Never mind fluency

Here comes the grammar teacher

I think it is quite absurd to reward students who are good at cramming grammar rules – and may not be fluent at all – and punish students who can speak English fairly well but aren’t very accurate. English is a language. The main purpose of a language is communication.


Good teachers or warm bodies?

What do we deserve?

I’m guessing that at least one third of all TEFL teachers are underprepared, underqualified or lack any kind of training in their subject. Compounding the problem is the fact that government funding for teacher training/re-training is non-existent.


On your marks, get set, go!

The legendary school sports day

Preparing for sports day in England for most involved rain, Tiller the Hun sports knickers and humiliation as you feebly attempted each event. In Thailand, hours in front of MTV was the compulsory training attendance. I was so born in the wrong country.


The teacher's diary

One teacher's descent into madness

The diary is the sad and heartbreaking four-week journal of Mr Jim Elmdon - a teacher who came, saw, and failed miserably. Keep a box of tissues handy.


Before you teach

What every teacher should do and know before opening day

The first thing every teacher should do before starting a new job is to inspect; inspect beyond the usual school tour that is part of most interviews. Ask to be taken to the classrooms you will use. Look at where you will teach. What do you have? Are there whiteboards or chalkboards? Do you have any type of technology to aid you in teaching? Is there air conditioning?


December 2002

A year-end selection box of TEFL snippets

Featured this month is corporate work, Mr Micheal from Siam Computer, how to dress to impress at interviews and mingling with rich English teachers.


Excuses, excuses

Loosely to do with education I suppose

Kids can learn a lot from their elders. Right from wrong. Good from bad. There is no God. Greed is good. The list goes on. Bullshitting is one art form that is also passed down through the generations. This week we have an example and also link it in a convoluted manner to something bordering on educational.


A worrying thought

Bizarre Thai student behavior

A slightly deep, for me at least, look into the psyche of learning. I begin by disecting the misonomer (or is it) " No one can teach anyone anything" and end up with a kid sticking his finger in a plug socket.


More Dwight and Goodwill to all men

Over the previous few months I’ve been accused of many things

The star of last week's LIBeL is still hounding me - a few more insightful questions from Dwight in NYC. Plus re-training hookers - Goodwill Bangkok, a charity based in, not surprisingly, Bangkok - offers free training courses for girls looking for a way out of the bar scene.


I'll have an A please Ajarn Bob

When Thai parents rule the roost

Another reference that will be oblivious to anyone who didn't grow up watching Blockbusters on ITV. What to expect when the exam grades of overfed kids don't reach parents' expectations. Someone has to take the blame


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