How to demand high – Jim Scrivener (IATEFL 2013)

Part of a planned series of summaries of the talks I’m attending at IATEFL Liverpool 2013. Please feel free to add or correct me if I’ve misinterpreted anything!
These are the main points from Jim Scrivener’s talk, taken from my tweets.

Here’s the Demand High blog in case you don’t know it

What do your students complain about in your lessons?
For example: it’s easy/slow/boring/difficult, we waste time talking, the teacher never corrects me/always says ‘good’

What is Demand High?
Am I engaging the full human learning potential of the students in my class? Have we lost our edge in favour of fun?
Aremy learners capable of more? Am I underchallenging them? Would my students learn more if I demanded more of them?
How can we move away from just ‘covering’? @jimscriv says it’s OK to teach! Explicit teaching is not bad.
We need to focus on where the learning is. What will move learners forward? Classroom management techniques beyond pair and groupwork are necessary.
Demand high wants to help us teach at everyone’s pace, not just the fastest high.

How can we put it into practice?
Looking at how we can implement Demand High in the feedback/checking stage.
This is the sample task from @jimscriv’s Visual Grammar:

How can you extend simple feedback to that one exercise to an hour? Our suggestions: remember the answers/questions, put into longer context, mini roleplay
Jim Scrivener’s suggestions:


Practice, memory, mistakes and being playful:


How about: What sort of face would you make when you say that? By doing that, students change their voices too. Replay the sentence in your head. See the person saying it in your ‘mind’s ear’. Change it to someone else you know. Adds processing time. Once you’ve processed it mentally, move it down to your mouth and say the intonation but not the words. Teacher imitates intonation pattern, students say whether that’s correct or not. Then add words gradually. By having part words/part mumble, it helps students become more aware of unstressed words.
The things @jimscriv has demonstrated are variations on drilling. Practise is what makes students remember, not presentation. Practise through repetition and processing are what make students remember and internalise language.

Here is Dave Dodgson’s response to the same talk.
Here is the summary by Chia Suan Chong.
Neil McMahon includes some comments on Jim’s talk in his post about day 1 of the conference.
Barry Jameson’s take on the talk.

6 thoughts on “How to demand high – Jim Scrivener (IATEFL 2013)

  1. Hi Sandy
    Thanks for the summary.
    I was there but I didn’t get the ‘Some ways of demanding High’ stuff that you posted as pics on your blog.
    Is there any chance you’d be able to email me a copy of some sort???


      1. Thanks Sandy. Now I can sort out an INSET session and hopefully get our teachers here in Anglo Continental Bournemouth ‘Demanding [a bit] higher’.
        Link to session vids appreciated too


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.