TEFL Newsletter – March



– or the other way round. Such are the vagaries of the British weather that both versions of the saying are valid.

Whatever the weather, here’s a quiz to activate the brain cells on the theme of “lion” and “lamb”.

  1. Who was nick-named the Lion of Vienna?
  2. Which Lamb played cricket for Northamptonshire and England?
  3. Name the Christian who does not get devoured by a lion in a G.B. Shaw play?
  4. What is the eleventh letter of the Greek alphabet?
  5. What is the name of the lion in “The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe”?
  6. What is also known as corn salad?
  7. Which culinary lion is known as “pis en lit” in French?
  8. Who wrote the novel “Michael Lamb”?
  9. What is the group name for lions?
  10. Name the London residence of the Archbishop of Canterbury since 1197


In an age when we are constantly confronted with background sounds like the inane irritating musak in departmental stores and restaurants, not to mention the lollipop classics while we hold the line in a telephone queue with the constant reminder (recorded) that our custom is important to the faceless organization, may I suggest a listening exercise that requires concentration but promises reward rather than demanding patience and accelerating hair loss.

Principally with non-native speakers in mind, try listening to a conversation for a pre-specified period of time, noting any numbers, personal names, dates, geographical features inter alia on a rotational basis.

For example in a ten-minute listen you might listen out for numbers in the first two minutes before allowing the same amount of time to the other above-mentioned categories. Radio is the ideal medium as your concentration is clearly focussed on what you hear.

Once the session is up, you can check your notes and refer appropriately for correct spelling and pronunciation.

The list of possibilities is endless and could encompass every part of speech.

On your marks, get set, listen!


Every picture tells a story, so they say. A favourite teaching activity of mine to promote deductive skills among more advanced students is to present them with photographs extracted from newspapers and magazines for oral pair work.

Such photographs are often accompanied by explanatory text, but the students are given only the visuals which they are then asked to contextualize: rather than simply describing what they see, I encourage them to imagine the circumstances leading up the still, any likely dialogue and any possible consequence.

The flat picture soon comes alive and gives rise to not only prima facie descriptive language but also practice in modals of deduction and speculation.

Students could supply a suitable dialogue if the picture is appropriate in that respect or comment on the significance of the shot in abstract or evaluative terms, explaining its ethical, environmental, emotional or even philosophical import to name but a few possibilities.

A plenary session in preparation with suitable teacher prompts could get the ball rolling before learners are given free reign to the powers of their imagination.

Ken Milgate
Chief Examiner

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