Tuesday 30 April
1800 - 2030 | British Council, 10 Spring Gardens, SW1A 2BN, London, UK
Spelling myths and enchantments
Everybody seems to have something to say about English spelling ... or the teaching of it. But how
much of that talk is really true? And how much of it provides practical solutions to the problems of
people who struggle with spelling? Not much, unfortunately! In this seminar we will explore some
common myths about our spelling and how learners can improve – even those who are really
battling with it. For example, is English spelling really chaotic, and if not how can we understand the
complexity of it? Should teachers teach rules, or is there a better way? How can spelling be practised
without actually planting the seed of doubt – making people more confused than they were before
they started? What’s the relationship between teaching and testing spelling and are teachers always
sure which of those they’re doing? Is technology really the work of the devil when it comes to
spelling? How can it be turned into a valuable learning tool?
Many of the prevalent myths about spelling actually create barriers to learning it. But rather than just
exploding the myths we have to build something to replace them, so spelling doesn’t just get
ignored in our classrooms and tutted over in the outside world. I will be showing you some multi-
sensory activities that teachers can use with learners of all ages, parents can use with children, and
anyone can use to help themselves. You may think only a miracle would improve the spelling of
some of your students. Well, try these enchantments first!
A socio-cultural approcah to teacher development and education
At a time when student-centredness has become common-place in progressive language teaching
discourses, isn’t it about time we acknowledge and provide for the teacher-centredness of
In this presentation on how teachers learn to teach, Willy Cardoso will argue that, in general,
teacher education, development and training programmes lack the theoretical foundations of what
constitutes teacher learning, mainly in its cognitive and affective elements; and that this has far
reaching implications. For example, by focusing primarily on the transmission of classroom
management and language analysis skills, we run the risk of shaping the ELT profession as that of
Henceforth for the benefit of our profession we seriously need to consider language teachers first and
foremost as educators. To do so, the presenter will propose some principles and practices that can
place the socio- cultural aspects of learning how to teach at the core of this matter.
By taking a socio- cultural approach to teacher education we are reminded that everyone has ideas
about what teaching should be like, with many implicit values and beliefs about it. Such ideas,
alongside theories that show how cognitive development is mediated by social activity, give us the
understanding that our knowledge of teaching has been co-constructed in cultural and historical ways.
One of the most powerful developmental tools for teachers is the ability to uncover what underpins
their classroom practices and even the meta-language used to describe what they do. Therefore, it is
essential that we open more educational spaces for teachers to become learners.
Who is this for?
All English Language teachers - EFL, ESOL, EAL - from newly qualified to experienced.
The general public are welcome to attend this event.
1800 – 1815 Welcome and refreshments
1815 – 1900 Spelling myths and enchantment with Johanna Stirling
1900 – 1915 Comfort break and refreshments
1915 – 2000 A socio-cultural approach to teacher development and education with Willy Cardoso
2000 – 2030 Networking reception
Every seminar is free of charge.
However places are limited.
The British Council Seminar Series takes place across the UK, including once a month in London. The seminars are intended to provoke debate and discussion on current issues in English Language teaching and can contribute to the continuing professional development of English Language teachers based in, or visiting, the United Kingdom.
Every seminar is free of charge and includes the opportunity to network with fellow ELT practitioners.
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