About this site

Your humble blogger in an earlier life, performing the Fire Station sketch with the English Teaching Theatre
Your humble blogger in an earlier life, performing the Fire Station sketch with the English Teaching Theatre

June 2017 – Update

The original idea of this blog was to provide a place where I could give my sketches and songs away for free. They have all been published at some time or other and in some form or other and now – for some reason or other – they’re out of print. I organised a box.net widget to access them, but for some reason, it no longer works. I’m working on how to sort that out. Bear with me…


There’s a new twist to the whole blogging thing for me now that I’m turning 70 years old. My generation doesn’t seem to have the option of retiring, and I’m rather pleased to note that hardly any of my age-contemporaries around the world seems to have stopped doing something to earn an honest crust.




45 thoughts on “About this site

  1. Hello Ken and welcome to the blogosphere!
    Look forward to getting my hands on some of the great songs and sketches. I think it’s a great thing you are doing here, and I wish you all the best.
    Good choice of wordpress by the way, I love their templates.
    See you!

  2. Hi Ken

    Welcome to bloggerland! I am sure you are going to be a huge hit with your blog. I used to use your great songs and sketches when I first started teaching in 1979 and I can’t wait to see them again. Thank you for sharing them!
    Best of luck with your blogging. You will have great fun.


  3. Hi Ken!

    Loved your piece on Mister Monday! Does he still “work all day from nine to five and live alone in the city”, of has he shuffled off to pastures new? I remember when the songs were first released in the 70’s, and, together with the Strategies series, changed the face of ELT forever. When I realised it’s also the 40th anniversary of Abbey Road this year, I got caught in a time warp and went back to being 23 again!!! And in the words of the immortal song, “Those were the days, my friend, we thought they’d never end/We’d sing and dance forever and a day/We’d live the life we choose/We’d fight and never lose/ Those were the days, oh yes those were the days”!

    Cheers from rainy Porto Alegre!


    PS My website exists, but there’s nothing on it yet.

  4. Dear Ken,
    this is a most generous gesture!
    My friend is married to a Dutchman and said she is not amazed anymore why the Dutch are well off. They have learned to give. Every week they are raising money for a good cause and people ARE GIVING. Literally, everybody gives a couple of euros.
    In Hungary we have a saying: “good deeds go around” I guess it’s like “one good turn deserves another”
    I love your sketches and using them in the classroom. Brilliant stuff!

  5. Hello Ken,
    Great blog – very generous and sincere information- I’ll definitely be reading your stuff. Love the pics and nice
    to keep in touch.

    Our website will be going through some major changes in 2009 with a blog too!

    BTW, we met in Cardiff through Karen Richardson, remember????

    Sunny greetings from Stuttgart!

    1. Thanks for your kind words, Gaby. Let me know when you start blogging. I’ve become more interested in read other people’s blogs since I started my own.

  6. Hi Ken,
    Love the blog. Is it still a labour of love? I’d be interested to hear how you feel about it next time we meet (IATEFL in Harrogate?). I have a few blogs and have varying feelings about them. The main one linked to the website has been rather neglected in the past months and the ones I keep going for my uni students do their job but are not very exciting; the one I have most fun writing (although it’s mostly photos) is our house blog http://kawezo-house.blogspot.com/. This one also gets the most visitors by far which in turn encourages me to update it regularly.
    BTW the funky snap shop thingy you’ve added is great!
    All very best wishes to you and yours,

    1. Hi Karen,

      well, yes it’s a labour of love in the sense that I’m not trying to make any money out of it, and also that I’m enjoying doing it. Will definitely see you in Harrogate, and will take a look at kawezo!

      Best, Ken

  7. Hello Ken,

    I love your website! Thank you for sharing the beautiful stories, pictures, and materials. Sometimes, I come across a wonderful post in my Google reader from you that I come here to comment on and it’s gone. At least it is saved I think on my Google reader. I share several of these posts on my Google reader with other Google followers! Thank you for the wonderful content.

