This is an English-speaking only zone

Reflections from teaching in an English-only international school

Six weeks ago I started a new teaching job in Myanmar at an international school. The job and the school have surpassed my expectations and one of the most impressive things is that I can use complete sentences in the classroom and give directions in English and the students not only understand, but they respond with great English.


Where will the money go?

Postbox letter from Cliff

I retired from my job in the States last year and decided to spend my retirement here in Thailand, teaching Thai people to speak better English among other things. I knew beforehand it would be an uphill battle. I have spent 4 years of my life here, plus another 11 working at a Thai church near my home in the San Diego area, so I was well aware of the difficulties Thai people have with our language. In fact, most of the few Thai people I know who speak it fluently have a very heavy Thai accent.


Culture of insouciance

The Cambodian rubbish dump, and my not so final, final exam

Many of the students in my class with their fancy clothes, laptops, I-phones, and I-pads, rarely experience an atmosphere where true learning takes place. Outside of the odd serious teacher they may have encountered along the way, they also live and learn in a rubbish dump, an educational one.


Student mistakes

Thoughts on error correction

As teachers, do we sometimes get too caught up in finding and punishing mistakes? Can more focus on creating quality work as opposed to avoiding errors improve the learning process?


The enemy within

The evil side of the TEFL industry

It is a complicity of silence that sees many foreign teachers working hand-in-glove with a Thai administration that cares only about money and maintaining an educational system mired in cultural backwardness and social repression.


A teacher, an old wise man, two punks, and a chicken

Taking responsibility for your teaching

Every once in a while I get frustrated with my students. Yes that’s right; I’m not a perfect teacher. But the person I should get most frustrated with, however, is me.


Handling a 'sanook' class

How to handle a classroom full of badly-behaved children

Success in handling naughty students calls for common sense, creativity and resourcefulness on the part of teachers. Furthermore, a lot of reasons that trigger students’ behavior have to be addressed too, for if they are not, problems will surface


Concerning plagiarism and copying

Postbox letter from Ralph Sasser

Plagiarism has been a problem here as long as I have been here and long before that. I hate to be the barer of bad news, but every teacher I know of has tried to stop it, including myself, with no success.


The root of all evil

A return to the subject of student materials

I think choosing content that encourages students to think in scientific ways facilitates their English language acquisition.


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.


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