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…)
Though experience and through language we learn. Experience needs language to give it form. Language needs experience to give it content.
Children learning English as a foreign language tend to develop oral language skills before they become literate. In countries like Japan, where the grammar structure and writing system of English is so different from students’ first language, students can sit in English class for years before having to deal with anything beyond the ABC song. (more…)
Like many native English speaking teachers of English, when I started out I’d had no real training in teaching young learners. I’d had training in teaching adults (CELTA) and happened to quite like children – but it didn’t make me qualified or prepared for the YL classroom! Looking back nearly 15 years later, I can identify a few key lessons I’ve learned along the way – through trial and error – sometimes quite long periods of error! I’ve decided to focus on 3 of them – the 3 I think have helped me the most or the 3 I wish I’d known before starting out! (more…)
When you’re walking down a path and you see a hill, what do you think?
I was in Okayama last weekend for the OUP Teaching Workshops. Okayama is famous for several things, including a story many of you know (at least in translation) and a food enjoyed by the main character in that story. Finding the name of the story and the name of the food is your webquest for today! (more…)
It’s the last day of 2010, and a good time to reflect on the year that’s nearly done. This is the 110th post since I began this blog in June of 2009. I know that’s not a lot compared to really prolific bloggers, but it’s enough to thrill me. I began this blog as a way to learn more about connecting with teachers online, but wasn’t really sure how well the experiment would work, or what direction it would take. I had a vague idea about creating a community where EFL teachers around the world could share stories about their unique teaching environments and share wisdom garnered from their teaching experiences. (more…)
You can read the first part of this post here.
The outline of the presentation with all the links can be found here.
Moving on to the second challenge all teachers around the world need to face at some point, I am going to refer to the constant use of books or anything that comes in paper. Yes, all printed material is extremely useful and informative, but hasn’t it become too predictable these days? Students invariably expect that photocopies will be handed to them, that they will play some kind of board or card game at the end of the unit and that they will have to submit their homework on a piece of paper. This will come as a surprising statement from a fanatic book lover and proponent of using coursebooks in the classroom, but I have finally realized that if we want to truly attract students’ interest, then we need to think of unique ways to spice up the learning procedure. (more…)
Branko M., Assistant Professor of American Literature of the English Department (Faculty of Humanities in Serbia), has been so kind as to give me the opportunity to present in a webinar some of the challenges teachers worldwide need to face if they wish their teaching to result in efficient learning on the students’ part. Although I feel fortunate to have been trusted with students of all ages and levels, the difficulties posed on the way have been numerous, also allowing me to take delight in their resolution. (more…)