Category Archives: Reblogs

Real Beauty? Free downloadable lesson

Real Beauty? Free downloadable lesson.

Nowadays, Dove’s advertisement – Dove Really Beauty Sketches– is very popular. The video shows  differences between how women view themselves and how others see them. Every time I check my facebook account,  this recent advertisement appears  on my newsfeed shared by my students and friends.

Having realized its popularity, I started to think how this video could be used in the classroom. As videos are meta materials -empty’ pedagogical procedures, teachers can decide on different activities depending on the level of the students.  This video  could be used while describing people or  teaching adjectives related to physical appearance. For low-level students, more simple words and adjectives like thin,fat, long,short ,blonde/straight/curly hair can be taught. On the other hand, the video is a valuable source to teach more upper level classes as there are a lot of advanced vocabulary in it. For example, When describing people collocations like prominent jaw/cheekbones, spiky hair, a heart-shaped face were used.

Rachael Roberts, a teacher, teacher trainer and materials writer, created an amazing lesson regarding this video. Her lesson starts  by focusing on collocations to describe facial features, such as thick hair, full lips and so on. Students then watch the video and discuss some of the issues raised, including self -esteem, the role of the media,and differences between men and women. More language to describe physical appearance is ‘pulled out’ of the video, and the lesson ends with students writing detailed descriptions of themselves. (

Brilliant lesson Rachael Roberts created – elt-resourceful-real-beauty

I think  we don’t need to stick to a coursebook during the lesson. We can have  effective lessons with videos  if we apply appropriate activities to them.  At the university where I worked, we had to use coursebooks to standardize the education and  the duration of each lesson was 90 minutes which  could be considered as quite long.  In such cases, if we keep teaching  through the same material, it can be a coursebook or video, learners  will probably lose their attention. That’s why,  mixing things up can be a  good way to engage the  learners.


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Catherine Walter on the #ELTJ Debate at #IATEFL Liverpool

Oxford University Press

Catherine WalterThe ELT Journal debate at IATEFL Liverpool was a lively and well-attended affair. Thanks to the British Council, you can see the whole event online on the IATEFL Liverpool website. Here, Catherine Walter, who opposed the motion, gives her round up of the debate.

Scott Thornbury claimed that Published course materials don’t reflect the lives or needs of learners. Surprisingly, he did not repeat what he’s been saying for years in his Dogme / Teaching Unplugged strand – that teachers should not bother with course materials. Instead, he started from the weaker premise that course materials need improvement. Scott began by showing images of early twentieth-century books – hardly germane to the discussion, as if the nutritional value of deep-fried Mars Bars gave a picture of the contemporary diet. He maintained that there is a prevalence of employed, white, heterosexual male middle class characters in current materials. This doesn’t…

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R is for Representation

An A-Z of ELT

In the debate sponsored by the ELT Journal at this week’s IATEFL Conference in Liverpool, I proposed the motion that published course materials do not reflect the lives nor the needs of the learners.

To challenge some of the assumptions inherent in much published teaching material, I used this mock-up of a coursebook page (see below). It wouldn’t have been ethical, or even legal, to have shown, and then criticized, pages from current coursebooks, but I think you’ll agree that the replica is a plausible one.  I used this to argue that the choices, both of images (more often than not taken from the same kinds of photo archives as the images used in advertising) and of the text accompanying the images, serve to ‘position’ the user to assume a certain kind of identity with respect to the language that they are learning.page1

The physically-attractive, ethnically-mixed, well-dressed and youthful characters…

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