IATEFL 2019: Helping advanced learners break through the glass ceiling with Steve Oakes

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helping advanced learners

The IATEFL Conference, the annual meeting point for the international ELT community, is just a few weeks away. From 2nd-5th April 2019, more than 3,000 ELT professionals from all over the world will come together in Liverpool. Have you secured your spot yet?

You can keep up-to-date with everything going on with our dedicated IATEFL 2019 page.

In the weeks prior to the conference, we’re shining the spotlight on the Pearson English talks. 

This week’s feature goes to Steve Oakes, co-author of Speakout. He shares with us his insights on helping advanced learners overcome a plateau in language learning.

His workshop will take place on Wednesday, 3rd April at 11:05 am in Room 3a.

Here’s why you shouldn’t miss it: 

The glass ceiling: helping advanced learners break through

Advanced learners are in the privileged position of being able to function in English in a broad range of contexts.  However, they often find themselves stuck on a plateau. There are areas of language knowledge and use where their skill is limited, perhaps from years of neglect of certain areas and the use of avoidance strategies.

A number of factors—motivation, pride, time and energy—combine to keep the advanced learner from moving beyond this plateau. Research points to particular metacognitive and cognitive strategies that advanced learners have found useful in dealing with the plateau, and also specific linguistic areas such as collocations where classroom activity can benefit advanced learners.

This practical workshop will look at classroom activities, including some from Speakout Advanced Plus, that address this area. We will consider what the advanced plateau is and why it matters. We’ll then explore a number of activities for advanced learners to develop their knowledge and skill where they need it most.

Steve Oakes has done extensive research on advanced learners: surveying the learners and their non-native English speaking teachers – teachers who are advanced learners themselves and are particularly insightful in identifying the most effective classroom solutions.

What will you learn?

Most of the session will focus on trying out activities and procedures that are immensely useful for helping advanced learners break through the glass ceiling. You will learn about the particularities of the advanced learner’s plateau and find out why it is very different from a plateau at other levels.

You will experience classroom processes such as: 

  • self-transcribing to de-fossilize language
  • vocabulary mining
  • parsing idioms from authentic video
  • ‘genre translation’
  • using ‘stem-chunks’ to upgrade

You’ll also have the opportunity to reflect on how these specifically help advanced learners break through the glass ceiling.

What will you take away from the workshop?

You’ll walk away equipped with actionable strategies that you can implement in your classroom to help push advanced learners to escape the plateau and finally overcome one of the most difficult challenges in language learning.

Are you coming to IATEFL 2019? Get to know our authors, chat with experts, meet colleagues from around the world and exchange ideas with the brightest and the best.

Find out more about what’s going on through our dedicated IATEFL 2019 page.

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