Here I am at Sao Paulo international airport waiting for my plane to get to Madrid and then, another plane to Munich.

I left my house in Montevideo 8 hours ago.

Why spending a whole day travelling?

Nine years ago I sent an email to the BESIG coordinator at that time. I wanted to submit a proposal for the annual conference, but I wanted to deliver my talk from Montevideo, Uruguay. He talked to the conference organizers and I ended up delivering a talk using an Adobe Connect platform. I have been presenting at BESIG conferences since then; always from Montevideo, my hometown.

This year I am presenting as well, but this year is different.I am attending my first ever IATEFL BESIG Annual Conference.I am so excited!!

During these years, I have been part of the BESIG online team. We organized simulcasts of the conferences, online conferences, online workshops, online debates, the BESIG World Blog and many other activities.

Together with other BESIG members and committee members we organized lesson plan competitions, we designed online courses for TESOL EVO, selected applicants for different scholarships and endeveoured many other interesting initiatives.

I feel part of a truly innovative and global community of business English  teachers.

What else can I say ? I am proud to be part of this community and I am really looking forward to attending my first IATEFL BESIG Annual Conference face to face.

I saw a beautiful sunrise in Madrid

Now, I am in Munich. I arrived at the hotel 30 yours after leaving  my home in Uruguay.


Spoken Fluency

Spoken Fluency

We all know how important English is nowadays. In order to function effectively in the global economy, non-native English speakers must be able to communicate, collaborate and operate successfully in the global lingua franca—English.

Here you can find an article about how companies are using English nowadays

For most of our business English students, the idea of “knowing” a language means being able to converse in that language. It is safe to presume that for most of them speaking is the most highly valued skill. They need to be able to interact in English, spoken interaction is vital.

In interactive activities participants act as speakers and listeners with one or more interlocutors and together they construct, through the negotiation of meaning following the co-operative principle, conversational discourse.

Reception and production strategies are employed constantly during interaction.

There are discourse strategies and co-operation strategies, concerned with managing interaction such as turn-taking and turn-giving, framing the issue and establishing a line of approach, proposing and evaluating solutions, recapping and summarising the point reached, and mediating in a conflict.

“Most researchers agree that fluency in speaking involves smooth, automatic production. However, evidence from spoken corpora suggests that fluency in dialogue also involves attention to the linking of speaking turns to create mutual ‘flow’. “

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAMichael McCarthy’s current research involves the creation and analysis of spoken learner corpora in connection with the English Profile project, with special reference to the development of spoken fluency. He is co director (with Ronald Carter) of the 5-million word CANCODE spoken English corpus project, and the one-million word CANBEC spoken business English corpus.

A full list of Mike McCarthy’s publications is available here

He is delivering a webinar for IATEFL on Saturday 22 February 2014, at 3:00 GMT. You can check your local time here

‘Spoken fluency revisited’

Teaching and assessment systems typically consider fluency in speaking to be one of the factors that determine a learner’s competence and level, especially at higher levels.

Furthermore, examination systems, alongside level descriptors in systems such as the Common European Framework of Reference (CEFR), frequently mention fluency in speaking and attempt to define it and set tasks to assess it. Most researchers agree that it involves smooth, unhesitant production, and that being able to produce language automatically is a key element in being fluent. However, evidence from spoken corpora suggests that fluency also involves a repertoire of interactive items, and attention to linking what you say to what other speakers say in dialogue to create a kind of mutual ‘flow’. How do we achieve this sense of interactive flow, and what sorts of things do learners need to master to achieve smooth dialogue? This talk reports on corpus research for the English Profile, an interdisciplinary research project aimed at a better understanding of what earners know and can do at different levels in English. The English Profile considers the interactive dimension of fluency to be a “fifth skill”, over and above what we normally consider to be speaking skills.  


To join the webinar please go to

You do not need to register in advance to join this webinar, just click on the link above and then:

  • Ensure “Enter as Guest” is selected
  • Enter your name and country
  • Click “Enter room

IATEFL BESIG Annual Conference in Prague – Online Programme

2013 Annual Conference Online Programme

We are delighted to invite an online audience to join us for a programme of talks broadcast live from the IATEFL BESIG Annual Conference in Prague, Czech Republic.

You can find the programme here





Learning to speak ‘merican’

Vicki Hollet

In A Dictionary of Linguistics and Phonetics. Crystal (1985) gives the following definition: Pragmatics “is the study of language from the point of view of users, especially of the choices they make, the constraints they encounter in using language in social interaction and the effects their use of language has on other participants in the act of communication.”

People not only need to learn English, they also require information on how to talk about what constitutes appropriate and inappropriate speech acts in different contexts.

Intercultural communication awareness is a crucial component of any good language learning experience.

In this IATEFL Webinar, Vicki Hollett explores some of the curious differences between linguistic politeness in these two influential English varieties – British and American.

This video also raises the question of what model of English we teach. When we correct our students’ pronunciation, on what grounds do we decide?

English, as the common language among speakers of different languages, has key implications when teaching pronunciation. Users of English communicate successfully in accents that differ significantly from either Received Pronunciation (RP) or General American (GA). Many linguists have questioned the use of these models given the fact that native speaker accents are not necessarily the most intelligible or appropriate accents when a non-native speaker is communicating with another.

IATEFL Webinar

Saturday, October 19 at 2:00 GMT . You can check your local time here

To join the webinar please go to

You do not need to register in advance to join this webinar, just click on the link above and then:

  • Ensure “Enter as Guest” is selected
  • Enter your name and country
  • Click “Enter room”

Innovations in Learning Technologies for English Language Teaching

The British Council released a publication on innovation in technology use in English teaching and learning. This publication offers a different approach to the uses of learning technologies in the language classroom.

Innovations in Learning Technologies for English Language Teaching starts by considering the following contexts of language learning: primary, secondary and adult learners, then different specialist areas: Business English, English for Specific Purposes and English for Academic Purposes, and finally the assessment of language using technology. Each chapter embeds a number of real-life case studies into a framework of research. The chapters show some of the development of the field, and a wide range of technologies is covered.

Each chapter was written by a different author or group of authors: Chris Pim, Graham Stanley, Diane Slaouti, Zeynep Onat-Stelma and Gary Motteram, Nergiz Kern, Jody Gilbert, Russell Stannard and Anthony ‘Skip’ Basiel. Teachers from all over the world contributed with case studies.


I would really like to thank Nergiz Kern for inviting me to contribute with a case a study.


The book can be downloaded for free here or a print version can be bought here.

You can see Nergiz Kern’s blog post about this publication here



IATEFL BESIG Online Conference – Meet the speakers

Meet the speakers: Angela Lloyd.

Meet the speakers: Jeremy Day.

Meet the speakers: Marjorie Rosenberg.

Meet the speakers: Valentina Dodge.

Meet the speakers: Nick Michelioudakis.

Meet the speakers: Ros Wright.

Meet the speakers: Carol Heiberger.

1st IATEFL BESIG Online Conference – Satellite Event in Montevideo, Uruguay


IATEFL BESIG is holding its first Online Conference – more information here

We are holding a Satellite Event in Montevideo Uruguay. English teachers will meet at 4D Content English to watch the event together. This is the programme for the Satellite Event: