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7 The Teacher  1-2 (187) 2022 Focus Series              THOUGHT 3 L and L 3. Projects The theme of the article in the July/August 2021 issue, was ‘Projects’. The reason for doing them, types of projects, ways of organising them, using learner resources, groupdynamics, emotions, presenting and commenting... a whole range of real-life issues which can make doing projects both full of problems or very satisfying. Question for you: What should guide any work with projects? Language? Life? Anything else? THOUGHT 4 L and L 4. Training Courses The articles in the January-February and March-April 2021 issues both asked what kind of training courses and professional support people were currently finding most useful. These used the SOL organisation’s ‘A November to Remember’ online series, and the Pilgrim’s Cafe as examples of the ways the outside world, together with personal and professional pressures, were showing the need for personal support, for feeling one was not alone, rather than the discussion of specific methodological concerns. Friendship, bonding, a need to talk openly all governed both what was discussed and the way this was done – digitally, across borders, speaking largely from personal home environments. A cup of coffee, a glass of wine, a smile… these were an essential part of the communication. Question for you: What factors shape successful training courses and teachers’ meetings now? And what about in the future? THOUGHT 5 L and L 5. People A recurring concern in these and other articles in the series is the way interaction between people shapes the language used and also how it is used. There is a need for textbook material to recognise and build on this. Words are spoken by people. To other people. There is a relationship between these people: liking. disliking. There is a context: place, noise, other people. There are emotions: feeling tired, worried, in a hurry... The ‘lesson’ is that as much time should be spent on discovering or establishing these human factors when using ‘dialogues’ as on the language detail. The language is produced by ‘people’, not ‘characters’. They are ‘conversations’, not dialogues. The language used will be partly driven and shaped by subjective factors, just as in ‘real life’. Question for you: How can you bring course material to life in this way? Is it worth trying? CONCLUDING THOUGHT The five ‘L and L’ sections These were the ideas used in the webinar, with the basic content based on some past articles (looking back), but asking questions and considering possibilities and variations (looking forward) from the viewpoint of January 2022. Language or life? For me, these are totally intertwined. The challenge is to find ways of recognising this and using it in your own teaching context. Final question for you: What will you take forward from last year? What ideas and experiences will you select and build on for this year? And what new areas might be of interest to you as the year develops? References: Susan Holden The Focus series in ‘The Teacher’ 2019-2021. English in a Time of Covid, Hugh Dellar and Andre Walkley, Lexical Lab January 2022.