children learning english


After working on university ELT development programmes as well as  in-service primary and secondary teachers courses for many years I decided to work exclusively with primary teachers and trainers.


I’m often asked to give courses to teachers on various aspects of language teaching. These can be quite short courses or longer depending on what a group is specifically looking for. Recently I’ve been giving courses to teachers on using puppets in language lessons and showing them how this can add a new and vital dimension to their teaching.

Talks and workshops

I travel around the world talking at conferences and giving workshops to teachers in schools and colleges . Here are some examples of recent talks and workshops.

  • How do our language lessons connect with today’s general educational goals?

As always education mirrors the way we live now.   The increasing and varied uses of technology, the arrival of newly settled children in our schools, are just two changes that pose questions for us.  They ask us to reevaluate the way we think about the learning process, how children learn as well as what they learn. We have to consider the kind of classroom environment that will support such an approach more effectively. And the rapid change we have experienced in our own lives is leading us to think of another question. How can we help children develop dispositions which will enable them to keep on learning long after they have left our care?  In this session I look at how we can address some of these contemporary educational issues in our language lessons.

  • Puppets in English lessons – motivating children and encouraging teachers.

This session looks at how

–        a specific methodology can help a teacher actualise effective language learning by letting us apply what we know about how children learn a new language at school.

–        children can use puppets to build their knowledge and confidence in English

–        working with a puppet can encourage a teacher to use more English in the classroom and motivate children in all four language skills – listening, speaking, reading and writing, and connect holistically with  all that they are learning in an enjoyable way.

During this presentation I use visuals and recorded material from classroom projects. These will be used to exemplify the main points in the talk.

  • Connecting creatively with children’s development

This session looks at how

  • language learning activities  depend on the general changes that we see at each stage of children’s development.
  • teachers can connect creatively in their language lessons with the many changes that are taking place between 4 and 11.

During this presentation I use visuals from classroom research to exemplify main points.

  • Motivating experiences for teachers in training

This session looks at how

–        insights from current educational research can inform classroom practice

–        methods on training courses that mirror best practice will provide teachers with a lasting model to support them in their subsequent teaching

–        teachers continue their professional development and encourage each other through recording and discussing their teaching experiences

  • Teaching an additional language in primary school

This session looks at

  • some of the basic information we need to keep in mind when teaching children from 4 -11
  • how contemporary educational issues are influencing the way we teach a new language to children at school.
  • how teachers can maintain a positive outlook on their own achievements while at the same time keeping abreast of new insights that could support their efforts.


Interview with Tara Benwell for

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