I love, love, LOVE knowledge. 

AND … I also feel that it’s time we reversed the order in which we start any new learning or teaching endeavor, to allow us to keep up with an ever-faster, and increasingly more complex world. 

I feel that today it’s best if we apply a SKILLS FIRST approach to most learning by consciously cultivating more of a top-down, ‘dip in first’ approach.

To keep pace with the demands of the world around us, we have to start allowing SKILLS to GUIDE us to any systematic knowledge that we may then also decide to acquire. 

This may be skills we want to acquire for life or work. Or, in our case, the English language classroom, preparing our learners for BOTH.

We have to let skills LEAD, because compared to our grandparents, we are now INUNDATED by information. 

It is no longer hard access to knowledge. A lot of it is often freely available, or might even be ‘chasing us’ down the internet (–‘cookies’, anyone?) 

There’s simply TOO MUCH collective human knowledge available for us to continue following the old, industrial age method of learning ‘SYSTEMS FIRST’ and then hoping, that somehow all of this will miraculously be relevant and useful to accomplishing our goals. 

This is no longer a feasible (life-long-) learning strategy.

We might drown in KNOWLEDGE before we ever get to a SKILL.


Teaching our advanced IELTS learners yet another super advanced grammar structure, or bunch of academic vocabulary WITHOUT starting with WHY they’re worth knowing is cart-before-the-horse.

How do YOU ensure a ‘healthy balance’ between KNOWLEDGE and SKILLS in your teaching for IELTS? 

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Hi. I’m Fatime. I’m an IELTS Teacher Trainer, helping CELTA-qualified English language teachers become better at teaching SKILLS, as opposed to just testing them. 

Check out my courses here:

How to Teach IELTS Listening:

How to Teach IELTS Reading:

How to Teach IELTS Writing:

How to Teach IELTS Speaking: