Putting students through their paces
Each lesson has four sides. I lift one side. If by the end of the lesson the students know what is under the remaining three sides, I do not repeat the lesson
A simple activity for your first day with a new class
If you’re new to the job, and haven’t figured this one out yet, you can start off classes with a new group in confident style every time – the first thing you can do is make a name card.
Activities that go over well in the classroom
What are some classic language activities that go down well with all types of classes? You'll definitely find something you can use in this list of tried and trusted lesson-fillers.
Why many ESL environments are so nightmarish
At its very worst, teaching is the kind of job you wouldn’t wish on your worst enemy. When the students couldn’t care less about what you have to say, and are determined to just make fun of you, the ESL classroom can literally become a living hell.
How communicative language teaching fails
These truths are not wild, philosophical, esoteric ramblings. How we choose to teach English as a second or foreign language is a perfect example of how our methods of teaching is failing the very same people it was meant to help.
The role of the computer in the EFL world
If someone is really eager to learn a language (any foreign language, it doesn’t necessarily have to be English), a computer is the ideal tool for self-study. Actually, a computer is nothing more than a modern combination of a notebook, a pen, a dictionary, a phone and a fax machine. Without the communicative infrastructure called the Internet or the software to make everything happen, a computer is basically worthless.
Do they learn anything at all?
Although weekend courses have to be fun for everyone involved, meaning both children and teacher, I think that fun and learning should be balanced. If the parents pay good money to get their kids on a course, the least a teacher should do is make sure that they learn some English. This can be done using fun and games, but not exclusively.
Tips for students
Communication is all about using a language to transfer a message and to make yourself understood. If the students can’t say it, if they can’t get their message across, if nobody understands them or doesn’t even bother listening to them anymore, their knowledge of English is virtually useless and all the hours of studying it have been a complete waste of time.
Human beings first, English teachers second
Most of the students marched lockstep into the manager's office and demanded another teacher. Fair enough. I stepped aside. Was I ready for the seriousness of this class? Absolutely not. I had absolutely no intention of treating this class, or any writing class, with the seriousness that the students demanded. I am a human being first, an ESL teacher second.
Generalisations and stereotypes
Six months of hindsight have brought about a small epiphany on teaching English as a foreign language – it’s the same game wherever you go. The most striking differences in teaching come with a change in age group or class size, not nationality.
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