Fullspate EFL/ESL Materials
Focus on the University of Michigan ECPE exam
In countries like Greece the Michigan ECPE has now become the most popular EFL/ESL test of proficiency in English. The Fullspate EFL materials for students and teachers interested in the ECPE include:
- An overview of the Michigan ECPE exam
- Advice about the ECPE speaking test
- An ECPE Survival Guide
- An analysis of ECPE grammar questions
- An online ECPE GCVR practice test*
Fullpate Pre-Proficiency Primer
Our massive collection (213 pages!) of engaging advanced-level EFL materials is still available. Download the first quarter of the Fullspate Primer as a taster for FREE.
A chapter we still really like is the one on gender. It contains the story of David Rheimer - a boy who was brought up as a girl - a story that really shook us up when we first came across it, and a story that raises a whole host of issues about just what makes boys boys and girls girls.
The politics of EFL/ELT
For a few of us, one of the contradictions of teaching English as a foreign language (TEFL) is that we start out with a love of the foreign, going abroad to cherish the alterity of another culture, but then are horrified to find that we are part of something that is fundamentally hostile to the foreign - something that is fundamentally xenphobic. We explore this contradition in our post on ELT and Globalization.
Ed-tech is all the rage and there is an incredible amount of hype and spin and pedagogical silliness accompanying the rush for teachers to tool up and climb the new ed-tech learning curve. We ain't no Luddites and we are happy to make some selective uses of the new tech in our teaching, but we are disturbed by some of the stuff the leaders of the ed-tech revolution are coming out with (revolutionaries such as Sir Ken Robinson). We are collecting our misgivings on a website dedicated to Edtech pedagogy skepticism.
One of the silliest of the digital revolutionaries is Professor Sugata Mitra. If you haven't seen the video of his famous Hole in the Wall project, you should look it up. Everything hinges on the conclusions you draw from the project. The conclusions that Mitra draws are evident in a little post on his blog that begins by highlighting the three most important developments in education: the emergence of the internet, wifi and mobile devices for surfing the web. He points out how these are a boon to autonomous learning (which is nice), and then he looks further ahead, saying:
We should now change our agenda and figure out what the next big issues are in education. We have to figure out how to dematerialise our institutions and convert the existing brick and mortar [schools] into museums of education where future generations will come and say, 'Oh, so that's how they used to educate people!'
'They used to teach children to do arithmetic in their heads!', they would marvel.
We should dematerialise our institutions, move education online, he says, and in other talks he describes his Granny Cloud of unpaid mentors who can replace the teachers.
Sounds nice? We don't think so, and we have a short, provocative post describing Sugata Mitra as the Trojan Horse of education, plus a longer, closer look at the Sugata Mitra idea that knowing is obsolete.
ELT professionals are prominent in the online debate about learner autonomy. We take a closer look at the ideas behind the talk about learner autonomy and argue that too much of the practice based on them ends up promoting the prevailing unfreedom even as it aims at its opposite. See our post on learner autonomy and education for freedom.
EFL With A Conscience
Fullspate has a heck of a lot of materials for teachers that want to combine a concern for the English with a consideration of cultural and social values.
Teachers with a taste for controversy might like some of our Hot worksheets, which include one on the real Big Brother and the surveillance society.
Why teach EFL when you can quit?
We have finally thrown in the towel. We sketch the story of our decline from the ambition and the idealism of the early days to the low point in education's equivalent of the red light district in our post about Why We Quit Teaching English.
Pop or poetry in the EFL classroom?
Pop or poetry as EFL classroom material? We compare Katy Perry and Sylvia Plath. Who'll come out on top at putting teenage angst into words?
Life sucks when you are 16
After all this time, this wonderfully satirical piece in The Onion is still one of our favourite bits of writing about an attitude that is not so very rare in the West. A great little article to fire a discussion in the EFL classroom about the trials of adolescence.
Not quite an EFL blog
In place of a blog - with the title "EFL Bliss" - we are collecting pieces of writing that might be of interest to EFL/ESL teachers. Most are intended to be about the EFL business, but with a fair amount of fluff thrown in to lighten things up a little.
Stuff in English worth thinking about
How about this for an essay topic? "Are humans better or worse than animals?" Jonathan Swift (who wrote "Gulliver's Travels") had more respect for his horses than for many of the people he saw around him. Mark Twain wrote a hard-hitting essay along the same lines entitled "The Character of Man". Click that link to download our PDF of his essay to get the discussion going.