Thankfully this year was a good one for olives and we were delighted to have a bumper crop in November.
We picked each olive by hand over 5 solid days and the result was approximately 255 kilos, which was then converted at the local olive mill to about 55 litres of lovely 100% extra virgin olive oil.
The picking was an enjoyable experience, surrounded by nature and peace and quiet. In some areas it was a bit tricky to get at the branches as seen in the image below and I had to be very careful indeed not to fall!
Pouring the lovely 'liquid gold' from the olive mill containers below......
... into our own container, was a magical moment!
Then it was time for clearing all the olive tree prunings and adding them to the bonfire!
In 2018 the Lake School of English will proudly be celebrating its 40th year as a hugely successful English language school in Oxford. This is an enormous achievement, and a glowing testimony to the two dedicated directors, Carmel and Susan, and each and every single member of the hardworking members of staff.
In recognition of this incredible landmark number of years, there is currently a special promotional offer for earlybird bookings!
Link to Lake School page with more details of this special limited offer is here
Also, for the recent British Council Inspection in August 2017, the school achieved 14 points of strength out of a possible total of 15. Again this is great cause for celebration and congratulations.
Below a screenshot of the Instagram page with news of the outstanding success:
In addition, the Lake School has been nominated yet again by the EL Gazette as one of the UK's Top 100 British Council accredited English Language Centres in 2017, and it is currently in third position.
You can read more information on the Lake School of English News page here
A personal message of congratulations was sent to the school using one of my favourite comic tools.
I am proud to be associated with the Lake School, and I wish the whole team all the very best for the future. May it continue to provide an excellent and outstanding teaching service for many more years to come!!
If you wish to read more about the school and all it has to offer the discerning EFL student / teacher, then the website offers a comprehensive overview of everything you need to know.
I had the great pleasure to teach a variety of levels ranging from AO (Complete Beginner) to B2+ (Upper Intermediate). All the learners were wonderfully receptive and I enjoyed teaching each individual class. It was also as usual, fantastic to be back in the staffroom and be an active member of the dynamic teaching team.
If you are on Facebook, you can see the many social activities that are organized by the school, and it is plain to see that all the students are happy with their studies and with the school in general.
Never Stop Learning
Not having taught in a physical classroom for a number of months, I was pleased to see that I slipped straight back in as if I had never been away. This was encouraging, and over the nine weeks I challenged myself to be creative and try out new lessons whenever possible.
Whilst in Oxford, in September, I quietly celebrated my 38th year of being an EFL teacher / Teacher Trainer. Looking back on my very first day of teachng at the Briam Institute in Madrid in 1979, I was able to reflect on how things have changed since those early days when I was a novice teacher. I guess the most important point I have learned along the way is to always strive to develop as a teacher, and to never stop learning.
I will outline some of the tools I used in my lessons. They are tried and tested ones, and I have used them time and again to create colourful visual aids to help motivate my learners.
The Joy of Teaching Teens
I taught classes mostly consisting of adult learners but also included a
lot of Under 18s. I particularly enjoyed teaching a group of Teens from Switzerland, who really kept me on my
toes and forced me to think quickly during the lessons.
I hadn't taught a specific teenager class for a little while and with a 40 year+ age difference, I asked myself this pertinent question:
'How can I motivate these lively teens and hold their interest, and how on earth can I gain an insight into their psyche and interests in a short period of time?'
Well, the lessons worked out fine and I found the learners to be very knowledgeable with a good level of English and keen to communicate. The age gap did not make any difference to how I felt about teaching them and I really enjoyed the buzz from their collective energy.
The following articles make for interesting reading:
Teaching Teenagers, English Teaching Professional, Issue 23, 2002
Teen Power, English Teaching Professional, Issue 39, July 2005
Teenagers! Motivating the teenage brain, MET, Vol 13, No 4, 2004
Motivating Teens to Use English (and not L1) in Class, ELT Chat summary, 19/01/2011
How to motivate teens to extend their speaking activities, ELT Chat summary, March 15, 2011
I have bookmarked it as essential reading for my next class of teens in the future. Thanks Tiziana!
What the class above seemed to enjoy most of all was doing Jazz Chants. This was a good way of drilling them on stress patterns in a fun way. I asked them to create their own jazz / rap chants to recycle some phrasal verbs I had taught them and then to recite them in front of the class. It helped that one of the students was a keen rapper, so he offered to keep the dialogues flowing in a rap style by beating the rhythm on the desk to keep the flow moving smoothly. They did really well on this activity and although they had protested at the beginning that they didn't really like studying phrasal verbs, it was amazing how many verbs came up in their rap chants and all were used in a great context. I wish I had recorded a few of them!
