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Teaching Adult Second Language Learners (book)‏‎

Author: Heather Mckay ; Abigail Tom Publisher: Cambridge University Press Details: Paperback; 244 pages; Pub.1999 ISBN: 0521649900 This is the latest in the excellent Handbooks for Language Teachers series edited by Penny Ur. The book addresses the needs of adults studying English. It provides a useful summary of the principles involved in teaching adults as well as a wealth of activities specifically designed for adult learners. The text is divided…

One-to-One English Lessons

1-to-1 (or One-to-One) lessons are those with just 1 student and 1 teacher.

Often, although not always, they are private lessons.

As with other lessons, these need to be thought out well and because the student will only be able to interact with the teacher (instead of with other members of the class) you will need to have plenty of extra activities prepared in case the…

Personal Safety when Teaching Abroad

Personal Safety is often a concern of teachers heading abroad for the first time. This article looks at the facts about personal safety abroad.
Misconceptions
It’s often the case that people think the situation is worse abroad. It’s the fear of the unknown plus strange stories told by a friend of an aunt of the lady next door who went to a foreign land on holiday and had…

The Welcome Code‏‎ to your TEFL Classroom

The Welcome Code is a TEFL game adapted from an old drinking game – but without the drinking! It can be used to practice vocabulary and spelling and semantic fields amongst other things and so it’s very flexible. Once your class is familiar with the game you can adjust it and use it time and time again with small variations. Although you can use it specifically to practice a language…

Michigan Proficiency Test

The Michigan Proficiency Test (MET) is an exam which assesses general English language skills usually needed in social and work environments. It is the American equivalent to the Cambridge Proficiency Exam. The MET is designed for adults and teenagers with at least a secondary level of education who need or want to have an evaluation of their general English language proficiency for work or study purposes. Students for example can…

Conditional Mood‏‎ in English Grammar

The Conditional Mood is the form of the verb used in conditional sentences to refer to a hypothetical situation or an uncertain event that is dependent on another set of circumstances.

In other words, the conditional mood talks about something which might happen if something else does!

When we talk about a conditional situation, we must be able to tell the difference between what is real…

Pictionary‏‎

Pictionary is a classic game which you can use in the classroom to practice vocabulary‏. The basic premise is simple: draw a picture to represent a word. This can be very easy to do with basic concrete nouns‏‎ where students can draw a picture of, for example: a cat a computer a tree and so on. But things get more difficult when it comes to more abstract nouns‏‎ such as: love…

Opposites Attract‏‎

Opposites Attract is an activity you can use to practice opposites (or antonyms) in class. Preparation Prepare a set of flashcards, each of which forms half of a pair of words. big – small always – never cheap – expensive and so on. The words you use should be of the right level for your class of course! Running the Activity In the classroom go over a few common antonyms…

Teaching English in the Philippines

TEFL/TESOL in the Philippines The Philippines is a country in Southeast Asia in the western Pacific Ocean. Its location on the Pacific Ring of Fire and its tropical climate make the Philippines prone to earthquakes and typhoons but have also endowed the country with natural resources and made it one of the richest areas of biodiversity in the world. An archipelago comprising 7,107 islands, the Philippines is categorized broadly into three…

Proverb Match‏‎

Proverb Match is a nice, simple way of practicing proverbs. It also allows for plenty of speaking practice. Preparation You will need to prepare a list of proverbs; each one needs to be written on two cards.  Too many cooks   spoil the broth. A stitch in time      saves nine. A fool and his money     are soon parted. The bigger they are      the harder…

Anne Upczak Garcia‏‎

A writer and a bilingual teacher in Colorado, she has lived and taught in South America for many years. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in Political Science and an Master’s degree in Multicultural, Bilingual and ESL education from the University of Colorado in Boulder. As a writer she has written for a variety of magazines including a sustainable business publication (LOHAS Journal), a travel periodical, and a Spanish-language magazine that…

Games in the English Language Classroom‏‎

Using Games in the Classroom is an invaluable method of helping your students to learn English. Although some critics see it negatively and try to suggest that if your students are enjoying themselves they are not really learning, an overwhelming amount of evidence shows that games in the classroom help your students. Advantages Students want to take part in the game. Suppose you are teaching animal vocabulary to a younger…

English Speaking Union‏‎

The English-Speaking Union (ESU) is an international educational charity that promotes “international understanding and friendship through the use of the English language.” It was founded at the end of the First World War by Sir Evelyn Wrench with the aim of promoting closer ties between the English-speaking peoples. One of its first Chairmen was Sir Winston Churchill. Since then the Union has grown into a world wide organization operating in…

Uncovering Grammar‏‎ (book)

Author: Scott G. Thornbury Publisher: Macmillan ELT Details: Paperback; 12 pages; Pub.2005 ISBN: 140508006X As teachers we often talk about “covering” grammar points. Thornbury explains why it is more useful to think about how we “uncover” grammar, to reveal the workings of the system to our students and encourage them to notice what is going on. The book uses extracts from exchanges in real classrooms, authentic texts and language…

TEFL Employment Agents (Recruiters)

This article is all about using a TEFL Employment Agent or Recruiters to find work in a country.

Essentially an Agent is an individual or organization which matches up teachers and schools. They approach schools and promise to find them English‏‎ teachers for a fee. They then advertise and get in touch with teachers who want to work in the country. They then recruit some of those teachers…

Counting Cards

Counting Cards is an activity which lets you practice countable and non-countable nouns‏‎ with your class. Preparation You will need to prepare a set of flashcards‏‎, each with a picture of a countable or a non-countable noun on them. You will need enough so that each student in the class can have at least 5. The nouns you choose should also be of the right level so your class will…

Teaching English in Montenegro

Montenegro (which means Black Mountain) is a very small country in the Balkan region of Europe. It’s on the sea and has borders with Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia, Kosovo and Albania.

Right at the outset we have to say that the chances of finding work here teaching English are not that great. The main stumbling block appears to be its size: there are less than ¾ of a…

Teaching English in Iceland

Iceland is a small country with a population of about 300,000.

Until 1999 the first foreign language taught in schools was Danish (Iceland was part of Denmark for 500 and shares a great deal of background, values and culture with Denmark). However, due to globalization and the dominance of English a decision was made to make English the first foreign language in schools. (Although Danish is still…

Teaching English in Macedonia (FYROM)

Macedonia (FYROM or the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia) became independent in 1991. It is a landlocked country bordered by Kosova, Serbia, Bulgaria‏‎ and Greece‏‎ (with whom it has strained relations, partly due to a dispute over its name).

The largest city and capital is Skopje with a population of about half a million people. Overall there are about 2m people in the country. Following independence was…

Teaching English in Sweden

Sweden is a Scandinavian country in Northern Europe; it borders Norway and Finland, and is connected to Denmark by a bridge-tunnel across the Øresund. It is often ranked highly as well developed, socially aware and economically stable. In 2013 The Economist said that Scandinavian countries are probably the best-governed in the world with Sweden in first place.

English‏‎ is widely spoken in Sweden which means you don’t need…

Teaching English in Slovenia

TEFL/TESOL in Slovenia Slovenia is a small country with a population of just over 2 million. It is located in south-central Europe and borders with Italy to the west, Austria‏‎ to the north, Croatia‏‎ to the south and southeast, and Hungary‏‎ to the northeast. The beautiful Slovenian landscape is varied and spans from the Alps to the Adriatic sea! Previously one of Yugoslavia’s six constituent republics, present-day Slovenia became independent…

Teaching English in Luxembourg

Luxembourg is a small country in Europe with just over half a million people. A large proportion of the population is foreign born and this has contributed to a strong multilingualism and a cultural pluralism which are evident not only in its customs and celebrations but also in the country’s architecture, its concert halls, museums, galleries, cultural centers, etc.

Luxembourg pays special attention to language education and…

Teaching English in Lithuania

The southernmost of the three Baltic States (the others being Estonia and Latvia‏‎) Lithuania is perched between three separate European cultures and for the TEFL teacher offers a wealth of new cultures and experiences.

While slightly more challenging for finding work than its near neighbor, Estonia, Lithuania offers a rewarding stay for those who can successfully negotiate it.

To the north lie the Scandinavian countries, while…

Teaching English in Finland

Although it has a very high standard of living and often ranks highly on quality of life scales, Finland nonetheless is not a particularly common destination for TEFL teachers.

Perhaps it’s the weather (often cold) or perhaps it’s the food (lots of fish) but it doesn’t seem to attract the same numbers as other countries despite it being a pretty amazing place to live and work…

Teaching English in Estonia

TEFL/TESOL in Estonia A relative newcomer to the European and international stages, Estonia is an old country with a very young outlook, and is the perfect place to see the beauty of the Baltic area while teaching English. The most northern country of what are known as the Baltic States, Estonia lies at the apex of three major regions in North-Eastern Europe. To its immediate north lie Finland and the…

Teaching English in Denmark

TEFL in Denmark English is taught in state schools from an early age and it is something of a de facto second language in Denmark. Many Danish citizens study English as a hobby, so there are a number of adult education colleges that cater for this. These institutions look for confident and engaging teachers who can keep students involved in lessons rather than teachers who have many formal qualifications. So while…

Conditional Links‏‎ – conditional activity

Conditional Links is a very simple activity with no preparation needed; it’s ideal to practice conditionals and can be used as a quick filler to do just that.

Simply write up on the board the first clause of any conditional, e.g.
If I won the lottery…
Choose a student at random and ask them to finish the sentence:
If I won the lottery… I would buy a…

Vocabulary Poker – vocabulary activity

Vocabulary Poker is a great game for practicing vocabulary and semantic fields. It’s easy to play and great fun for the students.

Although it can be played by beginners, it’s probably best for intermediate and advanced students.

NB in some countries it may be culturally inappropriate to use a term like “poker” with its gambling connotations. If this is the case simply rename it to Vocabulary…

Lining Up

Lining Up in Alphabetical Order is a great ice breaker for a brand new class who don’t know each other yet. It’s best with younger classes, post-beginner level and, as a side-effect, it can also help you in remembering student names‏‎. Five minutes into the first lesson, simply ask your students to stand up and come to the front of the class. Then tell them to get into alphabetical order…

Eccentric Traits‏‎

Eccentric Traits is a really fun way to practice close listening‏‎ and speaking‏‎. It’s also very funny and can be used for all learner levels‏ although it’s probably most suited to more advanced classes. Basically everyone in the class is given an eccentric trait. They then all mingle at a “party” and the object of the exercise is to find out the traits of as many people as possible. The students will…

Scott G. Thornbury‏‎

He has been working in the private EFL sector as teacher, director of studies, school director and teacher trainer for many years. He now lives in Spain but his previous experience includes teaching and training in the UK and in his native New Zealand. Teacher education has always been his special interest and was the subject of his MA dissertation at the University of Reading. He has been involved with…

Teaching English in Slovakia‏‎

Slovakia is in Eastern Europe. It is a relatively new state coming into existence in 1993 with the break-up of the former Czechoslovakia. Having said this, the Slovak people have lived in this area under one rule or another for over 1,500 years. In 2010 the government passed a law making English a compulsory subject in state schools for students aged 9 and up. However, concerns have been raised over the lack…

Macmillan ELT‏‎

Macmillan is one of the world’s leading publishers of English Language teaching and school curriculum materials, with over 150 years of publishing experience. Based in Oxford, UK, and operating in over 40 countries worldwide, the Macmillan Publishers work with teachers, students, institutions, educational authorities and Ministries of Education to develop coursebooks and supplementary materials to suit the needs of teachers and students of all levels. They have also developed a…

Traffic Lights‏‎ in English Language Teaching

Traffic Lights is a way of understanding if your students are with you in a lesson or if they’re having problems understanding what is going on. Background During a class there are times when students have not understood what you are saying and are beginning to lag behind. As a teacher you may well stop and ask the class if they understand what you are saying. Most likely they will…

Everything Off in your English Language Classroom

Students, especially young ones, are easily distracted. And sometimes, especially with bigger classes, while you are standing at the front talking, the students at the back are reading a book, doing their homework, doodling or otherwise not listening to you. This is a very simple tip to make sure there are fewer distractions in class and the students pay more attention to you, thus helping keep discipline‏‎ in your TEFL…

OHPs or Overhead Projectors

OHP stands for Overhead Projector. This is a device for displaying a page from a book or a transparency enlarged on a wall for all the class to see. These days it has largely been replaced by interactive whiteboard‏‎s although many schools still employ their use, especially in less developed countries.

Overall the OHP is a good teaching tool but it needs to be used well, and…

Teaching English in Malta

Malta is a small group of islands about 80km south of Italy‏‎; it is one of the world’s smallest states and also one of the most densely populated with about 370,000 inhabitants. It is part of the European Union‏‎ and so teachers wanting to work there stand a much better chance if they are from the United Kingdom or Ireland due to visa and work permit issues.

There are…

Teaching English in New Zealand‏‎

TEFL/TESOL in New Zealand‏‎ New Zealand is a beautiful island country in the south-west Pacific Ocean. It is notable for its stunning countryside which is often used for film locations such as Lord of the Rings. It is a well developed country ranking high on comparisons of life expectancy, civil rights, personal safety‏‎ and such like. The population is about 4.3 million, a quarter of whom live in the largest city…

The Price is Right – tefl activity

The Price is Right is a popular television game which can be adapted for the EFL classroom. It’s ideal for a class who are learning numbers and simple objects.
Preparation
Get some flashcards and on each one have an everyday object; on the reverse put the price in local currency. A good source for pictures/prices like this are local brochures and advertising papers sent out by many supermarkets…

One Word Speeches – skills activity

One Word Speeches is a very simple activity which needs very little preparation but which is highly effective in giving your students practice in all four skills, especially listening and speaking.

It is very flexible and in different forms it works for both beginners right up to highly advanced students, for writing as well as speaking.
Explaining the Activity
The first time you run…

Country‏ vs Countries vs Countryside

This is the vocabulary which often causes problems with learners: words which look pretty much the same and which most logical people would regard as closely related, but then when you look into it a little more, they’re all over the place! Let’s start with Country and a couple of definitions: country = a nation or sovereign state, e.g. the USA‏‎ or Russia‏‎ country = wide open space without buildings, etc…

TESOL France

TESOL France is a non-profit organization of teachers of English in France run entirely by volunteers. Its purposes are to stimulate professional development disseminate information about research, books and other materials related to English strengthen instruction and research.

They publish a quarterly magazine, The Teaching Times, which contains articles, interviews, ready-to-use activities, and reviews.

In order to sign up to TESOL France, send an email to: tesol@enst.fr.
Organization…

Ladybugs, Tornadoes, and Swirling Galaxies‏‎

Author: Brad Buhrow ; Anne Upczak Garcia Publisher: Stenhouse Publishers Details: Paperback; 187 pages; Pub.2006 ISBN: 1571104003   This book aims to help English language learners discover their world through inquiry. It rests on the idea that content comprehension is the obvious next step in comprehension strategy instruction. Here comprehension instruction and ELL best practices are skillfully blended to explore inquiry as a literacy pathway for English language learners. The…

Till vs Until vs ‘Til

Till and Until are synonyms‏‎. They are both prepositions of time‏‎ and refer to a period of time leading up to a specific time.
I worked for the bank from 1989 until 1994.
We were happily married till I discovered she was having an affair.
In both these examples we are talking about a period of time which started in the past and carried on until a specific time…

Superlative Millionaire‏‎

Superlative Millionaire is a game you can play with your class to practice superlatives. Everyone knows the Who Wants to be a Millionaire game; this is a variation on that idea; it requires very little preparation on your part as the students themselves will be putting together the questions. Preparation in Class Firstly go over comparatives and superlatives with your class. Make sure they understand the basic principles and can…

Badger vs Baboon‏‎ – comparison activity

Badger vs Baboon is a fun game for young learners which can also be adapted for older learners as well! It helps with basic vocabulary‏‎ for animals and can encourage speaking‏‎. It also is very useful indeed for practicing comparatives‏‎. Preparation Cut out and prepare a selection of flashcards‏‎ with a picture of an animal on each one. Later you can include other objects depending on how you want to…

Who Am I?‏‎

Who Am I? is a fun warmup or icebreaker game which can be used to practice simple questions and answers. Preparation Using small cards, write on each one the name of a famous person known to the class, for example: Barack Obama Lady Gaga David Beckham John Lennon Einstein Harry Potter Queen Elizabeth Shuffle the cards and have them face down. One at a time, each student comes to the…

Got vs Gotten‏‎ in English

Got and Gotten are often considered to be synonyms in British English & American English‏‎. However, this is not so and there are a number of differences between their usage. In British English the past participle of the verb‏‎, to get, is got. I have got 3 parking tickets this week! However, in American English there are two past participles: got or gotten. Their use depends on circumstances. Usage: got or…

Oxford Handbook of Commercial Correspondence‏‎ (book)

Author: A. Ashley Publisher: Oxford University Press Details: Paperback; 304 pages; Pub.2003 ISBN: 0194572137 A revised and updated reference guide to writing effective business correspondence. External Links Oxford Handbook of Commercial Correspondence (Teacher’s Book) (amazon.com) Oxford Handbook of Commercial Correspondence (Teacher’s Book) (amazon.co.uk)…

What is Lexicography‏‎?

Lexicography is basically all about compiling dictionaries. It’s about sitting in a stuffy, darkened, room carefully going over words: examining them, investigating them, analyzing them. It’s about asking what exactly words are and what they mean. Perhaps even why people use one word over another. And then writing it all down. But although it might sound fairly straightforward, there’s a lot more to it than that. Questions a lexicographer…

Brief Reminders‏‎

Brief Reminders is an Ice Breaker activity ideal for a first class. It requires little or no preparation and can be great fun. This is probably more suited to an intermediate and above level class. Demonstration On the board simply draw a large bag shape. Ask the class what it is and invite discussion about it. Finally write above the shape: MY MEMORIES and explain that the bag contains some significant…

Market Leader (book)

Author: David Cotton ; David Falvey ; Simon Kent Publisher: Longman Details: Paperback; 176 pages; Pub.2008 ISBN: 1405881356 This Intermediate Business English Course Book is part of the Market Leader interactive series which ranges form beginners to advanced. It consists of Coursebook, plus Class CD and Multi-Rom. The pack includes ‘Case Studies’ that range from planning a project to choosing the best supplier; Practice exercises to enhance the skills needed to…

Discarding Adverbs – adverb activity

Discarding Adverbs is a game based on a simple set of cards which can be used to practice different kinds of adverbs with your class. The game is also useful in helping to create and practicing questions‏‎. It helps if the class know each other, but it can also be used to get to know other students in the class a little better. Preparation Create a set of flashcards‏‎, each…

Teaching English in Morocco

Morocco is located on the north west corner of Africa against the Atlantic and south of Spain‏‎. It has a population of 32 million with major cities being Rabat (the capital, pop 630,000) and Casablanca, largest, busiest and noisiest city of just over 3 million inhabitants.

The climate is Mediterranean which becomes more extreme as the country merges into the Sahara. There are also the high Atlas mountains…

Ransom Notes‏‎

Ransom Notes is a fun way to practice sentence building, especially with younger children. Preparation For homework, simply ask your students to cut out 5 words, at random, from an English language newspaper headline. Tell them they can choose any word they want but ideally they should try to vary the words (i.e. get a noun, verb, preposition, etc). Some of the students may well either forget the words or…

Maltese

Maltese is primarily the language spoken in Malta (alongside English). The language comes from Siculo-Arabic which is the form of Arabic spoken in Sicily about 1,000 years ago. The vocabulary of Maltese is about 50% derived from Italian‏‎ and Sicilian with around 15% English words…

Blind Artists‏‎

Blind Artists is a fun (and noisy) way to get the class talking. It’s good as a short activity at the end of a lesson or as a longer activity. Props Two blindfolds; ideal are the masks from long-haul airplane journeys but a scarf will do. Blackboard and 2 markers. Pre-Teaching Make sure the students are familiar with giving instructions. go up, go right, go left further down, over to…

Derek Strange‏‎

Co-author of Chatterbox and American Chatterbox for primary learners, and Double Take for young teenagers, Strange is also: author of Start Reading – a series of reading comprehension books for young learners course consultant for Chit Chat writer for Oxford’s range of graded readers In the past, Derek was an inspector of schools for the British Council in Britain for 9 years and a materials consultant for the British Council…

Titles in English

When we address people, we use certain conventions of style called Titles.

These come before a person’s name when we are talking about them (or to them).

They are usually used in formal situations or when we are being polite.
General Titles
These are general titles for men and women which we might use when we talk to someone we do not know well or when…

Memory Pictures

Memory Pictures is a simple game which involves the students listening carefully. The level can be changed to match the level of the class and also the subject can match their ages and interests.
Preparation
Select some interesting cartoons or pictures from magazines, etc, and make them into flashcards. The pictures should be suited to the class, fairly simple in content and slightly unusual (so students cannot…

Disney English‏‎

Disney English is a chain of English schools in China operating under the aegis of the Walt Disney Company in the US. When the first schools opened a number of non-affiliated schools using the Disney name were shut down. The first school opened in Shanghai in 2008 and there are currently 23 schools in all in the country. Disney aims to teach 150,000 children annually by 2015, expanding to 148 schools…

Quick Edit‏‎

Quick Edit is a simple CALL‏‎ activity which lets students work together in writing texts. It helps with critical reading and also allows peer checking which means grammar, spelling and vocabulary checks. Essentially it is a form of Peer Correction. Note that although this is presented as a CALL activity, with very little change you can use it in a class without computers! Requirements Each student will need to have their…

Teaching English to Young Learners

TEYL or Teaching English to Young Learners refers to a more specialized area of teaching English‏‎ which deals with younger students.

