Monday 29 April 2013

On April 30 in London, as part of its season of events for teachers of English, the British Council will be holding a two-part seminar. Johanna Stirling will explore some common myths about spelling and how learners can be helped to improve.  Willy Cardoso will then take over to argue that our knowledge of teaching has been co-constructed in cultural and historical ways.

Many of the prevalent myths about spelling actually create barriers to learning it. However, rather than just exploding the myths teachers have to build something to replace them, so spelling doesn’t get ignored in classrooms and in the outside world. Johanna Stirling will demonstrate some multi-sensory activities that can be used with learners of all ages, for example parents with children, and that anyone can use to help themselves.

In the second half of the seminar Willy Cardoso will give a presentation on how teachers learn to teach. He will argue that, in general, teacher education, development and training programmes lack the theoretical foundations of what constitutes teacher learning, mainly in its cognitive and affective elements, and that this has far reaching implications. For example, by focusing primarily on the transmission of classroom management and language analysis skills, teachers run the risk of shaping the ELT profession as that of technicians.

Willy Cardoso will explain that, for the benefit of the profession, language teachers need to be considered first and foremost as educators. To do so, the presenter will propose some principles and practices that can place the socio-cultural aspects of learning how to teach at the core of the process.

The British Council Seminar Series takes place across the UK, including once a month in London. The seminars are intended to provoke debate and discussion on current issues in English language teaching and can contribute to the continuing professional development of English language teachers based in, or visiting, the United Kingdom.

Every seminar is free of charge and includes the opportunity to network with fellow ELT practitioners. Registration to attend the seminar in person can be made at:

Twitter hashtag: #EnglishEffect

Notes to Editor

For more information, please contact Nisha Pawar in the British Council Press Office on +44 (0)207 389 4967 or  

Johanna Stirling is an English teacher, teacher trainer, materials writer and presenter. She started working in the field in 1986. Most of her teaching and teacher training is for NILE (Norwich Institute for Language Education) where she is a NILE Associate Trainer. Johanna also works for Cambridge University Press.

For more information on the event, visit

About the British Council

The British Council creates international opportunities for the people of the UK and other countries and builds trust between them worldwide. We are a Royal Charter charity, established as the UK’s international organisation for educational opportunities and cultural relations.

We work in more than 100 countries, and our 7000 staff – including 2000 teachers – work with thousands of professionals and policy makers and millions of young people every year through English, arts, education and society programmes.

We earn over 75% of our annual turnover of £739 million from services which customers pay for, education and development contracts we bid for and from partnerships. A UK Government grant provides the remaining 25%.  We match every £1 of core public funding with over £3 earned in pursuit of our charitable purpose.

For more information, please visit: You can also keep in touch with the British Council through