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Rice in Japan and Rice Around the World (by Bob Middleton)

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…)

Creating a Buzz in Teens’ Classrooms (by Mari Nakamura)

“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…)

Teacher Development 2.0 (by Steven Herder)

I’ve always believed in the power of people to be able to come together to create something much bigger than any one of them individually. Here is a story about a bunch of teachers (myself and Barbara included) who are coming together to create something new called The International Teacher Development Institute (iTDi). (more…)

Images à la Dogme (by Chiew Pang)

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…)

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…)

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…)

How Context Matters

What are these? How are they used?

bricks

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