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Stuff All EFL Teachers Should Know

Teaching Pronunciation that Matters (by Nina Septina)

Nina on guitar

Pronunciation is like an art to me, and I’ve always enjoyed it. It is like learning how to play guitar, where we have to figure out when to use different picking strategies or strumming patterns to produce the desired sounds. In pronunciation, we also need to use many different techniques and tongue positions in our mouth to produce the right sounds. Another similarity is that we’ve got to know when to change how hard or softly we should hit the guitar strings when playing a song. The same thing happens when we have to figure out how hard or how soft we should stress certain syllables in words, or some words in sentences when speaking. Finally, there’s the use of rhythm as the main component that shapes the flow of the song, just as it also shapes the flow of the speech in pronunciation.
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Parking Lot Archaeology: An engaging angle on teaching academic English (by Ron Campbell)

Every car tells a story

“Every car tells a story; all you have to do is listen”

It’s become something of a cliché, but every teaching situation presents its own unique set of challenges. However, my challenge wasn’t all that unique – in fact, it was pretty well-worn itself. My students were falling asleep as I tried to guide them through science readings and lectures in preparation for the TOEFL.

What I’d like to offer you here is a brief review of a class project that seemed to catch my students’ interest and got them deeply involved with academic material.  This one simple exercise opened a wide door into helping students interact with abstract material and getting them to build a set of experiential and critical thinking tools that they could call on later when trying to understand and appreciate other technical topics in English.

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Classroom Management with EFL Students (by Natalie Britton)

On the first day of school in Busan, South Korea, I stood at the front of my class five minutes before the bell rang waiting to greet my new middle school students. After seven minutes had passed, I was about to go and search for my class when I heard a loud rumble coming from the floor above. Suddenly, three dozen pairs of feet came running into the classroom attached to three dozen pairs of flailing arms and three dozen shouting mouths. Stupefied, I stood frozen and looked on, wide-eyed, as my classroom was ripped apart by thirty-six wild monkeys.

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Relax. Repeat. Remember (by Jason R. Levine)

“Daddy, play it again!” my four-year-old daughter said.

“The same song? Again? (We’d already listened to it nine times in a row.)

Later that night, we would read the same storybook three times straight.

Young children want us to repeat songs and stories. They like to point at things, like pumpkins, and tell us, “I know what that is. It’s a pumpkin,” when they know that we know that they know what it is.

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Steps to Success (by Charlotte Mooney)

I use Steps to Success to motivate and track student achievement in a variety of areas.If you can measure it, you can track it using Steps to Success! Here, I’ll use  the example of teaching vocabulary about food to intermediate students who are able to write in English. For students at the pre-writing stage see see ‘adapting Steps to Success for non-writers’ at the bottom of the page.

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What Every Teacher Should Know About St. Patrick (by Patrick Jackson)

Note from Barb: Patrick first wrote this for Teaching Village in 2011, but it’s such a great post for St. Patrick’s Day that I decided it was worth sharing again :)

The real St. Patrick is shrouded in a deep mist (like many of his followers). Legend has it that he brought Christianity to the Emerald Isle while simultaneously banishing snakes.  Both these are clearly true. We still have some Christians and no snakes in Ireland. But what can language teachers learn from this Fifth Century Zero to Hero?

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XXIII Rules for Student-Centered Language Teaching (by John F. Fanselow)

Note from Barb: 25 years ago, John F. Fanselow published Breaking Rulesencouraging teachers to really see what was happening in their classrooms, and then considering alternatives. John’s work had a powerful, positive influence  on my own teaching, and I’m thrilled that iTDi is working with John to offer a truly unique five-week course starting in November: Breaking Rules Live. It’s a rare opportunity to work interactively with someone who is certain to challenge your thinking, revitalize your teaching, and inspire you as an educator. (more…)

Four Skills and Five Senses (by Anna Musielak)

Blog of the month
Two weeks ago the director of my school announced that the teachers should organize a “family” lesson. Kids could bring their parents, grandparents and relatives to accompany them on the lesson to observe how their little ones learn and interact. I have to admit – I was a bit worried and well… stressed out. I’ve organized shows and performances for parents and families and I’ve had teacher-parents meetings. But I couldn’t imagine how to have a lesson with parents and relatives observing pupils (who would definitely be stressed) and watching (and probably silently judging) me of course….I decided not to overthink it and as I didn’t have a lot of time to “prep” my pupils just do what I normally do hoping it would go well. (more…)

New song worksheets from Marsha Goren

In her previous post, Teaching Songs and Chants in the Classroom, Marsha Goren shared a set of worksheets she had created to accompany the songs on the first GiggleBellies CD. This morning, Marsha sent me a message and attached a new set of worksheets to go along with the second GiggleBellies CD. (more…)

Because We All Love a Good Story (by Kevin Stein)

Some ideas on why and how to use short stories in the language classroom

This morning, while I was greeting students at the front door of my high school, Miki-Chan, a second year student in the International Course, came up to me with a book in hand. She slapped her palm against the cover and said, “This is a horrible story to read in the morning. It says, ‘people were cut up like meat.’” I’m not sure exactly how she wanted me to respond. She was reading a Sherlock Holmes story from a collection in a lower-intermediate level graded reader. We had read the first half in class and students had to finish the story as homework. While I was thinking of an appropriate reply, she huffed off. (more…)