International Schools Curriculum Work

I have recently started a project where I have been asked to develop English, Maths and Science learning objectives for the approved curriculum in the client’s International Schools. It’s quite a head-shift for me, as in the International House schools I worked in, I didn’t do too much of what is now known as CLIL.

I’ve spent most of today drafting examples to go with content edited learning objectives for Year 3 Science students and teachers. It’s really interesting – working outside of my comfort zone, I find more questions come to mind such as how do I phrase an example to go with this biology learning objective: ‘Describe ways in which animals are suited to the environments in which they are found.’ ‘I’ve come up with: ‘Example: describe how a camel survives in the desert by carrying fat in its hump for times when there is little or no food or water.’ and am fairly happy with that one.

I’m less confident about my physics examples. Here’s an example for you: learning objective: ‘Understand that we need light in order to see things and that dark is the absence of light.’ My example: ‘understand that we can see things in daylight or with other sources of light, and that we can’t see things when it is dark at night or when we don’t use electric lights.’

I’m more or less in the middle with my chemistry ones. Feel free to suggest improvements that can be made to the following example for this learning objective: ‘Understand that temperature is a measure of how hot or cold something is and that it is measured in degrees Celsius (°C) using a thermometer.’ Here, my example is: understand that temperature varies and we use thermometers to measure how hot or cold something is.

Thanks for reading this and I look forward to receiving some comments or likes if you like this post.



IATEFL 2017 in the great city of Glasgow is finishing up after a busy, enjoyable and thought-provoking week for many in the ELT profession.

This year I really started to make use of my membership when unable to attend because of work and family commitments. I checked how the MaWSIG or Materials Writers Special Interest Group was getting on at their PCE on Monday and saw they’d had a great time. You can read about it here in Rachel Daw’s excellent post: Storify about the 2017 MaWSIG PCE.

I also watched the British Council interview with the world-renowned, erudite and extremely affable David Crystal. See it at: David Crystal interview at IATEFL 2017.

I haven’t had time to fully check out the presentations by contacts and mentors in my career so if  you are interested you can check out these links:

Rachael Roberts’ blog; Marie Delaney’s site  The Learning Harbour and Jo Gakonga’s site and links to videos on YouTube: Jo Gakonga elt teacher training.

Today, I have the task of rewriting some Secondary progress and end-of-year tests so the internet and Facebook are mainly switched off apart from research purposes. Come 4.00 pm GMT, I’ll be finishing off and either relaxing with a cuppa in the garden or heading into town for a well-deserved coffee.



YLs Teacher Training Course – Session 7 Valuing Children / High Expectations

I am backtracking a little and posting session 7 of my 10-week YLs teacher training course. In it, I work on getting teachers to consider how they demonstrate to their young learners that they value them and have high expectations of them. The session is a blend of theory and of activities that ask trainees to consider their practice as teachers.

Please note, I am currently awaiting permission to reproduce one of the resources in this session. The Michael Rosen poem can be found here

 TT course – session 7 – Permissions awaited

Children’s Picturebooks


I spent my tea break this afternoon reading We Completely Must Go to London. I’ve booked to see Lauren Child talk at Oxford’s Story Museum as part of the Literary Festival on Saturday 2nd April. I’m really looking forward to it. Tickets are still available so if you want to join me, please do.

Research into task design of assessment tasks for YLs

I am making available an MA assignment I wrote a while ago about the design of assessment tasks for children. In it, I examine how tasks which effectively assess the language ability of children can be designed. It was written while I was working at Cambridge English as a Subject Officer for the YLE tests and I refer to the research the tests underwent as part of the 2007 review of the YLE tests.

NB The two internal documents from Cambridge English are not publicly accessible (Guidelines for Oral Examiner Training and Coordination and Instructions to Oral Examiners) Also note that the latest YLE information is available online: 

I hope you enjoy reading my MA assignment.

Getting ready for IATEFL

I am finalising the presentation that I will be co-presenting with Mike Mayor from Pearson at this year’s UK IATEFL conference. It is about whether the Common European Framework can be adapted for use with Young Learners. I have heard back from Szilvia Papp (Cambridge English), Shelagh Rixon (freelance), Marianne Nikolov (Hungary) and Angela Hasselgreen (Norway) about recent research into this field and will be talking about this. More news soon.

YL can-do descriptors for rating

I have just finished the second day of selecting can-do descriptors from a list of new and adapted ones to be sent out for rating. It involves carefully selecting descriptors that fill gaps in the current syllabus.

I will be co-presenting a workshop on this at this year’s IATEFL conference so come and find out more. We’re on in the morning on the Monday.