2017 June 1-3, ILSB Brno

Improve your surfing skills – or, How to ride the waves of positive washback

Both teachers and students often get stressed about exams and perceive a disconnect between learning and the way that achievement is assessed. In an ideal world, the two stages form a single continuum, where both can potentially affect the other to its advantage. When the exam involves real-life tasks, preparation is much less of a chore for the teacher and, additionally, more fun for the student – hence the beneficial washback effect on teaching. In this workshop, we will see some practical ideas for how you can seamlessly build exam preparation into your lessons every day.

Handout: Appleby euroexam Washback ILSB17 Handout PDF-11v9m61
Slides:  RachelAppleby euroexam Washback Brno FINAL PDF -1zbhdk2

Classroom ideas and activites to help you prepare your students for (these) exams:

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2017 April 22, Budapest NYESZE

QUESTIONS: getting them right!

Handout: NYESZE QUESTIONS getting them right Handout PDF -sxr4b6

Slides: NYESZE QUESTIONS getting them right PPT PDF-2dhi1jj

How can we engage our students effectively? We ask questions throughout our lessons, but for what purpose, and with what results? What sorts of questions are going to get the best answers? And are we really interested in the responses? This is a session on effective questioning, and how the right questions can help you promote a communicative class, yet stay focused on language at the same time.

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2017 February 4, Barcelona

Take the fear out of teaching ESP 1:1

“F.E.A.R. has two meanings – Forget Everything And Run, OR, Face Everything And Rise
The choice is yours.” Zig Ziglar

Handout:  Rachel APPLEBY ESP 1_1 Handout PDF FINAL
Slides: ESP one-one Appleby IH Bcn Feb2017 PPT slideshow


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2016 December, Budapest

Slides: Christmas 2016 BakerStreet RachelAppleby

Handout (prints 2-to-a-page, back to back):
Christmas 2016 BakerStreet RachelAppleby




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2016 November, Moscow & Budapest   questions-postits

Business Result: Keeping up-to-date with clients

A session on effective questioning, and how the right questions can help you promote a communicative class, and stay focused on language at the same time.

Handout: oup-business-result-questions-handout
Slides: oup-business-result-uptodate-with-clients-questions-ppt-slideshow


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2016 November 9, Moscow



Writing for Success!


Why is it so challenging getting our students to write in the classroom? Is it the ‘what’, or the ‘how’? To what extent are the activities we set in class typical of real-life activities? This session looks at how we can help students with real writing tasks that they need for exam purposes, and ways in which we can guide them, and motivate them to really develop their skills.

Handout: euroexams-speaking-moscow-2016nov-communicative-tasks-rachel-appleby-handout
Slides: euroexams-speaking-moscow-2016nov-communicative-tasks-rachel-appleb


Getting your students to talk for real!

discussions-2In my experience, being able to speak a language means demonstrating that we can use it, get something done with it, and communicate something meaningful. But to do this, we need to practise a lot. It isn’t enough if we just know what words to use, or if we can see these words on paper.
Most people like to talk about themselves, the things they are interested in, and their immediate environment, or even things which annoy them or they don’t like. They like to compare their ideas and opinions. So if we can provide space for communicative activities and information or ideas exchange in the classroom, then they may have a chance to practise in English!

Handout: euroexams-writing-moscow-2016nov-writing-for-success-rachel-appleby-handout
Slides: euroexams-writing-moscow-2016nov-writing-for-success-rachel-appleby
Webinar/Video (27′) of talk (prepared for Tomsk, RU):


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2016 November 5, BESIG, Munich


Teaching ESP one:one   Using one:one methodology to beat the big ‘S’ in ESP

Many teachers have serious worries about teaching ESP, and ESP one:one in particular. And yet, clients’ needs are becoming increasingly specific. In my experience, this sort of teaching is extremely rewarding: it’s fun, exciting and energizing, and I’ve usually learnt at least as much as I’ve taught. This workshop looks at ways of drawing on specific subject matter that teachers are not expert in, but can relate to and use to good effect. We’ll do this by looking at three real clients.

Slides: teaching-esp-one_one-appleby-besig-nov2016-munich-slides
Handout:  teaching-esp-one_one-appleby-besig-2016-munich-handout-pdf


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2016 April NYESZE / 2016 February IH Barcelona


At school, students are often asked to give a presentation on a specific topic. Presentations are also common in business contexts. Yet, regardless of age, many find this challenge nerve-wracking. Course materials provide long lists of “useful phrases”, how to use visuals effectively, and so on, but still our students lack the confidence to do this well. What my students specifically need is how to get started, engage their audience, keep them involved, and, not least, how to end effectively.
This workshop looks at hooks and tools to help students not just survive but succeed!

