4 tips to help you teach advanced students

I don’t think I have ever taught or observed an advanced lesson that went seriously wrong. I mean cringe-worthy wrong. Which is hardly surprising.

After all, advanced students have been in the game long enough and know enough English to ensure that most of our lessons run – at worst – relatively smoothly.

But I have often walked out of lively, fun, seemingly trouble-free C1 lessons, wondering deep down how much learning had really taken place.  And this has bothered me at least since 1996, which is when I began to take a  hard look at advanced students and their ever-so-overlooked needs. Here are some of the things I’ve learned:

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teaching inversion – guest post by Ricardo Barros

It has long bothered me that the use of inversions in speaking is largely seen as unnatural. Time and time again I would go to a training session or overhear other teachers speaking and inversions would come up in a mocking tone, as if using this particular structure in speaking is hilarious in itself. In my experience, inversions (and to be more specific, inversions after negative adverbials) are commonly presented in advanced course books (CEFR C1) as a formal structure that should only be used in writing. Continue reading teaching inversion – guest post by Ricardo Barros

15 songs with comparatives

This is an updated version of the four music videos containing examples of comparatives I posted back in 2010. The response was so overwhelming and the number of searches so staggering that I decided to put together a nice, 8-minute video, containing 15 different song excerpts, organized by date – in the molds of my present perfect songs. Continue reading 15 songs with comparatives

Input flooding: expressing contrast

It is relatively easy to create good, purposeful controlled activities to practice a given structure or lexical area (check out this book if you have the time), but it is very hard to devise communicative tasks that naturally “trap” the language you want to focus on. So what’s plan B? Continue reading Input flooding: expressing contrast