Empower your learners

Partner with us and we’ll help you build your learners' confidence, so they can be themselves in English.

Why partner with us?

Pearson English Connect

Discover the game-changing digital teachers hub that’s revolutionizing English language teaching inside and outside of the classroom.

"Pearson English Connect (PEC) adds value to our business because our students are happy and make progress. They love the fact that they can take digital notes in PEC, get instant scores for their activities and have the option of saving their work. They are enjoying using PEC so much that our students voted to continue using PEC online during the class – they will bring their computers if they go back to the classroom.”
Guadalupe Salazar, Pedagogical Manager, Academia Education

Inspire learners and build their skills with Pearson English Readers

Aligned to the Lexile Global Framework for reading and the Global Scale of English, our Readers are the perfect partner to power up any learner’s journey to fluency.

Find the best Readers for your learners

Lexile logo



We have millions of learning enthusiasts in our community

Read the insights from our community.
  • students sat at desks looking at their workbooks

    Mindfulness in the classroom: autopilot and paying attention

    By Amy Malloy

    The challenge: the lure of automatic pilot

    Have you ever got to the bottom of the page in your favorite book and then realized you have no idea what you just read? This is due to being in a semi-conscious mental state called 'automatic pilot'. In automatic pilot mode, we are only partially aware of what we are doing and responding to in the present moment. If left to its own devices, it can end up masking all our thought patterns, emotions and interactions with those around us. Humans are habitual creatures, building functional 'speed-dials' to allow us to survive in the present while the mind is elsewhere planning for the future or ruminating in thought. The challenge here is that we are responding to the present moment based solely on habits learned from previous experience rather than making conscious choices based on the nuances of the moment itself. Luckily, mindfulness can help.

    The solution: the importance of paying attention on purpose

    Jon Kabat-Zinn, Professor Emeritus of Medicine at the University of Massachusetts Medical School, is often credited with bringing mindfulness into the secular mainstream. He defines the practice as: "paying attention in a particular way: on purpose, in the present moment and non-judgmentally." 

    Paying attention on purpose is the skill needed to move out of automatic pilot. As such, practicing mindfulness starts with learning how to pay attention. The more we focus, the more the brain builds strength in the areas involved in this type of concentration - and the easier it becomes to do it automatically. In other words, it becomes a habit to be present.

    In the early years of primary school, a child's brain is developing more quickly than it ever will again. Young minds are in the process of forming their very first habits, and so learning to pay attention on purpose will have a long-lasting impact on their capacity to learn and succeed in school.

    The why: why is this particularly important in schools? 

    If you're a teacher wondering why this is important, mindfulness has many benefits in the classroom. Perhaps the most notable is its facility for improving children's attention span during English lessons and elsewhere in life. This is increasingly important as children are immersed in a world of digital screens and social media. Learning to focus can help to counteract the constant demands on their attention and develop greater patience and staying power for any one activity. 

    While the debate continues on whether average attention spans are reducing because of screen time, experts agree that our attention span varies depending on what we are doing. The more experience we have of how much attention a certain situation needs, the more the brain will adapt and make it easier for us to focus on those situations. 

    The brains of school-age children develop rapidly. So, the more we can do to demonstrate to them what it feels like to pay attention for a prolonged period, the more likely they are to be able to produce that level of attention in similar situations. 

    For teenagers it is even more important. During adolescence, our brains undergo a unique period of neural development. The brain rapidly streamlines our neural connections to make the brain function as efficiently as possible in adulthood. Like a tree shedding branches, it will get rid of any pathways that are not being used and strengthen up the areas that are being used: use it or lose it. So if teenagers are not actively using their ability to pay conscious attention and spending too much time in automatic pilot mode, through screen use and in periods of high exam stress, the brain won't just not strengthen their capacity to focus; it may make it harder for them to access the ability to pay attention in future. 

    The how: three exercises to teach your students mindfulness 

    These three mindfulness exercises will help your language students integrate awareness into everyday activities in their school and home lives. 

    1. Mindful use of screens and technology 

    Screen use is a major culprit of setting the brain into automatic pilot. This is an activity you can practice in school during computer-based lessons or even ask the students to practise at home.

    • Close your eyes and notice how you feel before you've started 
    • Consciously decide on one task you need to do on the device 
    • Consciously think about the steps you need to do to achieve that task and visualize yourself doing them 
    • Then turn on the device and complete the task. When you have finished, put the device down, walk away, or do something different
    • Notice if you wanted to carry on using the device (this doesn't mean we need to)

    2. Mindful snacking

    We eat so habitually that we rarely notice the huge range of sensory stimulation going on under the surface of this process. This is a great activity to practise with your students during breaks or lunch. 

