Considerations for Adapting Materials to Meet Learner Needs

When adapting materials for language learners, teachers must consider a number of factors in order to offer an effective and relevant activity. First, teachers must think about the chosen material in relation to the target skill of the lesson, the class environment and size, the language level of learners, and the ages of the learners. Following that, teachers must look closely at the material itself in order to identify what adaptations are possible; these adaptations need to be considered in terms of the sub-skills targeted, such as vocabulary, grammatical components, structure and design, and idiomatic expressions.

Building Autonomy and Independence in Young Learners

Teaching young learners (YLs) can be very enjoyable because they like learning through fun, hands-on activities, games, and songs. However, managing the classroom and keeping young children engaged can also be a challenge. Giving YLs choices and opportunities to contribute their ideas can have very positive effects on behavior and the overall classroom community. In this month’s Teacher’s Corner, we will share ideas about how educators can develop autonomy and independence in young learners.

Extra Work or Work Extra: Five Steps for Studying Vocabulary

An instructor shares a plan for extra study that helped struggling students learn vocabulary. Students selected five words from each unit of their class text. A sample of words from the text “Raise the Issues” and reasons for choosing them are included. The five steps used to learn the words were learning pronunciation, recognizing other word forms, using the dictionary, reading the word in context, and using the word in context. Scaffolding for writing with the word is provided. This method was more successful and more popular than extra quizzes for low-achieving students.

Embracing the Growth Mindset in the Classroom

The author explains the growth mindset and provides a detailed explanation of how English instructors in almost any context can introduce and incorporate the mindset in their teaching.

Coming to Grips with Progress Testing: Some Guidelines for Its Design

Progress testing is often neglected in communicative language teaching; yet it has a crucial role. This article, originally published in 1995, offers a rationale for testing and presents guidelines for designing appropriate tests.

What Happened to Listening? Practical Tips for Increasing Listening Time in Your Classroom

As teachers we often think we are doing listening tasks when we are not. This webinar explores why listening sometimes gets short shrift in English classes and provides tips for bringing fun, low-preparation listening tasks to your lessons.

On Native Language Intrusions and Making Do with Words: Linguistically Homogeneous Classrooms and Native Language Use

Should L1 use be avoided in an EFL context, where classrooms tend to be linguistically homogeneous and where students have little opportunity to use English outside the classroom? This article reviews research on native language use in the classroom, how it is used (or not used), and the effects. It addresses topics such as impact on learning, teacher guilt, “covert use,” affective and processing benefits, validating the students’ own language, and solidarity with the instructor. The author concludes that a trend toward what Atkinson calls “judicious use” is reasonable.

Purposeful Language Assessment: Selecting the Right Alternative Test

This article, originally published in 2000, looks at various instruments, procedures, and practices for language testing and offers strategies for determining which assessment options are most appropriate in various contexts.

Tips for Reading Extensively

This article describes how instructors can help their students benefit from extensive reading. Ten tips cover the basic guidelines of extensive reading. Extensive reading can improve learners’ fluency, confidence, and motivation in addition to expanding vocabulary and increasing reading speed. Students should read for overall comprehension and avoid turning to dictionaries with each new word. Modeling extensive reading and reading aloud with enthusiasm may also encourage student interest.

Twenty Common Testing Mistakes for EFL Teachers to Avoid

This article, originally published in 1982, is designed to help EFL teachers prepare effective selection, diagnostic, and evaluation instruments by avoiding common testing mistakes. Such mistakes are discussed under the categories of general examination characteristics, item characteristics, test-validity concerns, and administrative and scoring issues.

Twitter for Educators

Twitter is an incredible resource for English language educators. This month in Teacher’s Corner, we look at how to use Twitter to share ideas, find resources, and connect with other educators and language learners around the world. For those who are new to Twitter, we share how you can get started.

Using Self-Assessment for Evaluation

This article explains the usefulness of self-assessment for learning purposes as well as evaluation purposes. The author emphasizes the ways that learners can conduct reliable, global self-assessment as well as three ways in which data-driven self-assessment can be done. The author discusses the purpose of self-assessment and provides specific instruments that can be used. The three data-driven self-assessments that are discussed include Portfolios, Pre- and Post-course writing, and Learner Contracts.

Teacher’s Corner: What is a MOOC?

This month’s Teacher’s Corner looks at MOOCs. MOOCs make excellent resources for educators, both as a means of improving their own knowledge and teaching skills and as content they can use in their teaching.

Spoken Grammar and Its Role in the English Language Classroom

Spoken grammar has an important role in communicative English language teaching, and teachers who understand how to teach it can improve their students’ fluency. This article defines six features of spoken grammar and discusses related pedagogical issues. Activities and worksheets are provided to guide teachers in developing their students’ ability to communicate effectively in English.


This month we will examine four types of technology that can help achieve classroom goals. All of the tools examined this month are free to use and distribute. This means they can be installed on personal computers as well as classroom computers or, in the case of websites, contain resources that are free to use.