This talk is suitable for those who teach business English and/or teenagers.

Slides: The confidence to stand up and talk SLIDES
Handout: The confidence to stand up and talk HANDOUT 1
The confidence to stand up and talk HANDOUT 2




In the ever-expanding world of the tools and tricks for language teaching, any motivated teacher will keep up to date, and draw on all possible resources to help engage students, and expand their horizons in English. However, this often comes at the cost of lengthy preparation, or over-challenging students.

When working with videos, too often I’ve been excited by YouTube clips, only to find that either students can’t cope, or I have to spend hours making the materials accessible.

There is now a wealth of published materials – interviews, mini documentaries – which closely address business students’ needs and interests. This talk will show how we can use these videos not only to focus on language and skills, but also inspire students, relate to real-world issues, and also serve as an invaluable stepping stone. The talk looks at options for exploiting these in both standard, and flipped classroom contexts.

Slides: Less is more Videos IATEFL BESIG Sitges Nov 2015 Slides
Handout: Less is more Videos IATEFL BESIG Sitges Nov 2015 Handout
BESIG conference selections – 2page article: Less is more Getting the most out of short videos BESIG Conference Selections Nov 2015 PDF


Associated video blog posts:

2015 February & May      VIDEO blog posts on International Express

Integrating video content in the EFL classroom with International Express – Part 4

Integrating video content in the EFL classroom with International Express – Part 4

Please cycleBased on International Express Upper Intermediate U6 video ‘Please Cycle’



Integrating video content in the EFL classroom with International Express – Part 2
Based on International Express Pre-Intermediate U10 Selexyz bookshopSelexyz-Dominicanen



2014 November, OUP Kraków
2015 February, IH Barcelona
2015 October, IATEFL Hungary


heart bookReading and listening in a second language is difficult – but do our classroom exercises really help our learners? This talk will demonstrate strategies for dealing with any text, including those in exams, to provide useful skills for tomorrow, not just for today! (Based on extracts from OUP’s new six-level series, Navigate)

audioSlides: Top down and Bottom up Success with reading and listening Slides
Handout: Top down and Bottom up Success with reading and listening Handout



2015 June, IATEFL BESIG Summer Symposium, Budapest – Hungary



Although many of us teach one:one, some teachers fight shy of ESP, and ESP one:one in particular: teaching clients whose area of speciality we know nothing about can be a worrying prospect, and it can be frustrating working with their materials when we’re unfamiliar with the subject matter.

On the surface it seems somewhat daunting, but in my experience, this sort of teaching has been some of the most rewarding I’ve ever done: it’s fun, exciting and energizing, and I’ve usually learnt at least as much if not more than what I’ve taught (for better or for worse!).

This talk looks at how to get over the initial worries that both client and teacher might have, discuss how to find out what we can expect, and investigate ways of addressing the client’s needs and expectations by focusing on three real examples.

I invite you to take the plunge!

Slides: IAETFL BESIG Summer symposium Budapest June 2015 ESP one one Slides
Handout: Appleby BESIG 20June2015 Handout

3 Teaching ESP one:one OUP Adult newsletter post:



2014 April, IATEFL Harrogate  



Modern adult learners characteristically stop and start learning, each time with renewed enthusiasm, yet have busy lives! How can we help them make visible progress?

I have three golden rules to support their motivation which I’ll be demonstrating through activities from OUP’s new International Express. All are based around global lifestyle topics, and address English for social and work purposes.  

Slides: Adult learners Helping them clear the next hurdle SLIDES PDF IATEFL Harrogate April 2014
Handout: Adult learners Helping them clear the next hurdle

Associated Blogpost:


2013 November, BESIG Prague



What is it that makes in-company training such a challenge? How can we, at the same time, provide what learners want when teaching on-site, as well as meet the needs of the company training manager, when we, as teachers, probably know best anyway?
This session will highlight potential conflicts between these groups, in order to focus on the interests which all three parties share, not least, the learners’ need to communicate effectively in work and social environments.

Based on a survey of teachers, learners and company training managers, focusing on language, content and skills, this session will look at ways to solve this problem: providing nuggets of immediately usable language, strategies for dealing with delicate situations in writing or in person, and the ability to communicate effectively and fluently, without ignoring accuracy. The talk will be based on interesting, motivating and hot-off-the press materials from International Express, 3rd edition!

Slides: Does the customer really know best? BESIG Prague 2013
Handout: Does the customer really know best? BESIG Prague 2013 handout

BESIG conference selections – 2page article: Does the customer really know best BESIG Conference Selections Nov 2013 PDF

See also link to related blogpost and webinar under ‘WEBINAR’ pages