Plums, a podcast, and Hemingway (in no particular order)

Red-Plums by Evan-Amos
is licensed under 
CC BY 2.0

A few months ago, Philip Keegan, materials writer, CELTA/DELTA trainer, and English teacher, got in touch with me.  He had been doing a regular Podcast dealing with all things ELT.  He had already touched on learning styles, tech, and motivation in language learning.  He wondered if I might be up for talking about literature in the language classroom.  So we got together via Skype and had a chat for about an hour.  The conversation ranged from plums (as in the fruit) to Hemingway (as in the dude) and much in-between.  


Soon after we talked, Phil moved to a new school in Turkey and wrote that the podcast would be on hold until he settled down.  And now he has settled.  And while settling, he also managed to take an hour of my ramblings, find a cohesive thread, and sew it all together into a podcast which makes me sound surprisingly thoughtful.  So first and for most I want to say thank you to Phil.  I also want to say that any errors, omissions, or other nonsense I spouted should in no way reflect on Phil and his podcast.  Errors such as:

  • Accidentally calling Project Gutenberg the ‘Guggenheim Project’ at the  beginning of the podcast. (Which seems to be a not uncommon mistake as Google’s first hit for ‘The Guggenheim Project’ happens to be, “Project Gutenberg.’  Not that I’m trying to make excuses or anything…you know.)
  • Kind of forgetting to give concrete examples of how I actually use literature in the classroom, which I think had been the point of our conversation, and which I forgot about soon after I started talking.
  • Claiming something along the lines of Project Gutenberg having electronic versions of almost every public domain book.  Which is obviously just a bunch of techno-bug-eyed-craziness.  They house 42,000 free ebooks and with their partner organisations make over 100,000 texts available.  That’s a lot.  But it isn’t all of them or even most.  But maybe someday.

I am sure that there’s a few other moments of silliness to be found.  But like I said, the lapses are mine and mine alone.  And I am hoping they won’t get in the way of you enjoying a podcast I’m really honoured to have taken part in.  So  if you have a few minutes to kick back and listen to:


I also though this might be a good chance to link to some of the writing I’ve done over the past year or so on using literature in the language classroom.  That way maybe I can make up for having left so much of what I was supposed to be talking about out of the podcast:

“For Sale: Baby Shoes…” from the Music, Stories and Magic issue of the iTDi blog.

“Make all the mistakes you want” a post on how to use 6 word memoirs in classroom activities.

“Because we all love a good story” an overview on how and why to use short fiction in the language classroom on Teaching Village.  

and a series of 2 posts on how to use a writers’ workshop method within the reading classroom:


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