viernes, 11 de enero de 2013


Today, we have continued learning how to teach and learn vocabulary. But firstly, we have to know what exactly vocabulary is: The lexical items (single- or multi-word items) of the language (aka content words) (nouns, verbs, adjectives & adverbs) vs. the grammatical items (aka function words) (pronouns, determiners, prepositions, conjunctions, auxiliary verbs...). 

For communicative purposes, vocabulary is more important than grammar in the early stages.

Although vocabulary can be learnt incidentally (by listening/reading/interacting…), in the context of formal schooling it has proved inefficient; we need to plan for deliberate vocabulary teaching.

What learners need to learn in order to acquire a word?
  •  Form: pronunciation & spelling
  •  Meaning (but some words may have different meanings)
  •  Collocation (the way words tend to co-occur with other words or expressions – e.g.  Tell the truth, do your homework…)
  •  Grammar (e.g. the past from of irregular verbs)
  •  Connotation (e.g. skinny)
  •  Appropriateness (to the context/situations; e.g. lady (instead of woman)).

What determines the difficulty of a lexical item?
  •  Spelling & Pronunciation (the easier a word it is to say & spell, the more quickly it will be remember)
  •  Similarity to L1
  •  Similarity to English words already known (unfriendly - friendly)
  •  Multi-word items (e.g. sports car, put someone up)
  •  Collocations (e.g. wounded/injured people but damaged things)
  • Appropriate use

Some tips to teach vocabulary efficiently:
  •   Introduce the vocabulary in the context of vocabulary the learners have already met
  •   Don’t teach more than 5-7 items at a time
  •   Teach new items early in the lesson
  •   Recall at the end of the lesson
  •   Learners remember words better if they have some personal significance or emotional connection: giving personal examples, providing experiences with the words or having students create images & relate them to their own lives

There are a lot of techniques to teach new vocabulary as:
  •  Look, say, cover, write, check.
  •  Display the new vocabulary (semi-) permanently
  •  Vocabulary is best learned (& taught) in groups of related words (lexical sets, word families): word maps.
  •  Pay attention to the word shape.
  •  Get students to use vocabulary notebooks/picture dictionaries.
  •  Teach learners to group words into categories (meaningful to them).
  •  Find some who (has got a pet of your choice).
  •  Guess the picture.

Finally, we have to talk about the importance of recycling: Vocabulary needs to be met and recycled at intervals, in varied contexts and activities. Researchers claim that we need at least 6, maybe as many as 16, re-encounters with an item in order for it to be properly learnt.
When reviewing vocabulary, teach (DO NOT test) (give learners opportunities to listen/read the vocabulary again, read their vocabulary notebooks, picture books, work in collaboration…)

lunes, 7 de enero de 2013



The english language has a complicated relation between its oral and written form. Therefore it has not been an easy task to achieve an agreement about the best way to teach how  to read and write english.
Phonics is a method that native english speakers use to teach children how to read and write. It is based on the sound of the letters, making the students aware of the existing relation between the phonemes and graphemes, instead of the whole language approach, where words had to be learnt by heart.            
Nowadays, phonics is gaining more followers, particularly synthetic phonics, which is the most popular method used in the UK and Australia.
Synthetic phonics is a method of teaching reading which first teaches the letter sounds and then builds up to blending these sounds together to achieve full pronunciation of whole words.

In contrast, Analytical Phonics, also known as the Whole Word approach, involves analysis of whole words to detect phonetic or orthographic (spelling) patterns, then splitting them into smaller parts to help with decoding

miércoles, 19 de diciembre de 2012


Today's class, we started talking about the exam that we have to do in February if we want to pass the subject. In this one we will have to answer two kind of questions. Some of them will be theoretical and anothers will be practical. We hope to be so lucky as the guy that we can see on the right.

After that te teacher show us a powerpoint about learning strategies. Most of the contents were in spanish, althoung there were some in English too.

In the presentation we learnt about the different learning strategies by O'Malley:

Strategies which require planning for learning, thinking about the learning process as it is taking place, monitoring og one's production or comprehension, and evaluating learning after an activity is completed. Among the main metacognitive strategies, it is possible to include advance organizers, direceted attention, slective attention, self-management, functional plannin, self-monitoring, delayed production and self-evaluation.

Cognitive strategies are more limited to specific learning tasks and they involve more direct manipulation of the learning material itself. Repetition, resourcing, transaltion, grouping, note taking, deduction, recombination, imagery, auditory representation, key word, contextualization, elaboration, transfer, inferencing are among the most important cognitive strategies.

They are related with social-mediating activity and transacting with others.

When the teacher finished the presentation she gave us an activity in which we had to analyse to transcripts in terms of the information provided by the teacher to the pupils.

After that we played BINGO!!!! The day before the teacher sent us an e-mail explaining that we had to make some bingo cards to bring it today. Here you are some of the bingo cards that we made:

Finally in the practice lesson we had to do an activity in which we had to choose 3 activities from the Carol Read's 500 Activities for the Primary Classroom book and fill in a table for each activity. We had to upload the activity to the CV forum on "Learning strategies and learner independence". We want to share with all you the activity here too, we hope you like!.

miércoles, 12 de diciembre de 2012


Today, the teacher started the classroom showing us reading resources. She has taught activities like this:

-Number activity

- Class objects activity
- Extraterrestrial activity (you have to write the dialogue)
- Yo-yo activity (listening and reading)

There are cognitive activities that have the difficulty to know which group to put it.

Then, teacher has explained teaching and learning writing.

The teacher should give feedback to improve their writing. She/he has to scaffold  the writing task.
  • Starting point --> conected text for a purpose and a reader.

  • Differents ideas about writing:
      -Graubert (1997) --> Consolidates and reinforces laguange.
      - Raimes (1983) --> Writing reinforces the grammatical structures.
      - Porte (1996) --> As writing involves finding the right way of expressing something.

Teaching of writing must aim at building the student's communicative potential to produce whole text:

Writing: struggle to convert                           Writing: linguistic                               Writing has a language
thoughts and ideas into language.                  experience --> need to take               potential: discover of how
                                                                    risks and experimental with                language works.
                                                                    the language.

Writing process 3 important question must be considered:
  • The content: what you are writing.
  • The addressee or reader: who you are writing to or for.
  • The purpose: why you are writing.

lunes, 10 de diciembre de 2012


Today we have started with Communicative Approach. Communicative Approach is focused on communication, it also promotes interaction and language items are selected on the basis of what the learner need to know in order to get things done through language (in order to perform linguistic functions).

We have also learn the difference between functions and forms:
  • Functions of languages are the purposes for which language is used.
  • Forms are the linguistic means through which functions are accomplished.
So, as teachers, how should we proceed when selecting the language to teach? Firstly we identify general functions and notions and then, we select linguistic forms to express those functions and notions.

Communicative Approach also uphold that you have to appropriate your language to the context.

And the last characteristic about Communicative Approach is that it should be guided by these principles:
  • The information gap principle.
  • The information transfer principle (from one format to another).
  • The correction for content principle.

Big mistakes are communication content mistakes, not linguistic mistakes. We not only have to be good at using proper linguistic content, we have to be able to use linguistic content accroding to the situation (social markers, politeness conventions...).

miércoles, 5 de diciembre de 2012


Today, the teacher started the classroom showing us some of the bookmarks that we added in Diigo. The one that she chose was the next bookmark:

The name of this web is "SUPER EASY READING FOR ESL/EFL BEGGINERS". The activity chosen was horrible, because there were only a few sentences withouth cohesion. Another aspect was that there wasn't any graphic information about the sentences, and finally there wasn't a context, for example, the statments are talking about "he", but...who is he?. Here you are the activity:
13. His Imaginary Friend
He has an imaginary friend. He talks to his friend. His friend listens to him. His friend is smart. His friend is funny. His friend gives him advice. His friend goes everywhere with him. He and his imaginary friend are best friends. He is never alone. He is never lonely. His friend is always with him.

After that we saw some activities from the Sara Phillips' books: "Young Learners".

It was funny because we had to do the last activity and finally we corrected it in the digital board, and it was the first time that somebody had used it. In the activity we had to guess information about some people related to the floor of the flat where they live and the objects that they had lost. It was a funny challenge.

Then the teacher started to explain the different reading strategies that we have to teach our students.

After that we were talking about the text of "Diwali" and how children can get the meaning of words that they don't know yet.


After that we were watching some videos from the British Council web. Then we had to desing reading strategies acording  to a text that we had chosen.

Finally in the practice session we started a group activity. Firstly we have to choose a long text, and make six questions about it. Four of them have to develop higher order cognitive abilities and two of them lower-order cognitive skills. We also have to develop four activities to develope reading strategies.

That's all, have a nice long weekend!!!!!