All posts by Setareh Dabbagh

Raising students’ awareness of the effectiveness of note-taking for vocabulary learning through testing rather than teaching 

Learning new words is a challenging aspect of language learning and the fact that there are numerous methods for vocabulary learning is itself a testimony to its difficulty.

Of all the methods and techniques that exist, I have always found it useful to keep records or take note of new vocabulary words with their English definition and then use them in one single paragraph. Some popular vocabulary books, such as 504 Essential Words and 1100 Words You Need to Know, have endorsed this method of learning vocabulary.

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How admitting my mistake helped me land my dream job! 

Teaching is a lifelong process. Ask any teachers and they will vouch for it. As a teacher, you have committed yourself to being a lifelong learner. Teachers know this and have no hesitation attesting to it, yet it’s hard for some of us to admit our mistakes to our students. That exact moment of saying “Well, I was wrong guys about this, and you were right” could be one of the least favourable moments in our professional life. The reason for this is not hidden from us. Students trust teachers and we don’t want to let them down. What’s more, what happens to our credibility? Does that mistake indicate an irresponsibility to keep ourselves updated and in check?  

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Learner’s Autonomy! Is it for all learners? 

Mark Van Doren quote: The art of teaching is the art of assisting discovery.
image source: Flickr-Venspired

As an ESL teacher with over a decade of progressive teaching experience, no notion in English language pedagogy was as mindblowing to me as the idea of learner autonomy. The way that learning and learners are seen as autonomous has always resonated highly with me; I always thought if anyone masters independent learning, they can learn almost anything with joy and efficiency. Recently, however, I’ve been thinking differently about this. Not because I am now a skeptic of this approach, but because I have been wondering if all learners want to be independent learners! Based on my recent encounters and experience at work, I now think maybe there are some learners who learn best without being independent. In this blog post, I’d like to share my own experience with this type of learner.   Continue reading

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The power of music in second language learning

Source: Ryan McGuire from Pixabay

Music, as one of the fine arts, has its own status among its fans, and the influential and contributing role of music in various areas of life is undeniable. In language learning, music has been linked to better linguistic performance and is used as a tool to enhance language learning. Recent research has shown that ”happy” background music positively influences second language learners’ accuracy and fluency. In this blog post, the effective role of music in the language learning process will be discussed from three standpoints: culture, stress, and motivation.

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Questioning as a Learning Method

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As an ESL teacher, the majority of my teaching has recently been shifted to questioning. This is mainly because I’ve been teaching university Pathway courses lately, and the role of critical thinking has been the highlight of these lesson plans. In order to help my students become better critical thinkers, I need to ask critical questions. And that’s why I believe we should create the culture and context before asking critical questions, to ensure learner engagement as well as academic excellence.

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Moving backwards!

Paradoxical direction arrow
Source: Pixabay.com

It is clear that one of the goals of ESL students is to improve their listening comprehension skills. This goal might turn into a concern however, when they are preparing for an English proficiency test like IELTS, where achieving a certain score could be life-changing. This has led IELTS instructors and tutors to come up with multiple techniques and tips to help their students. In this blog post, I am going to share a technique that I personally developed and applied in my IELTS class, and discuss how it was viewed by my students.

I call this technique “moving backwards,” and my hope is that it will help my students to improve their listening skills while doing an IELTS listening practice test.

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Personal Learning Styles and Reading Skills

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In this blog post, I’d like to point out the importance of taking learners’ personal learning styles into account when they are asked to do a reading task. This idea is interesting for me personally because I think not all the techniques and strategies which exist to help us do a particular task can work for all in the same way.

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Observation is a new Reflection!

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For all ESL teachers, observing other teachers and being observed are not uncommon parts of the job, especially for those who are at the early stages of teaching. Many novice and inexperienced teachers wouldn’t mind it; on the contrary, they appreciate the opportunity to observe more seasoned teachers.

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My Transformational Journey as Interlanguage

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Hello everyone! My name is Interlanguage and I’m here to share my transformational journey with you! A journey which was supposed to take me to my dreamland of Second Language! Instead, this journey made me an excellent version of myself!

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Speaking English like a native speaker or an expert user?

Image by Naassom Azevedo from Pixabay

According to IELTS Cambridge books, an expert user of English is someone who has fully operational command of the language: appropriate, accurate, and fluent with complete understanding. This user gets the score of 9 in the IELTS speaking test which is the highest score in this English proficiency exam.

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