Benjamin Zephaniah, outspoken word artist

Be nice to your turkey this Christmas Benjamin Zepahaniah (1958-2023), British Carribean dub poet, actor, recipient of no fewer than 16 honorary doctorates, professor of poetry and creative writing, left us yesterday. Already gone. But his work lives on. He encouraged people to read and he made people listen. He has always provoked surprise and […]

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Au commencement était le verbe

Et le verbe était irrégulier Oui, au commencement était le verbe. Et dans mon cas personnel, le verbe était anglophone. Les adultes nous reprenaient s’ils nous entendaient dire ou nous voyaient écrire I done it au lieu de I did it, mais c’était pour nous obliger à bien parler, à bien écrire. Tout au long […]

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Saying it in your own words

Intralingual translation – Students vs Chat GBT When we think of translation in language teaching, it is typically interlingual translation; that is to say, translation between students’ mother tongue and the foreign language they are learning. In France, where I teach English, this sort of translation is rarely used in a language lesson apart from […]

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Smoke Signals in the classroom

Learning how to begin a story When we start a story, we send out a signal to indicate our presence, get people’s attention, and invite them to connect to something different which is about to start. Once upon a time – or its equivalent – is a widely accepted signal for starting a story. But a […]

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Slow down, teacher, enjoy the journey

Learning to accept being the focus of attention The posts in this section of the blog are about The Subjective Classroom. Students and observers have often said that they find me calm as a teacher. If this is true, then it was by no means a given. I recently ran a short public speaking workshop […]

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We all know stories

Close encounter with classroom storytelling We all know stories. But how can they come into classroom learning? When I first fell into teaching English as a Foreign Language (EFL) in 1981, John Morgan and Mario Rinvolucri were already developing their ideas on the use of storytelling for the language classroom. A chance encounter with Mario […]

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Look and say

Is reading a public or a private experience? My parents had a very personal definition of story which covered things that had happened to them or people they knew. These were generally exchanged orally at mealtimes. However, they didn’t read stories to us or tell us stories for children.  I suspect that maybe this was […]

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So what is the Subjective Classroom?

I have been working as a teacher of English as a foreign language all my working life, mostly in France. Starting out in 1981 with adult education, I taught English to people in industry and all my students were older than me. Then, in 1986, I started to mix that with higher education in engineering […]

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