About

This blog is about teaching languages. Although it’s in English, and probably most of the posts, contributions, comments etc will be written by English Language teachers, the aim is for it to be applicable to other languages too.

What’s the focus?

It is mainly for teachers teaching teenagers, a much maligned bunch, and by extension adults, but more than about teaching them, it’s about reaching into their imaginations, their creativity and using that and their own lives and passions as the basis for memorable, motivating lessons. It’s about Unplugged Teaching and dogme, teaching approaches that use very little or no technology and very few or no external materials such as coursebooks. Teaching that is all about the student, the people in the room. Teaching where the teacher is part of the team, another piece in the jigsaw, another voice, not THE voice. Which brings me to…. 

Why macappella?

According to the dictionaries, a cappella means without instrumental accompaniment. It also means harmony created by  several distinct, different, individual voices, those voices singing to create a layered whole, a textured piece, and (with any luck) a creation of beauty. Every voice however quiet is needed, none is surplus, none superior to any other. A cappella.  And the ‘m’? Well, apart from having a passion for language and a deep-rooted love of music, I’m from Glasgow…. and if fellow Glaswegian Billy Connolly can get away with a monologue about Genghis McCann, and dogme mentor Scott Thornbury can create (and decry) Grammar McNuggets, I can start a blog called macappella.

How does it work?

I aim to have at least six pages: apart from the home page and the about pages (the blog and me), there may be a news page later on, about conferences, books etc, and I’d like to divide the posts into two: Chalkface purely practical, hands-on classroom-ideas-driven posts  and Mind’s Ear. This will be theoretical or thoughtful but NOT of the ‘According to’ ilk. And any ‘according tos’ will be there to expand on or provide the launchpad for personal musings, either my own or a guest’s. More of a ‘what I think…‘, ‘what fascinates/puzzles me…‘ ‘what I believe to be true because…’ section than ‘what I’ve read….’, where experience, common sense and the teacher & his/her students prevail over bibliographies and statistics. They have their place, true, but their place isn’t here.

And finally

Who took  the photograph used as a header?

The fireworks – an idea blatantly pinched (and admired) from a combination of singer Katy Perry and teacher Mark Andrews (@marekandrews) encouraging all people to shine and sparkle while being who they really are regardless of all possible -isms and a few -ilities – were photographed by teacher and obviously artist Phil Bird (@pysproblem81). Many many thanks.

7 responses to “About

  1. Oooh. I’m looking forward to seeing your posts :-)

  2. Good luck with your blog, I’m looking forward to reading your posts

  3. I “like”. Congrats, fiona !

  4. Hi Fiona,

    Just read your blog post. Really very intersting and hope to read a great deal more.
    Thanks for sharing.
    Valéria

  5. Hi Fiona! I’ve just discovered your Blog!!! What can I say, from one Glaswegian to another, it’s fan dabi dozi!!! I’m looking forward to following you and hopefully exchanging thoughts! :-))

  6. Hello Fiona,
    I discovered this space thanks to Carol Goodey who told me about your blog. It is my first year teaching older teens and the transition from teaching adults to teaching teens can be quite a bumpy road. So here I am, eager to learn from you, eager to grow and eager to make it all work!

    Spring greetings from the Alps!

  7. Hi Fiona,
    I am writing to you from Exams Catalunya, a Cambridge English exam centre based in Barcelona. As part of our annual seminar programme we are organising a special event on the 22nd/23rd November to which we hope you will be able to come as one of the Presenters.
    The main event will be on Saturday 23rd from 9.30 – 5pm and we will be offering a selection of teacher training sessions, informative seminars and workshops. The exact timetable is yet to be confirmed, but it would be really great if you could make it for the session. And in addition if you are free to come to the VIP event on the Friday night, do let me know.
    You can find more information about the event here: http://www.exams-catalunya.com/en/page/seminarios-y-eventos#tab-2
    I look forward to hearing from you.
    Kind regards,

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s