Passing a test takes hard work

Postbox letter from Nigel

I once had a student ask me; "Teacher, if I did this test in Cambodia, would it be easier?" to which I replied "Is that a joke?"


Teaching one-on-one and agency issues

Preparing a student for an important exam and the joys of being paid late

Aside from keeping busy with school and extra lessons, it's been an interesting week. There's no point in going into details, but I will say this: do be careful what agency you sign up with. Things can easily go wrong. Our salaries were paid to us several days late, and this is after the agency changed the pay date stated on our contracts after we had already signed them


The 360 degree approach

A new way to teach TOEFL and IELTS

I only tutor TOEFL and IELTS privately and no longer teach the subjects at private language centres. I will not adhere to rules and regulations that mean students have to repeatedly sit tests. It’s a rip-off.


Ignorance or arrogance?

Students and their lack of proper test preparation

Teachers who have taught TOEFL or IELTS courses can attest that for non-native speakers, doing well on these tests translates into a lot of hard work. Apart from becoming proficient in English, students will also need to fine-tune their test-taking skills and build up their endurance and concentration, as these tests usually take about four hours to complete.


The tools of technology

Using the internet to improve your English

For students looking for more educational content and online courses instead of authentic materials, a myriad of websites provide free English lessons for all levels, ranging from beginner to advanced, from IELTS preparation to business English, from Pidgin English to skid row slang.


The academic debate

Does a degree make a good teacher?

Now what if a teacher has a degree, but no teaching certificate? Would that be okay? Probably. What about having just a teaching certificate and no degree? Maybe. What about no qualifications at all but a lot of experience? Possibly. And finally, what about schools hiring people with no qualifications whatsoever and no experience, would that go well? There’s the odd chance that it might, but I doubt it.


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.


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