Delta Publishing Catalogue

Teaching children how to learn

Plan, Do, Review


From the multi-award-winning Delta Teacher Development Series.

Authors: Gail Ellis, Nayr Ibrahim

ISBN: 9781905085866

Series:Delta Teacher Development Series

Teaching children how to learn is a groundbreaking book offering Primary language teachers a new and practical methodology based on the importance, now universally recognized in curricula around the world, of teaching children how to learn.

Three distinctive parts take teachers through a step-by-step approach to understanding, implementing and reflecting on learning to learn. It shows how learning to learn can be achieved through a “Plan, Do, Do More, Review and Share” routine.

Teaching children how to learn is a rich Teacher Development resource book, combining theory, practical classroom-ready activities, models for teachers, interactive Teacher Development activities, keys and model answers:

Part A

  • presents the theoretical and methodological concepts of learning to learn
  • elaborates a framework of teaching principles for planning and implementing learning to learn systemically and explicitly

Part B

  • provides teachers with 30 models which enable them to help children learn to learn
  • includes ‘Wilbur’s Toolkit’ with over 60 ready to use activity worksheets and record pages. These resources are available online to download and photocopy.

Part C

  • contains a range of interactive activities to assist teachers in their personal and professional development
  • includes a Teacher’s Toolkit with keys, model answers, lesson plans and interactive dialogue with the authors

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# Name Type Size
# Name ISBN
# Name Type Size
1Contents.pdf500.21
2Sample Unit.pdf810.02
3Sample Unit.pdf674.02

Gail Ellis

Hello, I’m Gail Ellis.  I grew up in Watford (not far from London) and have lived in Paris on and off since 1977.   Although my father was not a true Cockney (he was born in Camden Town so too far away to be born within the sound of Bow Bells) I grew up in a Cockney-speaking household.  I thank my father for my linguistic heritage as I am convinced it was this playful, humorous banter that sparked my fascination for languages and language learning.

Like most children in England in the 60s, I begun learning French at age 11 in the first year of secondary school.  My mother followed Continental Cookery classes at the local College of Further Education and my father decided we would go on camping holidays in France.  I quickly became a Francophile and, as proof of my Frenchiness, I even used to carry (not smoke) a packet of Gitanes and drive a Deux Chevaux.  My degree in Humanities, majoring in French and History of Art, brought me to Paris for a year in 1977 as an English Language Assistant in a Lycée Technique.  During this time, I also carried out research in the archives of the Musée Rodin for my landlord who was writing a book on Rodin.  This was handy as my dissertation was entitled, Rodin and the writers of his time, so I was able to kill two birds with one stone and earn a little extra money.

When I had completed my degree, I was persuaded to teach on a summer school in Ealing for Spanish teenagers even though I had no training or intention of becoming a teacher.  I survived and, after dabbling in various other trades, realised that teaching was, in fact, what I enjoyed most.  After qualifying, I was offered an appointment as a Lecturer 1 in EFL at Ealing College of Higher Education (now University of West London) and my career in ELT took off.  I found myself amongst a dynamic and inspiring team of colleagues, and this is where I met Barbara Sinclair.  We were responsible for running intensive summer courses for European Youth Leaders and Young Workers on behalf of the Council of Europe.  The principle aim was to equip the students with the skills and strategies to carry on learning after the courses.  This was the beginning of my passion for helping students learn how to learn, and Learning to Learn English (CUP didn’t like the title Carry on Learning), was published in 1989 and winner of the first Frank Bell prize in 1991.

After my post at Ealing College of Higher Education, I joined the British Council in 1983 as an English Teaching Adviser in Paris until 1987 working mainly with secondary school teachers of English throughout France.  In 1988, I completed an MA in TESOL at the Institute of Education, University of London, and returned to Paris in 1989 to set up Penguin Jeunesse, a children’s publishing section of Penguin France.  Sitting in a garret in the heart of Paris, I was surrounded by one of the world’s richest collections of children’s literature, Puffin Books.  I became passionate about using children’s literature as an alternative to ELT coursebooks in the primary English classroom and begun developing a story-based methodology.   In 1991 The Storytelling Handbook for Primary Teachers, co-authored with Jean Brewster, was published by Penguin English, and has recently been republished in its third edition by the British Council, Tell it Again!  The Storytelling Handbook for Primary English Language Teachers.  I also co-authored with Jean and Denis Girard, The Primary English Teacher’s Guide, later republished in its second edition in 2002 and short-listed for the Ben Warren Prize in 2003.

