Johanna Stirling's English Language Garden for teachers and learners of English as a foreign language

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Articles written by Johanna Stirling

I have written various reports and articles that you can read here.  They all contain many practical ideas that you can use in your teaching, as well as issues you can relate to your own situation.

Portable Electronic Dictionaries seem to be here to stay! This article describes reactions of teachers and students to them,  a close examination of some and practical techniques and advice for using them to enhance rather than interfere with the learning process.

Remedial Spelling in EFL 

This report will focus on the difficulties that some of our students experience with spelling, particularly those whose general language level markedly exceeds that of their writing.  As this often applies to Arabic students, we will also explore their specific problems.  The report sets out detailed recommendations for the teaching of spelling in various situations to all nationalities
If only students could use all the vocabulary that we taught them!  This paper attempts to explore ways in which we can encourage our students to systematically and effectively record lexis that we have taught them in class. Then it asks how we can help learners to transfer this record into their long-term memories so that each item is added to the repertoire of words and phrases that they can understand and, when necessary, use. There will be a description of a system of keeping a class record of vocabulary and ideas for activating this.  We will also note some recent research and theory that supports suggested methods.
This paper explores the value of homework from both the teacher’s and students’ point of view.  We will ask if homework is a useful part of our students’ English training and if so, how we can deal with it most effectively.  We need to consider the amount and different types of homework that we give and what preparation students need in class before they tackle tasks at home.  Then we will move on to think about how students actually do their homework and whether this matters.  Then there is the thorny question of marking – who does it, how and what students do with work that has been marked.  

The Vocabox

Activities for developing and activating vocabulary in the English classroom

How much vocabulary did your students learn yesterday?  How many words and phrases can they remember that you taught them last week?  Last month?  We may teach lexis very clearly, comprehensively and competently in the classroom, but how can we ensure that what goes into students’ notebooks gets into their long-term memories?  This article sets out some very practical ways to do this.   It does not focus on how we teach the lexis but on how we help students to actually learn it.  All the activities are very low-tech, suitable for different levels and require a minimum of preparation by the teacher.  They have all been tried and tested and they work!  Students do manage to incorporate the lexis taught into their repertoire for productive use and they enjoy it. 

Of course you are very welcome to take seeds or cuttings from my garden but please don't steal or genetically modify my plants!  In other words, please feel free to use anything from my articles but please acknowledge fully.






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The English Language Garden by Johanna Stirling is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Non-Commercial-No Derivative Works 2.0 UK: England & Wales License.