Reading Comprehension and Prior Knowledge

One of the things I always think about when I introduce a new reading to a class is a reader’s background or “schematic” knowledge about a particular topic.  Although two articles might look similar in terms of vocabulary difficulty, sentence length, and sentence-level grammar structure, the fact is that learners will find an article in […]

Prediction and Main Idea Reading Skills

Answering prediction and main idea questions on English tests isn’t easy but with some help from this article, it can be made easier.  Here are some tips on getting better at these essential reading skills. Quite often, my students can nail the detail questions on a standard English reading comprehension quiz or test but they have trouble seeing the bigger […]

Food Reading Comprehension Lessons

There’s something about learning about food that students just seem to love.  Many of our long-time most popular posts are about food.  When we first started dreamreader.net, Neil and I wrote and uploaded an beginner academic article about “Fish & Chips“.  It was a very simple lesson with a few facts meant to help reading comprehension […]

On Being a Good Teacher

I recently got an e-mail from one of my former students.  He’s training to be a teacher and is about to walk into his first classroom next week.  He sent me an e-mail asking for teaching advice.  I was searching for something to say that would help him and I realized that just having a […]

Assessing Classroom Participation

Today, I want to reveal my thoughts on assessing classroom participation, the topic of a #keltchat way back in May. Looking at the rubric provided prior to the chat, I was pleasantly surprised that I agreed with most of it.  Let’s break it down a bit and see how it would apply to my own […]

Learner Beliefs about Coursebooks

A recent #keltchat discussion got me thinking about how coursebooks fit into teacher and learner beliefs and expectations.  I realized that I had a story to tell that illustrates the differences that can exist here and how I reacted to them. About six years ago, I picked up a part-time gig working as an online English teacher for […]

Introverts as Language Teachers

A while back, there was an #eltchat about whether or not introverts could make good language teachers.  I have to admit that I am one of these people they were talking about.  Given the choice between a smashing good party on a Friday night versus a good book, I will take the book pretty much […]

Catharsis and Teaching

I recently read Micheal Griffin’s great blog post called “Talking about Talking about Teaching (Volume I)” and he posed some really interesting questions in his article.  One of the questions he asked was “Is complaining about teaching ever cathartic or helpful?”  I’d like to chime in here and add my own thoughts.  First off, I […]

Misconceptions about Learning & Teaching

I just read Ljiljana Havran’s great blog post on student misconceptions about learning and teaching over on her excellent blog and I thought I would share my own struggles in this area.  If you haven’t read Ljiljana’s post, please do so first. Go ahead – I’ll wait here. Finished?  Okay, here are the similar and divergent points […]

Helping Students With English Study

As a teacher, I must often think about the central question of how to help my students with their English study efforts. Many of my students recognize that they need to work hard outside of the classroom to improve their overall English ability.  The question of “what to do” then becomes central in their minds […]