    • Hold the snack in your hand and notice five things you can see about it
    • Close your eyes and notice five things about the way it feels in your hand or to touch
    • Keep the eyes closed and notice five things you can smell about the snack
    • Bring the snack slowly to your mouth and taste it – notice five different subtle tastes

    3. Counting the breath

    A brilliantly simple exercise to teach the brain to focus attention on one thing for a longer period of time. It can be done anywhere and can also have the helpful side effect of reducing stress through passively slowing down the breath.

    • Close your eyes or take a soft gaze in front of you
    • Focus your attention on the breath going in and out at the nostrils
    • Notice the breath temperature on the way into the nose compared to its temperature on the way out
    • Count 10 breaths to yourself – in 1, out 1; in 2, out 2; and so on
    • If the mind wanders, gently guide it back to the breath
    • When you get to 10 you can either stop there or go back to 1 and start again
    • In time, it will become easier to stay focused for the full 10 breaths and for even longer

    If a part of you is still wondering where to start with mindfulness, then paying conscious attention to anything that draws our senses to the present moment: the breath, physical sensations in the body, sounds, smells or tastes - these are all brilliant places to start. Remember that mindfulness is simply a state of mind, a way of interacting with the world around us. How we access that state of mind can vary depending on the school, the language lesson and the students - there are many possibilities. As an English teacher, it's important to encourage and help students academically and in regards to their wellbeing. 

  • A teacher holding books in a classroom

    Mindfulness for teachers: managing expectations over the holidays

    By Amy Malloy

    Mindfulness and your routine

    In the run-up to the holidays, it is common to feel like your routine has completely broken down, especially when you’re not giving classes or working at school. The holidays also often bring with them lots of people, family, and excitement. That sometimes means we also experience fluctuating emotions, stress and the feeling that everything should be perfect.

    On top of this, shops and social media are filled with advertising – and there’s definitely more ‘stuff’ to buy. In addition, we can see messages telling us we need to feel ‘merry’ and ‘bright’ wherever we look. Even the popular greeting, ‘Merry Christmas’, can sometimes feel less of a greeting and more of an instruction.

    Sometimes it feels like the people around us expect us to always feel happy and joyful over the holiday season. This is fine if we do feel merry, but we will always have ups and downs. If you don’t feel happy, for whatever reason, it can feel even harder than it might at times where there is less expectation all around us.

    Overcoming the challenge

    Finding a way to introduce mindfulness into the holiday season can be a wonderful way for us to understand our emotions at this time of year. It will help you think about your expectations and let you find a moment to pause to accept whatever the reality actually is.

    Here are some quick and easy ways to find some ‘you’ time and keep checking in with how you’re feeling. These are also tips you can try with children in the classroom and for yourself at home to keep yourself on track.

    3-minute body scan

    Find a quiet moment. This may be in the few minutes after you wake up or go to bed, during break time, or even at the start of a lesson.

    • Notice the contact of your feet with the floor. Notice the sounds around you in the room.
    • Take three deep breaths and notice how they feel.
    • Scan down the body in your mind from the top of your head all the way down to your toes. Observe what you notice about your body with an air of curiosity – look for any tension, discomfort or comfort. Also, notice if there are any expectations you have of that day or moment. See if you can simply notice them and set them aside. This curiosity helps us stay detached from what we notice so we can just observe.
    • Take three more deep breaths, and carry on.

    2-minute notebook

    Writing something down can be a wonderfully mindful exercise. Have a stack of post-its or a little notebook on your desk or bedside table. You could encourage your students to do the same.

    1. Pick a point in your day. It could be at the start of each day, the start of each lesson, or just before bed. Each day, at that time, take a moment to write down three:

    • good things that have happened in your day
    • things that felt challenging
    • things you feel grateful and thankful for.

    2. Review your notes every now and again during the holiday period. This will give you a sense of your shifts of mood and energy that might have occurred.

    Noticing something you feel grateful for has been shown to physically improve your wellbeing and state of mind.

    1-minute cupboard pause

    When things feel over-stimulating, find a quiet space just for a minute. Even if it’s in a cupboard!

    STOP: notice the contact of your feet with the floor.
    BREATHE: take ten deep breaths, breathing in for a count of four and out for a count of six.
    WATCH: watch each breath coming and going from the nose or chest or belly. Observe what your thoughts and feelings are doing. Allow them to sit without needing to respond.

    Then head back into the area you were in.

    I hope these tips help you to navigate the festive season without expectation and with curiosity for what each moment holds along the way.

    Remember that the holiday days you celebrate are really just normal days. It’s simply that expectations have changed, and what’s more, everyone’s expectations will be different.

    Simply taking time to notice this can make a massive difference to the pressure we put on ourselves. Releasing this pressure can even lead to more enjoyment overall – so why don’t you try it and see?

Level-up your skills with our free webinars

Register to join live or watch the recordings now.
Sorry, there are no upcoming webinars to display.

* Global online survey on Learner's Voice among just over 2,000 respondents including teachers and learners of English, decision makers in educational institutions and companies, Jan-Mar 2022.