Katherine Stannett

Teaching the Whole Student

Cultivating a positive mindset, learning to grow from failure and developing a sense of self are just some of the crucial skills our students need, particularly in these challenging times. In this talk, I will be looking at how we can use our unique position as language teachers to encourage our students both to study well and to live well.


We all know the importance of teaching the ‘bones’ of English – the skeleton of vocabulary, grammar and functions upon which the language is based. Our syllabi are constructed around them, and we are often given tick lists of structures and lexical sets to mark our students’ progress. However, our choice of topics, and the way that we set tasks, respond to students and encourage them to develop, give us the opportunity not only to teach these items, ticking the curriculum requirements, but also to develop our students’ less quantifiable skills and abilities. In today’s classroom – whether online or in person, we should be aiming not just to help our students improve their English, but also to nurture their feelings of independence and confidence and to prepare them for these unprecedented times. As the world around us all is changing rapidly, in ways that no-one could have predicted even a year ago, we need now, more than ever, to focus on teaching the whole student, not just the language learner. Through activities that foster critical skills, collaborative activities, thoughtfulness and self direction, we can and should use our English lessons to prepare our students for the challenges that lie ahead. From healthy eating to safe surfing, from netiquette to negotiating, from goal setting to fact checking, I will share practical ideas and relevant topics that can be used both in the classroom and online and will suggest ways that, even remotely, we can form real and lasting connections with our students.


Katherine Stannett is an author with over twenty years of experience. Most recently, she has written two levels of the new National Geographic Middle School series, ‘Impact’ and one level of the new Primary series, ‘Look’. She has given presentations and run workshops in many countries around the world.

NGL Teaching The Whole student.pdf