It’s Wednesday, 11:00, just a regular day at the high school. Two English teachers are sitting in the teacher’s room marking exams during their “free” period. Every now and then you can hear each one exclaim (or mutter, as the case may be) “How could he have possible written THAT?” or “How in earth did she come up with such an answer?” They compare notes. One of these two teachers is Delia, who teaches a weak group. One of her pupils wrote the following: (more…)
Bringing food topics into the language classroom is one way to stimulate language learning as well as hungry appetites. 9 and 10 year old students in the 5th grade of our elementary school in Japan take part in an 8-hour lesson on varieties of rice in Japan. This Japan-unit is later followed by a similar one on rice around the world. In the lesson they will learn names and kinds of rice, the amounts of rice grown around the country, prices per kilogram, special dishes, and special points about each of the rice varieties. The end result will be a hand-made Japan rice book including a small sample of each kind of rice (more…)
“Aren’t teenagers too self-conscious to speak English?”
“Do they care about the contents that do not appear in their school tests?”
“Well… I wouldn’t want to get into that area…”
I have been teaching teens as well as pre-school and elementary school children at my language school, English Square, in Japan, for the last 20 years. When I tell my teacher friends about it, I’ve almost always met the responses like the ones above. (more…)
I must admit that when Barb invited me to submit a guest post, I felt I wasn’t worthy of such an invite. Later, I thought… if she’d felt that I had something to contribute, well, then I couldn’t very well let her down, could I? Besides, one has to step out of one’s comfort zone every once in a while! (more…)
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…)
I am teaching in a Tibetan Buddhist monastery school in India. The area surrounding the school is rural; we have fields of ginger and coconut trees. The school is provided for the monks that live in the monastery and is entirely funded through the monastery. I see the students for one class a day. There are no out of school activities; these students study Buddhist subjects both before and after school. (more…)
The focal point of my previous post on this blog were the potential ways teachers can help their students to organize and practice their knowledge by setting up a blog especially for them. Since video activities on a teacher’s blog seem to be the most appealing ones to learners of all ages, I will now briefly number a series of easy steps for those who wish to take advantage of the potential all kinds of videos offer for making attention- grabbing blog activities. It is to be noted that I have consciously avoided complex educational jargon, having outlined the procedure as it practically happens in an everyday lesson.
I allocated an hour to writing this post, and even after 12 hours of fruitless toil, I am none the wiser.
What should every EFL teacher know?
I have been trying to find the answer to this question for twenty years. I always believed that I knew what it was and then I lost it again and had to look for it anew. But now I have realised that this search was the answer. (more…)