    1. Oops! What did I delete? My ‘up-coming blogs’ post? I deleted that because I thought it would spur me on to actually writing them. Promise not to delete anything any more…

  8. Loved your piece on Mister Monday! Does he still “work all day from nine to five and live alone in the city”, or has he shuffled off to pastures new? I remember when the songs were first released in the 70′s, and, together with the Strategies series, changed the face of ELT forever. When I realised it’s also the 40th anniversary of Abbey Road this year, I got caught in a time warp and went back to being 23 again!!! And in the words of the immortal song, “Those were the days, my friend, we thought they’d never end/We’d sing and dance forever and a day/We’d live the life we choose/We’d fight and never lose/ Those were the days, oh yes those were the days”!

    1. Thank you! Actually, talking of 40 years on … next April will be the 40th anniversary of the release of Mister Monday! Amazing what I was able to do as a nine-year-old 😛

  9. Some time ago you posted a black and white photograph of Tina Turner in your story about the best concerts you had attended.

    Would you happen to know who the photographer is?

    I would so appreciate your help.

    Thank you

  10. Hi there,

    Just want to sign up for email notifications. After so unfortunately missing out on meeting you in Sept, I look forward to possibly seeing you in Brazil! Thanks, Lia x

  11. You can have email notifications by leaving a comment and just underneath ” submit comment” you have two check boxes (I hope it’s the right word). You can choose to have notification of follow-up comments via email and/or notification of new posts via email, like I just did 🙂

  12. Hi Ken,

    My name is Alastair Grant and I am the Teaching Development manager at International House San Isidro, working with Celia Walker.

    We’ve been doing a lot of work on teacher development this year, and over the last few months we have been developing a blog, detailing all of this work, including all the sessions we’ve been delivering both in-house and outside in the local community.

    Celia has asked me to send the blog to you, as we are very proud of what we are achieving and we wanted you to be one of the first to have a look at it. Please let me know what you think.

    Here’s the link: http://ihsanisidro.wordpress.com/

    Best wishes,

    P.S. – I’m a fellow devotee of Vicky Saumell and visited her school after reading about her on your blog and contacting Scott!

    1. Hi Alistair – thanks for thinking of me when you started your blog.

      It looks fresh and interesting, and all your teachers will find it useful to see what others are doing.

      It looks like something that maybe the students at IH might want to visit, too. Do you have any plans for student content? And some kind of wiki that students visit and leave diary comments would be really interesting, too.

      Keep me posted about any new developments.

      1. Hi Ken,

        Thanks so much for your reply – and yes we were thinking of doing exactly that, having some kind of student section of the blog – I think it’s something that most are sadly lacking!

        I’ll keep you posted.

        Thanks again,

    1. Is this the John Bloch I met on Long Island?

      There’s no subscription system here – just roll up any time. 😛

  13. Dear Ken ,

    Doug Case and you have been part of my teaching life for the last 15 years and there are lots of kids -here in Réunion Island – who could still give the cue to Superman , Foggings , Gloria and others . I ‘ve read that you had co-written about 100 sketches . Where are those we can’t find in the English Sketches Books n° 1 and 2 ? For many years , I’ve been waiting for a n°3 book for Advanced Students.Could you , please , give me some clue about how to unearth your hidden buried treasure ?


    1. Nathalie – that’s a very good question!

      The answer is that a lot of our sketches are sitting in files in the English Teaching Theatre archive (ie the shed at the end of my garden). There really are about a hundred out there, but some of them were so awful they never made it into the stage-show, or they did but were quickly dropped.

      However, not making it into our show doesn’t mean that they aren’t worth reviving for classroom use. So sometime soon (2012-13, depending on when my current writing commitments end), I will get out there to the shed and try to sort them out.

      One note – they probably won’t be advanced level – but there’s nothing to stop your students amending and adapting them using more complex language.

      Those of us who were lucky enough to visit Réunion Island have some marvellous memories.

  14. Hi Ken, I’d like to pose a question. Are grammar books getting to be kind of like SUVs? They are big and expensive, and much of the material in the “back seats” never gets used, at least here in the states. Is it time for a more fuel efficient model? And how can we keep levels 1, 2, and 3 from looking alike?

    1. Alice – welcome to my blog! 😛

      I like this analogy very much – would you like to expand on it and write a guest blog for me?

