At any moment between 4:30 and 8pm here in Spain, thousands of unqualified people are standing in front of children pretending to be teachers. This, however, is not a game of make believe played by kids with bits of chalk in their hands, but an extremely lucrative industry spread throughout every town and village on the Iberian peninsula.
…and it’s a game I play every weekday. (more…)
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“To teach is to touch lives forever.”
Ever since I was a little girl, I wanted to be an English teacher! It was because my mum was my kindergarten teacher. She was so creative, engaging and inspiring that I wanted to be a teacher just like her. I had my own chalkboard at home and I was always the teacher when we played “school” with my friends. I think I’ve always had this huge passion for teaching and, today I have been an English teacher for eight years in Istanbul, Turkey. (more…)
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Committed to learning
After 20 years in the EFL classroom, I still learn new things all the time. Certainly, here in Japan, the students are completely different than they were back in 1989; in those days, they all sat up straight, had their hair braided back and always made an effort (or pretended to, anyways) whether they liked English or not. These days, things are a little more… normal, for want of a better word. The students make me work harder to get their attention, and they don’t try, if they are not interested in my lesson. I’ve had to grow as a teacher and adapt my lessons over the years. Here is a glimpse of my context, my approach and my challenges with my junior high school students at this particular point in my career: (more…)
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Whenever I teach, I do all I can to present language so that it comes to life for the students. As an English teacher, I instantly become an actor in order to convey meaning for any new language being taught. I recall the first time I was teaching in a classroom in Taiwan, where every student spoke the same language. In order to communicate with beginning and elementary level students, clear gestures and the use of realia were essential. These helped create a context for the language so the students could grasp the meaning. (more…)
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I’m always looking for ways to add a “thinking” dimension to class activities, and if I can do that with a lot of speaking, and reading, and writing practice then I’m a happy teacher indeed! (more…)
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What is the meaning of life? To be happy and useful.
- Tenzin Gyatso, 14th Dalai Lama
A real authentic smile of a student is worth every single minute you spend on giving them a reason for it. (more…)
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Teaching high-level children can be a challenging endeavor, fraught with various drawbacks and difficulties for a teacher. Students who are returning from an English speaking country, who have become bilingual through intensive children’s language programs, or those who come from a household where two or more languages are spoken require a program tailored to their unique needs. Designing lesson plans and implementing them effectively will allow the students to continue to develop their language skills. Using a number of approaches and activities in the classroom helps to keep these high-level elementary students engaged and on the right path. Sharing opinions, debating, writing stories and various other writing styles, expanding the curriculum to include other subjects and moving beyond vocabulary lessons, will allow students to continue their development. (more…)
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Are you an EFL/ESL teacher? Have an iPad? Want an iPad? Have 10 minutes to kill? Read on.
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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.
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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…)
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