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May, 2011:

Moving Beyond “Do you like?” (by Randy Poehlman)

Flickr: Eastnhuh

Getting students to express preference and to make choices is as easy as holding out a red pencil and a blue pencil and letting them choose, then providing practice and drills based on the language that facilitates that choice. (more…)

How culture matters

If you walk into a neighborhood in my part of Japan, you’ll see a display like this somewhere near the entrance. It’s a map showing all of the houses in a neighborhood, and the names of families who live in the houses. Do you have something like this where you live? (more…)

Lexical Chunks for Kids (by Mark Kulek)

Mark left a comment on a recent post of mine (How Context Matters) that intrigued me, about using lexical chunks with his young learners. I asked him to expand on his comment in a guest post, and Mark was kind enough to agree. ~Barb (more…)

Three Great Interview Series

I’m always impressed with the ways teachers exploit the power of social media to share and collaborate. These three series of interviews are great examples of very different but equally wonderful ways of sharing. (more…)

Guest posts you may have missed

burning the candle at both ends

Flickr: accent on eclectic


It has been a rough couple of months. With teaching, writing, and travel, and a few natural and man-made disasters, I’ve done a poor job keeping up this blog, a worse job of reading other people’s blogs, and an embarrassingly dreadful job of commenting on blogs (to let people know that I actually did read their posts). I’m home this month and enjoying getting caught up a bit. My Villagers page of guest authors is finally up to date! (more…)

Students Picking Pics (by Randy Poehlman)

When students are able to choose which images best represent the content of the lessons, they are instantly more engaged and they become far more active. Students can tailor the themes to their particular interests, or the general interests of their classmates, far better than a teacher can select relevant photography and illustrations. This bottom up learning style is particularly useful in encouraging visual students and passive students. It has the further benefit of allowing them ownership of opinions and sparks creativity. (more…)

Personal experiences of a new TEFL teacher (by Anna Greenwood)

Sand Mandala

Image: Henryart

I thought that a one month TEFL course and the fact that I am a native speaker of English would be enough to equip me to teach English. As I started to teach in Nepal, and later in India I slowly learnt many lessons myself. The most important lesson I learnt was to be genuine and honest with the students. Teaching is not simply about entertaining the students, but guiding them honestly and directly through the maze of learning ahead of them. As a teacher we are imparting more than just knowledge, we also impart wisdom. As we stand in front of a class day after day the children witness our behaviours both good and bad. The teacher has the task of showing them how to learn effectively, and so the teacher must look to herself (I use this to mean both genders) first and at the methods she employs in developing and presenting both the lessons and herself. (more…)

Very cool! A chance to discover new blogs

It’s time once again for Lexiophile’s annual Top 100 Language Lovers competition. This year, they’ve changed things around a bit, so they’re ranking language-related Facebook pages and Twitter accounts, as well as language learning and professional blogs. (more…)

How Context Matters

What are these? How are they used?



Aftershocks 5

It’s Children’s Day in Japan, a holiday for rejoicing in children’s unique personalities and celebrating their happiness. It seemed appropriate to use this post to showcase some of the ways that children around the world have worked with their teachers to respond to the earthquake and tsunami in this country. (more…)