  15. Dear Ken,
    I have been using you ideas on Motivating the Unmotivated, and my students became so interested and sort of fascinated with the lives of Lincoln and Kennedy that the subject turned into project work, I designed a kind of bequest. One of my students did so much research that he found out the following info:
    Kennedy represented Massachusetts’s 11th congressional district in the U.S. House of Representatives from 1947 to 1953 as a Democrat / In 1846, Lincoln was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives. Source: Wikipedia
    I guess this means the first similarity between them is not correct, or maybe we got the wrong info.
    Need your help, thanks in advance and thanks for sharing so many great ideas that empowers myself and beloved students .

  16. Hi Ken,

    I just found your blog and I must say I find it extremely entertaining and really enjoy reading it. It is refreshing to see someone who makes so many presentations actually be entertaining and understandable to everyone.

    Thank you!

  17. Hi Ken

    I went to the TESOL Arabia Conference a couple of weeks ago and was very impressed with both of your talks which I attended.

    However, I didn’t take notes on your talks as you promised to upload the content of your talks onto your website. Having hugely enjoyed them, I am very disappointed as I cannot find anything on the two talks I attended on your site. They were “Ten techniques for getting your learners to DO something” and “Is anybody listening?”.

    Could you please let me know where I can find these materials???

    With much appreciation…


  18. Ken, I can’t find a ‘contact’ button so I fear I might be going very public with this comment – gosh – perhaps you can delete it later for me? I’m giving a webinar about British and ‘merican for IATEFL this Saturday and I just wanted to ask your permission to tell the lovely anecdote you shared once about Dede replacing ‘Do you want to do the dishes’ with ‘I’ll let you do the dishes’ – like you were straining at the leash. Trust you won’t mind. Just ticking off permission request boxes.

  19. Hi Ken,

    I´d just like to say that one of my favourite ETT sketches of all time is “The Language School Sketch”. I have missed the fact this sketch was not part of the Commerial Publications by ETT, but thanks to your blog, I now have the script.

    When we produce this for our students, I hope I´ll be able to record it and send you a link on Youtube.


    Steve Barlow
    Cultura Inglesa Recife, Brazil

  20. Hi Ken. I was born in Argentina 57 yrs ago, and at the age of around 12 my father bought me “Mister Monday and other songs” one of the most brilliant recordings for children and teenagers striving to learn English through songs and music 40 years ago. Of course in those days there were not all the means we have today for teaching and learning foreign languages. I still have the LP record! To my surprise today I read that you wrote some other 100plus songs for learning English. Is there a way of getting your complete set of songs recordings? Thank you, for all you’ve done to let us know the new Koinè or lingua franca of the modern times.

  21. Ken:

    Hi from Japan! I’m the chair of JALT’s “Global Issues in Language Education” Special Interest Group (GILE SIG).

    Recently, I finally got around to checking out the great Facebook debate you ran last year on “Should we teach about global issues in the ELT classroom?”

    Would it be OK if I re-printed some of the great comments (by you and others) from this debate in our GILE Newsletter?

    I know a lot of our SIG members here in Japan would be really interested to learn about your ideas on this topic and read the thoughts of the teachers who contributed.

    Thanks in advance for considering this request. It would be great if you could give us permission to reprint. You can learn more about our group at .

    Kip Cates

    PS Thanks again for coming out to speak to our rural Tottori JALT chapter back in December 2013!

    1. Hi Kip. Sorry not to have replied earlier. I don’t really use this blog any more, but you’re very welcome to re-use any material you find here.

      Best, Ken

  22. Thank you for your generosity and sharing. I have one problem. I can not see the box.net for downloading the materials you share.

    Thank you so much

    Houmam alfares

      1. Dear Ken,
        I, too, remember your blog had resources you had used in your presentations. I cannot see them anymore. Where can I find them now?

  23. <<<<<<<<<<<<<>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
    JALT 2017 National Conference
    November 17 – 20, 2017 in Tsukuba, Japan

    Language Teaching in a Global Age:
    Shaping the Classroom, Shaping the World



    to give a talk on the topic of ELT and
    Globalization / Global Issues / Global Education

    Dear Ken,

    New Year greetings from Japan! I hope you’re doing well.

