language teacher?

Conclusion


What is a bit different about this book, I think, is the focus on detailed analyses of classroom interactions - notably typical question-answer sequences and the subtleties of running them. I hope these will be of particular use to brand new teachers or others who feel uncertain about how to run lessons primarily in the target language. It really does deal with the nuts and bolts of teaching languages in schools.

There is almost no theory in this book, just plenty of practical ideas and descriptions of possible lessons. I try not to be too prescriptive. Indeed my final chapter includes "case studies" of unusual teaching approaches, including what I've called the bilingual approach used at the Michaela Community School where pupils seem to be making outstanding progress. I also look at the TPRS method which is particularly popular in the USA and AIMlang, used in Canada.

I do try to stick to some principles I am fond of: the importance of meaningful input and interaction, along with the rigorous practice of skills, including explicit grammar. I have also included "tech tips" at the end of most chapters, focusing on tools which maximise input and practice, not time-consuming creative tasks.

I have written a chapter on purposeful games, repeating very little of what we published in The Language Teacher Toolkit. I think of games just as enjoyable purposeful tasks which successfully recycle language.

The first chapter called "Running a Room" (a phrase I pinched from Tom Bennett) deals with generic language teaching skills including entry routines, starters, plenaries and skilled interactions with pupils.

My examples are largely, though not entirely, in English so as not to put off teachers of any particular language. I have also avoided referring specifically to the English education system as I would like the book to appeal (sell) to readers outside the UK.

Finally I have had really useful input from a number of teachers, notably Gianfranco Conti, Martina Bex and Carrie Toth from the USA, SEND specialist David Wilson, Pauline Galea from Canada, and Jess Lund and Barry Smith from Michaela in London. My former brilliant colleague Anne Swainston, whom I observed many times, also gave me useful insights.

In sum, I hope the book helps teachers build their personalised repertoire of successful techniques based on sound principles.




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