Category Archives: Events

Dictionary evolution: Exploiting modern referencing tools to the max

Julie Moore & Lisa Sutherland held a session on ‘Dictionary evolution: Exploiting modern referencing tools to the max‘ at IATEFL in Manchester. Their presentation slides are now available, and they include plenty of practical teaching tips and information about future plans for the Collins Corpus.

 Download Slides: Dictionary evolution: Exploiting modern referencing tools to the max

About Julie Moore:

Julie Moore is a freelance ELT teacher, writer and lexicographer based in Bristol in the UK. She first became interested in lexicography and corpus research doing her MA at the University of Birmingham and over the past 15 years, she has worked on learner’s dictionaries for all the major ELT publishers. She now combines teaching, teacher training, lexicography and other ELT writing and never ceases to be amazed that she can earn a living from playing with words!

Julie worked on many of our COBUILD titles. Why not have a look at the latest COBUILD dictionaries – the COBUILD Advanced Learner’s Dictionary and the COBUILD IELTS Dictionary?

Julie Moore photo

IATEFL 2014 Harrogate

Thanks to all of you who came to the Collins stand during the IATEFL 2014 conference in Harrogate, it was such a pleasure to meet so many of you! Here is a summary of our conference highlights, with links to our speakers’ presentation slides.

We’d also like to send many congratulations out to our three winners!Dora from Greece has won a First English Words Activity Pack plus 15 copies of First English Words Activity Book 1, Kadir from Turkey has won a class set of Research in the Academic Skills Series, and Ivana from the Czech Republic has won 15 copies of the ELT Reader Amazing Scientists. We hope that you’ll enjoy using your prizes with your students!

stand teamThe queen on the moveteamwithqueen1

Queen Victoria at IATEFL 2014

Those of you who visited the Collins stand might remember our special guest, Queen Victoria, who is one of the Amazing People in our new series of ELT Readers. Here are some photographic highlights – with music by yet another person in the Amazing People series, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart.

Have a look at the Harrogate 2014 album on our facebook page if you’d like to see some more snapshots!

Collins ELT Presentations at IATEFL Harrogate


What do you say after “Hello”? Successful networking techniques – Barry Tomalin

Barry asked how we can teach our students to build successful business relationships in English. He introduced listening techniques, gave tips about how to signal interest, and shared the F.A.C.E model.

keybusinessskillsDownload Barry’s presentation slides

Watch the Harrogate Online video of Barry’s presentation

More information about Barry’s title Key Business Skills


First English Words: What can pre-schoolers do? – Niki Joseph and Hans Mol

Sharing lots of engaging activities, Niki and Hans showed how a picture dictionary like First English Words can be used as an active resource with pre-schoolers.

First English Words Activity Book 1Download Nikki and Hans’ presentation slides

Watch a demo lesson with First English Words

Find out more about all the First English Words components


Post-IELTS writing: helping students to understand and meet academic expectations – Els van Geyte

Good essay writing skills are key to academic success, but it’s difficult to make the step up from the IELTS essay to writing for academia. Els explored how students can progress by focussing on crucial academic principles, also discussed in her latest book, Writing. Writing is part of the Collins Academic Skills Series, which has recently been shortlisted at the ELTon awards.

writingDownload Els’ presentation slides

Find out more about Els’ latest book – Academic Skills Series: Writing

Read an interview with Els van Geyte



A fresh approach to advanced listening practice materials – Sheila Thorn

Sheila examined the authentic listening needs of advanced learners, including decoding fast, unscripted spoken English, coping with NES and NNES accents, dealing with overlapping speech and listening effectively despite background noise.

Real Lives, Real ListeningDownload Sheila’s presentation slides

Download audio for Sheila’s presentation

More information and downloads for Real Lives, Real Listening



The Vocabulary Organizer: a new way to record lexis – Pete Sharma

How do your students store new vocabulary? Alphabetically? Digitally? Using flashcards? In this presentation Pete introduced the new Vocabulary Organizer, which enables students to record lexis and distinguish between ‘productive’ and ‘receptive’ vocabulary. The workshop also included practical vocabulary teaching activities, of interest to EAP and general English students.

Vocabulary OrganizerDownload Pete’s presentation slides

Watch Pete introduce the Vocabulary Organizer

Find out more about the Vocabulary Organizer



Amazing People Teach English: new graded readers from Collins – Andy Cowle

Andy offered a practical look at how the exceptional lives and abilities of the most talented people the world has ever seen can make great classroom material, and showed lots of examples, videos, and audio from the Amazing People ELT Readers.


Download Andy’s presentation

Download Andy’s handout

Find out more about the Amazing People ELT Readers

Watch Amazing People videos

Go to Collins ELT Readers Teacher Zone to download classroom ideas, lesson plans, and much more

Come and join us at IATEFL

Are you coming to IATEFL this year? We’re looking forward to meet many of you at the Collins stand and during our talks!

The 48th Annual International IATEFL Conference will be held in Harrogate, and takes place 2nd and 5th April 2014.


Come and join us at stands 32 and 39 in the exhibition to speak to our friendly team and browse through our new ELT titles. You’ll also get the chance to win plenty of prizes!

-25% on Collins titles at the BEBC stand

There will be a stunning 25% discount on most of our ELT titles at the BEBC stand.

Come along to our authors’ talks and seminars

Wednesday 2nd April:
10.40: ‘What do you say after “Hello”? Successful networking techniques’ by Barry Tomalin
12.35: ‘First English Words: what can pre-schoolers do?’ by Hans Mol and Niki Joseph
15.05: ‘Post-IELTS writing: helping students to understand and meet academic expectations’ by Els Van Geyte

Thursday 3rd April
11.30: ‘A fresh approach to advanced listening practice materials’ by Sheila Thorn

Friday 4th April
17.25: ‘ The Vocabulary Organizer, a new way to record lexis’ by Pete Sharma

Saturday 5th April
12.15: Amazing People Teach English: new graded readers from Collins’ by Andy Cowle

We’re looking forward to seeing you there!

For more information on the International IATEFL Conference, or to find out how to register with IATEFL, please take a look at the IATEFL website.

More about our speakers:

Continue reading

Event update: English UK Teachers' Conference 

Celia Wigley, our Publishing Manager, was the friendly face behind the Collins stand at the English UK 2013 Teachers’ conference. Read below her thoughts and impressions of the event.

 Teachers’ Conference 2013

It was great to see so many of you at English UK 2013 Teachers’ Conference in London on Saturday 9 November.

Thank you to those of you who visited the Collins stand. It was great to meet you and to talk to you about our ELT range. Lots of you were interested in our new Academic Skills Series (6 books covering: Research, Writing, Presenting, Group Work, Lectures and Numbers) and I know many of you requested sample copies. I hope when you receive these that you think the series will help your students to do well at university.

The Lectures book authors Fiona Aish and Jo Tomlinson gave an excellent talk at the conference called ‘Developing academic listening skills’, and I for one, learned lots. I particularly liked the activity we did on rhetorical questions where we had to read rhetorical questions and identify what the lecturer’s reason behind the question was. The activity came from the Lectures book and I hope you agree that your students would learn from this kind of activity.
Download Jo and Fiona’s presentation slides

Another Collins author gave a talk too. It was Chris Flint who talked about our English for Life: Skills series, which, like the Lectures book, contains authentic materials. Chris who wrote Listening A2+ Pre-intermediate together with Jamie Flockhart, made an interesting point about how learners enjoy a shared experience listening to authentic materials. I hadn’t really thought of this before but I definitely felt empathy towards the speaker as we listened to the authentic recordings that Chris played us. Chris and Jamie’s book has been shortlisted for the 2013 English Speaking Union’s Duke of Edinburgh English Language Book Awards so watch this space.
Download Chris Flint’s presentation slides

All in all it was great to spend a day with teachers sharing ideas and experiences! Thank you!


Event update: Annual BESIG conference in Prague 

The BESIG conference was held in the Czech Republic’s beautiful capital this year, and it was just fabulous to be there. We attended together with our distributor for Slovakia and the Czech Republic, Infoa, and Eva, Maria and Stanislav were delighted to meet so many of you at the Collins stand. Thanks to all of you for coming by! 