    I’m writing to see if you’re interested in attending our national JALT 2017 conference as a possible featured speaker this fall. You mentioned this might be possible when we spoke at JALT 2017 in Nagoya.

    JALT 2017: “Language Teaching in a Global Age”
    this fall’s JALT conference will be held in Tsukuba (near Tokyo) on a global theme with me as conference chair
    My colleagues and I are eager to highlight our field of “global education and language teaching”
    We’re currently contacting language educators active in global education who might be able to talk at JALT 2017.
    At this stage, we’re checking for expressions of interest and can’t make any official invitations just yet.

    Inquiry: Possible Featured Speaker ?
    Would you be interested in coming to Japan as a possible featured speaker to talk on our global theme?
    You’re a veteran in the area of ELT and global issues, and I know teachers in Japan would love to hear your ideas.
    Below is more info about our conference theme. Attached is our conference logo.

    Specific Commitments
    Attendance as a JALT 2017 featured speaker would involve:
    * attending the conference for 4 days from Nov. 17 (Friday) through Nov. 20 (Monday)
    * giving a talk on our conference theme (linking FLT to globalisation, global issues, global education…)
    * joining a separate panel discussion on the conference theme
    There would also be a chance to join a post-conference “Four Corners Tour”
    * this would enable you to go sightseeing in Japan while giving talks / workshops to regional JALT chapters

    Sponsorship / Funding
    JALT is looking into various options to get full or partial funding for our featured speakers
    Of course, it would be helpful if you could arrange sponsorship or full/partial funding with a publisher or organisation
    * Do you think one of your publishers (or other group) could help to sponsor / fund your presence at JALT 2017?
    * This would be a great chance for them (and you) to publicise your books

    Other Suggestions
    If you’re unable to attend, please feel free to suggest 1 or more colleagues who could talk on our theme
    We’d be happy to consider anyone you recommend who would be powerful speaker on global education, global citizenship and language teaching.

    Let me know!
    Please let me know if you’re free, interested and able to explore the option of being a JALT 2017 featured speaker
    Once I get an expression of interest from you, I can submit your name to our planning committee
    We’ll discuss all proposed speakers at our February meeting and can get back to you after that with more details.

    Thanks for considering this possibility, Ken. I look forward to hearing from you soon.

    Best wishes from Japan!


    Kip CATES

    Professor, Faculty of Regional Sciences, Tottori University
    Chair and Founder, Asian Youth Forum (AYF)
    Editor, JALT Global Issues in Language Education Newsletter
    CChair, JALT 2017 Conference in Tsukuba, Japan

    Tottori University, 4-101 Minami, Koyama, Tottori 680-8551 Japan
    Tel/Fax: 0857-31-5148 E-mail:
    Website: http://www.kipcates.com http://www.rs.tottori-u.ac.jp/bunka/cates.html


    Dates: November 17 – 20, 2017 (Friday – Monday)
    Venue: Tsukuba International Conference Center (near Tokyo)
    Theme: Language Teaching in a Global Age: Shaping the Classroom, Shaping the World
    Website: http://jalt.org/conference


    Conference Intro
    As JALT 2017 conference chair, I’d hereby like to officially invite you to attend the 43rd Annual JALT International Conference on Language Teaching and Learning & Educational Materials Exhibition. This special event will be held from November 17 – 20, 2017 at the Tsukuba International Congress Center (Epochal Tsukuba) in Ibaraki, Japan. Plans are now underway to prepare an exciting convention that will feature all the most current trends and initiatives in the field of language learning, teaching and research.
    The theme for the conference will be “Language Teaching in a Global Age: Shaping the Classroom, Shaping the World.” This will address the vital need for foreign language skills in our interconnected, multicultural world and the special mission of classroom instructors to prepare students to survive and thrive in a global age. The theme highlights the increased contact our learners have with tourists, immigrants and co-workers from around the globe, the new communication technologies that enhance cross-border language learning and the need for language instructors to “think globally, teach locally.” Please mark your calendars and start planning your presentation proposals. See you in Tsukuba in 2017! – Kip Cates (Conference Chair)

    Key Words
    language, learning, teaching, communication, English….
    global age, global issues, global education, global citizen, global citizenship…
    international understanding, social responsibility, living in a multicultural world, action for a better future…

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