2013 Macmillan Webinars…join now!

macmillan-offices-londonWatch live talks starting in February, 2013  from some of the biggest names in English language teaching, right in your web browser, then put your questions directly to the presenters. All webinars are free to join – all you require is an internet connection and a computer.

You can also view the archive of past webinars, which are well worth watching.


Arabic and errors in English

arabicWhy do Arabic students make errors in English?

The Case of Invisible Vowels explains how Arabic speakers read English words and tend to rely too heavily on consonants.

Learning a bit about a learner’s language can go a long way in understanding why errors are being made and how they can be corrected. Teachers who have taught Arabic students how to write in English may see what’s going on here.



Most Common English Errors for Arabic Speaking People
Based on the article by Gregg Miller

The Arabic writing system has little in common with English.

Arabic and English are two very different languages, and this can cause a host of problems for native Arabic speakers trying to learn English. There are few cognates or shared vocabulary, and the writing systems not only use different alphabets, but are written and read in opposite directions. Furthermore, Arabic is a consonant-heavy language where vowels are often omitted in the written form, and this makes Arabic students frequently exchange or reassign vowels in English words.


Like Spanish, the Arabic language places the adjective after the noun it describes. This leads to common oral and written mistakes, such as “The cat white” or “The house small.”


Including diphthongs, English has 22 vowel sounds compared to the eight found in Arabic. To the untrained ear, many of these sound similar, and native Arabic speakers often misunderstand or misuse vowels. Since Arabic speakers new to English cannot discern these subtle differences, “bet” can become “bat” or “ball” may be heard as “bell.”

There is no stress on parts of speech in Arabic. All words are spoken in a regular manner with no emphasis. This rarely leads to misunderstandings when learning English but can cause many pronunciation problems. Without the proper stress on individual syllables, every word sounds monotone and contrived.

Arabic is written right to left and frequently omits vowels, depending on consonant patterns and context, to transfer meaning. Punctuation rules are fairly lax compared to English, and there are no upper or lower cases in Arabic. Many Arabic students try to transfer these language behaviors to their English writing. These factors can lead to a great deal of difficulty for native Arabic speakers learning to read and write English.


A Short History of ELT

englishThis talk provides an informative overview of ELT history which counteracts some common myths and raises issues for critical reflection. The following questions are considered:

How can ELT be defined?
When did it begin?
What predated it?
What people, institutions, ideas and practices have made up ELT?
What has changed, and what has not changed in ELT methodology?
Dr Richard Smith is an Associate Professor at the University of Warwick. He is a leading authority on the 19th-20th century history of language teaching and is the founder and director of the ELT Archive. Richard also has particular interests in learner/teacher autonomy; teaching in ‘difficult circumstances’; and engaging and supporting teachers in/with ELT research.



SMRT Curriculum: Theory and Practice

Screen Shot 2012-12-27 at 8.36.54 AM

The landscape of ESL teaching has changed dramatically over the past 5 years or so, and CCEL is in the forefront of this exciting change in the way students are learning.

The following document will clearly lay out the theoretical foundations of the Smrt curriculum, discussing elements of classroom teaching and the rationale of mixing traditional teacher-student instruction with a technologically blended form of classroom learning.

Smrt Curriculum: Theory and Practice

Social Networking and ELT

social mediaSocial networking helps students get more English practice, make English-speaking friends, and find better jobs in the future. But is there any evidence that social networking improves the learning process? Yes! Research indicates that social networking provides five key benefits to ELT learners such as building more meaningful communities and personalizing the learning process.

This session provides an overview of the research and suggests practical ways instructors can incorporate social media lessons into their teaching.


A beginner’s guide to mobile learning in ELT: Amy Lightfoot

In this practical seminar Amy Lightfoot explores the current opportunities for learning English using mobile phones both in and out of the classroom. She debates the pros and cons of this medium and looks at a variety of content that is currently available. She shares her experiences of creating some of this content, and discusses the early outcomes of these projects. Amy also considers the educational implications of widespread mobile phone availability, particularly in developing countries.