Monthly Archives: August 2013

The circle board game


This is a little game I learnt from Warwick Isaacs when I did my CELTA training at the Campbell Institute, Wellington NZ. It’s great for revising any kind of vocabulary and all you need is a couple of different coloured pens and a whiteboard or paperboard.

How it works

1. To set up the game, you will need to write all the vocabulary you want revised, scattered around the board, (see my number revision above). This should be in one colour.

2. Get two students up the front and give them each a different coloured pen, (for example one will have a blue pen and one will have a red pen).

3. Explain how the game works. The objective of each student will be to circle the most vocabulary items. The teacher’s job will be to call out the vocabulary the students need to circle. For numbers, I simply read a number off the board. For other vocabulary, you could give a definition or tell them what the opposite of the word is. This is great for checking comprehension. If you’d like to make it more challenging, you could ask another student to make the definitions. If you have a larger group it could be a good idea to create to teams and switch students around.

I hope you find this one as useful as I do. Happy teaching!photo



TwitterMy new twitter account

The slow Dijon summer has left me some time to create my new twitter account. If you’d like to get my updates, there’s a link on the right-hand side.

Post-holiday language learning blues: I think I’ve forgotten everything!


forget me notThree weeks ago I took a train from Dijon to meet my family who had arrived from New Zealand to come to my wedding. Nestled in my cabin, I had everything I needed to revise my Chinese; my dictionary, my textbook and my ipad with flashcards and audio. By the time I arrived in Paris I had memorized ten new characters and was smugly congratulating myself as a model student. But that was three weeks ago. It is now August and I opened my Anki flashcard application for the first time again today. Low-and-behold, most of the vocabulary that I had learnt completely escaped me. I think the next few weeks will need to be devoted to catching up.

If this is the result of only three weeks of language-learning neglect, I shudder to think about my students who have a total of twenty hours classes a year. During the long summer months I doubt they will take the time to open their books and think about business English, or even watch a film in English. In the last class of the year I always like remind students of different websites they can access to work on their grammar and vocabulary, or where they can simply read to help reduce language-loss. I usually show them the British Council Learn English site, or if they are more advanced some news sites such as CNN or The Guardian. Motivated lower-level learners can also check out ESL News New Zealand.

Best of luck to everyone going back to learning and teaching after the summer holidays, I wish you all a lot of patience and persistence!