Study Skills

"They should have learned study skills in high school." Yes-but what if they didn't? University students sometimes arrive with brain power and drive, but without the organisation and habits necessary for academic success. Dorothy will demonstrate useful techniques for teaching and practicing academic study skills to help make students better at their most important university tasks - studying and learning.

Author Profile

Dorothy E. Zemach taught ESL for over  18 years, in Asia, Africa, and the US. She holds an MA in TESL from the School for International Training in Vermont, USA. Now she concentrates on writing, editing, and publishing ELT materials and textbooks and conducting teacher training workshops. Her areas of specialty and interest are teaching writing, teaching  reading, business English, academic English, testing, and humor. She is a frequent plenary speaker at international conferences, and a regular blogger  for Teacher Talk at

What  inspired and continues to inspire you to work in ELT?

I work as a teacher trainer now, generally in areas of the world where teachers don't have so many chances to  travel to conferences and engage in professional development. I'm inspired by  the idea that every teacher I can help, in turn helps hundreds of students.

What  question are you asked most often by teachers and how do you respond? 

"How can I increase student motivation?" Students feel motivated when they understand the value of  what they're learning, and when they feel successful. Sometimes teachers see those things, but students don't; so it helps to make your lesson goals  transparent, and to help students to recognize their own successes and  progress.

Tell us about your most recent projects with Macmillan. 

I'm the series consultant for Skillful, Macmillan's five-level dual skills course (reading/writing, and listening/speaking). I love that series  because the topics and texts are so varied and interesting; I also think it  teaches a wide variety of study skills very well. I recently finished working on the second edition of Open Mind, a four-skills coursebook with an innovative and highly practical "life skills" strand that helps students connect the classroom to different  areas of their lives.

My top teaching tip:

Help students learn to manage their digital lives i.e., turn off the Internet while writing/typing, use applications that block social media while researching online, etc.

Dorothy Zemach's Presentation