We were also very proud to sponsor three popular talks delivered by our Business English authors Ian Badger, Nick Brieger and Barry Tomalin.

In ‘Overcoming Barriers in Business Communication’, Ian Badger looked at how working with authentic listening materials can help students overcome four main barriers to clear business communication: unfamiliar native/non-native accents, jargon and idiomatic language, different cultural practices and new (and old) technologies. Ian is the author of Collins English for Business: Listening and Collins English for Life: Listening B1+ Intermediate. Both titles draw from 100% authentic recordings to help students understand English however it is spoken around the world.  
Download Ian Badger’s BESIG presentation slides

Nick Brieger proposed a new, results-oriented paradigm for teaching Business Writing in ‘Business Writing: old skill, new paradigm’. His paradigm focuses on improving readability, impact and accuracy of documents. Nick is the author of Collins English for Business: Writing, and all the principles he illustrated in talk are reflected in his book.
Watch Nick to introduce his BESIG talk 
Download Nick Brieger’s BESIG presentation slides

Barry Tomalin’s talk focused on ‘What International Negotiators Need to Know’, and examined the particular difficulties non-native speakers of English have when negotiating with native speakers of English. Barry is the author of Collins Key Business Skills, and he identified a clear framework to help international managers recognise the different signs indicating what a negotiator might think or feel. He proposed a clear model to help learners track down the different stages of negotiations, and the language needed to move it forwards.
Download Barry Tomalin’s BESIG presentation slides

Event update: TESOL France by Barry Tomalin 

Having just arrived back from his weekend at the TESOL France annual colloquium, author Barry Tomalin shares his impressions and gives a summary of his talk ‘What international managers need in France’. Barry’s latest book Key Business Skills has been nominated for the English-Speaking Union awards 2013. 


by Barry Tomalin

Dancing in the Place St Medard at the foot of the rue Mouffetard, Sunday morning

There’s a certain douceur in Paris on an early Sunday morning. It’s November and it’s not warm but there’s a soft light in the square and just a few people going about early morning business – church, baguettes from the bakery or coffee in the local café. Nice!

About 350 teachers turned up from all over France and beyond to listen to lectures and attend workshops on English language teaching. My session was on the key fears French managers have – dealing with us native speakers!

Our speed of speech, free use of idioms and, often, failure to take a breath to allow interruption, or so it seems, compels non-native speaker managers into resentful silence. I quoted the ‘non-native speaker’s’ lament:


THINK what you want to say.

TRANSLATE it into English.

OPEN MOUTH to say it.

TOO LATE! The conversation has moved on.


The two key areas of difficulty seem to be keeping control of and participating in meetings (both face-to-face and virtual) and negotiating. I offered a few ideas on these (you can download the slides in DOWNLOADS) but also get a couple of good ideas from the teacher participants. Here they are.



French managers, and not only French managers, need communication tactics in English to interrupt a conversation and express their point of view. I tend to teach phrases like ‘Can I just come in here?’, with ‘just’ suggesting you will be brief and to the point. However, one colleague suggested a much more abrupt way of interrupting. His one word interruptions were ‘Errr…’ and ‘But….’ And ‘Excuse me…’ expressed with some emphasis. This, he explained, would bring the conversation to a halt and allow the manager to intervene.


I believe that having a clear framework for any negotiation vastly improves the communication process. I use Professor Gavin Kennedy’s five stages of negotiation – prepare, debate, propose, bargain and agree – as a framework.

Kennedy observes that native-English speaking negotiators tend to move between stages and often back to a previous negotiation stage. The process doesn’t follow a linear progression. The problem is that the non-native speaker negotiator can’t interpret the linguistic signals and has no idea what stage the other native speaker negotiator is at.

The form below might help.



(State your position.)




(Ask questions about each other’s position.)




(Make a proposal.)




(Exactly that. Bargain.)




(Come to an agreement.)



