Penny Ur has thirty-five years’ experience as an English teacher in elementary, middle and high schools in Israel. Now retired, she has taught BA and MA courses at Oranim Academic College of Education and Haifa University. She has presented papers at TESOL, IATEFL and other English teachers’ conferences worldwide.
She has published a number of articles, and was for ten years the editor of the Cambridge Handbooks for Language Teachers series. Her books include Grammar practice activities (2nd Edition) (2009), Vocabulary activities (2012), A course in English language teaching (2012), Discussions and more (2014), all published by Cambridge University Press.
Two sources of professional knowledge in language teaching
Some claim that the main source of professional knowledge should be insights from empirical research; but for most of us, it is the actual hands-on experience that is the major contributor. In this talk I shall be looking at both of these sources, with some practical examples of what each can contribute, and draw some conclusions as to the place of each in language teacher education programs.
Making textbook exercises interesting
Perhaps the best way of motivating students is to make our lessons interesting.
One problem with this is that the textbooks we use may not engage their interest: topics may not be relevant or attention-catching; tasks may not involve any interesting challenge. In this workshop we shall look at, experience and discuss some textbook activities, and see what makes them more – or less! – interesting for participants. In conclusion, we shall try to define some practical theories about what is and is not conducive to learner interest in classroom activities.
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