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Provoking Thought is a collection of activities for the language classroom. Each chapter covers a different theme: thinking, memory, creativity, critical thinking, and expressing thought in writing.


Book Reviews for Provoking Thought


"This resource book aims at encouraging students, motivating them, developing their academic skills, and creating a student-centred atmosphere in the classroom.The book is all about ideas that require no or limited resources and no special preparation for the activity. In this way, teachers can get ideas from the book to complement the textbook they use daily, ideas that can be used to accelerate learning and make routine classroom activities more enjoyable and more participatory. Provoking Thought is an exceptional resource book because the activities in the book enhance learning, learning how to learn, learning how to teach, and teaching."

- Piret Kartner, ELT Journal


"I would highly recommend this activity book for teachers who are curious about the thought process and its role in language acquisition. It would be especially useful for teachers with a good deal of experience who wish to deepen their understanding of the learning process, as well as have plenty of creative ideas to help spice up their lessons. A treasure trove of creative teaching activities sure to please veteran teachers looking for some new ideas."

- Kenneth Beare, About.com


"Provoking Thought is a great resource for not just language teachers but most probably other kinds of teachers as well who need to engage their students and start a far more dynamic classroom atmosphere. Grab a copy and make the most of it with your students."

- Alberto Gaspar, The APPI Journal


"I would encourage anyone with upper level students, or simply an interest in the workings of the mind and the desire to bring the reflection of such into a classroom, to explore what this book has to offer. Houston has put together a valuable resource and has, in fact, provoked my own thoughts on classroom practices."

- Kay Brushett, IH Journal


"This is a gem of a book. Provoking Thought is well laid out, easy to use and written without too much EFL jargon. This is a good little resource to have on your reference shelf."

- Sandee Thompson, Modern English Teacher


"I am very happy to have run across this book! After many years of teaching languages and researching language acquisition, I've finally found a single volume that integrates key principles of language development and practical classroom activities. Great work! Language acquisition requires lots spoken input, as well as "negotiation of meaning" (actively working out what other people are thinking and saying), "pushed output" (being compelled to express ideas and forms that you may not initially be comfortable expressing), "relearning" (revisiting partially learned content and making new connections), and "noticing the gap" (figuring out what you need to know before you can complete your idea or understand what someone else means). Provoking Thought provides concrete resources for doing ALL these things - and having a great time teaching actively. I'm sure students of all ages and backgrounds will benefit from their teachers using Hall Houston's book."

- Michael Rost, author of Teaching and Researching Listening


"A useful, teacher-friendly guide that is often fun to use for teachers and students alike. Teachers wishing to stimulate and enhance their students’ thinking skills will certainly find much to like in Provoking Thought: Memory and Thinking in ELT."

- William Mooney, Hwa Kang English Journal


"Provoking Thought shows instructors a myriad of ways to `get inside your students head', improve their understanding, increase their retention and memory, and get them to better express themselves- all things that can apply to any realm of teaching- but are especially important in the language learning environment where students don't have the luxury of communicating, and/or even thinking in their own language. Additionally, the book does not just show the teacher the principles of `Provoking Thought' but backs them up with proven and easy to understand lesson plans that apply them from Hall's own classroom. An informative read for not just ELT instructors, but other kinds of teachers as well."

- Chuck Johnson, author of Phat English


"If you’re any way interested in making your learners’ time in your classes more interesting & effective, you should get hold of the excellent Provoking Thought. Highly recommended."

- Alistair Dickinson, Developing Teachers


"A brilliant collection of out-of-the-box and totally engaging humanistic teaching gems...[Hall Houston] has both a deep understanding of typical teaching issues and an unerring knack of imagining thoughtful activities to stimulate our students' imaginations and keep their motivation high...if you want to zap up your lessons with tons of highly inventive new ideas, I'd certainly recommend Provoking Thought to all educators in need of inspiration or simply on the lookout for offbeat new teachbites."

- Sab Will, Hotchpotchenglish.com


"This systematic book demonstrates how to engage students and create a far more creative, dynamic English classroom. Filled with practical lesson plans and revealing interviews, this powerful teacher's resource inspired revisions to my course curriculum to include new exercises, and modify old classics. Part journalism, part teacher resource, and part philosophy, this original and reflective ELT textbook will "provoke thought" on how we teach English for both experienced and novice instructors. This is my favorite ELT book of 2009 - by far!"

- Eric Roth, author of Compelling Conversations


"A really great source of activities, especially for warmer and filler activities. The unique aspect of the activities in this book is that the author, Hall Houston, hasn’t just created activities to get the students to use new language. The activities he has chosen also make the students think about how they use language in general while teaching them ways to make the language learning process easier."

- Alison Susans, TEFL.net


"Written very much in the humanistic ELT tradition, it contains a bank of classroom tasks for adult learners...the tasks routinely practise a variety of language skills at one time...Without much imagination or preparation time from teachers, many of these tasks can be opened up, adapted and grafted together to suit particular class contexts and learners...there are likely to be quite a few tasks in this book which teachers in a variety of teaching situations should be able to use or adapt in their classes and which learners will benefit from, both linguistically and intellectually."

- Peter Lyn, English Teaching Professional


"There is great value, both pedagogically and monetarily, in Houston's resource. It certainly belongs on the shelves of most resource rooms I've been in...there is some great classroom material here as well as some pedagogy to help you brush up."

- Fiona Bramble, Fiona's ESL Blog



Advance praise for Provoking Thought:


An original, practical and very useful collection of activities. If you think that it's a good idea that

your students think more for themselves then I think this book is for you.”


- Lindsay Clandfield, author of Dealing with Difficulties (Delta) and The Language Teacher's Survival Handbook (iT's)


"This highly engaging and thought-provocative book offers outstanding strategies that involve both teachers and students in examination of assumptions, the pros and cons of issues, best use of memory, and reflection of thought processes. Houston's contribution makes "critical thinking" both positive and motivating. A terrific addition to classroom life and language learning! This book will make us better teachers, and make learning more meaningful."

- Dr. Natalie Hess, Professor of BME/ESL, Northern Arizona University - Yuma and author of Teaching Large Multilevel Classes (Cambridge) and Zero Prep (Alta)


"This is a truly thought provoking book. It takes you through various aspects of thinking including memory, creativity and problem solving. Very informative and a must for every humanistic teacher."

- Hania Kryszewska, editor of Humanising Language Teaching, author of Learner-Based Teaching (Oxford) and The Company Words Keep (Delta)


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contact Hall at hallhouston (at) yahoo (dot) com