Rolf Palmberg’s tools for language teachers

Rolf Palmberg, long-time friend and mentor, always has a lot of useful hands-on teaching tools and ideas in his toolbox, and even though he has retired now from his post as a teacher of EFL methodology at Åbo Akademi University, his website is always worth a visit. He has done loads of presentations at conferences all over the world and is an expert at coming up with practical  ideas for the language classroom regarding Gardner’s multiple intelligences. Complicated verbal riddles with a subtle tinge of humour are his speciality.

His interests and passions include mathematics and geographic “oddities”, like enclaves and such – but many of his ideas here work in the language classroom as well. Go visit and get inspired!

This link might not be the most up-to-date (last updated in December 2012) but is a well of practical, versatile tools: – especially the links to worksheet generators get me going!

And don’t forget to take up on his offer of free downloads!

Blended learning

blended learning defAttended a great webinar again today, this time with Andrew Wickham on “Teachers Teaching Online” at He has a long history of working with e-learning and subsequently blended learning. His presentation made a succinct distinction between the two, something I had previously had no idea about. I’m almost ashamed now of having used the wrong term so many times – difficult this with language changing all the time and all the effort and time you need to invest just to keep uptodate with the terminology. Even a few years make a whole lot of difference  when it comes to language; something that was positive yesterday might be totally out today. People keep complaining about the ever changing fashion industry, but this accelerating speed of change has really affected everything in our lives now.

But, as I said, it was a great presentation and I’m so happy I decided to join. In spite of the linguistic shame that I personally felt, I do feel inspired to continue on the road I’ve chosen and also got a lot of my teaching principles confirmed. So, thank you again, Andrew!

Namnlöst-16Here are Andrew’s links for resources to explore for anyone interested in testing blended learning with their classes:





twitter.jpgEven though I’ve been registered on Twitter since 2012, I haven’t really used it much. I suppose I didn’t find I had the time or the energy to actually learn how to get the most out of it, since I was so busy creating my own digital teaching material for all my classes. This summer, however, I started off the holidays right away by trying to get a serious hang of it. Basically, I landed straight on an IATEFL webinar with Jill Hadfield talking about internal and external motivations in L2 learners, and I was hooked. First of all, Jill Hadfield is kind of a hero to me ever since I was introduced to her  Communication Games in my own teacher training a hundred years ago. Secondly, I was astonished to find that there were all kinds of first-class webinars out there absolutely free of charge! I loved the format – I could attend from home, didn’t have to dress up or anything, could have a cup of coffee or something to eat whenever I wanted, and the interactivity factor was a lot bigger here than at a regular IRL seminar at any of all the conferences I have attended around the world (and they were NOT free!) And lastly, I’ve learnt a LOT! Thank you, guys!

That was the start for my webinar  frenzy during June. There were lots of webinars and lots of really knowledgeable, experienced people presenting, people I had known nothing about previously. To my shame I had to ralize that I had lived in a bubble until then, filled with my own ideas and ways to make those ideas happen in class. Okay, yes, most of the time I had been successful, even to a surprising extent if one can go after students’ course evaluations. They learned in new ways, and they were actually surprised to find that learning this way was actually fun. And that’s a lot, coming from teenagers ranging from 13 to 19 years of age.

But here were a lot of people that also found technology to be an extremely useful medium for learning, and they had all found their own ways, too – even though their journeys were different from mine. And I started to follow them on Twitter and found new webinars and new people and new organizations that were there to assist ELT teachers like myself. But they all had something I did not – a blog or a homepage. And again I realized that if I really wanted to play in the same league and actually contribute something myself and give back to them, I needed to have that too. And here I am.

For those of you who haven’t been bitten by the Twitter or webinar bug yet; here is a list of all the webinars and conferences I attended during my June+ vacation, including the  presenters (all great and really worth following on Twitter) and the organizations behind.

May 2014

31st – Jill Hadfield – ‘Motivation, Imagination and L2 Identity’ ;

June 2014

14th –  2nd Web Conference: IATEFL LTSIG & TESOL CALL-IS – Gaming and Gamification – a Win-win for Language Learning

Vance Stevens & Ellen Dougherty/Nicky Hockley & Elizabeth Hanson-Smith: Welcome Address

Karenne Sylvester, UK – Honey Coated Peas vs Chocolate Covered Broccoli, Part 2

Jeff Kuhn: The World is Not Enough: The Need for Game Design

Dawn Bikowski: Training Teachers to Think in Games

Graham Stanley: Gamification – Magic Bullet or Broken Sword?

Paul Driver: “Pay no attention to that man behind the curtain”: Gaming the System with Mary Poppins and Mr T

Julie Sykes: Out in the World: Place-based, augmented reality games and language learning

Closing Panel Discussion

16th – Teachers Teaching Online – Intro;

16th – Teachers Teaching Online – Shelly Terrell: Virtual Makeover;

17th – Teachers Teaching Online – Nik Peachey: Getting the Most Out of Online Video Resources;

19th – Teachers Teaching Online –Vicki Hollett: Every Teacher a Video Maker;

21st – Teachers Teaching Online – Jack Askew: The Successful Online Teacher;

21st – Lindsay Clandfield: What’s hot and what’s not in coursebooks;

22nd – Madeleine du Vivier – ‘How to write an effective IATEFL conference proposal’ ;

23rd – Teachers Teaching Online – Heike Philp: How Do I Find Online Students;

23rd – Russell Stannard: Flipping your classesLandesinstitut für Pädagogik und Medien

24th – Teachers Teaching Online – Vicky Loras: Across Time and Space;

25th – Teachers Teaching Online – Barbara Sakamoto & Chuck Sandy: Building a Community of Leaders;

25th – Teachers Teaching Online – Rich Kiker: Google for Productivity in Online Learning;

25th – Teachers Teaching Online – David Deubelbeiss: Blended Learning – Woven Curriculum Design;

26th – John Hughes:  Critical thinking skills in Business

26th – Different approaches to teaching language – PPP to TBL;

26th – Teachers Teaching Online – Sylvia Guinan: Managing Group Dynamics;

28th – Teachers Teaching Online – Jack Askew: Getting Students;

30th – Teachers Teaching Online – Graham Stanley: Engaging Online Learners;

30th – Edmund Dudley: Approaches to Culture with 21st Century Teens;

July 2014

1st – Teachers Teaching Online – Marisa Constantinides: Essentials for Teachers New to Online Teaching;

1st – Teachers Teaching Online – Jason R. Levine: Getting to Know the Virtual Classroom in WizIQ;

3rd – Teachers Teaching Online – Dr. Nellie Deutsch: Leading from the Inside Out;



Starting out

I’ve been thinking of starting writing a blog for a few years now, but never really got down to it. Well, now I have and this will be sort of a record of my thoughts and my ideas on teaching (and learning) a language.
Some of it, quite a lot actually, will be about CALL, ie. computer-assisted language learning, online as well as offline. However, there will be posts on communicative language learning, blended learning and ideas for the traditional classroom, too.