Are your intermediate students World Wise? - LABCI, Lima, Peru
In this session...
What, in your opinion, are the biggest challenges of
teaching intermediate students?
What is missing?
Source: Richards, J. (2008) Moving Beyond the Plateau, CUP
1. There is a gap between receptive and productive competence.
Good listening and reading, but poor speaking and writing.
2. Fluency may have progressed at the expense of complexity.
Lower-level grammar, with vocabulary and communication strategies to
express meaning but few sophisticated language patterns and usage
characteristics of more advanced users of English.
3. Learners have a limited vocabulary range.
Learners overuse lower-level vocabulary and fail to acquire more
advanced vocabulary and usage.
4. Language production may be adequate but often lacks characteristics
of natural speech.
Learners’ English may be fluent and grammatical but sounds too formal or
Are our learners capable of more, much more?
Have the tasks and techniques we use in class become rituals and
ends in themselves?
How can we stop “covering material” and start focusing on the
potential for deep learning?
What small tweaks and adjustments can we make to shift the
whole focus of our teaching towards getting that engine of
“Most teaching is demand-low... challenge-low. We no longer
know how to work up-close, in-the-moment with language and
we use our students as our excuse. We have created systems in
schools that encourage, validate, rewards and maintain
unadventurous, low-awareness teaching and learning. Skillful
interventions are a crucial teaching tool (including sometimes
being UNhelpful!). Try playing Devil’s Advocate with students, as
FACILITATION is na active, creative, shaping role, not na abdicating
one. Learn to give FEEDBACK rather than unearned praise”. - Jim
Scrivener & Adrian Underhill
What are the features of
in the real word that are
sometimes lacking in
How can we bring the
classroom to life and
engage our students in
Use of images in class
Use of images in class
“New knowledge – i.e. new words – needs to be
integrated into existing knowledge – i.e. the
learners’ existing network of word associations, or
what we call the mental lexicon... There is a
greater likelihood of the word being integrated
into this network if many ‘deep’ decisions have
been made about it” - Scott Thornbury
How do you integrate new lexical items with
language Ss already know?
“Increasing learners’ communicative power depends on
expanding the learner’s lexicon by adding lexical items of
all kinds. Positive steps must be taken to avoid simply
adding an unhelpfully large repertoire of uncollocated
nouns.” - Michael Lewis
“Begin to move learners along the continuum from
‘reproductive’ to ‘creative’ language use!” – Vangel (2013)
Reproductive = mimicry of language models in the book or
provided by teacher;
Creative = freedom to experiment and hypothesise.
for pleasure at
Two authentic blog-
like pages loosely
linked thematically to
the units which
“The writing process does not go in only one direction,
however. For example, sometimes we plan what we are going
to write, but after we have drafted it we go back and plan all
over again. Sometimes in the last moment (the final version)
we rethink what we have written and go back to the planning
or the editing stage. The writing process is a bit like a wheel,
in other words, and we tend to go round it and across it in
Jeremy Harmer – Essential Teacher Knowledge
Writing & writing workshops
“Ur advocates a fairly traditional four-stage approach to the teaching
of grammar items:
1. Presentation. Making the structure salient through an input text in
which the item appears.
2. Isolation and explanation. Ensuring that students understand the
various aspects of the structure under investigation.
3. Practice. Getting students to absorb and master the language.
4. Test. Getting learners to demonstrate mastery.”
Nunan, D. Language Teaching Methodology, p.155
• Designed to sit on top of the New Interlink series, but can
follow any CEF Framework B1 course book.
• A grammar, pronunciation and lexical syllabus responding
to the specific needs and characteristics of Brazilian
• Interactive tasks with strong emphasis on the
development of vocabulary and speaking skills.
•Millin, S. (2012) Motivation Stations;
• Underhill, A. & Scrivener, J. (2013) Demand-High ELT;
Thornbury, S. (2010) A is for Authenticity;
• Lewis, M. (1997) Chapter 9, Language Content IN Implementing the Lexical
• Thornbury, S. (2002) Chapter 6, How to put words to work IN How to Teach
• Hancock, M. (2012) Using Pictures in ELT;
• Vangel, J. (2013) Teaching Intermediate Learners
• Harmer, J. (2012) Essential Teacher Knowledge, Pearson
• Nunas, D (1991) Language Teaching Methodology, Prentice Hall.