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.


How to improve your English

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.


I want your English and nothing more

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.


Same game

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.


Sit fetch and roll over

Basic Thai commands for teaching children

Let me get a few things straight first. First of all, it doesn’t really matter if the kids understand everything you say. Even if they do, they still won’t listen to you. Second, even if you know the commands in Thai, you’ll probably get the tones wrong and no one will understand you.


The school song

Homage to a cheerful tune

Covering classes was not a stretch, it allowed me to walk over to the ‘teen’ division of the campus. Being the other farang female the ‘high school’ kids always were attentive when either of us had to fill in.


Ajarn robot

Conquering the classroom dynamics

Who actually thought that the word robot would be an imperative word for a second language student to master?A leader of a robot worshiping cult who freelanced in the publishing world, maybe?


The staff room

Inside a Korean hogwan

A total of seven teachers work at my school. All of them are Korean except for myself. Three of these teachers can speak English with me, but the others are too shy to do so. Staff meetings are held in the Korean language. I seldom understand what is discussed, but that is my fault for not learning to speak Korean fluently. If I want to learn about the meetings I will talk to the director afterward.


The basics of lesson planning

Something every teacher should know

The first step in planning a lesson is to have an overview of exactly what will be learned in that lesson (or group of lessons). For example, if you are teaching verb use, you need to determine what you want students to learn.


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