In 1994, together with Carol Read, we ran the first Primary Teacher Training Course in Paris and we trained on this course together every year until 2014.  In 1998, I re-joined the British Council in Paris to open its first teaching centre in France specialising in teaching children and teenagers.  The centre grew quickly and my five-year old daughter was one of our first students to join the unique Bilingual Section, created to meet the needs of children who were growing up in English-speaking families andor using English on a daily basis in Paris.  From 1995 to 2007, I was also a Special Lecturer in the School of Education at the University of Nottingham, and from 1999 – 2004 I was a member of the Editorial Advisory Panel for the ELT Journal.

In 2003 I became Project Manager for the British Council’s Year of the Young Learner, a project which aimed to spread best practice and share knowledge in the field of teaching young learners, and was awarded an MBE for my services to the teaching of English to young learners in the Queen’s Birthday Honours Awards in 2004.  In September 2011, I took up a new post with the British Council as Adviser Young Learners and Quality which has a regional remit focussing on business development and quality in the field of young learners.   Since 2014, I became a member of the Editorial Review Board for the CLELE Journal (Children’s Literature in English Language Education).

I have now accumulated over 30 years’ experience in English language teaching and have taught children, teenagers and adults and trained teachers in many different countries including England, France, China, Mexico, Brazil and Turkey.

My main interests are children’s literature, ELT management for young learners and inclusive education.

Nayr Ibrahim

Hi, I’m Nayr and I am a teacher, teacher trainer, writer, manager in ELT and PhD student.

I was born in multilingual South Africa and have been immersed in various languages from a very young age. My parents brought me up in Portuguese, I picked up English at school, Afrikaans was my second language and I had the wonderfully familiar yet mysterious sounds of African languages in the environment.  I started learning French as a foreign language at school at the age of 11 and continued at university as I found the language and culture fascinating. It is not surprising that I ended up doing a language and literature undergraduate degree in French and Portuguese at the University of the Witwatersrand, building a career as an EFL teacher, and working towards a PhD in multilingualism.  Despite the language situation above, teaching was not in my plans. However, I accidentally fell into English language teaching in Portugal, after I decided to leave South Africa to explore my European roots.

After completing my RSA TEFL at IH Lisbon, I worked as an hourly-paid teacher in various language schools in and around Porto until I moved to Paris in 1998, to continue doing just the same. Yet, Paris opened up opportunities I never imagined possible: that of turning my ‘job’ into a ‘career’.  I started working at what was then called the Young Learners Centre, at the British Council, which allowed me to specialise in teaching children and teenagers from age 5 to 17. My interests in teaching English to young learners include using authentic children’s literature, developing literacy, assessment for learning, metalinguistic awareness, language development in the early years and bilingualism.  I have also been involved with teacher training for many years, including working with teachers from the Ministry of Education, contributing to the Primary Teacher Training Course (PTTC), managing the in-house training programme and presenting papers at a number of conferences, including IATEFL, TESOL France and the ECER.

After a stint in Cairo and Hong Kong I settled into a Senior Teacher post and started a MA in TEFL with University of Reading. In the meantime I became Head of Young Learners and Bilingual Section and started a PhD, at the University of Reading once again, where I am exploring the link between trilingualism, triliteracy and identity.

My writing activity started when I contributed story notes on The Clever Tortoise to Tell it again: The New Storytelling Handbook, and later on Tusk Tusk, to the Promoting Diversity through Children’s Literature project, teachingenglish.org.uk/lesson-plans/tusk-tusk. I co-authored three course books for the French primary sector, Hullabaloo 1 & 2 and The Book Box. Besides, the articles for C&TS and other publications in bilingualism I also enjoy blogging on the topic: blog.britishcouncil.fr/category/being-bilingual/ and britishcouncil.org/blog/few-myths-about-speakers-multiple-languages.