#KELTChat Summary for March 17, 2012: Teaching our learners how to learn languages

On Sunday, March 17, 2012, marked the second round of #KELTchat. Alex Walsh was the moderator, and the participants included Alex Grevett, Michael Griffin, Anne Hendler, Daniel Craig, Josette LeBlanc, Dayle Major, and Rhett Burton. The discussion was focused on different ways teachers help learners learn languages. This is a summary of the discussion.


One teacher has begun to encourage his students to write in online journals such as Lang-8 where they can corrections and feedback from native speakers (caters to many different languages).

Blogs, Twitter, and other forms of online production can motivate students to write because of the prospect of a public audience. It is also interesting because the audience is also able to provide feedback. However, as knows, this can be a time-consuming process if the teacher has to give feedback on each individual.


Livemocha was highly recommended as a social network where language learners can test out their skills by speaking to native speakers.


“Words are known by the company they keep.”

A little help from our moderator, Alex Walsh: chunk = A lexical chunk is a group of words that are commonly found together. Lexical chunks can include collocations.

Alex Grevett teaches his students how to use Anki, a flashcard program which helps you remember things efficiently:

“I try to get therm running two databases, one of chunks and phrases and one of individual lexical items to add. I try to get them to use anki for chunks, especially constructive ones.”

The idea that some lexis is easily translatable while some requires visual stimulus such as pictures was mentioned as an important point for retention.

Rote learning was also discussed as a method for memorization; however, we were also reminded of the value of context when it comes to remembering language.


With her university students, one teacher says she encourages them to watch TV shows as a way to learn English in context. The students report on the different ways language is used by characters. Watching TV shows could be seen as a way of bridging the gap between the textbook and real life.

While watching videos, students are encouraged to listen purposefully. By being given a task (listening for expressions, pronunciation, pop culture references, or just listening for the confusing/unknown)

VLC media player is a great tool for slowing down the dialogue for any video.


Since students in Korea have often been taught to translate text into Korean, one teacher proposes setting time limits to reduce this factor.

When it comes to reading longer, more advanced texts, another teacher suggests writing a brief summary in the margin (one sentence or a few words) that represents the paragraph read. This helps students focus on meaning rather than translation of each word.

The idea of summarizing paragraphs came up, but there was a worry that this placed too much focus on production when reading is a receptive skill.


A few teachers discussed the benefits of taking an exercise break during class time in order to give students the space to process and absorb what they are learning. (See Rebecca Oxford)


Michael Griffin shared this important piece of information he referred to HD Brown: 10 Commandments for EFL Teachers and Students


Sunday, April 1 at 8pm (Korea time)!

Topic will be announced a few days before.


Lessons from Good Language Learners
Language Learning Strategies: What Every Teacher Should Know
Cutting Edge

BBC 6 Minute English

A Dogma for EFL
Common Writing Issues
Language Learning Strategies: An Update

Summary by @JosetteLB

1 thought on “#KELTChat Summary for March 17, 2012: Teaching our learners how to learn languages

  1. Pingback: #KELTChat 3, Sunday 1st April 8pm: Fostering confidence in Korean students. | #KELTChat

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