Some would say it’s already changed. It used to be that if you were a language student, you had to come to us, the experts. Language schools, teachers, and course books were the gatekeepers that controlled access to knowledge. It used to be that you had to come through us if you wanted to learn a language.Read More
Does it strike you as strange that as language teachers, we teach something that many of us have never done? I’m talking about learning second language to a high level.
For those of us that have learned or are learning a language to a reasonable level, we can empathise with our students and help them to a greater degree.Read More
Some teachers swear that competition is evil, and only use cooperation in class. Others regularly use competition, get great results and wonder what on earth all the fuss is about. So which is better?Read More
You just thought you were signing up for a year of teaching abroad. Little did you realise that you were going to get the equivalent of an iron man suit thrown in for free. Remember to use your newfound powers for good, not evil…Read More
What is language, if not a means to connect with other people? We all have an innate need to communicate, to connect with other people.
In education, this is especially important. Too many teachers communicate without connecting. They just ‘don’t care anymore’.
So why does connection matter in language teaching?Read More
Well, for starters, academic professional development shouldn’t suck. So if you’re an academic manager wondering how to keep your teachers interested in professional development (PD), or a teacher in charge of your own PD, keep reading.Read More
Vocabulary acquisition is the longest challenge for language learners. This makes total sense when you think about it like this: how many grammar structures do you have to learn and practice? Now, how many words and language chunks?Read More
Students’ parents are not your enemy. They can actually be one of your most powerful allies. No, I don’t mean the “If you do that again I’ll call your parents!” threat of the overwhelmed teacher. I’m talking about getting parents on your side and using them as a force for good.
What if you could get parents actively involved? Motivating students at home, acting as a guide and participant when you’re not there, and making sure homework gets done?Read More
In today’s world, managing by data is happening in every industry, in every organization. Collecting data is addictive, as it gives a sense of control.
The language teaching world is also not immune to this.Read More
Sometimes being a TEFL teacher sucks. Times when you've got an incredible workload, endless admin, and no energy.
Sometimes though, you're not tired because of the amount of work, but the kind of work you're doing. You're stuck in a rut, repeating yourself, and can't get the impetus to kick yourself out of it.Read More
We know how to teach a great class, we all know our TEFL theory, so why don’t we make every class a great class?
Why, if I walk in a school on a busy weekend, do I see a lot of really mediocre TEFL practice?Read More
We should be teaching learners the skills they need to learn a language, not just the language itself. Where students are too young to understand this, we should be motivating them to want to ‘do stuff’ at home in English.Read More
In the TEFL classroom, silence can be golden. We tend to think that silence is worthless. That if a class (especially a language learning class) isn’t busy listening or speaking, it’s a waste of time.
Even I’ve said that if you can do it at home, don’t do it in the classroom, and we tend to think that silent activities fit this category. They don’t.Read More
'Edutainment' is a dirty word. Edutainment (education + entertainment) in the TEFL world is what happens when a teacher can’t be bothered to deliver a good lesson, and instead just plays games that barely meet the criteria of being educational. Entertaining, but ultimately worthless once you've factored in the time that they waste.Read More
It’s easy to get stuck in a rut using the same activities every lesson. The activities you’re using are familiar to you (you know that they work) and familiar to the students (less explaining to do).
However, you’re bored, the students are bored, but you’re too busy to create or find new activities.
What can you do?Read More
Let’s be honest, as an industry to choose a career in, the TEFL industry does have a train-wreck of a reputation.
It’s easy to see why; a low barrier to entry combined with world travel (i.e. escapism) seemingly provides a path for people to escape their current troubles and start afresh.Read More
It’s that simple.
Learning a language is a huge task that needs time, energy, and motivation. Students are not going to be able to learn English from being in your lesson for two hours a week.Read More
Students can be right little monkeys, can’t they?
That’s why it’s essential to have well-run classes so learners can actually learn.
Classroom and behaviour management are the two strategies we can use to do this.Read More
I’m sure that many of you are already familiar with TED.com, the site that spreads ideas from leading thinkers in their field.
There’s one talk I’d like to draw your attention to, as it holds so many ideas that are relevant to us in the TEFL and language education field. As a bonus, it'll even make you laugh a couple of times.Read More