EFL Teaching in Thailand (and elsewhere) part two

What’s the best and the worst class you’ve ever taught?

As promised, here are some of the lighter moments that I have been privy to in my time as an ajarn in Thailand; a time that, give or take one or two visits elsewhere, has lasted about twelve years. To be honest, I don’t have to think that hard to come up with memories of my good classes as they spring to mind with relative ease.


Writing your own readers

Why not design your own student reading material

Let your textbooks dictate the level and style of language to use and only introduce new vocabulary if it’s cool and/or funny. Students have a nice habit of always remembering these types of words.


Repetition

An argument about what students really need

Most of us are faced with the same challenge: large class sizes. We can’t do anything about this other than work with it.


The 3-4-3 principle and the importance of repetition

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


First day on the job

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.


Mastering the art of description

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.


The burden of being fun

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.


The greatest myth

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.


My teacher is a computer

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.


Teaching the kiddies

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.


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