Find the FUN!

“In every job that must be done, there is an element of fun. You find the fun, and the job’s a game.”



Trinity College London Seminar

Yesterday I attended the National Trinity College London Seminar for English Language teachers on ‘The Pathway to Real Communication’, which was held in Naples.

About Trinity

Trinity College London is an international exam board with a rich heritage of academic rigour and a positive, supportive approach to assessment. It provides recognised and respected qualifications across a unique spectrum of communicative skills — from music, drama and arts activities to English language — at all levels.

The seminar comprised of a plenary session in the morning followed by workshops both in the morning and afternoon. The activities were designed to help teachers to improve candidates’ performance in Trinity exams at different levels.

I’d like to share with you some useful information about Trinity’s special awards and revised exams.

This was the schedule:
8:15 – 10:50 Registration + Opening Announcements + Plenary
10:50 – 11:30 Coffee Break
11:30 – 13:00 Morning Workshop I – II – III – IV – V
I – This is Fun! Trinity Stars: Young Performers in English Awards
II – My First Steps: Speaking and Listening at level A1
III – This is my World: Speaking and Listening at level A2
IV – Developing my Skills: Reading and Writing at level B1
V – Ready to Go: Reading and Writing at level B2
13:00 – 14:15 Lunch Break
13:00 – 14:00 Poster Sessions: Revised ISE
14:15 – 16:00 Afternoon Workshop VI – VII – VIII – IX
VI – My First Steps: Speaking and Listening at level A1
VII – This is my World: Reading and Writing at level A2
VIII – Developing my Skills: Speaking and Listening at level B1
IX – Ready to Go: Speaking and Listening at level B2

I’ve had years of experience with the Graded Examinations in Spoken English (GESE) so I chose to attend workshops about  the little known Trinity Stars, ‘Morning Workshop I. This is Fun! Trinity Stars: Young Performers in English Awards’, and the revised Integrated Skills in English exams (ISE), which were launched in September, ‘Afternoon Workshop VII. This is my world: Reading and Writing skills at CEFR level A2’.

They were both well attended and proved to be very informative.

I. This is Fun! Trinity Stars: Young Performers in English Awards
This workshop focused on Storytelling.and its effectiveness  as a teaching pedagogy and learning method.

Reading and telling stories have great  benefits for classroom learning, and the magic of Storytime can inspire children to learn English. Storytelling can be used in the preparation of a Trinity Stars Award.

About Trinity Stars:

The Trinity Stars: Young Performers in English Award is designed to encourage the teaching and learning of English language through drama, music and performance.  It is a group award, designed for children aged anywhere between 3 and 12 years old who are starting to learn English. 

Preparing children for the award shows how performance-related activity supports learning, motivates children and builds their confidence and communication skills. Trinity Stars has been designed to support both learning in the classroom and teachers’ professional development. 


VII. This is my world: Reading and Writing skills at CEFR level A2
Teacher training workshop on how develop students’ ability to communicate in English in an authentic and meaningful way through the use of integrated reading and writing tasks.

About ISE:

Trinity’s Integrated Skills in English (ISE) is a contemporary four skills qualification intended for young people and adults – typically at school, college or university. It is also suitable for teachers and other adults who require a respected English language qualification.

Throughout this session, we will reflected on how preparing for the Revised ISE Foundation Exam can help students’ build real-life skills that are meaningful and purposeful to them. ISE Foundation is at level A2 on the CEFR and consists of two exam modules: Reading & Writing and Speaking & Listening.

  • Reading & Writing exam lasts 2 hours.
  • Speaking & Listening exam lasts 13 minutes.

The exam modules can be taken together, or at different times.

We learned details of the exam structure, content, timings and what candidates need to be able to do this level.

There is a Guide for Teachers for ISE Foundation online, it contains everything you need to know to prepare students for the exams.


I hope I’ll have a chance to attend Trinity Events to learn more about their Spoken English for Work (SEW) exams.

SEW prepares candidates for real-life working situations by providing valuable practice and assessment in telephone conversations, formal and informal presentations – along with the opportunity to discuss real work issues in an English-speaking context.

SEW provides a measure of linguistic competence from intermediate to advanced levels – from B1 to C1 in the Common European Framework of Reference for Language.

Upcoming Trinity Teacher Training Events:

Discover Trinity ISE: Integrated Skills in English

17.11.2015 Palermo (PA)

21.11.2015 Frosinone (FR)

24.11.2015 Bari (BA)

26.11.2015 Napoli (NA)

Reinforcing Language

Think of reinforcing language as a ladder for children to climb up. Your words form the rungs they stand on as they reach for the next higher level of learning.

I’ve just read a very interesting article on about Reinforcing Language, which is a positive teacher language, and I’d like to share it with you.

Reinforcing language is one of several types of positive teacher talk used by Responsive Classroom practitioners. Teachers use reinforcing language to show that they see students’ positive academic and behavioral efforts and accomplishments. Their words are specific and descriptive; their tone is upbeat and encouraging.

In the article, linked below, you will find a lot of more information and tips for using Reinforcing Language.
Here are seven key characteristics of effective reinforcing language, along with an illustration of how each might look in practice. Because we all have typical speech patterns that reflect, among other things, our personalities, the suggested words might not sound like ones you would normally use. With practice, though, you’ll find that you can incorporate all of these key characteristics of reinforcing language without losing your personal style.

1. Instead of giving global priase (“Great job!”), name concrete, specific behaviors so students know exactly what they’re doing that’s helping them learn.

Instead of… Try…
What a great piece of writing! You used lots of describing words.
That will really help readers “see” your story!

2. Speak in a tone that’s warm and encouraging, but professional.

Instead of…
Ooh, Liam, you did such a nice, nice job with your writing today!
I noticed that you worked really hard on your writing today, Liam, and your audience responded with enthusiasm when you read it aloud.

3. Grant children dignity by addressing them respectfully.

Instead of… Try…
Ok, [my little ducks, sweeties…] Ok, [students, learners, writers, mathematicians…]

4. Emphasize students’ actions and accomplishments over our personal approval.

Instead of… Try…
I really like all the adjectives you used in your writing! I see that you used lots of adjectives in your writing.

5. Add a question to extend student thinking.

Instead of… Try…
I see that you used lots of adjectives
in your writing.
I see that you used lots of adjectives in your writing. Why did you decide to do that?

6. Find positives to name in all students – including those who are struggling.

Instead of… Try…
You need to work harder at your writing, Mia. You just don’t stick with it long enough. You worked longer at your writing today, Mia. What helped you to do that?

7. Avoid naming individual students as examples for others.

Instead of… Try…
Marley, Max, Juan, and JD have
already put away their writing
supplies and taken their seats in the circle!
I see more and more people putting away their writing supplies and taking their seats in the circle.