Having been in the TEFL field for a number of years now, I’ve witnessed the ELT pendulum swing a number of times (back and forth and sideways) when talking about methods and approaches. Throughout all these years, I have seen teachers simply ‘throw away’ all they knew and believed about a certain method or approach because a new, trendier one had just made the market. I am talking specifically about the time in Brazil when the Communicative Approach swept away the Audio-Lingual Method and its (then considered) controlled, grammar-based use of the language in a way which didn’t foster real communication. It was believed that students needed to be given every chance they could get to communicate (even to the detriment of grammar). (more…)
Hi. I’m a British woman who has been living and teaching in Japan for thirteen years. I have lived in Fukushima (yes, THAT Fukushima) city for the last ten of those and work at a women’s college. I have an MA in TEFL from the University of Birmingham, England. I am currently days away from giving birth to my second daughter and getting ready to leave the city I have come to regard as my home and embark on a new life in Sendai city. Here are five, very small, contextually specific observations/things I wanted to share on my life as a teacher. I hope you find them of interest. If not, I hope you come up with your own and ask Barbara to share them here. (more…)
I have been teaching teens for 20 years and finding effective strategies to motivate them is something that I have always been interested in since it has really helped me with my teen classes. The best strategy in my bag of tricks is CHOICE.
This is the story of a sensitive soul who decided to teach English as a foreign language. Like other such souls she was acutely aware that the world is not as it ought to be. While at university she had seen fellow students flocking to the careers fair and queuing up to become employees of the big corporations, ditching their ideals (if they had any) for the best possible pay check. She wasn’t going to ditch her ideals, and becoming a teacher seemed to be a way of joining the forces of good. (more…)
I’m a native Brit who loves languages. I did my CELTA during my final year of uni when I was studying French, German and Spanish. Once I’d finished my degree I decided to head straight to Europe and start my English teaching adventures, but rather than going somewhere where I could already speak the language, I took the plunge and went to the Czech Republic, a country which I didn’t really know that much about, but where there was a job available at a good school.
Are you an EFL/ESL teacher? Have an iPad? Want an iPad? Have 10 minutes to kill? Read on.
As a teacher in an English language school with a strong cross-curricular focus, I always try my best to bring authentic materials into the classroom. Humans learn more when they can experience the real thing, instead of just looking at pictures of it in a book. Of course, it is not always possible to bring everything you want to teach about into the classroom, so it is beneficial to occasionally take students to a museum.
Here I am, back from a short-term holiday and ready for my summer lessons! It is customary in Greece for the winter courses in private language institutions to end around May; towards the end of June schools resume preparations to welcome those students who are willing to finish one more English-language class by taking an accelarated course in the summer months. The point is that the Greek weather is rather an impediment to studying since it is invariably scorching hot and sunny, calling for some soothingly cool sea bathing rather than having language lessons! Therefore, the question that immediately troubled me was: what can a teacher do to help these students start learning on a positive note?
Creating a positive learning environment with few discipline problems is a goal of any teacher. We all want to give our young learners the best opportunity to succeed, but sometimes we forget that building this type of environment, much like tending to a garden, takes planning, effort, consistency and a fair amount of time and patience. Any missed step can lead to a reactive environment, or a garden full of weeds. (more…)
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…)