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What if? Motivating learners in all classrooms

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Chia Suan Chong
Jair Félix


We know that speaking activities and authentic interactions are an essential part of language practice, but finding the interesting and engaging topics that motivate learners to speak can be challenging. Online teaching poses the added challenge of persuading students, who can now hide behind a screen, to communicate at length in English.  The use of stories and hypothetical situations have been an established part of communication skills and intercultural skills training for many years. Asking learners, ‘What if you were in this situation?’ provokes discussions and gets students talking and sharing in ways that improve fluency and encourages personal reflection. This webinar explores how we can use these activities to motivate and engage students in all classrooms.


Chia Suan Chong is a writer, communication skills trainer and a teacher trainer. She is the author of Successful International Communication, where she presented her ADAPT model as a framework for dealing with intercultural conflict. Delivering both online and face-to-face training to teachers and learners around the globe, Chia specializes in interactive workshops that encourage reflection for more effective international communication and improved collaboration. Currently based in York, Chia was English Teaching Professional’s award-winning resident blogger between 2012 and 2019 and now has a regular feature ‘Not Only But Also’ in the bi-monthly ETp magazine. She has contributed extensively to Business English materials for the British Council Learn English website, is a regular ELT conference speaker and holds a DELTA and a Masters in Applied Linguistics and ELT. Chia is also a co-author for an integrated series that’s currently in development with National Geographic Learning for young adult and adult learners of English.

Jair Félix is a National Geographic Learning Senior ELT Academic Consultant for Latin America. He has a B.A. in TEFL from Universidad Autónoma de Sinaloa in Mexico and a Post-Graduate Degree on Teachers’ Development from The College of St. Mark & St. John, Plymouth, UK. Jair has been involved in language teaching and teacher training for over 23 years and has conducted workshops on various topics such as lesson planning, discourse analysis for language teachers, action research, educational technologies, and 21st century skills, among others. Jair also holds a Diploma in Teaching English for Specific Purposes (DipTESP) and the E-Tutoring Certificate from the British Council. He is a frequent presenter at ELT conferences throughout Latin America.

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