I ask negotiators to take this into meetings and to write down examples of language they hear, in the appropriate category. Then they bring these into class for discussion.

One teacher introduced a great practice idea. Write each stage on a set of five cards and distribute one set to each member of the group. Set up a negotiation. Make it as realistic to their work environment as possible. The group negotiates and they must use up all their negotiation cards, using appropriate language. The first one to use up all his or her cards has reached agreement first. Nice idea.


I taught things to say and do when various human problems occur on conference calls, such as heavy breathing, silence or tapping computer keys or clicking pens while on a conference call.

In addition to that, it’s important to know what to say when the equipment fails, as one teacher reminded us. Let’s assume the communication counterpart can hear you but there are problems. What do you say?

Possible solutions:

‘Sorry, there’s a glitch.’

Or ‘Sorry, there’s a problem with the equipment, we’ll try and sort it out and start again in a few minutes.’

There are so many possible problems that it is difficult to think of a single phrase which will cover all situations. Do you have any suggestions?

Please do get in touch with your suggestions and send them to We’ll happily forward them to Barry. Thanks!

Event update: KOTESOL, JALT and ELTJ Tokyo 

We were really excited to be attending our first ever ELT events in Asia when our teams in Korea and Japan went to the annual KOTESOL conference in Seoul, the JALT event in Kobe, and the ELTJ event in Tokyo. Here are some impressions.

Chongdae, Michelle, and all our lovely books at the Collins stand at KOTESOL


Karen Jamieson delivering her fascinating talk, ‘Your survival guide to teaching IELTS’ at KOTESOL. Find out all about our IELTS range, and if you’re looking for the free teaching resources, they are available at

Andy Archer from Nellie’s English Books holding a talk on ‘Inspiring Young Learners with Collins First English Words

The Collins stand at ELTJ Tokyo

The Collins stand at ELTJ Tokyo


ESP conference Ulm: Ian Badger's summary slides 

We’ve had a fantastic time at the ESP conference in Ulm, Germany last weekend! Thanks to all of you who came along to Ian Badger’s plenary session and workshop, to Andy Cowle’s product presentation, and to the Collins stand!


Ian Badger’s summary slides

You can download summary slides of Ian Badger’s talks below. Thanks very much, Ian, for sharing them!

Download Plenary Slides: Business-critical ESP training

Download Workshop Slides: Working with authentic listening materials

We also wanted to let you know the links of the free authentic recordings Ian mentioned – they are available at and

About Ian Badger
Ian Badger is the award-winning author of Collins English for Business: Listening and Collins English for Life: Listening. Both of  his titles are based on 100% authentic recordings of native and non-native speakers of English, with the aim of supporting learners to understand English however it is spoken around the world.

Would you like to find out more?
Read an EL Gazette interview (November 2012) to find out more about Ian’s background and his work. There is also a video of Ian’s presentation at the IATEFL annual conference 2012 in Glasgow.

Ian Badger's BESIG 2012 session: 'Working with authentic listening materials' 


Why use authentic listening materials? How do learners respond to authentic listening materials? How can teachers best exploit authentic listening materials in the classroom? These are just a few questions award-winning author Ian Badger asked during his session ‘Working with authentic listening materials’ at the 2012 BESIG conference in Stuttgart. 

Ian Badger is the author of Collins English for Business: Listening and Collins English for Life: Listening. Both of his titles are based on 100% authentic recordings of native and non-native speakers of English. The recordings and the content in the book help students understand naturally spoken English – however it is spoken around the world.

Click on this link if you’re interested in having a look at the presentation slides Ian used during the session. The slides not only contain the most important key points raised during his session, they also include two original sections of authentic recordings from the books mentioned above. 

Would you like to find out more? 
If you’d like to find out more about Ian’s background and his work, read this interview published in the November issue of the EL Gazette. There is also a video available on our YouTube channel, showing Ian presenting at IATEFL 2012 in Glasgow.

And finally… a bargain!
And last but not least –  the award-winning iPad app Collins Business English: Listening is available in the App Store for £3.99 instead of £10.99. But be quick – this incredible offer is only available until 30th November 2012.