Aside from the usual considerations which you should give to any TEFL class, there are certain extra considerations to take into account. This page offers general tips and ideas for the young learners classroom.

Note, young learners here are assumed to be about 3 – 12…

Sentence Mix‏‎

Sentence Mix is a simple game you can use to help your students practice sentence construction and revise parts of speech. With no preparation it’s ideal as a five minute end-of-lesson activity or you can build it into something longer and more involved. Simply write up on the board a long sentence suitable for the level of your class: The old man worked hard during the afternoon on Friday. Now…

Common Mistakes at CAE‏‎

Author: Debra Powell Publisher: Cambridge University Press Details: Paperback; 64 pages; Pub.2005 ISBN: 0521603773   Common Mistakes at CAE…and How to Avoid Them is a nice resource book for teachers preparing students for the CAE exam. The book highlights the real mistakes that students make in the exam – and shows how to avoid them. Based on the analysis of thousands of actual exam scripts in the Cambridge Learner…

Interrupting Students in your TEFL Class

Interrupting Students is not a good idea in your TEFL classroom.

In everyday speech we interrupt each other, finish each other’s sentences and so on. This should be avoided in the classroom. Students (especially at lower levels) need to have time to gather their thoughts, often to translate from their MT into the TL‏‎, and to think about phrasing.

Interrupting them just breaks this silence and can…

Indlish or English‏‎

The Facts Surat is a port city in the state of Gujarat situated on the banks of the Tapti river, in central India. Surat is one of the largest and most populous cities in India. It is the administrative capital of the Surat District, the 2nd largest city in the state of Gujarat, and the 8th Metro city of India. Gujarati is the main language spoken in Surat and the…

Anti-Word Association‏‎

Anti-Word Association is an ESL activity based on Word Association‏‎ but taking the opposite approach and rewarding non sequiturs‏‎. In Word Association the idea is to have the students give words which are somehow related to the previous word. In this – much harder – version of the activity the idea is to give out words which have NO association with the previous word. When it is turned into a game…

They’re vs Their vs There‏‎

These three are often confused by learners of English:

they’re
their
there

These words are homophones‏‎ (that is, they sound the same) but with very different meanings.

This article looks at the differences between these three and then how to teach them to your class.
Differences

they’re
they’re = they are
They’re here now.
What color are they?
They’re blue…

Where to Teach English as a Foreign Language

Where to Teach is one of the key questions asked by newly qualified teachers as well as experienced teachers who are looking for a change.

On the plus side teaching English happens in pretty much every single country in the world so there are jobs available almost everywhere. On the negative side, there are certain practical and legal restrictions on where you can teach.

This article…

PELT (book)‏‎

Author: David Nunan Publisher: McGraw Hill ELT Details: Paperback; 342 pages; Pub.2003 ISBN: 0072820624 The entire PELT (Practical English Language Teaching) series offers a thorough yet practical overview of language teaching methodology for teachers and trainee teachers. The principles outlined in each chapter are richly illustrated with vignettes and extracts from real classrooms so the reader can see what the principles “look like” when realized in classroom teaching. This…

Teaching English in Nepal‏‎

TEFL/TESOL in Nepal Nepal is a landlocked country in South Asia and is one of the world’s youngest republics. It is bordered to the north by the China, and to the south, east, and west by India. Kathmandu is the nation’s capital and the country’s largest city (about 2 million). The country itself has a population of about 30 million. Almost 100 different languages are spoken in Nepal with Nepali…

Reading Comprehension‏‎

Reading Comprehension is one of the basic lessons often given by TEFL teachers. It simply consists of presenting a class with a text, have them read and analyse it, then check for understanding. There may be a few follow up activities based on the subject.

This article looks at simple, solid methods of presenting this type of lesson.
Presentation
The text you present to the class…

Mind the Gap‏‎

Mind the Gap is a simple, useful game which can be adapted for any age or class level. It helps with word recognition, word boundaries, and reading in general. One aspect of the game is that it can be used in any situation and with any class and takes very little preparation. Basic Idea The basic idea behind the activity is to take a text and remove the gaps to…

Creative Writing‏‎ Activity

Creative Writing is all about using imagination. Often, however, if you ask your students to write about their holidays, or what they did at the weekend, they will spend too long trying to think about what to write and decide there’s nothing to say so will produce a boring essay. Instead, here’s a simple activity which is designed to inspire your students to come up with something original and interesting…

Susan Griffith‏‎

Susan Griffith is a Canadian freelance editor and writer who specializes in writing books and articles about travel, especially working and volunteering abroad.
After graduating in English from the University of Toronto, she went on to study at Oxford and then decided to stay on working in England.
She has plenty of personal experience of working abroad and in the last 25 years she has traveled extensively both for work and pleasure…

Heard It!‏‎

Heard It! is a simple game to play in class which practices intense listening. It’s also a good idea if you want a few minutes peace and quiet! The game can be played successfully with young classes from beginners upwards. Preparation Record a selection of spoken dialogs from the radio (or any other source) and have them ready to play in class. They should be fairly short and – of…

Eric H. Roth‏‎

A writer and teacher, Eric H. Roth lives in Venice, California with his wife, Laurie Selik, and Chimayo, their wonderful border collie. Roth has traveled to over 30 countries, and has helped over 5,000 immigrants become naturalized United States citizens as citizenship director of CES Adult Education Center. Roth holds an M.A. in Media Studies from the New School University and a B.A. in Philosophy and American history from Wabash…

IDP‏‎

IDP is a global company offering student placement and English language testing services. It is based in Australia.It has a network of over 75 student offices in 29 countries and places international students into all sectors of the Australian education system, including higher education and vocational education and training. It is also a partner in IELTS‏‎ along with the British Council‏‎.IDP was established by Australian universities in 1969 and has…

Pronunciation Snake – tefl activity

Pronunciation Snake is a simple game you can use to have your students practice particular pronunciations. It’s especially good for those problems that a particular class might have in similar sounds. It can be used with both words and single sounds.

For example, some students find it difficult to distinguish between the /b/ or /p/ sounds. This activity will help give them practice with this.

The…

Big Sentence Scramble‏‎

Big Sentence Scramble is based on the British television game, Countdown. In the original version contestants choose letters (consonants or vowels) and have to come up with the longest word they can. Although that’s a possibility too, in this version contestants choose words and have to come up with the longest sentence possible.

This activity encourages analytical thinking on the part of the students; they will also practice their…

A Basic English Grammar (book)‏‎

Author: John Eastwood; Ronald Mackin Publisher: OUP Details: paperback; pub. 1982 ISBN: 0194329402 An excellent first grammar which covers the basics of English grammar in clear and precise form. Ideal for new teachers and students to get to grips with the basics. This can be followed up with a book like Practical English Usage See Also Understanding and Using English Grammar Fundamentals of English Grammar   External Links Practical…

You know you’re a TEFL teacher when… (TEFAL)‏‎

You know you’re a TEFL teacher when… …you watch Eastenders and want to correct their pronunciation and grammar. …you think it’s perfectly fine to say close the light. …you meet the parents and understand immediately why the child is the way it is. …you want to correct the apostrophes outside greengrocers’ shops. …you want to laminate your birth certificate, your shopping list, post-it notes and any other random piece of…

Apostilles in TEFL

An Apostille is an official stamp or note that guarantees a document is original and genuine. For example, a teacher working in Mexico‏‎ may need to have their degree certificate from home apostilled to prove that it is from an accredited public university.

The regulations regarding apostilles are set out in the Hague Convention. Documents need to be certified in the country where they were issued and they…

What is Morphology‏‎?

Simply put, Morphology is the study of the words in a language. It does go deeper, but generally speaking it studies and looks at language in terms of: spelling pronunciation definition part of speech etymology (and obsolete usages) non-standard or slang/taboo usage Importantly morphology looks at the way in which words are formed and their parts: morphemes, affixes and so on. Questions which Morphology Asks Morphology overlaps with other linguistic…

Alias Words‏‎ (or Don’t Say a Word)

Alias Words (also known as Don’t Say a Word!) is a flexible activity which can be used in many different ways with speaking‏‎ activities. The basic idea is that a Chosen Word cannot be used in the classroom and must be exchanged for another, nonsense, Alias Word. For example, the Chosen Word might be SCHOOL and when anyone needs to use this word, they must replace it with the Alias…

Word Association‏‎

Word Association is a simple 5 minute activity for the end of a lesson. It gets students talking and thinking about vocabulary‏‎. Explain to your students what word association is: when you hear a word, you say another related word that pops into your head. The difference with this game is that you might be asked to explain the association between the two words so your students have to think…

Mad Libs‏‎ – parts of speech activity

Mad Libs is a quick and amusing game which is ideal for teaching parts of speech‏‎ (word classes) and semantic fields. It’s ideal as a warmer or 5-minute end-of-lesson activity. Basically the game involves completing blank spaces in a template with various parts of speech and the results can often be very amusing. For example, the template could be: Yesterday a large [animal] was found [preposition + place] eating my [noun]. Leading…

Noam Chomsky‏‎

The founder of modern linguistics‏‎, Noam Chomsky was the first to devise a theory about the biological innateness of language. Born in Philadelphia in 1928 he studied linguistics at the University of Pennsylvania focusing on the systematic structure of Hebrew. After graduation, he became a linguistics professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where he has remained ever since. Chomsky is renowned the world over for his groundbreaking theories in…

Coloring Dictation

Coloring Dictation (or Colouring Dictation if you prefer British English spelling) is a simple activity which is ideal for young learners. It’s fun and easy to set up.
Preparation
You need to find an outline drawing of a suitable subject for your class. It should have specific areas for coloring such as the picture on this page and how complex the drawing is will depend on the age and…

Create a Crossword‏‎

Create a Crossword is a great game you can play with Intermediate to Advanced classes. It’s a variation on usual crossword puzzles and gets your students thinking about the way in which words are constructed and spelt simply by using crosswords. Preparation Draw then photocopy a 5 x 5 grid of squares on a page. You’ll need one per student. The next requirement is a way of choosing random letters from the…

Puns in TEFL Teaching

Puns are ambiguous; they are words (or phrases) which sound the same but which have two very different meanings used for humorous effect. (A traditional explanation of a pun is a “play on words” but since this defines everything from puns to Spoonerisms to Malapropsims to Pig Latin it really is too general to use here.)

This example illustrates a pun well:
A boiled egg for breakfast…

Phonemes in English

Phonemes are the smallest possible sounds in a language which have a distinct meaning.

So what does that mean in practice?

Well, take these two words:
kiss – miss
When we say them, the only difference is the very first sound of each word:
k and m
This means that those two sounds, k and m, are phonemes because when one changes to the other, the…

Background Checks in TEFL

You want to teach English. And you’re not a hardened criminal, right?

Of course not! But you may well need to prove this last fact to get a job.

Many countries (though not all) ask prospective teachers to provide a valid Background Check when they apply for a teaching job. This is simply an official document from your home country saying that you have never killed…

Free ICAL Teaching Tips & Tricks

Do you want to receive weekly free advice on teaching English as a Second or Foreign language?

The ICAL TEFL Newsletter brings updates, advice and articles on teaching TEFL/TESOL right to your inbox. It gives you the latest articles on:

how to find the best jobs
where to teach and what different countries are like
great classroom activities
effective teaching methods…

WorkSmart – help teaching English when you need it

ICAL WorkSmart is an exclusive mentoring program designed to help ICAL TEFL teachers and students find work and then be successful in their teaching.

Think of us as a knowledgeable, friendly professional who can help you with advice and suggestions; someone you can turn to when you’d like a second opinion; someone who has many, many years experience in the TEFL industry and who is there to…

The ICAL Student Center

The ICAL Student Center or ISC is the home for each student taking an ICAL course. It is not only a virtual classroom and library, but also a place to meet and interact with other students.
As soon as you register in an ICAL course you are given a unique ID number and password which allow you to access the ISC and take advantage of all the facilities there…

ICAL TEFL Partner Scheme

ICAL Educational Partner Scheme
Through the ICAL Educational Partner Scheme any English Language School or Educational Institute can offer their teachers quality training and recognized TEFL certification at a considerably discounted price.

We co-operate with several schools around the world training their teachers on a regular basis. Each school is unique and we endeavor to cater for their individual training needs.

Some schools choose ICAL to give…

Jobs with ICAL

This article has information on jobs available at ICAL for TEFL teacher trainers and administrative staff.

Note that if you are a TEFL teacher looking for work in an English school, please see our WorkSmart program and also our TEFL Jobs page.
ICAL Personal Tutors
ICAL personal tutors work closely with our students and are an integral part of the course and as ICAL grows, we often take on…

TEFL Course Scholarships

Could you – or your organization – benefit from a scholarship to take an ICAL TEFL course?

Perhaps you would like to take a TEFL course but need help with the cost?

Maybe a recent government shutdown has left you out of work or on furlough?

In that case, ICAL may be able to help!
Do You Need a Scholarship?
Currently, we can give part scholarships to…

English Language Students

EL or English Language Students are the ones learning English! They come in all shapes and sizes and could be almost anyone. But here we’ll discuss very generally the kind of students you’re likely to find yourself teaching as a TEFL teacher around the world. Who are EL Students? Anyone. You could find yourself teaching almost anyone. In my time teaching I’ve come across the following learning English: refugees just…

Story Chain

A Story Chain is a simple method of passing a story around the class, giving each student plenty of practice in storytelling. Prepare a Story There are many different ways to do this. The stories should be short and able to be told in a minute or so. Most importantly they should be told in the first person. brainstorm ideas with the class by writing up keywords and have them…

Neologisms‏‎

A Neologism is newly created (or “coined”) word. New words often apply to new concepts or inventions, or perhaps when an old idea takes on a new meaning. Some random neologisms: aspirin hyperspace internet Islamaphobia wiki bling wmd phishing Quite simply, these words did not exist several years ago. Trivia Washington Post columnist Bob Levey ran a monthly neologism competition for over 20 years (from 1983 til 2004, when he…

Jill Hadfield‏‎

Jill Hadfield has been involved in EFL either as a teacher or teacher trainer for over 20 years and is the author of over 20 books for teachers, some written with her husband Charles. She has taught and trained teachers in Britain, France, China, Tibet, and Madagascar, and held workshops and courses for teachers around the world. She is currently senior lecturer in the School of English and Applied Linguistics…

Categories Word Search‏‎

Categories Word Search is a simple exercise which gives students practice in grouping and thinking about either semantic fields or parts of speech‏‎ (word classes) or both. Preparation You will need a method of choosing a letter of the alphabet‏‎ at random. This could be by using flashcards‏‎ with one letter of the alphabet on each. In this case these will need to be made. Alternatively you could use a Scrabble bag…

Generative Grammar

Generative Grammar is a branch of theoretical linguistics that tries to provide a set of rules that can accurately predict which combinations of words‏‎ are able to make grammatically correct sentences‏‎. Generally speaking it suggests that humans have the ability to learn language built in and just by exposure to language they can learn it.

In basic terms it looks at the way English is put together and tries to…

Learning Teaching‏‎

Author: Jim Scrivener Publisher: Macmillan ELT Details: Paperback; 224 pages; Pub.1994 ISBN: 0435240897 This book is not your average a how to book but a well written and informative text that analyzes the different aspects of teaching, the classroom as well as materials used, and gets you thinking! Particularly useful to experienced language teachers who wish to perfect their skill but a valuable read also for the novice ESL…

Anagrams & TEFL

What are Anagrams?
Anagrams are simply rearrangements of letters from one word‏‎ or phrase to make another word or phrase.

The word itself comes from the Greek, anagrammatismos, ana- (up, again, back, new) + -gram (letter).

For example, the following are a few interesting anagrams.

dormitory
dirty room

Clint Eastwood
old west action

Madam Curie
radium came

a telephone…

Lemmas in English Vocabulary

Simply put, a lemma is the base form of a word, typically found in a dictionary where it’s known as a headword.

From the lemma we can form many related words. So, for example, here are a few lemmas and their forms:
do: do, does, did, doing
run: running, ran
fruit: fruits, fruity, fruitful
Interestingly, the 10 most common lemmas make up about 25% of all words we use!
Lemmas…

Martin Parrott

Martin Parrott worked for many years as a teacher and teacher trainer at International House, London, where he was also the Director of Teacher Training. He has taught and trained teachers in many parts of the world and in the Universities of London and Bristol. He currently teaches at the Lycée Français Charles de Gaulle, London, UK. In addition to Grammar for English Language Teachers, he is the author of…

Accreditation & TEFL Courses

There is currently NO independent, international board of accreditation or assessment for TEFL certificate providers.

This means that each institute, school, or organization recognizes their own certificate and accreditation comes from good practice, professional standards and reputation.

There are a number of organizations which have been set up nationally. And there are a number of organizations which have been set up by schools as supposedly independent accreditation agencies to…

Spain – MoE

The Ministry of Education in Spain offers positions in state schools in Spain to US and Canadian teachers of English. The usual hiring period is from November to March for work beginning in mid-September.

Each year about 2,000 American or Canadian teachers take advantage of the program to spend 8 months or so in Spain teaching. In Spanish the position is known as, Auxiliares de Conversación.
Note that…

Line Talking‏‎

Line Talking is a simple way to get your students listening and speaking carefully. It can be used with any type of speaking activity where an exchange of information is necessary. Method Divide the class into pairs. Each pair will need to exchange information between them. For example, one student may know the first half of a story and the other student may know the second half; they need to…

What is Discourse Analysis‏‎?

Discourse Analysis – or DA – is all about examining and analyzing spoken or written language (and to a lesser extent, sign language). It’s about taking language, putting it under the microscope and looking at it closely to see how it works and then taking it out and looking at it again in the wider world. A bit like examining a coin from the time of Julius Caesar and then…

Planning Lessons and Courses (book)‏‎

Author: Tessa Woodward Publisher: Cambridge University Press Details: Paperback; 266 pages; Pub.2001 ISBN: 0521633540 This handbook will help you design sequences of work for your ESL/EFL classes. Whether it’s plucking out an activity to start or finish a lesson or whether you’re at your wit’s end on how to deal with a large and unruly class – this book offers ideas and help. It deals with the kinds of…

Teaching English in Bahrain‏‎

The Kingdom of Bahrain is an island country in the Persian Gulf off the Eastern coast of Saudi Arabia‏‎. The name Bahrain literally means Kingdom of Two Seas. It has a population of 800,000 and is a wealthy country with the fastest growing economy in the Arabic world.

The climate is hot in the summer,and pleasant for the remaining eight months of the year. The country has…

Punctuating Direct Speech‏‎

This article gives the rules and conventions when it comes to Punctuating Direct Speech, that is the words actually spoken by someone, i.e. direct speech‏‎. Inverted Commas Inverted Commas or Quotation Marks are used to enclose whatever someone says. Note that other punctuation comes inside these marks. “Where are you going?” “Wow!” “It’s very cold outside.” New Paragraphs Every time a speaker changes, begin a new paragraph. “Where are you…

Teaching English in Switzerland

Switzerland is a landlocked country in the middle of Europe. Although it is surrounded by the European Union‏‎ and has close ties to it, being out of the EU means it is easier for American and other non-European teachers to work there.

The country is beautiful. It has the Alps, lakes, greenery and is incredibly well organized. It is also quite expensive in some cities and the language…

Common Phrasal Verbs‏‎ in English

This is simply a list of common phrasal verbs‏‎ which your students should know. There is no easy way to learn phrasal verbs as their meaning cannot be guessed by their make-up. Likewise many phrasal verbs have several completely unrelated meanings. This means that phrasal verbs must simply be learned in context. This list can be used in conjunction with different phrasal verb activities. See the main article, Phrasal verbs‏‎. Common…

Word Ladder‏‎

Word Ladder is a simple game invented by Lewis Carroll (author of the Alice books). It’s perfect as a quick 5-minute activity at the end of the lesson and is ideal for practicing and playing with vocabulary. A slight variation has it great for dictionary practice as well. The activity is perhaps best used with students in pairs. Preparation Make up a list of word pairs. To begin with, each…

Teaching English in North Korea

Located in the northern half of the Korean peninsula with the South Korea to the south and the China to north and west, along with a small of border with Russia‏‎ to the east, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) (or North Korea as it’s more commonly known) is unlike any other country in the world and, to all intents and purposes, very difficult to access for foreign TEFL teachers…

Marianne Celce-Murcia‏‎

Presently Professor Emerita in Applied Linguistics and TESOL at the University of California in Los Angeles and Dean of English Programs at the American University of Armenia in Yerevan. Over the years Dr. Celce-Murcia has been an active member of the American Association for Applied Linguistics (AAAL); the Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL) and the California Association of Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages…

Michael Swan‏‎

Michael Swan – who describes himself as a “freelance writer” – is most well known as an established TEFL writer specializing in reference and teaching materials.

His Practical English Usage is regarded as something of a grammar bible and many ESL teachers swear by it.

His interests include pedagogic grammar, mother-tongue influence in second language acquisition, and the relationship between applied linguistic theory and classroom language-teaching…

Mnemonics in TEFL

Mnemonics (pronounced /nəˈmɒniks/ with a silent ‘m’ at the beginning) are short devices (sayings, poems, etc) used to remember longer, more complex ideas or lists (also known as aides memoires or memory aides).

Think of them as poetic versions of string tied around your finger to help remember something!

A good example of a first letter mnemonic is:
Richard Of York Gave Battle In Vain
which…

Homographs‏‎

Homographs are words which have the same spelling but different meanings. They may or may not have the same pronunciation.

Here the word has the same spelling and pronunciation, but different meanings:
bear – beə (a big animal living in Yellowstone park)
bear – beə (to carry a burden or weight)
But in this case the word has same spelling but different pronunciations and meanings:
bow – bəʊ (used…

What is a Morpheme‏‎?

As they say, a Morpheme is the smallest linguistic unit of language which has meaning. Putting it simply, if you take a word like unquestionable you can break it down into 3 morphemes: un = notquestion = askable = able to be Each of the 3 morphemes has a meaning and if you take one away, the meaning of the word changes. Morphemes can’t be broken down any further; they…

David Nunan‏‎

David Nunan is a linguist and ELT author who has published over 100 books and articles in the areas of curriculum and materials development, classroom-based research, and discourse analysis. Many of his English Language Teaching textbooks were written for Cambridge University Press, Oxford University Press and Thomson Learning. Nunan has also been involved in directing post-graduate programs in applied linguistics and language education in many different parts of the world…

Out and About (book)‏‎

Author: Amy Hemmert; Rick Kappra Publisher: Alta Book Center Publishers Details: paperback, 189 pages; 2002 ISBN: 1932383018 An interactive course in Beginning English with a dynamic, student-centered approach. Each unit provides a well-defined series of picture-based vocabulary activities followed by contextualized, multi-skill practice activities. Key language and vocabulary are recycled and reinforced in creative and stimulating ways. Addressing SCANS competencies and CASAS requirements, Out & About provides a language…

Giving Directions‏‎

Giving Directions is an activity to practice giving and receiving directions around town. It’s simple to set up and involves practice in speaking and listening. Preparation You will need a town plan (or section of a town) for the class. With beginner classes the plan can be very simple but with more advanced classes it can be bigger and more complex. The plan should have major landmarks on it but…

Beyond the Sentence‏‎ (book)

Author: Scott G. Thornbury Publisher: Macmillan ELT Details: Paperback; 192 pages; Pub.2005 ISBN: 1405064072 This is a witty and incisive book where discourse is taken apart to show how it is organized and how it helps communication. The idea that we need to help students work ‘at the level of text’ as well as make correct sentences is not a new one. But here you will find suggestions –…

Racism in TEFL

Racism in Teaching English does occur to a greater or lesser extent in most countries.

This article looks at racism in TEFL‏‎ outside English speaking countries; this is where it is most prevalent.
Reactions to Foreigners

In many countries foreigners can be the source of interest and speculation and this applies to any new face, regardless of color. This kind of interest can happen in any…

Rote Learning in TEFL

Rote Learning is an old-fashioned method of learning by continuous repetition. It is derived from the idea that if a student says something enough times they will learn it and be able to produce it when the time comes.

In English it is also called learning by heart however there are more derogatory terms for it such as learning “parrot fashion” (in English and Greek) and “stuffing…

PGCE‏‎ or TEFL for Teaching English Abroad

One frequently asked question is this: should I take a PGCE and/or a TEFL Certificate to teach English abroad?

This article answers that question and offers the best advice on what you should do when you’re given that choice. It looks at what the PGCE is, how they are seen by schools abroad, and what you can do with it if you want to teach outside the UK…

Teaching English in Oman‏‎

TEFL Teaching in Oman Since the discovery of oil some years ago, Oman – the second largest country in the Middle East – has grown very wealthy with good opportunities for TEFL‏‎ teachers. For those teachers who do end up in Oman, the country itself is very diverse with mountain ranges, salt flats, rolling deserts and pleasant green hills. Muscat is a thriving port and the capital city. As for the social…

Which Degree to Teach English Abroad?

The basic usual teaching qualifications for the majority of TEFL‏‎ jobs are a degree and a 120hr TEFL Certificate.

Although sometimes you can find work without a degree in some countries, this article looks at the type of degree which is best to have to teach English and which degrees are not usually acceptable.
Which Type of Degree?
By degree we mean a 3 or 4 year BA…

The Alphabet Game‏‎

The Alphabet Game is a very useful 5 minute end-of-lesson vocabulary game or warmer. Simply get each student (or group) to write a letter of the alphabet on each line of a blank sheet of paper. If you play this game often with the class and they’re already familiar with the letters of the alphabet you can have these sheets already photocopied. Now decide on a subject or semantic field…

General English‏‎

General English is a loose term used to describe the type of English‏‎ required for everyday situations. It can be compared to more specific English teaching such as Business English‏‎, English for Academic Purposes‏‎ and so on. What is General English? Typically following a General English course, students should be able to understand and communicate on everyday subjects such as (depending on their level, of course): general greetings the weather family news…

The Good Grammar Book‏‎ (book)

Author: Michael Swan ; Catherine Walter Publisher: Oxford University Press Details: Paperback; 304 pages; Pub.2003 ISBN: 0194315207 This grammar book teaches all the grammar needed for speaking and writing in English. It explains the rules, shows how the language works, and gives plenty of practice. It has pre-tests and review tests. It also commits a number of pages to each grammar point, with an equal amount of practice pages. It…

Lesson Preparation Tip – Delegating Tasks

Here’s a quick tip which serves two purposes: less work for you, more English practice for the students.

Here we’re talking about TEFL lesson preparation, but the same idea applies during the lesson itself for many tasks. It’s well worth adopting this general approach to your teaching as we’re sure you’ll find it a win-win situation all round!
A Simple Example
Suppose you need to prepare…

Student Names in English‏‎

It’s common in many classrooms for teachers to give English names to their students. The students often find this fun and it also helps the teacher remember the names of their students.

However, it is not as easy as it seems and there can be issues caused by simple misunderstandings which can lead to problems in the class.

This article is a guide to how to…

Implementing the Lexical Approach (book)‏‎

Author: Michael Lewis Publisher: EMEA British English Details: Paperback; 176 pages; Pub.1997 ISBN: 1899396608 The subtitle reads “Putting Theory into Practice” which says it all. The book describes how the Lexical Approach works in the classroom and develops the theoretical position set out in Michael Lewis’ The Lexical Approach (book). It shows clearly how lexis, grammar and phonology interact in ways which directly affect how learners store new language…

Cambridge Business English Activities‏‎ (book)

Publisher: Cambridge University Press Details: Paperback; 128 pages; Pub.2000 ISBN: 0521587344   This spiral bound is part of the Cambridge Copy Collection. It is a well designed user-friendly resource book containing 43 photocopiable activities to use in your Business English class. The stimulating and highly adaptable material offers a variety of pair and group activities to practise the most common functions and language of business, from socialising and eating…

Backward Spelling‏‎

Backward Spelling is a simple filler activity you can play at the end of your class for a few minutes before the lesson ends. It helps with concentrated listening‏‎, vocabulary‏‎ and spelling. Simply choose a word which the class will know and begin – slowly – to spell it backwards. Award a point to the first person who can guess the word correctly. T: A… N…S1: Can?T: Sorry, no! A…

British English

British English (BrE) is a variant of the English language, spoken mainly in the United Kingdom. Along with American English‏‎, British English is one of the main variants taught in most ESL/EFL programs.

Bear in mind, however, that here is, in fact, no single British English variation of English. Instead there are a considerable number of variations mainly found in different locations. Thus, for example, there is:

Scottish…

Careers in Teaching English

Careers in TEFL or TESOL are common. Many teachers start out in TEFL‏‎ as entry-level teachers in small schools around the world; some will stay a few years before going home and moving into a different field, but others will move on in TEFL. It is common assumption that TEFL is a stop-gap job, but this is simply not the case and there are many examples of teachers who have had…

Word Frequency‏‎ in English

Word Frequency is listing words‏‎ according to how popular they are in the language. The method of determining the list is by taking a corpus‏‎ of language and simply counting the words in it and how often each one is used. This usually brings up the following as the most popular: the of and to a However, no list can be definitive. This is because the popularity of words will…

Ellipsis‏‎ in English Punctuation

Ellipsis (plural ellipses) is a punctuation‏‎ mark or series of marks that usually show something is missing. For example, ellipsis: indicates an intentional omission of a word or words in a text at the end of a sentence, it indicates a trailing off into silence or an unfinished thought can also refer to a pause in speech or a missing sound The missing words or thoughts need to be supplied…

Callan Method of Teaching English

The Callan Method is a system of learning English which is a form of the Audio-Lingual Method of teaching.
The method relies on continual drilling through question and answer. In a 12 step program, beginner‎ students are asked a series of questions and then give their set answers (provided initially by the teacher).

The method is simple repetition of set phrases without looking into grammar‏‎ or vocabulary‏‎ or straying outside the…

Feedback the Teacher‏‎

Feedback the Teacher is an exercise which is all about the students offering feedback to their teacher about the class in general. It’s not for all classes or for all teachers, but if a teacher is serious about their job, it can provide invaluable help in making the lessons better. Background In many cases an English teacher will be working alone or in a small school. Whilst big organizations should…

How English Works (book)‏‎

Author: Michael Swan ; Catherine Walter Publisher: Oxford University Press Details: Paperback; 368 pages; Pub.1997 ISBN: 0194314561   Winner of the English Speaking Union’s Duke of Edinburgh Book Competition, this is not your traditional, dull grammar practice book. Combining rich illustrations and authentic exercises, How English Works makes the learning and practising of grammar both a pleasure and a challenge. Still hot from the press, it became an instant hit…

Teaching English in Kazakhstan‏‎

According to the Lonely Planet Guide, Kazakhstan is the ideal country for those who “enjoy remoteness, wide open spaces, lunar landscapes, long hypnotic train rides and horse sausage!”

With a size comparable to that of Western Europe, the Republic of Kazakhstan is the ninth largest nation in the world, extending east to west from the Caspian Sea to the Altay Mountains, and north to south from the…

First TEFL Lesson Interview

 First TEFL Lesson Interview is a good activity for a 1-to-1‏‎ lesson to break the ice and get to know your student. It can also be adapted for larger classes.

Quite simply, either before the lesson if you have the chance, or during the first few minutes of the lesson, ask your student to write down 10 questions‏‎ which they would like to ask you. Tell them the subject matter…

CPE – Certificate of Proficiency in English‏‎ Examination

The Certificate of Proficiency in English or CPE is an advanced exam run by Cambridge Assessment‏‎ aimed at people who use English for professional or study purposes. Many employers, universities and government departments all over the world officially recognize the CPE as proof of proficiency in English and it is a popular exam to take after the Cambridge First Certificate. It is equivalent to the C2 level of the Common European…

Longman Pronunciation Dictionary‏‎ (book)

Author: J.C. Wells Publisher: Pearson ESL Details: Paperback; 80 pages; 2nd Ed. Pub.2000 ISBN: 0582364671 This dictionary deals with both English and American pronunciations and the variations of word pronunciations. It shows over 135,000 different pronunciations from British and American English, including technical vocabulary and proper names. If your intention is to acquire RP then this is the dictionary for you! A fully revised third edition is also available…

Fewer vs Less‏‎

The debate about using fewer or less when referring to quantity still rages. It is related to the concept of descriptive vs prescriptive grammars.

In terms of historical origin, less has been used continuously in English for hundreds of years to refer to comparative quantity with all nouns whilst the use of fewer is fairly recent and applies to countable nouns‏‎.
Grammatical Difference
The grammatical difference between the two…

The Practice of English Language Teaching‏‎ (book)

Author: Jeremy Harmer Publisher: Pearson Longman ELT Details: paperback; 4th Edition; Pub. 2007 ISBN: 1405853115 This Longman Handbook for language teachers comes with DVD in its 4th edition. The book looks at various teaching approaches and discusses current ELT issues but it is also a practical teaching guide that covers everything from intonation through to the use of audio-visual equipment in class. With its emphasis on the communicative approach…

Greek vs English

Greek is spoken by about 12 million people. The majority of these are in Greece and Cyprus‏‎ whilst the Greek diaspora are generally bilingual.

This article looks at the kinds of problems Greek as a mother tongue speakers have in learning English.
Background
In Greece English films are subtitled on the television rather than dubbed and exposure to English, albeit passively, is widespread. American and British…

Zellig Harris‏‎

Born in Ukraine in 1909, he was taken to the United States (PA) as a child. A student in the Oriental Studies department, he received his bachelor’s (1930), master’s (1932), and doctoral (1934) degrees from the University of Pennsylvania. He began teaching at Penn in 1931, and would go on to found the linguistics department there in 1947, the first such department in the country. Harris carried the structural linguistic…

Teaching English in Kuwait‏‎

TEFL/TESOL in Kuwait‏‎ Kuwait is a small but very cosmopolitan country with workers and expatriates from many different countries living there. There is a thriving EFL market for the right kind of teacher. Living Conditions Kuwait is not necessarily the most interesting country to teach in when it comes to nightlife, going out, cultural experiences and so on. It does have a couple of museums and sights but it is…

Trading Places‏‎

Trading Places is a great ice breaker activity and a lot of fun. It’s also ideal for practicing questions‏‎. It’s simple to run this activity and no preparation is needed which means it’s great to know for those emergency situations in class! Pre-Teaching With the class as a whole brainstorm some questions you can ask about each other. You should come up with a list something like this: Where do…

Roots and English Words

A root is the very simplest form of a word without any affix‏‎es or changes. It cannot be made any smaller and is sometimes known as the base word.

For example, take the word important. This consists of 3 parts:
im (a prefix) + port (the root) + ant (a suffix])
So the root of the word is simply: port.

Often you will find that the…

Content and Language Integrated Learning‏‎ in TEFL

CLIL stands for Content and Language Integrated Learning and it is based on the idea that subjects like geography, physics, history, etc. can be taught and learned in a language which is not the student’s mother tongue‏‎. (CLIL is also known as CBI or Content Based Instruction.) The emphasis in the CLIL learning process is not on the language used to teach the subject but on the subject itself, which…

Family Tree – vocabulary activity

Family Tree is an ideal and fun activity for students to practice family relations and working within that semantic field.

The basic idea is that you give your students a series of statements about a family such as, “Joe is Mary’s brother” and, “Frank is Julie’s Grandfather” and so on and from these, the students need to construct a family tree. It takes not only knowledge of English…

The Comparative Game‏‎

The Comparative Game is a simple way to get your class practicing comparatives. It’s best used at the end of a lesson where you’ve been looking at comparatives and adjectives and/or adverbs in general.
Playing the Game
Firstly divide the class into groups of four or so students each and tell them they’re playing against each other.

Then have them write a list of 10 adjectives…

Explorations in Language Acquisition and Use (book)‏‎

Author: Stephen Krashen Publisher: Heinemann Details: Paperback; 112 pages; Pub.2003 ISBN: 0325005540 Stephen Krashen’s widely known theory of Second Language Acquisition has had a huge impact on all areas of second language research and teaching since the 1970s. This book amounts to a summary and assessment by Krashen of much of his work thus far, as well as a compilation of his thoughts about the future. In this book…

Q & A Ice Breaker‏‎

Q & A Ice Breaker is an activity designed for a new class so that the students get to know each other and you, the teacher, can begin to understand the level and interests of your students. There are a number of different ways you can use this activity. Essentially thought it begins with you preparing a series of flashcards‏‎ on which you have a lot of random questions. These…

Teaching English in Puerto Rico‏‎

TEFL/TESOL in Puerto Rico Puerto Rico is a small group of islands in the Caribbean; it is a self-governing territory of the USA‏‎. With a population of about 4 million, the official languages are Spanish and English however Spanish is by far the most dominant language and despite English being taught in schools, many Puerto Ricans go through life without using it at all. The 2008 census reporting just 32% of Puerto…

Applying as a Couple to Teach English Abroad

It is sometimes the case that two people – partners, friends, a married couple, etc – will want to head abroad and find work together, if possible in the same school.

Our advice is: do NOT apply to work in the same school.

There are several important reasons for this:

There tend to be less jobs for couples than for single teachers. If you…

Cambridge University Press‏‎

Cambridge University Press (known colloquially as CUP) is a publisher given a Royal Charter by Henry VIII in 1534, and one of the two major university presses in the UK (the other being Oxford University Press). It published its first book in 1584, and has published at least one book every year since then, making it the oldest publishing and printing house in the world. It is both an academic…

Teaching Exam Classes

Teaching Exam Classes is often asked of teachers who are teaching English as a Second or Foreign language.

As you will find, it is often the case that the only reason the students are in the class learning English is in order to pass a First Certificate or Proficiency exam.

Sometimes this can be off putting to a teacher. Instead of teaching your students about the…

Speak an Adverb‏‎

Speak an Adverb is a way to have your students practice different kinds of intonation‏‎ and language register‏‎ in English and also to help them become aware of the importance they play in speaking‏‎. A short amount of preparation is enough for different versions of the game and with right materials it can be used to practice intonation with many different ages and levels‏‎ of students. Preparation Make up a list of…

Oxford University Press‏‎

Oxford University Press or OUP is a publishing house and a department of the University of Oxford in England. It is the largest university press in the world, being larger than all the American university presses combined with Cambridge University Press. It has branches all over the world including India, Pakistan, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Malaysia, Singapore, Nigeria and the Republic of South Africa. It is one of the world’s…

Teaching English in Tunisia

Tunisia is a former French colony where traditionally students are taught in Arabic‏‎ in primary school, then in French in secondary school and at university, with English lessons starting in year five of primary school and carrying on throughout secondary school for three hours a week.

Now all this is about to change. In an effort to tackle its high unemployment rate amongst young Tunisians, Tunisia is working to transform its…

Teaching English in Angola

Angola is a poor country in southern Africa. After independence from Portugal‏‎ in 1975 it entered a civil war which lasted several decades and cost millions of lives and refugees. The war officially ended in 2002 and since then the country is seen as developing fast and growing financially and culturally.

It has a population of roughly 18.5 million with the capital Luanda at about 2.7 million…

Teaching English in Russia‏‎

The following two stories come from two American ICAL students who worked at the American Home in Russia. They offer a glimpse of life living and working overseas. The following two stories come from two American ICAL students who worked at the American Home in Russia. They offer a glimpse of life living and working overseas. A+ for American Home Youngmee trained with ICAL and gained her TEFL Certificate in 2005…

Affixes in English

An affix is a morpheme‏‎ that is attached to a root‏‎ (or stem) of a word‎ to form another word.

For example, take the word reason and add two affixes:
un + reason + able
Prefixes and suffixes are common types of affixes.

A prefix is an affix which is placed before a root.
un + kind = unkind
re + act = react
mis +…

Teaching English in Belgium‏‎

TEFL in Belgium‏‎ Belgium is a founding member of the European Union‏‎ and hosts its headquarters. It is a country of 11 million inhabitants which is bordered by the Netherlands, Germany, Luxembourg and France. It is also across the North Sea from the United Kingdom. Linguistically the country is divided into Dutch speakers (approx 59%, known colloquially as the Flemish) and French speakers (approx 40%, known colloquially as the Walloons) with a…

Grammar Practice Activities‏‎ (book)

Grammar Practice Activities by Penny Ur‏‎ is, as the subtitle reads, a Practical Guide for Teachers. This invaluable book is divided into two parts: Part One provides a clear and concise introduction to teaching grammar‏‎ in the foreign language classroom, plus a useful guide to designing and presenting grammar-practice activities and some tips for getting the most out of coursebook exercises. Part Two consists of nearly 200 game-like grammar practice activities…

The Blue Book of Grammar and Punctuation‏‎ (book)

Author: Jane Straus Publisher: Jossey Bass Details: paperback, 176 pages; 10th Edition 2008 ISBN: 0470222689 An Easy-to-use Guide with Clear Rules, Real-world Examples, and Reproducible Quizzes. Hailed as one of the best grammar resources available, this concise, entertaining, user-friendly workbook includes easy-to-understand rules, abundant examples, dozens of reproducible exercises, and pre- and post-tests to help teach grammar to middle and high school, college, ESL, and home schooled students as…

Oxford Essential Dictionary: For Elementary and Pre-intermediate Learners of English‏‎ (book)

Publisher: Oxford University Press Details: Paperback; 488 pages; Pub. 2006 ISBN: 0194317188 Oxford Essential Dictionary is a new edition for Elementary and Pre-intermediate Learners of English. A helpful guide for lower level learners, it provides the essentials students need in the first stages of learning English. Especially suited for British English classes. External Links Oxford Essential Dictionary for Elementary and Pre-intermediate Learners of English (amazon.co.uk)…

Teaching Grammar

The subject of Teaching Grammar is often discussed and there are many different views and approaches. New teachers often feel that to properly teach a language they must teach grammar.

However this is not the case.
Background
In the past it was thought that students must be given explicit grammatical rules. Students were taught about subjects and objects‏‎, parts of speech‏‎ and so on and then expected to…

German vs English

German (Deutsch) is a Germanic language, related to English and Dutch.

It is the second-most spoken language in Europe after English. It is spoken by approximately 105 million native speakers and also by about 80 million non-native speakers. It is spoken in Germany by more than 95% of the population, but also in Austria‏‎ by 89% of the population, and in Switzerland by 65% of the population. German is…

Teaching English Abroad (book)‏‎

Author: Susan Griffith Publisher: Vacation Work Publications Details: paperback, 576 pages; 8th Edition pub. 2010 ISBN: 1854583522 Griffith’s book is a reference source for British or Britain-based teachers who are looking to embark on an EFL teaching career in Western Europe. Although when it was first produced it was well received, in recent years the book has become increasingly outdated due to the internet and has come in for…

Black English‏‎

Black English is a very broad term used to refer to British English and American English‏‎ as spoken by the black communities in the US and the UK. To a lesser extent it’s also used to refer to black communities in places like the Caribbean and Africa. Two of the major sub-varieties of Black English are African American Vernacular and British Black English (see below for more on these). Interest in the…

Read My Mind‏‎

Read My Mind is a simple game which you can play at the end of a lesson. It is ideal for groups of 3 or 4 and practices vocabulary and speaking. If this is the first time you have played the game with the class, begin by demonstrating it to everyone and making sure everyone understands how to play it. Playing the Game Once the class know how to play…

Behaviorist‏‎ Method in TEFL

At its simplest, the Behaviorist method to teaching English works like this:
a student gets into the habit of responding in a certain way when prompted
Notably, this is a habit and the student doesn’t have to think or work out what to say, it just comes naturally.

So, in the same way that the student knows that when the bell rings, the lesson is over, when…

Teaching the Spoken Language (book)‏‎

Author: Gillian Brown; George Yule Publisher: Cambridge University Press Details: Paperback; 176 pages; Pub.1983 ISBN: 0521273846 Not exactly hot from the press (it was first published in 1983) but still a book teachers recommend when it comes to teaching spoken production and listening comprehension. The book presents in a highly accessible form the results of the author’s important research on teaching and assessing effective spoken communication. The authors examine…

Conversation Classes in English Language Teaching

Conversation classes are those based almost entirely around getting the students to speak. This contrasts with classes where the other skills‏‎ are employed.

Often native English teachers will be used in conversation classes in foreign schools; sometimes this will be alongside a local assistant to help out.

See Speaking‏‎ for the main article on teaching speaking…

He Said She Said Circle – tefl activity

He Said She Said Circle is a simple activity for students to practice their reported speech‏‎ (also known as indirect speech).

Ideally you should run this activity after a lesson where students have been working on reported speech. If not, you should quickly run over the rules and principles of turning direct speech into indirect speech.

The nice thing about this activity is that it takes no preparation time…

Teaching Beginners in TEFL

Let’s suppose you are in your beginner level TEFL class and – for the purposes of this explanation – it’s time to introduce them to adjectives‏‎.

You could simply say:
“An adjective is a word that modifies a noun or a pronoun. To modify a word is to describe the word or to make its meaning more definite”
And if you did say that to beginners, you…

Chatterbox (book)‏‎

Author: Derek Strange Publisher: Oxford University Press Details: Paperback; 80 pages; Pub.2006 ISBN: 0194728013 This activity book is part of the new edition of the ever popular Chatterbox course for young beginners (7yrs and older). A complete comic-strip adventure story runs through each book, featuring ace detective Captain Shadow. This provides a memorable context for new language and maintains motivation. The book involves children in a variety of fun…

Dragons Den‏‎

Introduction Dragon’s Den is a detailed and long-term activity ideal for a class studying Business English‏‎. It is based on the popular television program where would-be entrepreneurs pitch their business idea to potential investors to try and raise money to get their business off the ground. The activity can be run over the course of several lessons. It can be broken down into shorter segments which can run anything…

Teaching English in Singapore‏‎

Singapore is a city-state on the southernmost tip of the Malay Peninsula. For many years it was a British colony until independence in 1963 when it merged with other local states to form Malaysia‏‎. However, two years later it seceded from Malaysia and became independent. On independence Singapore made a decision to choose English‏‎ for day to day life and this decision is credited with helping the country become the…

Grammar for English Language Teachers‏‎ (book)

Grammar for English Language Teachers by Martin Parrott won the prestigious  English Speaking Union‏‎ Duke of Edinburgh’s English Language Award in 2000. This comprehensive and practical guide is a refreshingly new type of grammar reference book and an invaluable bank of ideas, tasks and inspiration for developing language awareness of your students and your own. Each grammar point is explained in detail; each area of grammar is dealt with expansively and…

TEFL Teaching English Online

Teaching English Online or Virtual English Teaching is a growing business. Essentially it means teaching students – usually 1-to-1‏‎ – from your own home and thus bypassing a school. With the advent of new technology and the prevalence of broadband internet (allowing audio/visual communication) it is gaining ground on traditional methods of teaching.

This article explains exactly how to teach English online.

Some of the features of…

James J. Asher‏‎

A professor of psychology at San Jose State University in California, Asher is a researcher, writer, and originator of the Total Physical Response (TPR). He is the author of Learning Another Language Through Actions…

Student Age Groups in TEFL

When it comes to the age of different students in TEFL, there are no set definitions which all teachers agree on. However, generally speaking, we can talk about the following general Student Age Groups in TEFL: Young Learners These are students aged from just a few years old to about 16 or so. In other words, these are students who are probably still at state school as well. Some teachers…

Teaching English in Croatia‏‎

TEFL/TESOL in Croatia‏‎ Croatia is a beautiful country in central/southwest Europe in the Balkans. It has a population of about 4.5 million with Zagreb being the capital and largest city (pop. 800,00). After the breakup of Yugoslavia and the Croatian war of Independence, the country was internationally recognized in 1992. The economy since the war has slowly recovered and nowadays Croatia is a popular destination for tourism and has a growing…

TEFL Coursebooks

Coursebooks are extensively used in the TEFL‏‎ classroom and also big business with the ELT publishing industry worth billions every year who churn out books by the dozen to make money.

There are many different coursebooks available to the teacher, however it must always be remembered that there is no single coursebook which is ideal for a class.

The debate on whether to use a coursebook or not…

Truth and Lies

Truth and Lies is a simple game which gives students practice making basic statements and also in speaking. It is good for beginner‎ level students.
Step 1
Each student begins by working on their own. They simply write down 3 statements about themself: one is false and two are true. When you explain this to your students try to get them to think of 3 similar sentences with…

Jeremy Harmer‏‎

Jeremy P. H. Harmer was born in 1947. He is a popular ELT author, practitioner and trainer. Harmer was educated in the United Kingdom and graduated from the University of East Anglia with a BA Hons in English and American Studies. He then pursued his MA in Applied Linguistics at the University of Reading. He completed his studies with a Teacher Training certification from International House. Harmer has taught in…

EFL‏‎ – English as a Foreign Language

EFL is an acronym we use to talk about English as a Foreign Language. EFL students are students learning English as a foreign language, that is, as a language other than their mother tongue or primary language. EFL students usually live in non English speaking countries and want to learn English mainly to use it on their travels or business trips abroad and to communicate with English speaking visitors to…

Synonyms in English

A Synonym is a word which has almost exactly the same meaning as another word. For example:
student – pupil
old – ancient

Note: Compare this with antonyms‏‎ which are words of opposite meanings.
In English, there are no perfect synonyms. Two words may be very similar and appear identical in meaning, but they will be used in slightly different contexts or have a very subtle difference…

Betty Schrampfer Azar‏‎

Betty Azar is a teacher and the author of several English grammar workbooks that are very popular amongst English grammar enthusiasts. Her approach is in-depth and thorough and she is a proponent of the Grammar Based Approach Despite no formal training in TEFL she began teaching it during her first year as a teacher at Iowa State University…

English Only‏‎ in your TEFL Classroom

Using the students’ MT in a TEFL class was be the basis behind the grammar-translation method, which was largely rejected as ineffective during the middle part of the last century.

Researchers and teachers discovered that translating into the MT as a teaching method simply does not produce the kinds of results our students need. There is rarely any advantage that can be demonstrated by doing so.

Here are…

Independent Clauses‏‎ in English Grammar

An Independent Clause looks just like a short sentence and follows the usual English pattern for sentences: The door opened. We won! I love cats. But… while a sentence stands on its own, an independent clause sits inside another sentence. For example, those sentences above become independent clauses when we join them to other clauses: The door opened and Mike walked in carrying a chicken! I’m happy because we won!…

Do I need to Speak the Local Language to Teach Abroad?

One common question asked by people wanting to teach English abroad is, “Do I need to speak the local language?”
“I’m going to teach English in Korea – do I need to speak Korean?”
“I’m going to teach English in Greece – do I need to speak Greek?”
“I’m going to teach English in Mexico – do I need to speak Spanish?”
“I’m going to teach English in…

Name That Title‏‎

Name That Title is a simple game which can be used with intermediate levels and above (although with a little careful tweaking it can be used with all levels and abilities). It practices speaking and listening and is an ideal way to spend 10 minutes or so at the end of a lesson. Preparation Prepare a dozen or more slips of paper. On each one write the title of a…

Secret Words‏‎

Secret Words is a simple game you can use in the classroom. It can be adapted to many different levels. The game can also be used as a filler activity to take up a few minutes at the end of a class. Beforehand, prepare a list of words to be used. These should be fairly common and well known by your class. Write each word on a separate slip of…

Learning Another Language Through Actions‏‎ (book)

Author: James J. Asher Publisher: Sky Oaks Productions Details: Paperback; 6th Ed.; Pub.2000 ISBN: 1560185023 In this classic book Asher walks readers through his teaching technique known now for over 30 years as TPR or Total Physical Response. The book includes easy to read background on TPR and has 150 hours of TPR classroom lessons to follow. This book is a powerful reference for teachers looking to incorporate the…

Comparison Phrases‏‎ in English

To compare different things, we can use a number of different Comparison Phrases. Equality/Inequality {as} + {adjective/adverb} + {as} He is as tall as me. They work as slowly as I do. In positive sentences we can use as…as, in negative sentences we use as…as or so…as They are not so clever as us. They are not as clever as us. {the same} + [noun phrase] + {as} This colour…

Just the Facts‏‎

Just the Facts is a simple game where students practice speaking‏‎ and listening‏‎. It’s fun, too, and can be used as a warm up activity to introduce a particular topic in the lesson. If done in this way, it will also help introduce students to a new area of study and also allow the teacher to understand what their students know already about the area of study. The activity is very…

Step Up to IELTS (book)‏‎

This book introduces IELTS‏‎ and how to teach it. It covers essential exam skills and language for IELTS in approximately 60 hours of teaching time, and familiarises students quickly with the exam. The course covers both the Academic and General Training modules. It provides students with invaluable advice on how to maximise their band score in the exam. Shorter, achievable exam-type tasks build students’ exam skills, before students try the…

Shy Students‏‎ in your Class

Shy Students can be found in almost any class. This article looks at ways of bringing shy students into the learning process and getting them to participate more in the class. In general, shyness brings on feelings of apprehension and anxiety when a student is placed in the spotlight, as it were. If you as a teacher ask a shy student to speak in front of the whole class, they…

Celebrity Chat‏‎

Celebrity Chat is a simple game you can play with classes of all ages and levels from beginners‏‎ up to advanced. It helps practice speaking‏‎ and listening‏‎. Activity Preparation First prepare a set of flashcards‏ and on each one write the name of a famous celebrity along with a small photograph. Make sure that these celebrities will be known to the class and they can include (depending on the age of…

Stephen Krashen

Professor emeritus at the University of Southern California. Krashen is a linguist, an educational researcher, and an activist.

Krashen has contributed to the fields of Second Language Acquisition (SLA), Bilingual Education, and Reading.

He is credited with introducing various influential concepts and terms in the study of second language acquisition, including the Acquisition – Learning Hypothesis, the Input Hypothesis, the Monitor Theory, the Affective Filter, and…

New Zealand English‏‎

New Zealand English (NZE) is a variety of English which is close to Australian English in pronunciation but has several subtle differences often overlooked by people from outside these countries. Some of these differences show New Zealand English to have more affinity with the English of southern England than Australian English does whilst others indicate the influence of the local Maori speech. In pronunciation NZE shares sounds with both Australian…

Teaching English in Panama‏‎

TEFL/TESOL in Panama Panama is a narrow isthmus which links Central America to South America. It is a major business centre and also home to the Panama Canal which links the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans. Introduction Although the official language is Spanish, due to a strong US presence English is widely spoken and many Panamanian schools are bilingual. Having said this, much of the English teaching in state schools is…

Business English Materials‏‎

There is an overall lack of really good, up-to-day coursebooks for Business English. The general consensus amongst teachers is that what is currently available on the market tends to have a rather uniform approach in style and a “one size fits all” attitude which merely reproduces familiar linguistic patterns in business contexts.

However there are some exceptions, and for those out there teaching Business English here are…

English Teaching Opportunities in the USA

What’s the current teaching situation in the USA? We look into what is happening here right now in terms of immigration and teaching English.

Each year more than one million immigrants who arrive in the USA‏‎ face one of the biggest challenges of moving abroad – learning the language spoken in your host country.

According to MPI (Migration Policy Institute) the number of people who speak very little or…

Silly Sentences‏‎ – sentence practice

Silly Sentences is an easy game which is ideal as a 5 minute filler activity at the end of the lesson. It practices sentence structure and vocabulary. Method of Play As the teacher, you write on the board a few random letters (or draw them from a bag of Scrabble letters), e.g. b a d w The students then have 3 minutes to write down as many sentences as they…

Compelling Conversations (book)‏‎

Author: Eric H. Roth ; Toni Aberson Publisher: BookSurge Publishing/ Chimayo Press Details: Paperback; 164 pages; Pub.2007 ISBN: 141965828X   Suitable for Upper Intermediate to Advanced Students, this book provides questions and quotations on timeless topics. Designed for non-native English speakers with a sophisticated worldview and still evolving language skills, the book includes 45 thematic chapters, 1,350 questions, and over 500 quotations and proverbs. It is jammed packed with authentic…

What is the Lexical Approach?

Will the right grammar or a few choice phrases get you served in a French cafe?

Think about when you have just arrived in a foreign country, perhaps on holiday or maybe to teach English there.

You don’t speak the local language but you need to communicate.

So you learn a few phrases and head out:
Good morning!
A coffee, please.
A croissant, please.
How…

TEFL on Film

TEFL on Film are those movies or television series which have as a theme or plot point, the Teaching of English as a Foreign Language.

Here we present a short list ordered by date and review them. If you know of any others including TEFL then do please email us with details.
English Teachers – the series (2010)
This is a web series made in Japan about English teachers…

Speaking Skills in TEFL

Speaking is one of the four main language skills. In general it is the second skill to be acquired after listening‏‎. Later comes reading‏‎ and writing‏‎.

There are many areas to speaking and this article looks at the main concerns you, as a teacher, should have here.
General Ideas about Speaking
Preparation
Before expecting the class to speak, you need to prepare them for the task. This helps…

English for Academic Purposes (book)‏‎

Author: R. R. Jordan Publisher: Cambridge University Press Details: paperback, 424 pages; pub. 2005 ISBN: 052155618X This guide and resource book for teachers provides a comprehensive overview of the field of English for Academic Purposes (EAP). It not only looks at study skills, but also at other central concerns of EAP, such as needs analysis, syllabus and course design, methodology and materials, learning styles, tests and exams, as well…

Clap Slap – tefl activity

Clap Slap is a simple game which is great fun with younger children. It practices listening comprehension, word groups and also helps them to let off a little steam!

Decide first on an appropriate word group. This will depend on your class and their level, but could be, for example:

things (nouns in general)
fruit
action words (verbs‏‎)
colors …

Teaching English in Malaysia

Malaysia offers many employment opportunities to English teachers. The capital of Malaysia is Kuala Lumpur and this is where the majority of jobs are.

The Malaysian government have recently set up a number of new initiatives to raise the overall standard of English teaching in the country and they are currently looking to employ more English teachers in this sector.
Requirements to Teach in Malaysia
Most jobs…

Gender Neutral Pronouns in English Grammar

Life would sound a bit repetitive without pronouns:
Brian got up. Brian washed Brian. Later Brian went out. Brian got in Brian’s car and drove off.
Change a person’s name into a personal pronoun and it all gets a little easier on the ear:
Brian got up. He washed himself. Later he went out. He got in his car and drove off.
This is fairly straightforward when we…

Teaching English in Bulgaria

Since the end of Communism Bulgaria, like its neighbouring countries in the Eastern Bloc, has experienced some growth and a push towards westernization. However, the economic crises that has hit hard many of the former soviet satellite states has inevitably affected the ELT industry and teaching salaries are not high.

Nonetheless, language schools in Bulgaria are selective and look for teachers with proven experience or a relevant teaching qualification…

A Word A Day

A Word A Day is a simple daily email which anyone can sign up to which sends out a word and definition each day which is useful to help enrich and enlarge vocabulary.

For TEFL teachers it is ideal; with students it is perhaps better suited to advanced learners.

The email is sent out to over 600,000 people daily and consists of

the word…

Jigsaw Reading in TEFL

Jigsaw Reading is a common reading technique. The name comes from the way in which jigsaw puzzles are put together: several pieces slotted into the right place to build up the complete picture.

Essentially you divide the text into small parts. Each part is given to a different student who must read and understand it. Then the students come together and talk about what they have just read and…

What is Linguistics?

Linguistics is the scientific and academic study of language. It tries to answer basic questions such as

What is language?
How is language represented in the mind?
How does language work?

The underlying goal of linguists is to discover the underlying rules of all languages; that is, the common elements which form a language.

Of course, the person who studies linguistics is…

Teaching English in Bolivia

TEFL/TESOL in Bolivia Bolivia, often referred to as the “Tibet of the Americas”, is a very poor country where education is a luxury for many of the poorer children who earn their living on the streets from a very early age. The highest concentration of Bolivians is to be found in the administrative capital city La Paz, home to over a million people. La Paz is renowned for its unique…

Diane Larsen-Freeman‏‎

Diane Larsen-Freeman is Professor of Education, Professor of Linguistics‏‎, and Director of the English Language Institute at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. She is also a Distinguished Senior Faculty Fellow at the School for International Training in Brattleboro, Vermont. Diane Larsen-Freeman topped her educational preparation in 1975 with a Ph.D. in Linguistics from the University of Michigan. She has been a conference speaker in over 50 countries of the…

SOV‏‎ in English Sentence Structure

SOV stands for:
{subject} + {object} + {verb}
* I + dinner + made.
* We + car + buy.
* an asterisk at the beginning of a sentence shows it’s ungrammatical

In this sentence structure the subject comes first, the object second, and the verb third. English is not an SOV language but rather an SVO language.

SOV languages have a strong tendency to use postpositions rather…

Teaching English in Portugal

Portugal is a modern, developed democracy with a distinguished history. It is the westernmost country of Europe bordered on the one side by Spain and the other by the Atlantic Ocean with a pleasant Mediterranean climate. It has a population of about 10 million with a high quality of life ranking.

Small, private language schools are springing up everywhere from the towns and cities in the industrial north to the…

Second Language‏‎

When a student learns English in order to live and work in an English speaking country we say they are learning English as a Second Language.

For example, these kinds of people learn English as a second language:

an Afghan refugee resettled in Australia
a Russian student who is studying at an American university
a French woman who marries an English man and goes…

Teaching English in Cuba

English jobs are available in Cuba but with the current state of the economy, preference for jobs is often given to Cubans. One way to overcome this is to be qualified and a native speaker; jobs then, can be found.

One possibility is going to Cuba with a volunteer organization who can arrange the job and placement. One possibly worth contacting is Grupo de Especialistas en Lenga…

The Grammar Book‏‎ (book)

Author: Marianne Celce-Murcia ; Diane Larsen-Freeman‏‎ Publisher: Cengage ELT Details: Hardcover; 854 pages; 2nd Ed. Pub.1998 ISBN: 0838447252   The Grammar Book is a course book for future ESL/EFL teachers. It presents grammar and activities in a way that helps teachers to grasp the basics and get them across to learners. The book deals with the linguistic system and details of English grammar, providing information on how structures are used…

Teaching English in Canada‏‎

TEFL/TESOL in Canada There are a vast number of ESL‏‎ schools in Canada that attract many students from abroad. Students can choose to learn English against the backdrop of an incredible and diverse country. Needless to say, competition amongst schools pushes the standards of each language school higher and higher and teachers need to be very well qualified to apply for teaching positions in Canadian ESL schools. Qualifications Standards are very…

Pearson ESL‏‎

Pearson is an educational publishing house with a comprehensive range of educational programs, in all subjects, for every age and level of student, from preK-12 through higher education and on into professional life. Pearson’s businesses and brands include: Prentice Hall, Longman, Scott Foresman, Addison Wesley, Allyn & Bacon, Benjamin Cummings, PASeries, ELLis, Celebration Press, PEMSolutions, SuccessMaker, Waterford, and Family Education Network. Pearson’s other primary operations include the Financial Times Group…

What is a Lexeme?

LEXEME is the term used in Linguistics‏‎ to refer to a word (a minimal unit of language) with a distinctive meaning (a semantic value) and often a specific cultural concept attached to it.
banana, love, animal, run
These are all lexemes.

Lexemes can be seen as the basic elements of a language.

Importantly, a single lexeme can have different forms which are sometimes quite different.

forms of…

Teaching English in South Africa‏‎

The Republic of South Africa is located at the southern tip of Africa. South Africa is the only country in the world with three capital cities. Cape Town, the largest of the three, is the legislative capital; Pretoria is the administrative capital; and Bloemfontein is the judicial capital. South Africa is known for its diversity not only geographical or climatic, economic or social, but also ethnic and linguistic. English is…

Teaching English in Romania

TEFL/TESOL in Romania Romania is a stunningly beautiful country and has a reputation for giving a warm and friendly reception to foreigners. Since the fall the USSR and Romania entering the European Union‏‎, English has taken over as the predominant language taught in schools. State schools begin teaching English to students from the age of 9 and many Romanians speak the language well. Although teaching is fairly traditional (grammar translation‏‎…

Culture Shock & Being Homesick

Culture Shock is the term used to describe the anxiety and stress people feel when they relocate to a new environment. It’s most obvious when moving to a new country where habits, customs and language may be very different from the person’s own country.

Culture Shock comes about because of difficulties in assimilating the new culture, uncertainty as to what behaviour is appropriate and what is not…

Alibi!‏‎

Alibi! is a longer TEFL‏‎ game which can be played by an intermediate or above class. It involves a lot of speaking‏‎ and listening‏‎ and can also be helpful with skills such as note taking. For the teacher there is little preparation and once the students are familiar with the game then it can be used with the same class with just slight variations. The game can last an entire lesson. Pre-Teaching…

Teaching English in Albania‏‎

Albania is a small country in southeastern Europe struggling to overcome more than 40 years of almost complete isolation. With its chronic unemployment, poor social services and impoverishment it is quite poor by European standards.

The current population of Albania is estimated at 3.5 million, with as many as 700,000 living in Tirana, the capital. Traditionally, Albania has been about 70 percent Muslim, 20 percent Albanian Orthodox (predominantly in…

Messy Desk – there is/there are‏‎ activity

This activity is ideal for teaching there is / there are to young children and then practicing it with them. In English to say that something “exists” or is in a certain location we use the phrase there is or there are according to whether we are talking about one or more items (i.e. whether it’s singular or plural). To help young students learn and use these correctly you can…

Foreign Language‏‎

If someone learns English but they live in a non-English speaking country they are most likely learning English as a Foreign Language or FL. They do not need English for everyday survival and needs, but they will need it to conduct business or take an exam or when they are visiting abroad and so on. For example, suppose a young girl in China wants to become a pilot. She will…

Teaching English in Austria‏‎

TEFL/TESOL in Austria‏‎ There is always a demand for qualified teachers of English in Austria. It is a stunning country and if you like the mix of healthy outdoor life and historic cities then you are in for a treat! Qualifications for Austria The usual requirements to teach English in Austria are a degree and a TEFL Certificate such as the ICAL TEFL Certificate. The ability to speak some German will…

Simple Reading Activities (book)‏‎

Author: Jill Hadfield; Charles Hadfield Publisher: Oxford University Press Details: Paperback; 80 pages; Pub. 1999 ISBN: 0194421732 This book contains 30 activities at elementary level, complete with ideas for boardwork and pictures teachers can copy. All the activities are simple and adaptable. They are particularly well-suited to teachers who teach privately and have few resources apart from a board, paper, and pens. The book sets out clearly the steps…

Phonology‏‎

Phonology is the branch of linguistics concerned with the study of the sound system of a language. Contrast this with Phonetics which which studies the sounds of speech and they way in which they are interpreted. Generally speaking it is not necessary to have an academic knowledge of this subject in order to teach effectively…

How to Choose a Good TEFL Course

The basic and most commonly requested qualification to teach English‏‎ abroad are a degree and a TEFL or TESOL Certificate.

This article explains what they are and how to choose a good Course and Certificate.

The TEFL Certificate is a short course which teaches the basics of teaching English; a typical course will usually cover needs analysis‏‎, how to present material to the class, lesson planning‏‎, classroom…

Coordination‏‎ & Subordination in English Grammar

Coordination and Subordination are the grammatical terms we use to talk about joining 2 clauses together. The usual pattern is this: {clause} + {conjunction} + {clause} Coordination If clauses which we combine are independent clauses (that is, if they can stand on their own) then we talk about coordination and we use a coordinating conjunction such as and, but, etc. For example, here are 2 independent clauses: Yesterday I…

A Training Course for TEFL‏‎ (book)

Billed as a practical handbook for trainees and practicing teachers, it includes: classroom techniques covering all four skills; testing; problem classes; phonetics; and syllabus design. All the topics contain practice material such as exercises, activities, and discussion points, as well as reference to existing textbooks. It is aimed squarely towards new and potential teachers and although published in 1983 it contains a lot of useful, practical information. If you aren’t…

Teaching English in Rwanda‏‎

Popularly known as ‘the land of a thousand hills’, Rwanda is a landlocked country in Africa with lush vegetation, a wide variety of wildlife, endless mountains and stunning scenery which includes six volcanoes, twenty-three lakes and numerous rivers, some forming the source of the great River Nile.

Due to recent changes in the law which promoted English language teaching (instead of French) there is a high demand…

Oxford Advanced Learner’s Dictionary‏‎ (book)

Author: Albert S. Hornby Publisher: Oxford University Press Details: Paperback; 1780 pages; Pub. 2005 ISBN: 0194001067   Now in its seventh edition the Oxford Advanced Learner’s Dictionary with Compass CD-ROM gives instant access to the Oxford Advanced Learner’s Dictionary. The CD-ROM presents grammar patterns and collocations. It also enables access to the Oxford Genie software that instantly provides definitions as your cursor moves over words…

Skimming and Scanning in TEFL

Skimming and Scanning are two skills which are often talked about in TEFL when it comes to reading.

In fact, some teachers swear by them; every reading lesson (they maintain) should include practice with these skills because they feel their students will benefit enormously from knowing how to skim and scan effectively.

But what exactly are they? And do they do any good? Are those TEFL…

Mixed Ability Classes‏‎

A Mixed Ability Class is a class where the students have different levels‏‎ and abilities in English. To a certain extent, all classes are mixed ability and you will find stronger and weaker students in every group. However many schools, due to financial reasons, find it useful to put as many students as they can in each class and often you will find students in the class who most definitely belong…

Volunteering‏‎ to Teach English Abroad

TEFL Volunteering is working as an English teacher in a school without being paid; often this is wrapped up as a Gap Year experience where you can go abroad to some exotic location and spend a few hours each day in the classroom and then lie in the sun. Some volunteering organizations require that the volunteer pay for placement, especially when it is offered as a gap year option. This can…

Podcasts‏‎ in Teaching English

A Podcast is a series of audio or video files distributed over the internet (in the same way as a broadcast in traditional media). Podcasts can be accessed either live or transferred onto a local PC or iPod to access later. Podcasts in Education Podcasts can be integrated into your classroom to complement instruction. The flexibility and portability that podcasts offer make podcasting a valuable educational tool for both teachers…

Private English Lessons

Many TEFL teachers rely on private lessons to supplement their income. They often pay more than regular lessons and qualified teachers who offer a professional service can earn a great deal this way. Some, in fact, will stop teaching at a regular school all together and set up as self-employed to teach English.

In most cases private lessons are one-to-one or perhaps one-to-two. But things can get…

Private English Lessons to Businesses‏‎

Many teachers often supplement their income with private lessons or even live on them entirely. However, one lucrative area in this field which is often overlooked by teachers is giving Private Lessons to Businesses.

Although many of the issues involved with private lessons are relevant when teaching business people, there are one or two additional points worth considering. This article looks at how to find private lessons…

Inflection in English Grammar

Inflection refers to the way we change the form of a word to show different parts of grammar such as voice, person‏‎, number, gender‏‎, mood, tense or case.

A simple example is when we change I to me depending on where it is used in a sentence. The person remains the same, the word changes.
I love you.
You love me.
Although some languages are highly inflected with complex…

IPA Transcription

There are a number of programs and websites now which allow you to transcribe normal text into the IPA – International Phonetic Alphabet. These usually have options for for both British English and American English‏‎. Transcribing Text Essentially you type a text into the program, click a button and each of the words is looked up in the appropriate database (AmE or BrE) and then “converted” to phonetic text. The screenshot shows…

Innatism in TEFL

There are many approaches to the study of language: cultural, social, artistic, historical etc.

There is also an approach which looks at language and how the brain manages to decode and use it. To explore this idea, take a look at this famous sentence:
Colorless green dreams sleep furiously.
It was created by the linguist, Noam Chomsky‏‎, and it is a good example of a perfectly correct…

English for Tourism‏‎

English for Tourism is a branch of ESP or English for Special Purposes‏‎. Whilst sometimes it is about teaching people who will visit an English speaking country, more often it is teaching English to people who will work in the tourist industry, for example: hotel employees, travel agents, tour guides, airport officials, etc. A main area of this sector is key language points and important vocabulary to do with tourism…

Homophones‏‎

Homophones are words that sound the same but with very different meanings.

The words are usually spelt differently or, if they are spelt the same, come from different roots. For example, the words may be spelt the same, such as rose (as in the flower) and rose (as in the past verb form‏‎ of rise), or differently, such as two and too.

Homophones are often used…

Dearest Creature in Creation‏‎

Gerard Nolst Trenité (1870-1946), who wrote under the pseudonym of Charivarius, was a Dutch writer, traveler and teacher. In 1922 he wrote The Chaos (also often known by its opening line, Dearest Creature in Creation) which is a poem featuring around 800 of the most awkwardly and counter-intuitively spelled words in English as a way of helping students with their pronunciation. The poem first appeared in the 1920s textbook, Drop Your…

Albert S. Hornby‏‎

Albert Sidney Hornby (1898-1978) was an English grammarian, lexicographer, and pioneer in various fields of English Language Teaching. He is often known as “the man who made dictionaries” after the phenomenal success of his meisterwerk, the Oxford Advanced Learner’s Dictionary and it was through his work, his dictionaries for learners, and his papers on language teaching for professionals, that he had a profound influence on English language teaching. This was continued by…

Hungarian vs English

If you are teaching English in Hungary or working with Hungarian native speakers who are learning English, you will find this article comparing Hungarian and English useful.

It looks at various aspects of the Hungarian language and how they relate to English. These differences will help explain why Hungarian mt speakers make certain types of errors when they speak English.
Some Background
Hungarian is the largest of the Uralic…

Email in the TEFL/TESOL Classroom‏‎

I’m an online English teacher here’s an idea I’m experimenting with. I’ve got 3 online students I teach. One is in China, the second in Poland‏‎ and the third in Italy. Until last week they’d never even heard about each other, they’d just dealt with me online (sending emails, having Skype chats and so on) and then I read a post on a forum about email communication between students. That got…

Direct Method‏‎ in TEFL

The direct method was born out of a need for a more intuitive approach to language learning. Supporters of the DM maintained that language learning was more than the learning of grammar‏‎ rules and that learning a language could not be based only on one’s translation skills. They believed that knowing a language meant being able to speak it, and that second language acquisition should reproduced the way first language…

What is Collocation‏‎?

The more you use language, the more you realise that certain words tend to hang around together like best friends forever. For example, if you have a decent knowledge of English you can probably guess the missing words here: a foregone __________ New Year!a _____ guess The fact of the matter is that some words always go around in groups; they’re like best friends who spend as much time as…

ESL – English as a Second Language

ESL is an acronym‏‎ for English as a Second Language.

ESL students are people learning English as a second language, that is, as another language after their mother tongue‏‎ or primary language.

ESL programs are mainly for people living in an English speaking country, for example many US citizens speak Spanish and learn English as a Second language to live and work in the USA‏‎. Likewise immigrants…

Penny Ur‏‎

Penny Ur is a renowned ELT‏‎ expert, author and teacher trainer. She was educated in the UK and earned her first MA at Oxford University. She then studied for her PGCE‏‎ at Cambridge University and later got her MA TEFL at Reading university. In 1967 she emigrated to Israel where she began teaching English at primary and secondary level. She was for a time head of the M.Ed program in foreign-language teaching at Oranim Academic College…

TOEFL – Test of English as a Foreign Language

The TOEFL (pronounce toy-full or toe-full) or Test of English as a Foreign Language is an American test designed to establish how well a person speaks English‏‎. It is often used by students wishing to attend American universities, etc. Since it was introduced in 1964 almost 20 million students have taken the exam.
It is the American equivalent of the IELTS‏‎ exam which are more popular amongst students wanting to go…

Spelling in English Writing

Spelling is the order in which letters are put to make up words. Many languages have phonetic spelling, in other words, each letter represents a certain sound, however in English this is not the case. An English letter can have many different sounds. For example, the letter c can be pronounced: /k/ as in cat /s/ as in nice The spelling of an English word depends very much on its linguistic…

Simple Speaking Activities (book)‏‎

Author: Jill Hadfield; Charles Hadfield Publisher: Oxford University Press Details: Paperback; 80 pages; Pub. 1999 ISBN: 0194421694   This book contains 30 activities at elementary level, complete with ideas for boardwork and pictures teachers can copy. All the activities are simple and adaptable. They are particularly well-suited to teachers who teach privately and have few resources apart from a board, paper, and pens. This book is part of the…

Teaching English in the Netherlands

The Dutch economy is very internationally focused, being based largely on foreign trade. A large number of international and international companies are based in the Netherlands (or Holland as it is sometimes called) and English as well as Dutch is widely used in business. In fact, since English is the working language of many commercial organizations, it is often more important to be able to speak fluent English than to speak…

Plays in the TEFL Classroom

If you have the right class, using a play in the classroom is a great way to build enthusiasm for English as well as practice English amongst the students. Along with this there’s a great feeling of satisfaction for the students in creating and putting on their own production, which your school may also present to parents and other classes as well.

Fame beckons!
Scope and…

Full Immersion in TEFL

Full Immersion or Total Immersion is throwing your students in at the deep end: a strategy for teaching English to students.

Essentially the students are given input in English only which means that the teacher does not speak any other language other than English. It is a very effective method of teaching but can take some time before the students are confident enough to produce (i.e. speak/write)…

English Grammar In Use (book)

Author: Raymond Murphy Publisher: Cambridge University Press Details: paperback, 390 pages; 3rd Edition 2004 ISBN: 0521537622 English Grammar in Use (3rd Edition) is a fully updated version of the classic grammar title. It retains all the key features of clarity and accessibility that have made Murphy’s book so popular with students and teachers. This new edition is designed to be flexible. The book is available both with and without…

Writing‏‎ in TEFL

Writing is often the last of the four major language skills‏‎ to be learned after listening‏‎, speaking‏‎ and reading‏‎. Subject Matter The first question to ask is what kind of writing will your students be doing? Like all language learning, practice needs to be relevant to the students. This means the writing must be both interesting and useful to them. Only you as a teacher will be the judge of this…

Who-What-Where-When-Why-How‏‎

Who-What-Where-When-Why-How is a TEFL game based on the popular boardgame, Cluedo. The game is ideal for practising speaking and listening. It is particularly good for formulating and practising questions and, above all, it can be adapted very easily for different themes and cultures making it very flexible and suitable for different classes. For the purposes of this article, the original Cluedo game will be used as a basis for the…

IPA Decode!‏‎

IPA Decode is a great game to play with the class which helps them understand and use the IPA or International Phonetic Alphabet.

It can be used with a reasonably proficient class who are familiar with the IPA already and who would benefit from a little more practice.
Preparation
Firstly take a text of an appropriate level to the class and transcribe it into the IPA.

If this sounds…

South Korea‏‎ – EPIK English Teaching Program

EPIK (English Program in Korea) is a government sponsored program designed to bring English teachers to work in South Korea. It places over 1,000 teachers in Korea each year.

The program was established in 1995 with the aim of improving standards amongst students and to further cultural exchange.

The program places teachers in March and September in various locations throughout the country. Some locations are more…

Act an Adverb‏‎ – adverb activity

Act an Adverb is a simple game which you can play with different levels‏‎ and ages of class. It is based around the meaning and use of different adverbs‏‎.
Preparation
Prepare a set of flashcards‏‎, each of which has an adverb on it, e.g.

happily
quietly
sadly
carefully
crazily

(You can also do this without flashcards by asking students to call…

Question Marks in English Punctuation

A Question Mark or ? is a punctuation‏‎ mark used at the end of a sentence‏‎ to show that it is a question. It is, if you like, the written equivalent of a rising intonation‏‎ which, in most languages, shows we are asking for information of someone. When do we use Question Marks? We use the question mark to ask for information: Where are you from? What time is it?…

Exclamation Marks!

An Exclamation Mark or ! is a punctuation‏‎ symbol used at the end of a sentence‏‎ to denote strong feeling: surprise, anger, exuberance: I love you! Get out! I won! It is sometimes known as a bang, a screamer, a shriek, a slammer, a startler, or a pling. Some theories suggest the exclamation mark is a stylized form of the Latin word, io meaning joy. In Medieval times writers…

Period / Full Stop

A Period (AmE) or Full Stop (BrE) is a punctuation‏‎ mark placed at the end of a sentence‏‎. The symbol itself comes from Aristophanes of Byzantium who invented the system of punctuation where the height of placement of a dot on the line determined its meaning. A dot at the top indicated the end of a thought; a dot in the middle indicated the end of part of a complete…

Teaching English in Hong Kong

TEFL in Hong Kong Hong Kong is a thriving metropolis and officially part of China. It was ruled for many years by the British and this, combined with its status as a major port, makes English an important language there. The opportunities for TEFL teachers are great and many expats live and work there, often combining teaching English with other activities. Qualifications for Hong Kong Unlike many other countries in…

Aspect‏‎ in English Grammar

Aspect describes how a speaker feels about the action they are describing. In English there are generally accepted to be 3 aspects and they change how the verb‏‎ is formed: simple (aka indefinite) continuous (aka progressive) perfect A Simple Example To take an example. Suppose someone says: I drive to central London every day. She worked there for 20 years. This is in the simple aspect; this means the speaker…

Second Conditional‏‎s in English Grammar

Very simply put, the Second Conditional is used to talk about possible, but unlikely, situations and wondering what would happen.

The little girl in the picture might think…
If I had a bike, I would go out and play with my friends.
But she doesn’t have a bike so she can’t right now.

And the little girl’s mother might think…
If Daniel Craig came and knocked…

How to Teach English (book)‏‎

Author: Jeremy Harmer Publisher: Pearson ESL Details: Paperback; 288 pages; 2nd Ed.; Pub. 2007 ISBN: 1405853093 This book, complete with DVD, has hints and tips to help with facing the hurdles of being a trainee. From difficult lessons (and students) to actual class prep work, from general issues about teaching & learning English to specific problems that English teachers frequently encounter, this books covers a wide range of issues…

Non Threatening Debates in TEFL

Non-Threatening Debates are ideal TEFL debates which can be held in class and then voted on.

The idea is simple. If you get your class to debate a hot topic (e.g. anything political or religious) then students can get very emotional and carried away. Because they are often emotionally involved in the subject they can struggle to find the right language because they are wrapped up in…

Learner English‏‎ (book)

Author: Michael Swan; Bernard Smith Publisher: Cambridge University Press Details: paperback; 378 pages; 2 Edition, 2001 ISBN: 0521779391 With a subtitle that says it all: A Teacher’s Guide to Interference and other Problems, this practical guide compares the relevant features of a student’s own language with English, helping teachers to predict and understand the problems their students have. The book focuses on major problems of pronunciation, grammar, vocabulary and…

Cambridge Assessment‏‎ – UCLES

Cambridge Assessment is the brand name of UCLES or the University of Cambridge Local Examinations Syndicate which is a non-teaching department of Cambridge University.

Cambridge Assessment is responsible for setting and grading a number of international English examinations. UCLES started in 1858 with their Proficiency in English examination introduced in 1913.

Cambridge ESOL (English for Speakers of Other Languages) is part of Cambridge Assessment and runs…

Teaching English in Hungary‏‎

TEFL/TESOL in Hungary English language schools in Hungary usually require applicants to hold a TEFL certificate such as the ICAL TEFL Certificate and have at least one year’s teaching experience. However less qualified native English speakers can still find work, albeit for a lower pay. As a member of the European Union‏‎ it can be difficult for non-British/Irish teachers to find work teaching here. See Teaching in the EU for more…

Simple Listening Activities (book)‏‎

Author: Jill Hadfield; Charles Hadfield Publisher: Oxford University Press Details: Paperback; 80 pages; Pub. 1999 ISBN: 0194421686 This book contains 30 activities at elementary level, complete with ideas for boardwork and pictures teachers can copy. All the activities are simple and adaptable. They are particularly well-suited to teachers who teach privately and have few resources apart from a board, paper, and pens. Each activity has 3 main stages: warm-…

Teaching English in Egypt

TEFL/TESOL in Egypt Egypt is situated in North Africa. It has a population of 83 million and much of its income derives from tourism where English‏‎ is required. Finding Work Demand for English teachers is high in Egypt but finding a teaching job for a foreigner is no longer easy given that many positions are now filled by Egyptian graduates who are fluent in both English and Arabic‏‎. The basic qualifications…

Socializing in a New Country for TEFL Teachers

Moving to a new country or location can often be a daunting experience for people. Not only are you likely to be starting a new job, you’ll probably be surrounded by a completely new culture and with people speaking a completely new language to you.

It’s easy to suffer from culture shock‏‎. However, one of the ways to dive straight in and begin enjoying yourself is to…

Hangman – vocabulary activity

Hangman is a traditional, simple game which is useful as a five minute filler for practicing vocabulary‏‎. Variations of the game and played in many different countries so one advantage is that some students will already know the game in their own language (see below).
Playing the Game
Choose a word that the students need to practice. It should be the right level for the class. The…

Italian vs English

Italian (= italiano or lingua italiana) is a Romance language spoken by about 60 million people in Italy‏‎, and by another 10 million Italian descendants in the world, particularly in Argentina‏‎, Uruguay, southern Brazil‏‎ and Venezuela where they form a very strong physical and cultural presence.

Italian is also the official language of the small state of San Marino and the Swiss cantons of Grigioni and Ticino. It is…

Teaching Irregular Adverbs‏‎

When teaching beginners you should always work on the principle that any detailed grammar explanation will be too complicated for them. In TEFL it is always wise to keep things as simple as possible. This means that when you need to explain a new grammar item like irregular adverbs, for example, start from what your students already know. Start by putting on the whiteboard‏‎ a couple of examples of regular…

Mother Tongue (MT) Influence

MT Influence or Mother Tongue Influence is when the grammar‏‎ or vocabulary‏‎ of a student’s Mother Tongue‏‎ influence the way in which they use their Target Language‏‎ or TL.

For example, in Greek‏‎ (and a number of other languages) people say open or close a light instead of turn on and turn off. Thus a Greek learner may well say:
* I closed the light and went to sleep.
*…

Techniques and Principles in Language Teaching (book)‏‎

Author: Diane Larson-Freeman Publisher: Oxford University Press Details: Paperback; 208 pages; 2nd Edition; Pub. 2000 ISBN: 0194355748 This book provides a practical overview of the most important teaching methods in the ESL field. The book devotes a chapter to each technique, from Grammar/Translation to ALM to Communicative Language Learning. It is clearly written and the methods are presented in a format that facilitates pre-service and in-service teachers’ understanding of…

Business English‏‎

Business English is English as it is used in the business workplace.

Business English focuses on business phrases and typical workplace vocabulary in the context of language functions such as: negotiations, telephone conversations, interviews, presentations, meetings, conflict resolution, etc.
Teaching Business English
The main difference between teaching General English‏‎ and Business English is contexts. In a Business English course the language is often taught and practised by recreating…

Subject-Verb Agreement‏‎ in English Grammar

Subject-Verb Agreement means that a singular subject takes a singular verb‏‎ and a plural subject takes a plural verb.

For example:
My brother is in town.
My brothers are in town.
In the first example the subject is singular: my brother. This makes the verb singular: is.

In the second example the subject is plural: my brothers. This makes the verb plural: are.
Subject
The first step is to identify…

TESL‏‎ – Teaching English as a Second Language

TESL stands for Teaching English as a Second Language. It’s pronounced TESL to rhyme with WRESTLE.

Simply put, this means teaching English to people who are not native English speakers but who live in a country where English is the main language. For example, teaching English to Chinese speaking immigrants in Canada.

It used to be quite a common acronym in the US and Asia. However…

Teaching English in Australia

Language schools in Australia have traditionally taught students from China, South Korea, Japan and other Pacific Rim countries who visit Australia for a few weeks or more to learn English and see the country.

In the early 2000s the slowdown in the Asian economy meant a reduction in the number of students visiting Australia. By 2010 figures showed a decrease of over 20% in the number of students…

Pidgin & Creole

These 2 terms are related and often overlap. They’re used to talk about different methods used to communicate.

Simply put:

Pidgin is a simplified form of language used by two different groups to communicate.
Creole is a pidgin which has formed into a full language (and is learnt as a mother-tongue by children)

Pidgin
A Pidgin is a simplified form of language that…

Cambridge Advanced Learner’s Dictionary (book)‏‎

Publisher: Cambridge University Press Details: Paperback; 1562 pages; Pub. 2003 ISBN: 0521531063 The Cambridge Advanced Learner’s Dictionary doesn’t just help you find words quickly and understand them easily. It gives the vital support which advanced students need, especially with the essential skills: reading, writing, listening and speaking. Ideal for FCE, CAE, CPE, BEC and IELTS preparation. Key Features In the book 170,000 words, phrases and examples New words: all…

Teaching English in the USA

The TESOL job market in the USA is organized differently from what most teachers are used to abroad. Unlike most countries where TESOL jobs can be found in private language schools of all sizes shapes and forms, TESOL opportunities in the US are mainly found in Community Colleges and Universities.

However, though not as big in number as, say, in South Korea, private English language schools do exist…

Simple Writing Activities (book)‏‎

Author: Jill Hadfield; Charles Hadfield Publisher: Oxford University Press Details: Paperback; 72 pages; Pub. 2001 ISBN: 0194421708 This book contains 30 activities at elementary level, complete with ideas for boardwork and pictures teachers can copy. All the activities are simple and adaptable. They are particularly well-suited to teachers who teach privately and have few resources apart from a board, paper, and pens. This book is part of the Oxford…

Syllables in English Pronunciation

A Syllable is a unit of spoken language which typically consists of a vowel‏‎, optionally with a consonant before and/or after it. The number of letters in a syllable is not important as it is the sound of the syllable which matters.

One way to think of syllables is as beats of a song. For example, here’s a line from Happy Birthday:
Happy Birthday dear Annabel
And here it…

My Grandmother Went to Market – vocabulary activity

My Grandmother went to Market is a quick and simple traditional game which can be used in the TEFL classroom to practice various semantic fields. It is useful at the end of the class for a five minute filler to practice vocabulary learned earlier.

Once the class are familiar with it you can extend it and vary the gameplay to make it more complex and more engaging…

Graded Readers‏‎ in English Language Teaching

Graded Readers are books which have been simplified, adapted, or written for a specific learner level of English. They can be fact or fiction, new works or older classics. They are ideal for the TEFL classroom as they allow students to read exciting, interesting stories in English which will not only help them with their language, but also let them enjoy some great storytelling. Different Levels This quote is from the Sherlock…

How to Teach Someone English (as a Foreign Language)

Many people think that teaching English‏‎ is simple. There is a common misconception that if you can speak the language, you can teach it but the simple fact is that this couldn’t be further from the truth. Teaching someone English is challenging for lots of reasons.

It’s a bit like saying because I eat regularly I’m going to open a Michelin starred restaurant. It’s not as easy as…

Teaching English in Ireland

Ireland is a beautiful country with a healthy tourist industry attracting thousands of foreigners every year. People visit Ireland not only for its natural beauties and historical heritage but also to learn English where English is spoken.

NB for simplicity, we are talking about both Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland as “Ireland”.
Where to Teach
The majority of English language schools are in the capital…

Corpus (pl Corpora) and TEFL

A Corpus (plural Corpora) is a large collection of written texts which are used in computational linguistics for analysis of the way language is used. They are most often analyzed using a concordancer‏‎.
Types of Corpora
A corpus can be one or more of the following:

monolingual
multilingual
general texts
texts on a specific subject or genre e.g. scientific papers, Shakespeare plays only…

Non-Native Speakers as TEFL Teachers

Can a non-native speaker get work as a TEFL or TESOL teacher?

This usually depends where. If you have the right qualifications then you can pick up work in your home country quite easily. Schools will often employ several local NNS (non-native speakers or those whose Mother Tongue‏‎ isn’t English‏‎) for each NS (native speaker) they employ.

Getting work outside your home country is a little more difficult. If…

Teaching English in Mongolia

Mongolia is a former communist country that lies between Russia‏‎ and China.

This article looks at opportunities for TEFL teachers there.

It famous for Genghis Khan and its nomadic culture but Mongolia is also a modern country, developing fast.

The country’s population is somewhere between 2 and 3 million, with at least half living in the capital, Ulaanbaatar. A sizable proportion still live a traditional nomadic…

Teaching English in the Ukraine

Demand for English teachers in Eastern Europe is growing, and the Ukraine is no exception.

Though the Ukraine has not been given any immediate prospect of European Union membership, the possibility of being granted market economy status has boosted its need to communicate with the rest of the world, and as we know, that level of communication calls for a good command of the English language.

With…

Using Realia in TEFL Teaching

The word real on which this word is built gives a big clue to what realia is.

In foreign language instruction realia are real-life objects used in the classroom to illustrate and teach vocabulary‏‎ or to help students learn and produce. Realia can consist of almost anything including both objects from a country where the target language‏‎ is spoken as well as objects from the teacher’s home country…

Hands Down – Choosing a Student at Random

Here’s a quick teaching tip for the class which can be incredibly important. It’s surprisingly simple and surprisingly effective.

In fact, it can change the way you teach and the results you get. It’s all about how you choose a student at random to speak and making sure everyone in class is involved.

The result is leveling class participation, narrowing the gap between the good and poor students…

Twenty Questions – speaking & listening activity

Twenty Questions is a simple game which can be played in class with minimal preparation. It is ideal for practicing both vocabulary (notably semantic fields) as well as making questions.
Preparation
Collect a group of pictures or photographs with different objects on them. (You can laminate these to make them longer lasting of course.)

The objects you choose should be of the right level and subject…

Grammarians

In a general sense, a grammarian is a linguist‏‎. One who studies language, in other words.

However often grammarian is used in a slightly more restricted sense for a person who writes grammar‎ books and looks only at the way language is put together.

In the past, grammarians would merely document the way language worked as they perceived it. This gave grammar books a very idiosyncratic or subjective…

Market Traders – business English

Market Traders is a useful game to help practice: semantic fields counting negotiating skills Once you have prepared the game, it can be adapted for a great number of classroom situations, levels and vocabulary areas. As you will see, it can also be adapted for Business English‏‎ and used to practice negotiation amongst business learners. Overview Essentially students are divided into two groups: buyers and sellers. Each seller is given a…

Verbs of Perception in English Grammar

Verbs of Perception refer to those verbs‏‎ which are used to talk about sensing:

see/look/watch/notice/observe
hear/listen to
taste
smell
touch/feel
sense in general

These verbs can be used in different ways and have certain grammatical conditions attached to them.
Continuous (Progressive) Forms

Used in continuous forms (aka progressive forms), these verbs indicate the subject is focusing on a particular…

Antonyms or Opposites in English

An Antonym or Opposite is a word which – generally speaking – has the opposite meaning to another word. For example, the following are antonyms:
big ↔ small
fat ↔ thin
tall ↔ short
old ↔ young
male ↔ female
Some words will have more than one antonym depending on context. For example
big ↔ small, tiny, miniature
And the antonym of antonym? That’s synonym which describes a word having the same meaning…

Hard then Soft in the TEFL Classroom

Hard then Soft is a general technique in classroom management which allows your classes to be productive and useful. Using this technique you do not end up with a classroom out of control and students being noisy and disrespecting their teacher.

It is based on the “first impressions” idea and it is highly effective. Quite simply, it works extremely well and cannot be faulted.

It is ideal for…

Exam Nerves‏‎

This is an article about Exam Nerves. You can print this out and use it with your class when they’re coming close to take an exam. Give a copy to each student so they can read it through at their leisure and prepare themselves.
What are Exam Nerves?
Some student get very nervous before they take an exam. They feel worried, they have butterflies in their stomach…

Slang in TEFL

Slang is the use of informal words‏‎ and expressions to describe something or someone. Slang is vocabulary‏‎ that is meant to be interpreted quickly but not necessarily literally.

Slang changes fast; here are examples of current 2015 slang which, could well be out of date by the time you read this!
You’re mine forever, bae.
Don’t be so basic with your wardrobe.
He keeps on asking me…

Teaching English in Azerbaijan‏‎

TEFL/TESOL in Azerbaijan
Since independence from Russia, Azerbaijan has been keen to assert its own identity and anxious to learn English‏‎ to engage with the West. In addition, the recent oil boom means that the country has moved a long way in a short space of time. Which is not necessarily a good thing.
TEFL  Requirements & Conditions
The usual teaching qualifications are a degree and a good TEFL Certificate such as the ICAL TEFL Certificate.

The education…

Teaching English in Cyprus‏‎

TEFL/TESOL in Cyprus Working as an English teacher in Cyprus means holding a degree and a TESL/TEFL Certificate, which is a pretty standard set of qualifications for the industry, but then experience is also required in most places. Teaching children in Cyprus is big business as parents want to get their little ones ready for state school – they start leaning English in public schools when they are around 9…

Job Interviews‏‎ for TEFL Teachers

TEFL Job Interviews are part and parcel of getting a job as a teacher. This article looks at ways in which you can prepare yourself for them.

Although there are no hard and fast rules on how the interview will happen and the structure, there are some good general principles which will cover you for 90% of the questions you’ll be asked.

Preparation is the key…

Sensitive Subjects in TEFL

Some things are better left unsaid.

There are certain subjects which should – in general – be avoided in your English teaching classroom, especially when you are working abroad and are (effectively) a guest in a foreign country.

These subjects include:

Sex
Religion
Politics
Taboo Words‏‎

The simplest rule is not to teach any of the above subjects. Avoid them…

Reading Skills in TEFL

Reading is one of the four main language skills‏‎ along with writing‏‎, listening‏‎ and speaking‏‎.

There are various considerations when you use a text in class. There is the matter firstly of choosing the right text and then of how you present it to the class. Finally, what happens when the class get the text – in other words, what they do with it. This article is…

Teaching English in Turkey

Although jobs in State schools in Turkey are possible, most are in the thriving private schools which also usually pay better. With demand outstripping supply, jobs are fairly easy to come by and the private lesson market is booming (although some schools don’t allow this in the contract).

To help cover this growing demand, in 2011 it was announced that Turkey would recruit some 40,000 native English…

Teaching English in Ecuador‏‎

TEFL/TESOL in Ecuador The best English schools in Ecuador (often in the captial, Quito)require their teachers to have a TEFL Certificate such as the ICAL TEFL Certificate Course. Understandably, Ecuadorians want to make sure the person they will be paying for their English lessons has some relevant training. If you have a TEFL/TESL Certificate and/or relevant teaching experience, most schools will employ you even without a degree. It is also possible to…

Relative Clauses‏‎ in English Grammar

A Relative Clause (or Adjectival Clause as it’s sometimes known) gives information about a noun and at the same time, works like an adjective. Take a look a this sentence: For the party we bought several bottles of very cheap spirits. The noun spirits has been modified by an adjective. Alternatively, we could use a complete clause: For the party we bought several bottles of spirits which were very cheap…

Varieties of English Vocabulary‏‎

This page shows major differences in vocabulary between different varieties of English‏‎.  The vocabulary differences here are mainly between American English‏‎ (AmE) and British English (BrE), the two most prevalent varieties of English‏‎. However, bear in mind that there is a great deal of overlap between the two (often due to cultural influence) and the differences are not as clear-cut as might be imagined. Note that in the lists below…

Group Work & Pair Work in TEFL

 

Groups or Pairs – small groups or pairs of students working together is a highly effective and essential strategy for teaching. The opportunity to use groups in your class should never be passed up and almost any activity can be adapted so that it can be carried out by small groups or pairs rather than the class as a whole.

Many papers have been written…

Teaching English in the Czech Republic‏‎

TEFL/TESOL in the Czech Republic The Czech Republic has a rich and varied history. Once known as Bohemia it formed around the city of Prague and following the First World War became the core of Czechoslovakia. After the Second World War it became communist, later being invaded and controlled by the Warsaw Pact countries. In 1993 Czechoslovakia peacefully dissolved into the Czech Republic and Slovakia‏‎. (The Czech government is currently…

Teaching English with Volunteer Organizations‏‎

Volunteering to teach English overseas is big business and there are lots of organizations involved in placing teachers around the world. And lots of organizations are getting rich doing this.

However, there are also lots of problems. If you’re thinking of volunteering to teach overseas then you need to make sure you go with a reliable and worthwhile Volunteer Organization.

This page looks at the only…

Arabic vs English

Arabic is spoken in various forms by more than 250 million people as a mother tongue‏‎ throughout the Middle East, North Africa and beyond.

Because there are strong regional variations in Arabic, the notes below will not necessarily apply to all Arabic speakers.
Pronunciation
/p/ and /b/
Because in spoken Arabic /p/ does not exist, many Arabic speakers have difficulty hearing the difference between and pronouncing…

Approaches and Methods in Language Teaching (book)‏‎

Author: Jack C. Richards ; Theodore S. Rodgers Publisher: Cambridge University Press Details: Paperback; 278 pages; 2nd Ed, Pub.2001 ISBN: 0521008433 This book offers an invaluable overview of the principal approaches to language teaching over the past century, such as, Grammar Translation, Audiolingualism, Communicative Language Teaching, and the Natural Approach. Each approach and method is examined in terms of its theory of language and language learning, goals, syllabus, teaching activities…

Kim’s Game – tefl activity

Kim’s Game is a simple (and classic) game which can be played to help memorize a group of objects. As such it’s a good game to help students learn vocabulary‏‎, especially objects within a certain semantic field.

Note that in general this works better with concrete nouns‏‎.
Preparation
First off, collect together a group of items in the same semantic field, for example kitchen utensils, office…

CAE‏‎ – Certificate in Advanced English.

CAE stands for the Certificate in Advanced English. As the name suggests it is an exam for advanced users of English. It is generally aimed towards people who can use written and spoken English for most professional and social purposes and it sits roughly between the First Certificate in English‏‎ and the Certificate of Proficiency offered by Cambridge Assessment‏‎ – UCLES. Level of English for CAE CAE is at Level C1…

Listening‏‎ Skills in Teaching English

Listening is one of the four main language skills‏‎ along with reading‏‎, writing‏‎ and speaking‏‎.

Whilst in reading and writing we talk about sentences‏‎, the spoken (or heard) equivalent is an utterance.
The Components of Listening
Listening is often confusing for an English learner. There are a number of reasons for this partly because of the various parts which go to make up listening:
Layers of Sound
Unlike reading…

ESP – English for Special Purposes‏‎

English for Special Purposes or ESP is subset of English for a specific purpose which is likely related to their work.

For example, a doctor who wishes to work in an English speaking country will need ESP biased towards medical English; a footballer from Italy‏‎ signed to an English club will need English related to that sport.

ESP courses tend to be very specific and tailored to…

Short Answers in English

Look at these simple questions:
Can you handle the truth?
Are you busy?
To answer them your students will often give just a Short Answer:

Are you rich?
No, I’m not!
Does he smoke?
Yes, he does.
Who killed the king?
He did.

Short Answers & TEFL
Sometimes your students will give a simple yes or no answer to questions like these.This is not wrong but can sound…

Complements in English Grammar

In grammar‏‎ a complement – not to be confused with a compliment! – is a way to provide more information about the subject or the object of a sentence‏‎.
He is gorgeous!
Did you like the present she gave you?
A complement completes an idea, whether this is expressed with a phrase‎, a clause or a word.

When the complement refers to the subject of a sentence we talk about…

Utterances in English

An Utterance is the spoken equivalent to a sentence‏‎.

As a sentence is bounded by a capital letter‎ and a period or full stop (or other punctuation‏‎) so an utterance is often (though not always) bounded by silence or a breath or pause.

Having said this, there is no precise definition of utterance that linguists use.

Written sentences tend to be well formed in terms…

Received Pronunciation‏‎

Received Pronunciation (RP) is a form of pronunciation used in British English.

RP, then, is simply a particular accent of English.

Although it has changed over the years, it can be heard listening to Queen Elizabeth, Brian Sewell and others (see the video below for an example of this); generally this means people of higher social class in the UK.
RP as an Accent
Most accents in the UK…

Video in the TEFL Classroom

This article is on how to use Videos in the Classroom (or of course, movies or films in the classroom). It describes the basic technique so that you – and your students – make the most of this valuable resource. (Note that this also applies to DVDs, online clips, etc).
Choosing the right Video
This is important. Obviously it must fulfill the usual criteria for material given to…

Video CV/Résumé

Some teachers are now creating video CV/Résumés. These are uploaded to sites like YouTube and the link sent to prospective employers along with their standard printed/emailed CV/Résumé‏‎.

A video CV/Résumé is not meant to be a substitute for the traditional résumé but it is an addition that will undoubtedly make you stand out and greatly increase your chances of being remembered by any potential employer.
Background…

First Certificate in English

The First Certificate in English or FCE is an examination in English from Cambridge Assessment which is internationally accepted.

The holder is generally thought of as being able to use English adequately in most everyday situations: exchanging basic information, asking and answering questions and suchlike. It allows the user in general to:

understand texts from a wide variety of sources
use English to make…

Warmers‏‎ or Lesson Starters

Warmers‏‎ or Lesson Starters are quick activities used at the beginning of a lesson to get students warmed-up and ready to learn. They are useful to help students relax and feel comfortable in the classroom; they help promote a fun learning environment and can be a good way to help new students familiarize themselves with one another. By allowing everyone to take part in a relaxed atmosphere warmers promote a…

Teaching English in Dubai

Dubai is part of the United Arab Emirates (the UAE), a federation of 7 small states or emirates in the The Middle East.

For more information on teaching conditions in Dubai and the UAE, please visit: Teaching English in the UAE‏‎.
Dubai Infographic
In the meantime, if you want to check out a few major differences between life in Dubai and the UK see the infographic here created by John…

Peer Correction‏‎ in English Language Teaching

Peer Correction is a method of correcting work where other students in the class correct mistakes rather than having the teacher correct everything. It is useful in that it means involving the whole class in the moment and it also allows the teacher to check what the rest of the class knows. If, for example, it becomes evident that no one in the class really knows where the problem lies then…

A Course in Language Teaching (book)‏‎

Author: Penny Ur Publisher: Cambridge University Press Details: paperback, 389 pages; pub 1996 ISBN: 0521449944 This is an excellent reference book for foreign language teachers, offering stimulating insights and practical suggestions for both classroom application and personal professional growth. Both novice and experienced teachers will find this book extremely helpful in enriching their professional knowledge as well as sharpening their teaching competence. One of those books that deserve a…

The Story Telling Stick‏‎

The Story Telling Stick is a simple activity which you can use in your TEFL class to develop a story and get the whole class talking and listening. It’s ideal for lower-intermediate level and upwards and can be used with both smaller and larger classes. Background Traditionally some Native American tribes (especially of the Northwest coast) would use a ceremonially decorated talking stick at council meetings. Whoever was holding the…

Passive Two Objects‏‎ in English Grammar

The most common sentence‏‎ structure in English‏‎ is SVO‏‎ or {subject} + {verb} + {object} Lucy + baked + a cake. As you can see, it has just one object. However, sometimes a sentence will have two objects which are known as the direct object and the indirect object: {subject} + {verb} + {indirect object} + {direct object} Lucy + gave + Gran + the cake. Or alternatively: {subject} + {verb} +…

Lessons in Your Rucksack (book)‏‎

Author: John Hughes Publisher: Modern English Publishing Ltd Details: paperback, 192 pages; pub 2005 ISBN: 1904549071 A resource book of tips, ideas, activities and ready-made lesson plans for your first year of Teaching English as a Foreign Language. The complete TEFL survival guide for: newly qualified teachers; gap year travellers; language assistants; summer school teachers; volunteer teachers; The book gives advice and ideas to help you tackle your first…

Movie Trailers in Class‏‎

This is a good idea; basically you use a movie trailer in your class to provoke discussion amongst your students.

The trailer you choose must be suitable for the level of the class but it can be exploited in many different ways.

For more on using videos in class – how to introduce and exploit them – see the main article, Video in the TEFL Classroom…

Language Acquisition and Language Learning‏‎

While need or motivation can be strong impulses in second language learning, they do not influence language acquisition. The question is do we as children acquire language for any other reason than that we are communicating (speaking) animals and language is as natural to us as breathing? I think part of the way we learn a second language is similar to the way we learnt our first language. How much?…

Question the News

Question the News is a simple but effective way of exploiting news stories in your TEFL class and giving your students plenty of practice in reading comprehension and speaking and also making questions. It’s very adaptable and can be used for many different kinds of classes and students. In this example below we’re running the activity for a Business English class but as long as you choose the right…

The Etymology‏‎ of English

Etymology is the study of the history of words‏‎. It tells us when words entered a language, where they came from and how they have changed over time. Basically etymology explains what our words used to mean and how they sounded in the past. As an example take a look at the word teach: teach – meaning to instruct. This is from the Middle English, techan which is from the…

Verb Moods‏‎ in English Grammar

Verb Moods (sometimes known as Grammatical Mood) are ways of looking at verbs‏‎ and classifying them which show the attitude of the speaker. Traditionally verbs have three moods: the indicative, the imperative, and the subjunctive. However, some grammarians will also include other moods such as the infinitive, the interrogative and the conditional. The Indicative Mood The indicative mood is used in most statements‏‎ and questions‏‎ to assert or show (i.e…

Mini Whiteboards in TEFL

Mini Whiteboards in class are a truly excellent way to achieve greater student participation and to allow the teacher to see immediately whether the class have understood the topic under discussion.

Using mini whiteboards can really make a major difference in your class and with a bit of effort it will achieve fantastic results! Trust us, we’ve tried it and we know!
Method
At the beginning of the…

Concordancers‏‎

A concordancer is a computer program which examines a large collection of texts and then retrieves examples matching a particular search string. This is known as KWIC or keyword in context.

They are particularly useful for working out patterns and examples of language usage and can be used very effectively in the classroom. To take a simple example, do we say that we fill out or fill in a…

Teaching English in Peru‏‎

Peru, situated between Chile and Ecuador‏‎ and bordering the South Pacific Ocean, is a developing country with a poverty level around 45% and widespread underemployment. However, there is a growing demand for English which bodes well for TEFL opportunities there. Its geography varies from the arid plains of the Pacific coast to the peaks of the Andes and the tropical forests of the Amazon Basin. Peru counts 29 million…

Teaching English in Mexico

Mexico is a beautiful country with some amazing cities. Its proximity to the USA‏‎ makes it a very popular destination for American teachers, many of whom work on tourist visas returning home periodically to have them renewed.
Qualifications
Along with a a degree employers will often ask for a TEFL Certificate such as the ICAL TEFL Certificate. A few employers will ask that the certificate be apostilled‏‎ although most will…

D’oh! And Another Mistake!

This is an interesting idea for a lesson which helps with checking reading comprehension. It also introduces some good listening practice.

After you have worked on a text with your class you will want to make sure they understand it. Quite simply you can read it back to them but making plenty of mistakes as you do so.

As you do this, your class listens carefully…

Adverbials‏‎ in English

Adverbials are adverbs, adverbial phrases or adverbial clauses which give us additional information about the time, place, or manner of the action described in the rest of the sentence. I had been reading my book quite happily on the sofa for half an hour, when my little brother burst into the lounge with his skates on. The most common position for adverbials is at the end of the sentence. If…

Teaching English in Chile

In Chile the Ministry of Education is on a mission – at least on paper – to promote the teaching of the English language at all school levels, and steps have been taken to develop curricula and programs that will allow all Chileans to learn English from an early age. Universities are also trying to follow the guidelines set by the Ministry of Education and have made English a…

Conjugation‏‎ in English

Conjugation refers to the different form of a verb‏‎ depending on how it is used and who uses it.

Unlike many other languages, English conjugation is fairly straightforward and presents few problems.
Regular Verbs
This is the conjugation of a regular English verb, walk.

infinitive
walk

present: I, you, we, they
walk

present: he she it
walks

past
walked…

Demonstrative Pronouns‏‎ in English Grammar

A demonstrative pronoun is a pronoun used in place of a noun to demonstrate (= show; indicate; point) where something or somebody is in reference to the speaker. There are four demonstrative pronouns in the English language: thisthesethatthose For example: Did you see this? My mum likes these better. What is that over there? She never reads those. A good way to think about demonstrative pronouns is to imagine pointing at the…

Intonation in English

Intonation is the system of rising and falling levels, as well as variations in pitch sequences, when we speak. People don’t talk in a monotone (unless they’re very boring) but instead there is rising and falling in what they say.

In other words, intonation is the melody of speech.

Intonation is about how we say things, rather than what we say. It helps us understand the…

Capital Letters in English

In English‏‎ every sentence starts with a Capital Letter (or Uppercase) and usually ends with a period or full stop.

For example these are all wrong:
* the film has finished.
* where is she?
* in 1492 Columbus sailed off into the sunset.
* an asterisk at the beginning of a sentence shows it is ungrammatical or wrong in some way

These should all begin…

Hot Potatoes‏‎ (CALL Software)

Hot Potatoes is a suite of 6 applications which allow a user to create interactive multiple-choice, short-answer, jumbled-sentence, crossword, matching/ordering and gap-fill exercises for the internet. The software has recently been made freeware. The suite consists of the following programs: JQuiz (question-based exercises) JCloze (gapfill exercises) JMatch (matching exercises) JMix (jumble exercises) JCross (crosswords) The Masher (buildling linked units of material There is also Quandary which creates Action Mazes…

EAP – English for Academic Purposes‏‎

English for Academic Purposes (or EAP) is usually concerned with teaching English‏‎ to students who are involved in higher education at an English speaking university or college.

EAP students are usually current higher education students or they are hoping to go on to higher education after their EAP course. They need to learn English in order to succeed in their academic careers. Most EAP students are over 18 and they…

Diphthongs in English

The word diphthong (also spelt dipthong) comes from the Greek‏‎ δίφθογγος meaning with two sounds, or with two tones. To see what we mean, try saying these words‏‎ out loud and concentrate on the sound of the vowels‏‎ and the shape of your mouth when you say them. loudnewbeerwidelate You’ll find that the vowel sound in each of these words changes considerably when you say the word. You’ll also notice that the…

DoS – Director of Studies

DoS is an acronym standing for Director of Studies.

The DoS is a member of staff in larger, more professional TEFL schools. They are responsible for administering the academic side of the school which will often mean dealing with teachers and the material used in teaching.

The duties of a DoS vary, but will often include:

managing teachers which will include the hiring &amp…

Teaching English in the United Kingdom

The United Kingdom or UK (comprising England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland) is the home of English and TEFL‏‎ schools abound here catering generally for small groups of foreign students in the country for a few weeks taking a short course. There are additionally some courses offering English to immigrants and private lessons can often be found in this area.

Often the schools are located in the more touristic areas…

Interjections in English Grammar

An Interjection is a word class‏‎ which generally has no grammatical connection with the rest of the utterances around it and is used to express emotion on the part of the speaker. When written, they often have an exclamation mark to close them.

The following are considered as interjections:
Pauses

er…
um…
uh…

Exclamations

Wow!
Yeah!
D’oh!…

ELT‏‎ – English Language Teaching

ELT is an acronym‏‎ standing for English Language Teaching, something of a catch-all term to describe teaching English to people who do not speak it as a native language. Of course there is not one “English Language” to be taught. What you teach will depend very much on the make-up of your students, for example what their level is and the reason they are studying English. The following classes are going…

Fundamentals of English Grammar (book)‏‎

Author: Betty Schrampfer Azar Publisher: Pearson ESL Details: paperback; 3rd Edition; Pub. 2007 ISBN: 0132353350 A very interactive English grammar book, featuring many useful charts on major and minor grammar topics. A book you can use either to learn or to teach. Ideal for non-native speakers of English from post beginner to intermediate level. Also available as Full Student Book with Answer Key.   External Links Fundamentals of English…

Inventions Who & When?! – passive voice activity

Inventions Who & When?‏‎! is a simple activity to help your students practice using the passive voice‏‎. It is very flexible and can be used with all ages and levels who are familiar with the passive voice.

There are a number of variations on the activity at the end of this article, plus it can be adapted and developed in many different ways to suit your class. This means…

Stage Fright – Overcoming Teaching Nerves

All performers – and teachers when they stand in front of a class are performers – feel stage fright when they begin.

However, experienced performers (including teachers) channel that fright into performing energy. Fight your fears and the rewards will soon outweigh the anxiety and you’ll begin to relax enough to find the pleasure in teaching.

On this page you’ll find a selection of ideas which…

Grammar Translation in TEFL

The Grammar-Translation method (or GTM) was the most popular teaching method for over 100 years and it continues to be used even today despite many years of criticism.

Essentially the GTM involves simply translating English‏‎ into the mother tongue‏‎ of the students. Grammatical rules and paradigms are learned by rote.

It is most often used when dealing with written texts and the listening‏‎ and speaking‏‎ aspects of language learning…

Teaching English in Afghanistan‏‎

TEFL/TESOL in Afghanistan Although English used to be shunned by the Taliban in Afghanistan, it is now the language of choice for a growing number of foreign language schools springing up in a climate of more tolerance in the country. In many schools English is taught from the fourth grade and Kabul University has a dedicated English department. It is recognized that in order to succeed internationally, English is necessary but…

Cleft Clauses‏‎ in English Grammar

A Cleft Sentence (cleft, past participle of cleave = split) is a sentence that has been split into two clauses – a main clause and a subordinate clause – in order to emphasize one part of it. This part is often referred to as the “focus”. It is her kindness that I will remember. – focus on “her kindness” The reason why I’ve come is to discuss my future with…

Second Language Acquisition‏‎ or SLA

The way in which someone learns a second language‏‎ is known as Second Language Acquisition or SLA.
Overview
SLA is often regarded as mimicking the way in which native speakers acquire their first language (or Mother Tongue‏‎ (MT)) and it is often felt that imitating this methodology in the classroom is the most useful way to help learners acquire a second language.

There are several main stages involved here…

Authentic TEFL Material

Authentic Material is material used in the TEFL‏‎ classroom which was originally created for native speakers of English.

The reason we use authentic material in class rather than material specifically written for learners is to provide more variety and authenticity to the lesson. It also allows you to tailor the content of the lesson more specifically to your class needs and interests.

For example, most ELT textbooks will cover general subjects…

Teaching English in Taiwan

Speaking good English‏‎ for many Asian people is an excellent plus when it comes to apply for work or placement in prestigious national universities and Western schools.

As a result, there is a multi-billion dollar ELT industry and a huge demand for English teachers throughout Asia.

Taiwan relies heavily on international trade to succeed as one of the world economic leaders, and with English being the international language…

Process Writing in English

Writing is not just a matter of putting pen to paper. It requires some thought and a certain level of language skills.

We talk about good writing when the written work – be it an essay or an email, a poem or a business letter – expresses a clear point, has substance, is tightly structured, is grammatically and syntactically correct, and last but not least, is interesting…

Checking TEFL Teaching Contracts

Teaching Contracts vary considerably; there is a different contract for pretty well every different job so it is impossible to make valid generalisations for contracts.

However, when looking at a contract there are some general guidelines you should consider and things you should check.

The contract should state your duties: teaching contact hours (actually in the classroom in front of students) as well as preparation…

Semicolons in English Punctuation

A semicolon sits half way between a period/full stop and a comma. It has little or nothing to do with a colon, however.

It is used instead of a period/full stop when we want to avoid too strong a break between phrases and instead of a comma when we need a stronger break.
Breaking Up Lists
If you have a list of items, normally they are separated…

Simon Says‏‎ in the TEFL Classroom

Simon Says is a very simple, very effective activity you can use in your TEFL class. It often works best with younger learners and has been adapted from the traditional English game.
How it Works
The game is simple. You, as teacher, give commands to your class using “Simon says” to introduce the commands. You say and the students follow:

Simon says stand up! – the students…

Bilingualism‏‎

It is often said that dreaming in a foreign language is proof of one’s complete mastery of that language. Dreams are the expression of our subconscious. If in our dreams we use a foreign language intelligibly then that can only mean that we have achieved the internalization of the foreign language to a subconscious level. In other words we have become bilingual! Being bilingual means living and breathing two languages…

Teaching English in Indonesia‏‎

Indonesia is a large and heavily populated country comprising some 17,508 islands with a population of 230 million people. It consists of many diverse ethnic, linguistic and religious groups (with a majority Muslim population).

Working there you’ll enjoy a typically tropical climate. The capital is Jakarta (pop 8.5 million) which is the cultural and administrative heart of the country whilst Bali is one of the major…

Teaching in the EU for Non-Europeans

This article is about restrictions and practices for teachers wanting to teach English in countries belonging to the European Union‏‎ (EU). The most common question on this is one of visas and whether non-EU citizens (Americans, Canadians, Australians, etc) can work in the EU. This is addressed below.
Qualifications
In general, the minimum requirements to teach in an EU country in terms of academic qualifications are a degree and a TEFL…

Comparison‏‎ in English Grammar

When we compare two or more items, we have different ways to do it, depending on the items we are comparing. We can change the form of the word or use a phrase. Comparatives and Superlatives To compare nouns, we can change the adjective describing them by using comparative and superlative adjectives: Enid is pretty though Aleka is prettier; Aleka is prettier than Enid. But Olga is the prettiest of…

Multilingualism

Multilingualism is the ability to speak more than one language.

In some definitions this means speaking a language as a native speaker or to native speaker standard, however some definitions are more flexible allowing multilingual to mean being able to communicate in more than one language (though not necessarily to native speaker standard).
Types

type
explanation

monolingual
speaking 1 language only…

Discipline in your TEFL Class

Unfortunately TEFL‏‎ is not just about teaching English, the issue of Discipline also arises and needs to be covered and dealt with effectively.

Whilst discipline in language schools is not normally as much of a problem as it is in regular state schools, as a teacher you will likely come across classes which offer challenges. These are mostly – but not always – teenagers.

This article looks…

Object Complement‏‎s in English Grammar

A typical English statement has this form: {subject} + {verb} + {object} Churchill + enjoyed + breakfast. We + considered + his answer. The object comes last. If we add a word or phrase to the object to add some more information or describe it further, then this is known as an Object Complement. Churchill enjoyed breakfast + in bed. We considered his answer + ridiculous. Mostly object complements are…

Teaching English in Argentina

Argentina is a huge, diverse country. In recent years it has had its fair share of political and economic problems and for many years was in a very poor financial state. There was some recovery but with the current global downturn Argentina is not thriving economically right now. However, this shouldn’t put you off going there as there are still jobs and life can be good there!…

Spelling Rules for Adding -ly

To form a regular adverb we simply add -ly to the corresponding adjective‏‎.
slow > slowly
woman > womanly
autonomous > autonomously
However in some cases adding -ly is not a straightforward matter and a few changes are required.
Spelling Rules

-ic

With adjectives ending in -ic you need to add al before you add -ly
problematic > problematically
scientific > scientifically
automatic &gt…

Syntax in English

Simply put, Syntax is the collection of rules which go together to form sentences and phrases in a language.

For example, the rules of syntax say that an English sentence can be formed thus:
{subject} + {verb} + {object}
Michael + rowed + the boat
The rules of syntax say this is not permissible, however:
{subject} + {object} + {verb}
* Michael + the boat + rowed…

ESL Backup Plan‏‎

Almost any teacher experiences sooner or later a time in their teaching career when due to lack of preparation, misjudgement of their students’ language ability, or simply laziness they ran out of material, activities and even ideas before the end of their lesson. Not a nice place to be! If you listen to their stories you’ll find that the common denominator is basically a poor or inexistent lesson plan‏‎. But…

Minimal Pairs and TEFL

Minimal Pairs are pairs of words‏‎ (and sometimes phrases‏‎) which differ in their sound by just one element.

They are an incredibly useful tool in the TEFL teachers’ bag and if you haven’t started yet, you should learn about them and use them!

Mostly minimal pairs are used as pronunciation practice where the meaning of the word is not really important at all – it’s the…

Internet Trivia‏‎ Activty for TEFL

Internet Trivia is an interesting and useful CALL‏‎ (Computer Assisted Language Learning) teaching activity which gives your students different kinds of practice in the different reading‏‎ skills found in TEFL‏‎: scanning skimming (reading for gist) reading for detail The idea behind this activity is for your students to firstly get practice scanning a text, that is quickly glancing over a text to see if it is useful to them. They then…

Target Language‏‎

The Target Language or TL is the language your students are learning. In this case, English. This needs to be contrasted with a student’s Mother Tongue‏‎ or MT which is the language they first learned as a child. The TL is of primary importance in the classroom and should be used as much as possible by both the teacher and the student. TL within a lesson In the context of a…

English – the language we teach!

English is the reason we’re here. This article is an overview of the language and explores a little of its history and statistics.

English (like all other languages) isn’t a pure language. It is basically a mixture, a hodgepodge of other languages which has developed and formed over time.

The basis of English was originally a West Germanic language related to Dutch and Frisian however over the years…

What to Wear in the TEFL Classroom

Business suits, smart casual, any old shirt …???

Teachers often wonder what they should wear when turning up for a new teaching job. Here are a few fashion tips we have put together based on the feedback we have received from teachers working around the world.
Dress Code for TEFL Teachers

Generally speaking, formal attire (such as suits) is not expected in private English schools. Smart…

Pay, Wages, & Salaries in TEFL

While for many of us TEFL is a vocation, we still need to live, but right at the start we need to get something out of the way: whether you call it Pay, Wages, Salary, Stipend or Cash, let’s be honest and say we’re not going to become millionaires by teaching English.

In other words, TEFL is not about money, it’s about a great career, living and…

Teaching English to Beginners‏‎

When you Teach English to Beginners you should work on the basic principle that everything should be given in short, simple, steps. Then everything should be totally relevant and interesting to your students. This is likely their first time learning English so you want to make it a positive, interesting, and useful experience. You don’t want to put them off for life! Oh, and before going on let’s bust a…

Direct Speech‏‎ in English

Saying or repeating exactly what someone has said is called Direct Speech (which is sometimes also called Quoted Speech). What a person says appears within quotation marks and is exactly what that person says: “Live long and prosper,” said Spock. In this example above, we are repeating exactly the words which Spock said earlier. You can contrast this with Indirect Speech‏‎ which is reporting what the person said at a later…

Practical English Usage (book)‏‎

Author: Michael Swan‏‎ Publisher: Oxford University Press‏‎ Details: hardcover; 688 pages; 3rd Edition 2005 ISBN: 019442099X A superb grammar for teaching English. This guide, trusted the world over, covers all main problem areas and is a must-have for any teacher. Highly recommended! External Links Practical English Usage (amazon.com) Practical English Usage (amazon.co.uk)…

Language Register in TEFL Teaching

In linguistics‏‎, the term Language Register is used to talk about the type of language a person might use in a certain social context, in other words, how formally they will speak.

For example:

A speaker might say I never done nuffin’ when talking to their friends, but when presented before the Queen that same speaker may well change the way they speak and say…

Teaching English in Qatar

TEFL/TESOL in Qatar Thanks to its large oil and gas fields – it possesses more than 15% of the world’s proven gas reserves – Qatar is one of the richest countries in the Gulf region. Qatar is an emirate with a small population largely made up of foreigners from South Asia and other Arab countries, who come to work in the local petrochemical industry. With this industry being heavily male oriented…

Teaching English in the United Arab Emirates

The UAE or United Arab Emirates is a federation 7 small states or emirates in the Middle East, namely Abu Dhabi, Dubai‏‎, Sharjah, Ajman, Umm al-Quwain, Ras al-Khaimah and Fujairah.

The UAE have a cosmopolitan population with many nationalities here for business and work, primarily in the oil industry. English is, obviously, extremely important as the UAE has many business concerns throughout the world.
Finding Work
Most…

Teaching English in Saudi Arabia

Saudi Arabia (or officially, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia) is often touted as one of the highest paying destinations for English teachers.

This article looks at what it’s like to teach there, how to get work, what you need and what the conditions and rewards are like.
Pay in Saudi for Teachers
Saudi is one of the few countries where teachers can make good money. There are jobs available…

What is a Subordinating Conjunction?

Let me start by saying that I think the name Subordinating Conjunction is wrong. It doesn’t really describe what they do. When we use one of these so-called subordinating conjunctions we’re not saying they make a phrase subordinate to another; we’re saying they make a phrase need another. A bit like a child; it’s not subordinate to the parent, it just needs the parent. I wonder if we should call…

Miming in Class‏‎

Miming in Class is a simple activity which can be used with almost any level to learn and practice vocabulary‏‎. Of course miming is acting out a story or word‏‎ with the body only and without using any language. This has advantages in the classroom (especially with beginners) because it does not require students to come up with possibly difficult language in order to express themselves. In other words, they…

Teaching English in Greece

Greece has traditionally been a popular destination for first time teachers. Although some years ago there were thousands of British and Irish teachers in the country (plus a few other nationalities) due to the recession and declining birthrate the number of teachers needed has slowly declined.

However, there are still jobs to be found. The pay is not fantastic, but it is an amazing country to live…

Teaching English in Poland‏‎

TEFL/TESOL in Poland Poland joined the European Union (EU) in May 2004 therefore if you are an European Union‏‎ national you can visit Poland as a tourist and stay up to 3 months on your (valid) EU Passport, without having to provide any other formal documentation. For stays over 3 months, and if you are there to work, you will need a temporary residence permit. This will entitle you to take…

Boring TEFL Lessons & Bored EFL Students

Famously there is an old adage, there is no such thing as a boring lesson, just a boring teacher.

It may be a little harsh, but all teachers will sooner or later come across a bored class. However, you have it within your power to change that.

There are many ways in which you can make the lesson interesting and get the students engaged and enthusiastic…

Correlative Conjunctions‏‎ in English Grammar

Of all the types of conjunctions, Correlative Conjunctions are perhaps the easiest to identify as they always come in pairs, they always come together and they link two separate but related items of equal value. Pretty much like socks do. Common Correlative Conjunctions These are the most common; as you can see the different options they joined ideas are equal in validity and importance. either…or I can either pick you…

Dictionaries‏‎

A Dictionary is an alphabetical list of words‏‎ with their meanings. Some dictionaries may also include the etymology‏‎ of the word, examples of usage, pronunciation (either using the International Phonetic Alphabet or some other system) and cultural notes. Dictionaries for learners will often include pictures as well. Dictionaries in the Classroom There are two main types of dictionaries found in TEFL‏‎: English-English and Bilingual. The former is in English only. It…

Modifiers‏‎ in English Grammar

Modifiers are pretty straightforward when you come to think of it. Essentially a modifier does just that: it modifies or changes or qualifies another word or phrase or clause. Suppose you have a noun: motorcycle You can then modify it: black motorcycle Harley Davidson motorcyle fast motorcycle So when we use the word modify we mean change in some way which includes qualifying it. Types of Modifiers In English, there…

Australian English‏‎

Australian English (AuE) is a variant of the English language, spoken mainly in the Australia. Australian English began to diverge from British English shortly after Australia was settled in the late 18th century. It is similar to New Zealand English and bears some resemblance to certain dialects of South East England. Generally speaking, Australian English spelling corresponds to British English spelling. AuE makes a great deal of use of diminutives…

Subject Questions‏‎ in English Grammar

Here’s a simple statement: Mary Anderson invented the windshield wiper in 1903. It follows the usual pattern of English statements of SVO‏‎: subject + verb + object Mary Anderson + invented + the windshield wiper. Often we ask questions‏‎ about the object of the statement. In this case we’d ask: Q: What did Mary Anderson invent?A: The windshield wiper. Q: When did Mary Anderson invent the windshield wiper?A: In 1903…

Question Tags in English Grammar

Question tags are used at the end of sentences when we want to check something, when we want someone to do something or when we want to show surprise. They are separated from the main question by a comma:
You’re English, aren’t you?
You’ve got five minutes to spare, haven’t you?
You’re not going to leave, are you?

Form & Construction
Making a question tag is fairly…

Communicative Language Teaching‏‎

Communicative Language Teaching (or CLT) is a popular approach to language teaching which emphasizes using language in the same way that it’s used in real life.

In other words, you put your students in language situations which are as close to real life as possible.
Origins of CLT

Before the spread of communicative teaching, teachers tended to use traditional grammar translation‏‎ or audio-lingual methods of teaching.

In other words…

Third Conditionals in English Grammar

The past is past and (sometimes unfortunately) it cannot be changed. All we can do is imagine how it might be different now if things had gone differently.

To do this, to describe unreal situations in the past, we use the Third Conditional.
If I had known the party was for your birthday, I would have got you a present.
But nobody told me this was a…

Teaching English in Germany

Germany is a beautiful and diverse country. It is clean and dynamic and life ranges from large industrial cities to some of the most unspoilt and gorgeous countryside in Europe. It is very regional, also, and traveling around you will find great variations not only in the landscape and cityscapes between regions but also the character and attitude of the locals.

As regards teaching English‏‎, generally speaking…

Subjunctive‏‎s in English Grammar

The Subjunctive is a verb mood‏‎ used in dependent clauses to express wishes, commands, emotion, possibility, judgement, necessity, or statements that are contrary to facts at present. Basically we use the subjunctive to talk about events that we want to happen, we hope will happen, or we imagine happening. If I Were vs If I Was One of the most common usages of the subjunctive is like this (taken from…

Total Physical Response in TEFL

Total Physical Response (TPR) is a teaching method based on the idea that a new language can be learned through actions and that movement can help students learn and understand. It was first developed by James J. Asher‏‎ over 30 years ago.

We all have preferences for the sensory system we rely on to process information. Some people prefer the visual system. Others prefer the auditory system. Others…

Intensifiers‏‎ in English Grammar

An intensifier is a word, usually an adverb‏‎, that has little meaning in itself but provides force, intensity or emphasis to another word, again usually an adverb. The basic and most common intensifier in English is very. He’s good; he’s very good. They’re late; they’re very late. Other intensifiers include: really extremely remarkably fantastically Direction An intensifier can be used not only to increase (↑) but also to decrease (↓)…

Prepositional Phrases‏‎ in English Grammar

Generally speaking, a Preposition tells you where something is or when something happened: at, in, on, by… As you might guess, a Prepositional Phrase simply means a preposition and what it is talking about known as the object: {preposition} + {object} by + the light of the silvery moon in + the nick of time different objects The object is most often a noun, pronoun or gerund: at (prep.) school…

Lingua Franca

Here’s a scenario for you: a ship sinks at sea and 10 survivors manage to struggle to a desert island. Each survivor comes from a different country and speaks a different language. And none of them speak any other language other than their own.

Ten years later a rescue boat finally arrives and they discover the survivors all speaking a strange language between them.

The survivors…

Teaching English in the European Union

The European Union or EU is a collection of European countries which have formed a social and economic union. This has had important consequences for teachers there.
Essentially citizens of any EU country have the right to live and work in any other EU country and they will receive preferential treatment when it comes to finding work. Notably the bureaucracy involved is much simpler than for non-EU citizens…

DOs and DON’Ts for TEFL Teachers

This is a common sense list of DOs and DON’Ts for Teachers. It is especially relevant to teachers working overseas.
DO

be punctual, consistent and fair
dress well – most countries put far more store in this than the UK and USA; conservative is good (see the links below for more on this)
be polite – you are a guest in the country…

Teaching English in France

France is without doubt a beautiful country; laid back and vibrant at the same time. It attracts many visitors from abroad, a lot of whom fall in love and decide to stay there forever and the country is home to expats of all nationalities.

Having said this there is sometimes an issue with anti-English attitudes; if you know French or at least can learn the basics before…

Exclamations‏‎ in English

We use Exclamations to express surprise, anger, joy and so on: What an idiot! Unbelievable! How fantastic! As you can see, in writing an exclamation is shown using an Exclamation Mark (or Exclamation Point) which is a vertical line over a dot. See Exclamation Mark for more on this. An exclamation then is often an interjection – something suddenly expressed to show emotion. Exclamation Phrases There are a few main…

Interrogative Pronouns‏‎ in English Grammar

A pronoun, as you all know, is a word which stands in place of another. John kicked the can.He kicked it. However, let’s suppose we wanted to find out the name of the person who kicked the can. We don’t know so we need to use a pronoun which could stand for anyone (or anything, etc). In other words, we need an Interrogative Pronoun. Who kicked the can?What did he…

Numbers‏‎ in English Grammar

Numbers are classified in grammar into two main groups: Cardinal and Ordinal. Numbers serve as adjectives‏‎ in that they modify the noun which follows, e.g. There are young people here. There are many people here. There are six people here. Note that in a sentence such as: There are thirty here. the number is still an adjective but the noun is assumed: There are thirty [people/biscuits/houses] here. Note that some…

Dangling Participles‏‎ in English Grammar

A present participle is a verb ending in -ing. Running down the street, I fell over and bruised myself. This sentence is made up of two clauses: The main clause: I fell over and bruised myself. The subordinate clause: Running down the street. In this case, the sentence makes sense and can be understood easily. However, in the following example the subject of the main clause – me – does not…

Understanding and Using English Grammar (book)‏‎

Author: Betty Schrampfer Azar Publisher: Pearson ESL Details: paperback; 475 pages; 3 Edition; Pub. 1998 ISBN: 013958661X This book is a comprehensive reference grammar/workbook for non-native speakers of English at intermediate to advanced level. The book is divided into chapters covering notorious grammar points, including: verb tenses, modals, passive voice, gerunds and infinitives, singular and plural, adjective clauses, noun clauses, connecting expressions, and conditional sentences. There are also appendices…

Teaching English in Costa Rica‏‎

A good level of English‏‎ is amongst the requirements of many employers in Costa Rica, consequently Costa Ricans attend English courses on regular basis to improve their chances of landing a good job. Needless to say this creates a demand for English teachers. English lessons are compulsory in primary schools and a priority elsewhere. Requirements & Conditions As for qualifications, a degree and a TEFL Certificate are the usual requirements and will…

I before E except after C

Does the rule, I before E except after C actually work? Here we are using a concordancer to check whether it’s true or not. The results may surprise you. This example demonstrates an approach to using a concordancer in investigating a particular aspect of language. NB The results were exported in text format and edited for clarity. The contexts here are very limited since they are not used in the…

Silent Period‏‎ and English Language Teaching

A Silent Period is a period of time during which English Language Learners avoid speaking in English. They may write in English, they may well understand what is being said in English, but they will shy away from saying anything in the language they are learning. This can be due to several factors including: feeling inadequate, inability to formulate certain sounds correctly, peer pressure, performance anxiety, bad teaching, cultural influences…

Teaching English in Russia‏‎

Russia, or more technically the Russian Federation, is the largest country in the world and spans 11 time zones. Its population is relatively small and unevenly distributed with the majority of the population in the European and Ural regions.

It is a popular destination for TEFL teachers and growing in popularity. Despite a cooling in relations between Russia and the west in recent years, English is still…

Quantifiers‏‎ in English Grammar

When we want to talk about HOW MUCH of something there is, we use a Quantifier.  Common quantifiers include: manymuch(a) few(a) littlelessfewermoresomeany Grammatically speaking, quantifiers are a sub-group of determiners‏‎ and we use them with nouns to describe the amount, extent or intensity of something. Have you any rice?There are some cookies in the jar.Have you got many Facebook friends? Quantifier or Adverbs of Degree? Do not confuse quantifiers with…

Words in English

A word is a unit of language that has a phonetic value‏‎ (i.e. a sound) and has a meaning. It can also be written down in which case it will have a certain spelling. They are – as you might well imagine – the building blocks in English language learning and teaching English. The collection of words in a language is known as the vocabulary and when collected together they…

The ESL Art Activity‏‎

The ESL Art Activity is a simple classroom game for practicing prepositions, vocabulary, and speaking at all different levels and for all different classes.

Essentially what you are doing is describing a picture to your class and having them reproduce it. The key here is choosing the right picture for the class.

Let’s assume your class is beginners who have learned colors and basic preposition use. For them…

Red Card Yellow Card

This is an interesting way to keep order in a classroom. Basically you find out from your Director of Studies what the usual punishment in the school is be it detention, lines, expulsion from the class, calling parents, etc.

Next, prepare a couple of cards: one yellow and one red.

Now, in the classroom use these like a football referee does. A yellow card is a warning and…

Apostrophes in English

The Apostrophe is a diacritic mark in punctuation‏‎.

It is used in 2 different ways in English‏‎:

to show possessive nouns
to show omitted letters

Possession
Generally we add an apostrophe s to the end of a noun to make it possessive:
the girl’s bike
Maggie’s farm
If there is a plural noun‎ which ends in an -s, then we add the…

Correcting Work in TEFL

The best way to correct a student’s written work is not necessarily the most obvious.

If you’ve been to a traditional school then you will have probably had your homework corrected in full by your teachers – all the mistakes pointed out and the corrections put in.

And this will likely result in a piece of paper full of red ink!

But this isn’t very productive for…

TEFL Introductions – Fun or Dull?

Arguably the most important part of the lesson is the very beginning. Here you can either capture your students or lose them.

What you need to do is make your introductions as interesting as possible so they hook your students attention and make them want to learn more.

Put it this way, which of these is more likely to get your class interested?

Walk…

Listening Comprehension in TEFL

Listening Comprehension is related to one of the four main language skills‏‎ areas in English language learning: listening‏‎, reading‏‎, writing‏‎ and speaking‏‎. Essentially it is the ability to listen and understand language.

The basic process for a beginner‏‎ when they listen to something is:

They listen to an utterance.
They translate what they hear into their mother tongue‏‎.
They understand what is said…

Teaching English in Cambodia

As with many South Asian countries where the economy is poor, well paid teaching opportunities in Cambodia don’t abound.

However, two classes almost at the opposite end of the social spectrum are driving the ELT market in Cambodia. The new affluent Khmers, who want to give their children more opportunities in life by educating them in English, and the less affluent Khmers who want to get better paid…

Age Limits for TEFL Teachers

This article looks at the age limits for TEFL or TESOL teachers around the world (Teachers of English as a Second or Foreign Language).

Unfortunately, as with almost any job, the older you get the more difficult it becomes to start a new career. However thanks to the nature of teaching where a degree of maturity, a certain level of responsibility, along with charisma and patience play…

Passive Verbs‏‎ in English

To make a verb passive, we use the verb be conjugated in the same tense used in the active voice‏‎ and change the main verb into the past participle. These are the main patterns used: Simple Tenses {be} + {Past Participle} active Eric kisses Amanda. passive Amanda is kissed by Eric. active Eric kissed Amanda. passive Amanda was kissed by Eric. Continuous Tenses‏‎ {be} + {being} + {past participle} active…

Subordinate Clauses‏‎ in English Grammar

A Subordinate Clause (aka Dependent Clause) is a clause that doesn’t make sense fully on its own and always needs an independent clause‏‎ to express a complete thought and make a complete sentence‏‎. These, for example, are subordinate clauses: * whenever I see her * rather than take the bus * even though she is very rich * an asterisk at the beginning denotes and ungrammatical sentence or sequence Standing…

Apposition‏‎ in English Grammar

Apposition is when you have 2 nouns (or noun phrases) next to each other and they both refer to the same thing. Each of them provides a bit of information about each other. For example, take these basic sentences: Clark Kent leaped into a phone booth.Clark Kent is an ace reporter.Clark Kent is Superman. We can put two noun phrases in apposition thus: Ace reporter Clark Kent + leaped into…

What is a Common Noun?

A simple definition of a noun is that it’s an object or concept; a thing. We can group nouns in various ways. One major group are Common Nouns. Simply put, a Common Noun is a noun which is used to talk about an object or concept. Here are a few examples: objects table, hill, water, atom, elephant events lesson, revolution feelings fear, hate, love time year, minute, millennium concepts…

How To Become a TEFL Teacher

Do you want to teach English abroad?

Quite simply, this this article will tell you how you can become a TEFL teacher abroad.
Speaking English
It’s going to sound obvious, but first, you must speak English‏‎ well. You don’t have to be a native speaker, but an extremely proficient command of English is a must.
Being Qualified
In the old days all you needed was to speak English but now it’s…

Conditional Clauses‏‎ in English Grammar

A conditional usually consists of 2 clauses known as the main clause and the conditional clause.

The conditional clause usually begins with words like if or unless:
{conditional clause}, + {main clause}
if you leave me now, + you will take away the biggest part of me
If my heart had windows, + you’d see a heart full of love just for you.
Alternatively the two clauses can be…

Declarative Sentences‏‎ in English

Declarative Sentences are sentences which convey information; in other words, they make a statement. They do not ask a question or give a command. Declarative sentences are perhaps the most common forms of sentences. Other forms are interrogative, imperative and exclamatory sentences. My name is Bond. You are standing on my foot. She has green eyes. Form {Subject} + {Predicate} I + went to bed. They + ate ice cream. Image…

The Grammar Wheel of Fortune‏‎

Traditional grammar classifies words based on eight parts of speech: verb, noun, pronoun, adjective, adverb, preposition, conjunction, and interjection. Each part of speech explains not what the word is, but how the word is used. In fact, the same word can be a noun in one sentence and a verb or adjective in the next. The “Grammar” Wheel of Fortune is a game to get students revise parts of speech…

Reflexive Pronouns‏‎ in English Grammar

A reflexive pronoun is a special kind of pronoun used to talk about the same person or thing that was mentioned in the subject: Alice looked at herself in the mirror. They enjoyed themselves at the beach. We use reflexive pronouns when the person who does something, and the person who has something done, are the same. Note the difference between: They looked at each other. They looked at themselves…

Teaching English in Brazil

The market for English teachers is growing in Brazil. In 2012 the British Council‏‎ began a major initiative to offer free materials and lessons to students wanting to take the IELTS‏‎ test. Undoubtedly they hope to raise enough awareness for the test to make money out of it in Brazil in the future. In the meantime English teachers are needed.

Meanwhile in 2013 Pearson ESL‏‎ invested over $700 million…

Dictation‏‎ in TEFL

Dictation is often frowned upon and considered old fashioned, boring and unproductive by some people. But, handled properly, it can be productive, fun and very useful in the EFL classroom. The trick is to use dictation in a way that is both stimulating and relevant. The Text Firstly, make sure the text you choose is: the right level for the class the right subject for the class Don’t give a…

Ideal English Teachers

What makes an Ideal TEFL/TESOL Teacher? What kind of person is the perfect person to teach English abroad? In some cultures being a good teacher means you are good at teaching and that is it. In other cultures being a good teacher means you are the right age, you are not gay, you never drink and you are of the right religious bent. This article looks at issues facing teachers…

Proper Nouns‏‎ in English Grammar

A Proper Noun is a special type of noun which refers to a person or place (and sometimes a title). Tom Cruise, Spain, Alexander the Great, Pluto… Proper nouns help identify a particular person, place, object or animal because they tell us their name. Compare these statements: I met a girl yesterday (very general information, which girl do we mean, it could be one of many) I met the girl…

Consonants‏‎ in English

The word consonant comes from the Latin word consonare meaning sound together. The English language contains 21 consonants (along with 5 vowels‏‎). The 21 consonants are: b, c, d, f, g, h, j, k, l, m, n, p, q, r, s, t, v, w, x, y, z In English, no words can be formed with consonants only. Commonly cited as exceptions are words like sky and fly; although listed within the…

IELTS – International English Language Testing System

IELTS stands for the International English Language Testing System and it is a test designed to assess how well a learner speaks English‏‎. In 2008 over 1.2 million people took the tests in 120 different countries. It is held regularly throughout the year, several times each month.

The test is jointly managed by Cambridge Assessment‏‎, the British Council‏‎ and IDP‏‎.

There are two versions of the IELTS exam: the…

Modals – Offers‏‎

To offer something, we can use various modal verbs. I will give you a hand with that case. Shall I give you a hand with that case? Can I give you a hand with that case. Will is very positive; a statement of intent more than an offer. When we use shall as let’s the person has a chance to refuse. Shall we go to the cinema? No, not tonight…

Looking at a TEFL Teaching Job Offer

There are plenty of good TEFL‏‎ or TESOL jobs out there for English teachers. But unfortunately there are also a few slightly questionable jobs. This article looks at what you should look for when applying for a job teaching English.
Look For
Online Comments
When applying for work, make sure you check out the school online. This means searching the net for any kind of comment you can…

Simple or Continuous Verb Form?‏‎

If you teach or learn English you’ll know that many students often have a problem deciding whether to use a Continuous Verb Form or a Simple Verb Form. For example, both of these are grammatically correct: I work here.I am working here. But learners can often choose the wrong one and you’ll hear things like: What are you doing?I read. Grammatically correct, but wrong in usage. As a good, general…

CALL‏‎ – Computer Assisted Language Learning

CALL or Computer Assisted Language Learning is using computers in the classroom to facilitate learning. In general, CALL is used as an adjunct to traditional teaching rather than a replacement (much like video has been used in the past). While in the past CALL was usually just about using a computer program in the classroom so that students could practice repetitive tasks like filling in blank spaces with the right…

Acronyms & Backronyms in English

An acronym is a word formed by using one or more letters of the words in a phrase‏‎. It’s used as an abbreviation of that phrase.

In everyday life there are many commonly used acronyms. Some are formed from the initials of each word whilst others use parts of the words in the phrase.

AIDS – Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome
Interpol – International Criminal…

Connectors‏‎ in English Grammar

Sentence Connectors are words used to link sentences together. There are several types of connectors. Each one of them is used to express a different relationship between ideas, like: Addition I was in a hurry and I forgot to take my umbrella. John is our chauffeur, additionally he works as gardener. We walked for miles also looking for a pub! Opposition or Contrast I love her but I can’t stand…

Collective Nouns‏‎ in English Grammar

A Collective Noun is a noun used to describe a group of objects (things, people, etc). For example, when we talk about collections of people we can use words like: a group of mena gang of teenagersa mob of riotersa squad of soldiers Each of the highlighted words is a collective noun. There are hundreds of collective nouns in English. Some common ones include: a fleet of shipsa bunch of…