CONTRIBUTOR : Fitch O'Connell

Fitch O'Connell has been a teacher for longer than he cares to remember. He works as a materials writer and teacher trainer. In 2003 he set up the acclaimed BritLit project for the British Council in Portugal, and has worked since then to help establish a new place for literature in English language teaching. He also contributes to the WordPowered website, which brings together teachers of English by using short stories, poetry and film. He now works as a freelance consultant and is based in Europe.
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As a teacher of English as a foreign language, I've developed a bit of an aversion to adjectives. Show me too many and I break out into a prolonged, painful and unpleasant rash. Or should that be painful, prolonged and unpleasant? Or...? Continue reading...
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Over the years of teaching English as a foreign language, I've noticed how some of my students adopt some of the throwaway words and phrases that I use unthinkingly. The two words that are adopted most are stuff and thing (though I just as easily say thingy while waving a hand to indicate that I don't know or can't remember the correct word). Continue reading...
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I recently witnessed one of those lightbulb illuminating moments when someone suddenly "got it." What this language learner "got" was the difference between adjectives and nouns prefixed with un-, and verbs prefixed with un-. The adjective/noun becomes negative, but the verb typically has its action reversed: unusual vs. unwrap, for example. Continue reading...
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Fitch O'Connell, a longtime teacher of English as a foreign language, has been musing on a dilemma involving clichés. Though they are often disparaged by writers of English, clichés are nonetheless "part of the bread and butter of speech, and thus we would be doing a disserve to our students if we didn't encourage their fluency with a significant number." Continue reading...
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What happens when nouns turn into verbs, and how can language arts educators use these "verbings" as teachable moments? Fitch O'Connell, a longtime teacher of English as a foreign language, takes a look at this "trending" topic. Continue reading...
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We welcome back Fitch O'Connell, a longtime teacher of English as a foreign language, working for the British Council in Portugal. Fitch reveals what happened when students in his classes were asked to select their favorite words. Continue reading...
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The other night I was sitting next to an Austrian teacher of English at a restaurant in Brighton, in southern England. He was a bit puzzled by an item on the menu which offered "Pan roasted local skate wing, crushed ratte potatoes, sautéed spinach, caper, lemon & parsley butter." Continue reading...
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1 2 Displaying 1-7 of 11 Articles