The Wonderful World of Word Clouds
I used word clouds very often in my lessons for recycling / revision purposes, as lesson summaries and as vocabulary pre-teaching.
Below a selection of lesson ideas using WordArt
A summary of one of my classes. The umbrella shape was chosen because it had rained during some of the lessons and I had asked the students if they had all brought their brollies with them!
Here is a summary of the Green Room class I taught. The bike represents my cycling to work every day! The cloud shows what topics we covered in one of the weeks and some adjectives about the group, who were receptive and hardworking!!
Below a summary of a 1-1 lesson, where we had a cup of tea whilst discussing a wide variety of social topics around the world...
Below a smiley word cloud to recycle phrasal verbs with 'OFF' particle:
Below a word cloud used with my AO class to review family vocabulary relevant to them:
Reviewing some classroom language with this Beginner group:
I asked B2 students to create a dialogue / short story using some of these verbs in the cloud as prompts:
In the example word cloud below, you can see some informal English expressions which were included in a lesson from OK 4 book. I simply added them into a word cloud and used it for revision and recycling purposes. The students were given a copy to refer to.
The general feedback I received was that learners liked the word clouds very much as
it / they helped them to remember the expressions in a memorable and visual
Using Comics to Motivate Learners
I love using comics in my classes as they can be powerful learning tools for learners. My scoop it site contains many links to comic creation sites and information on how comics can be used in a challenging, creative, and pedagogical manner:
Here is a comic I created a while back and I always use it when presenting phrasal verbs.
Asking questions about the weekend using informal expressions:
Some sentences my students created with 'OFF' phrasal verbs transfered into comic form:
Mind Mapping Introduction!
I used Popplet mind map to create a simple introduction to myself, and students had to ask me questions to find out more information. They were then invited to do the same.
I used this tool for revision and recycling of colloquial expressions with one of my groups. I invited members of the class to go to the computer and then the rest of the class had to help them complete the tasks.
This was great fun and the students were invited to create their own flashcard sets if they wanted to.
The time spent teaching face to face during the summer months went by too quickly. Teaching is in my blood, and I guess it is one of the most satisfying jobs one can ever do. Of course it all depends on the students, the staff, and the working environment.
All three aspects and many otherswere absolutely .........
Another post about the Lake School will be written soon. I will include a mention of a very special landmark event for the school in 2018!!
Janet's Abruzzo Edublog is now officially 9 years old! My very first post was on November 8th 2008. It was a short and simple introduction. I remember feeling a bit nervous yet at the same time, very excited about taking such an enormous step in publishing to the world for the first time.
Back in those days I was a technophobe and did not possess much confidence in using the web. That all changed when I took an informative and excellent course on Blogs with The Consultants-e. I had a knowledgeable, friendly and sympathetic tutor, and my coursemates were all in the same boat as me. This was a huge confidence booster and I loved every moment of the course. It opened up new possibilities and awakened a passion for writing which had long been dormant.
I clearly remember pressing the 'Post' button on that life-changing day on 8th November 2008 and the feeling of exhilaration when the deed was done. It was a definite 'Feel the fear and do it anyway' kind of moment, and I have no regrets!
Thanks so much to my blog readers and for all the comments thoughout the years which have encouraged me to keep going. I have learned so much from everyone!
A special mention goes to my dear friend and fellow blogger Natasa, who left me a message on my previous post. That has inspired me to write this post today, so I would like to say a personal thanks to you!! I hope we both carry on blogging for many years to come!
.........since I last posted, and I am now going to set thngs right, before even more time passes.
The honest reason for my recent lack of posts is that I simply lost 'the flow'. I have discovered over the years that writing blog posts is a special art form and you need to be creative and be in the right frame of mind.
I have decided to reignite this lost 'flow' by planning to write 5 special posts, over the coming weeks, on topics which have inspired me recently.
Summer school teaching at the Lake School of English, Oxford
Lake School of English successful BC Inspection result, and 40th Anniversary in 2018
It's been a long time since my last posting but now is the time to begin again. It is the IATEFL conference in Glasgow this year and it starts on April 3 and runs until April 7.
It's going to be an action-packed event with guest speakers from around the world. Sadly I won't be in Glasgow in person this year, but I hope to catch a few of the sessions online from the comfort of my own home.
On each day of the conference you will be able to watch live coverage from 09:00 to 17:00 GMT.
Live coverage starts on April 3. More information on how to view the event here: