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The ICAL TEFL Blog is an informal collection of articles written by ICAL TEFL staff on all aspects of TEFL and language in the widest possible sense.

We also welcome posts by guest bloggers; if you would like the opportunity to post here, please contact us with your proposal.

The views expressed here are the individual views of ICAL staff or guest bloggers and do not necessarily reflect the views of ICAL TEFL as a training provider.

If you would like to contribute to the blog or this site in general, please see this article: Guest Blogs – write for us.

Tips for Teaching Academic Writing to Non-Native Students

For years, foreign students have been coming to the United States to earn valuable degrees that can translate into a great job in their home country.  However, these students often experience difficulties adapting to the culture and struggle enormously learning even the basic tenets of academic writing. 
Students sometimes get so overwhelmed that they resort to buying their essays online from one of the dozens of sites that…

6 Tips to Make your ESL Classes More Effective

Teaching is undeniably a challenging job, in fact many consider it one of the most difficult careers you could choose. Nevertheless, being a teacher is an enriching experience. Through quality education and effective teaching methodologies, teachers play a crucial role in shaping a bright future for the entire world!

In the world of ESL, a major hindrance that keeps students from reaching their full potential is lack of interest…

How To Use Competition to Motivate Your TEFL Students

Today we have a guest contribution from Victoria Hughes. Victoria has been a TEFL teacher for 5 years and has lived in Poland, China and Turkey. She writes about job hunting, lesson planning and the joys and frustrations of teaching. 
Enter Victoria
I was watching the inspiring “Dead Poets Society” the other day, and I was struck by something the teacher, John Keating, says. “For me, sport is a chance for…

Keep the Classroom English

I’ve just been reading a very interesting article about language interference.

It recounts the story of a Chinese student in the US who, during a fluent English presentation, happened to glance over to her Chinese professor and accidentally used a simple Mandarin word instead of the corresponding English word.

Further studies showed that when we speak a language we have a lot of cultural baggage associated…

Make or Do a Presentation?

I was asked this question the other day by a learner of English; quite simply, do we MAKE or DO a presentation?

If you go online there are different stories, but as usual I went along to Google n-grams and checked out what they had to say.

It’s interesting. Prior to 1960 nobody really did anything with presentations. They didn’t often make, do, or give them. But soon…

The ICAL TEFL Grammar Guide

The ICAL TEFL Grammar Guide is a huge selection of articles which are all about English Grammar. They have been especially written for TEFL teachers and students and are presented in a user-friendly format.

The main areas are:

You can search any grammar item on the ICAL TEFL Grammar Guide by using the Search Box.

For a list of the most recently viewed grammar articles…

A First Time English Teacher in Italy

Welcome to Ally – a former ICAL student – writing this guest post. Ally began her  TEFL life after a career in banking; here she talks about her first experience teaching English which happened in a small town in northern Italy.

Living in Italy had been my dream for years, but I never wanted to go down the usual trodden paths – Tuscany, Umbria, Rome, Naples. Instead…

Top 3 Tips to Make the Most of your Online TEFL Course

We get thousands of students each year taking our online TEFL course and a lot of new trainees joining us don’t quite know what to expect so here are 3 simple tips to help you make the most of your training.
1. Use your Personal Tutor!
Our tutors are experienced, knowledgeable and have often taught in many different countries around the world. They know what they’re talking about!


How Many is a Billion?

Simple question: How many is a Billion?

Awkward Answer: It’s not always what you think it is.

First, if you are American, then a billion is one-thousand-million:
This is known as a short-scale billion.

However, many British people regard a billion as one-million-million:
Which is known as a long-scale billion.

This is despite the fact that “officially” in the UK since 1974…

English the Most Influential Language

A new study has mapped the global influence of different languages and as a surprise to absolutely no one, English comes out as the most important and influential language.

Russia, somewhat more surprisingly, comes in second with other languages following up well behind.

The data was collected by researchers at MIT and essentially looked at texts which had been translated from one language to another. They mapped the…

Where have You Taught English?

Anyone who has taught English abroad knows that TEFL is a fantastic way to travel and experience life in different countries.

I started teaching three weeks after I graduated from university. I got on a plane and headed off to Spain and the start of an incredible journey which has seen me working in Spain, Italy, Thailand, India, Tunisia, Mexico and the UK.

I’ve had classes of 40…

Making Questions with Do/Does/Did

This is all about Making Questions with DO or DOES or DID:
Do you like coffee?Does he speak Italian?Did she just ignore me?
A standard English statement follows this pattern:
{subject} + {verb}…
You + enjoy + swimming.Joe + lives + in New York.Amanda + worked + at the local supermarket.
If we want to make these kinds of statements into a question, we simply follow this pattern:
do/does/did + {subject} + {infinitive}…
Do + you +…


The International Accreditation of TESOL Qualifying Organisations or IATQuO is an accreditation organization for TEFL certificates and similar courses.

Currently IATQuO accredit 6 schools and have done for the past few years.

Note that IATQuO does not accredit online TEFL courses.

Although a limited company, IATQuO Ltd says on their website they are not-for-profit.
IATQUO was set up by Dr Alan Moller in 2004, after he…

Famous TEFL Teachers

Ever think that TEFL doesn’t lead anywhere?

If you have ever wondered what happens to all the TEFL teachers who close their grammar books for the final time and lock the classroom door behind them, then here’s a selection of former TEFL teachers who have made their way to fame (and sometimes infamy) and occasionally fortune, and have, in some cases, even won the respect and admiration of their…

IATEFL & the Accreditation Scam

We had an enquirer write to us the other day asking about our accreditation and IATFEL.
He could not decide which TEFL course to take: ours or another one. And one of the factors which worried him was that the other TEFL course was “accredited” by IATEFL.
Now you’ll notice I put “accreditation” in inverted commas. I did that quite simply because it was a scam.
And here’s why…
IATEFL – as you may…

This Will Revolutionize Teaching

For years they’ve been telling us that new technology will revolutionize teaching.

First it was film. Then radio. Then TV. Then video. Then computers. Then MOOCs…

And they were wrong. Wrong every time. Wrong all the time.

In this insightful video from Derek Muller he explains that the reason why all these ideas failed was simple: they got the role of a teacher wrong.

You see…

Purposely vs Purposefully

This one crops up all the time. Someone writes something like:
I made that mistake purposefully.She stood there purposely and refused to let me pass.
And all the grammar fiends come down on them for such basic errors.
So once and for all, here’s the difference between these two words.
purposely = intentionally = on purpose
Beckham purposely kicked the Argentinian player.Beckham intentionally kicked the Argentinian player.Beckham kicked the Argentinian player on purpose.
In other words…

Chinese Whispers: Offensive or Not?

We have a TEFL teaching activity on our site called Chinese Whispers or Telephone.

Some say it’s a demeaning and offensive title, if not outright racist. Others say it’s fine and that it’s ridiculous to question it.

So opinion is divided which means, of course, that we need to ask the question outright and try and find an answer for sure: Is the name Chinese Whispers…

Is TEFL in China really a Scam?

There’s a lot of hype these days about TEFL teaching in China. This poll is to try and find out what the truth is.

Some say that it’s full of scams and if you go to China through an agent you are destined to be ripped off and end up being deported for the wrong visa, the wrong qualifications or some other reason.

Others say that it’s perfectly…

Worcestershire Sauce Fail (TEFAL)

It’s doing the rounds of the internet – an Italian YouTube chef shows how frustrating and impossible the English language can sometimes be.

In the video quite simply he just wants to say “Worcestershire Sauce”.

But Pasquale Sciarappa fails and in the end he gets fed up and comments, “I don’t know what kind of country this came from, but I’m Italian – so I’ll read…

More than 1 Octopus?

An octopus has 8 legs. Or arms, depending on your point of view. The name octopus comes from Ancient Greek and is made up of 2 parts:
ὀκτώ = okto = 8
πούς = pous = foot/leg
So octopus is originally Greek. Remember that, it has implications later in this article!

Now when there is more than just one octopus confusion arises over how to make the plural. There…

On Foot vs By Foot

Oh language! Do we want to go down the route of there being no rules, just a few nebulous suggestions which change over time? Are we like the freethinking parents at sports day who declare that every child wins because they are all special? Or are we on the side of traditionalists who don’t split infinitives‏‎ and who think anyone using a preposition at the end…

TEFL to Blind & Visually Impaired Students

This article looks at a few ideas you should bear in mind if you have blind or visually impaired students in your TEFL class.

Over the years we at ICAL TEFL have had a number of blind and visually impaired teacher trainees taking our course and we have worked with them in preparing material and instruction based on their individual needs. We have also had sighted teacher…

ICAL TEFL Course 150hr with Practicum – Syllabus

This page has the full syllabus for the ICAL TEFL Course 150hr with Practicum (Teaching Practice),
Course Syllabus
Module 1
In this first module, we introduce the subject of English Language Teaching. The module begins right at the beginning by talking about what it means to be an English teacher. It then brings in some basic ideas, words and concepts you will need to know to do the job.
We realize that many students…

American TEFL Teachers & Tax

For many Americans teaching abroad, the first year away can be both exciting and challenging.

Hopefully, however, filing your US tax return will not be one of the challenges!

The following FAQ addresses some basic tax-related questions for American teachers. (Note, for a more general look at TEFL and tax, see the article Taxation for English Teachers Abroad).
Do I Need to File a Tax Return?
Almost certainly…

Tougher Laws for TEFL Teachers in China

From October 31st, 2014 new regulations come into force in China which will affect all TEFL teachers.

Notably teachers will now need a TEFL certificate to prove they have qualifications to teach English.

In future, all English teachers will need:

a bachelor’s degree
a clean criminal record
to be aged between 18-60
a TEFL certificate

This final requirement for a TEFL certificate…

Undercover TV Reports on English Teachers in China

Chinese Central Television CCTV, went undercover to report on how English schools in the country often employ under-qualified teachers without the official paperwork.

This video report from CCTV shows what happened and promises further official crackdowns on illegal teachers.

Many teachers don’t have the correct local teaching license or employment certificate. This often happens because of the huge demand for teachers in China and the slowness of the…

New Regulations for Thailand

Using Thai security concerns as an excuse, the Teachers’ Council of Thailand (TCT) has announced (on 5th August 2014) that they will be setting up a database of foreign teachers in Thailand. Meanwhile The National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO) has voiced concerns about the granting of licenses to foreign teachers.

The TCT database is expected to include teacher details including the school where they are working, their…

Irish ELT Schools in Turmoil

The Irish ELT business is in turmoil following the closure of a number of English language schools after allegations of visa fraud.
Hundreds of students were affected by the fraud and the Irish government is stepping in to try and regulate the market.
Ruairi Quinn, the Irish Minister for Education, has said that from next year a new accreditation body will be used to make sure English schools in Ireland were genuine…

Hearing Phantom Free – app review

“Do you wanna be a hero with magic power?”

The blurb tells you that this is the first Android game which uses your voice to control the action. Actually, to be precise, it says this is the first game which uses your voice to “control, navigate the action. Hope it’s funny!”

It’s billed as being an aid to pronunciation helping you learn and practice. Having played the game…

More ESOL Testing Scams in the UK

Back in February, the British Government suspended all TOEIC testing in the UK after it was revealed the exam was being scammed.

Well it’s back again. An investigation by the British Daily Mail newspaper has revealed how people who do not speak English can buy a ‘pass’ on an English language test for  which opens the door for them to get UK citizenship.

The scam takes place in…

English Grammar – app review

Quite simply, English Grammar by Emantra Technologies is not worth downloading and installing on your tablet or smartphone. In fact, it appears to be little more than a sparse, poorly written grammar guide put into an app full of incredibly annoying and intrusive pop-up adverts.

We installed it on a Nexus 10 tablet, gathered around and gradually became more and more incredulous as we used it.
Language Problems

Learn English 6000 Words – app review

The backbone of learning a language is learning vocabulary and this android app aims to simplify that. As it says on the tin, it helps learners get to grips with 6,000 English words so theoretically if you spend hours upon hours upon hours trawling through the whole app you will hopefully increase your vocabulary.

However there’s a good chance you’ll also become bored out of your mind and quite…

Morocco Universities move to English

Morocco is set to change its university system, making English the main foreign language taught there.

Currently universities in the country concentrate on French, but the Moroccan Minister for Higher Education announced late last week that in future universities will give preference to English to bring Morocco in line with most other countries and secure a place for the country in the global business community.

In future, Moroccan…

Summer Jobs for TEFL/TESOL Teachers

How do you fancy teaching English in the sunshine? A few weeks over in Italy or Mexico or somewhere else nice and hot, teaching in the morning then changing into your swimwear to grade homework while you lie on the beach?

Sorry to burst your bubble, but the idyll of a summer job teaching English is unlikely, if not impossible. And this article explains why.
Usual Term Times…

Bad Reporting of the Day: All Commas will Die!

A professor of comparative English at Columbia university said that commas should be abolished. He said we should get rid of them and no one would care. He says we should kill them. Destroy them. Take each one and murder it in cold blood.

And the reaction? Pages of internet newsprint devoted to the story and angry responses from members of the public leading to personal attacks on the…

TOEIC Suspended in the UK after Scam

The UK government has suspended all TOEIC testing in the UK after a TV investigation showed how the system was riddled with fraud with fake sitters taking the test on behalf of English language students.

The investigation by Panorama (a respected BBC investigative program) uncovered how immigrants to the UK were able to buy a pass in the TOEIC test which they could then use to get a visa to stay in…

Apostrophes Return to Cambridge

Earlier in the year we reported on how Cambridge city council in the UK had decided not to use apostrophes in street signs and how examiners for Cambridge Assessment (the ones who do all the TEFL exams) had supported this idea.

It was, of course, ridiculous of them to do so.

You see, the idea that an examining board could condone bad English in some situations but mark…

English Teacher Suspended for Explicit Lyrics in the Classroom

An English teacher in Florida has been suspended after giving their 8th grade class (13-15 year olds) explicit lyrics to analyze.

The students were having problems understanding concepts such as puns, similes, and metaphors so rather than continue using more traditional material to explain them, the teacher brought in the lyrics to Lil Wayne’s song, 6 Foot 7 Foot which contain a number of taboo words.

Parents complained and…

Teaching English in the Balkans

TEFL/TESOL in the Balkans
The Balkans is a generic term for an area in south east Europe with a rapidly growing demand for English teachers.
The reason is historical. Many of the states here were occupied for many centuries and it’s only in the past 20 years or so that they have become truly independent.
Some states, such as Greece‏‎, traditionally looked to the west (and English) whilst others, such as Bulgaria‏‎, used to look…

ICAL People

This page is all about the people who work at ICAL. To get in touch with anyone here, please see our contact page.
ICAL Staff
Jenny Scott – Jenny has worked for ICAL for the past few years and deals mainly with our online presence. She handles our social media and also writes and collates our TEFL News section.

Pete West – Pete is an ICAL veteran! She has worked…

Missing Apostrophes Don’t Worry Cambridge Examiners

Like other cities in the UK, Cambridge City Council are not going to bother with apostrophes in street names anymore.
In the future, then, you might well see “Brookes Drive” and “Paxmans Close” instead of the grammatically correct, “Brooke’s Drive” and “Paxman’s Close”.
“Removing apostrophes from street names in Cambridge is unlikely to have an effect on English learning standards worldwide,” said Roger Johnson, an executive of Cambridge Assessment, who provide English…

India pushing English Books

“India may dream in Hindi, sleep in Hindi, but it aspires to read in English.”

So says Aditi Maheshwari, Director Vani Publications. And this leads to the Indian Publishing industry (currently worth about $1.6 billion) looking to publish more titles in English.

At this year’s Jaipur Literature Festival, talk was about English and the publishing industry in India. And with a predicted growth of 30% a year, it’s…

English Lessons lead to the Olympics

Who knows where English classes can lead?
For Sweden’s Margaretha Sigfridsson it has led to the Olympics. Her English teacher at school was passionate about curling and so he organized a one off English class which took place on the ice rink. The students were so enthusiastic that it became a regular weekly lesson for the class.
This has led to Sigfridsson becoming the captain of her country’s national team at the 2014 Olympics…

US Education Department Fails Language Learners

“US students who speak a language other than English at home and are still learning English have received scant support from the federal Department of Education under Secretary Arne Duncan.”

So says a report published by the University of Colorado a few days ago. The report is highly critical of the education these students are getting and predicts major problems in the future as emerging bilingual students are the fastest…

US Education Department Fails Language Learners

“US students who speak a language other than English at home and are still learning English have received scant support from the federal Department of Education under Secretary Arne Duncan.”
So says a report published by the University of Colorado a few days ago. The report is highly critical of the education these students are getting and predicts major problems in the future as emerging bilingual students are the fastest growing student group in…

The Lifespan of Words in English

Did you know that even words have a life span? This ranges from 1,000 years to 20,000 years.
A word like “throw” is expected to have a lifespan of about 1,000 years, while words like “I” and “who” are likely to reach the 20,000 year mark.
Until recently the life span of a word was known to be around 9,000 years.
In May 2013 researchers from the University of Reading in the United…

Vietnam Desperate to find Decent English Teachers

A number of schools in Ho Chi Min City (HCM, the largest city in Vietnam) are struggling to find English teachers.

Originally the HCM City municipal Department of Education and Training tried to recruit 100 English teachers from the Philippines to teach at Primary and Secondary level. However they have only managed to find 13 so far with another 26 slated to arrive soon.

But finding…

Student for a Day

What an excellent idea this is!
I came across this blog article the other day on how several teachers in Vermont, USA, spent the day as students in their school. As it says on the tin, they simply went into school as students instead of teachers and spent the day sitting in class listening, queueing for lunch, hanging around lockers, smoking in the toilets (well, maybe not that last one) and…

Lexical Distance

Lexical Difference shows how languages are related in terms of vocabulary.
As a simple example, the English word bread is very similar to the German‏‎ word, Brot and both of them derive from the same root. However the Italian‏‎ for bread is pane which is very different. (In fact, about 80% of the most commonly used English words come from Germanic roots.)
The graphic (top right) shows the lexical difference between the main European languages.

Jakarta to Keep English Lessons

Elementary schools in Jakarta, Indonesia will be offering English as an extracurricular activity only while elementary schools elsewhere in Indonesia will not have English on the curriculum at all.
The announcement, made late last year (December 2013) means that English lessons at Elementary school level will either not be offered at all or limited to just one hour a week as an extracurricular activity in Jakarta schools. Regular English lessons will…

Intonation in Practice – intonation activity

Intonation in Practice is a simple exercise which you can do with almost any class to help them understand what intonation‏‎ is and how it works in English. It’s easily adaptable to all learner levels‏ and abilities.

Explain that in English you have to give stress (or emphasis) to certain words to deliver certain meanings. Go through a brain storming session to elicit some of the feelings we can convey through the appropriate intonation: disappointment, excitement, anger…

Norwegian vs English

This article looks at different aspects of Norwegian compared to English for TEFL teachers with Norwegian students.
It’s often said that Norwegian is closely related to English and if you know one language it is easy to pick up the other. 
However, there are differences and if you are an English teacher in Norway then the kinds of errors you might come across from your students may well look like these.
Like English, Norwegian is…

Teaching Proverbs in TEFL

Proverbs are simple sayings which are used to show common sense and popular wisdom. They are regarded generally as informal rather than formal language. Thus they’re mostly used in common everyday spoken language.

There are hundreds and hundreds of proverbs in modern English‏‎ (and of course in other languages) but a few common examples include:
An apple a day, keeps the doctor away.
Honesty is the best policy.
Two wrongs…

Teach and Travel as an English Teacher Abroad

Do you want to travel the world? Experience what other cultures have to offer? Visit the greatest sights on Earth?

Well English teachers working abroad get to do that.

As a teacher you can work right across the world and experience some incredible places and cultures. Quite simply this article explains how many teachers live their lives, teaching and traveling around the world.

And how…

Why MOOCs Fail

A recent article in the New York Times has highlighted a number of disturbing statistics that shake the current craze for those free online educational courses known as MOOCs.

Basically put, an appalling number of students are dropping out. MOOCs are being abandoned in droves. But why is this happening and how can it be reversed?

about 50% of MOOC students don’t look at any material…

Teaching English in Kyrgyzstan

TEFL/TESOL in Kyrgyzstan
Kyrgyzstan is a landlocked country in Central Asia. It was under Soviet control for almost 80 years until it became independent in 1991.
During Soviet control the language of choice was Russian (along with native Kyrgyz) and today it is still an official language.
However after independence English became more important and there is a drive to teach and learn English with teachers in high demand.
Finding TEFL Work
At the moment, English is…

Teaching English in Latin America

TEFL/TESOL in Latin America
Latin America is the part of America where Romance languages are spoken. This is mainly Spanish and Portuguese (and can include French).
It is a very popular destination among American teachers, however you also find other nationalities heading there. There are many teaching opportunities, especially for newly qualified teachers.
Loosely speaking it is made up of several regions: Mexico, the Caribbean, Central America, and South America. (And some countries there speak English, but are often…

Pearson invests $720 million in Brazil in English Education

The British Pearson group is buying Grupo Multi, the largest provider of private language education in Brazil, in a major move into education in South America.Peason will pay $720 million in cash to buy the company which currently has over 800,000 students and last year posted a profit of almost $70 million. This in a country with around 25% living below the poverty line.Some see this as a move to…

Fears for ESL Collapse in NSW Australia

Fears are growing in that ESL programs are likely to close leading to a loss of jobs for ESL teachers but also increased difficulties for immigrant and refugee students who will not have the opportunity to learn English.
Proposed budget changes in NSW, Australia are likely to leave schools without funding for ESL. Academics and representatives are up in arms but the government seems unlikely to budge on this issue.
Since 1969…

The Second Most Important Language to Learn

English is the most important language anyone can learn today. That’s not really in question as it dominates the world. But what is the second most useful language anyone can know?
The British Council published a list today of which languages are the most important after English and here it is.


The list was compiled based on economic, political and cultural factors and the UK has a worrying lack of people able…

More English Teachers Needed in Japan!

The 2020 Summer Olympics in Japan may seem a long way off, but in Japan the Tokyo authorities are already beginning to plan for the influx of foreign tourists and athletes.

And the first step is increasing the number of English teachers in the country.

Right now in Tokyo state schools there are just 5 native English speaking assistants. This is set to increase to 100 next year…

Malaysia Under Fire for Squandering Money on English Teachers

The Malaysian Education Ministry is under fire after results from state school tests showed an overall decline in English standards despite recent massive spending on training from the British Council, the Brighton Education Group and the SMR HR Group.”There is absolutely no justification for this type of expenditure,” says MP Zairil Khir Johari who is questioning what happened to the $84m investment.Between 2011 and 2013 the Education Ministry gave some…

School Driver Tapes Students’ Mouths Shut

A bus driver in Maine, USA, has been suspended after complaints she made noisy students put duct tape over their mouths to keep them quiet.

The driver worked for the First Student bus service and ferried children from Surrey Elementary School in Surrey, Maine. Apparently she either taped up loud students herself of passed the tape around and had the students tape their own mouths shut…

British English teacher dies in Thailand

British English teacher Roy Tucker, aged 49, died of a heart attack last Friday in Bang Saray, Thailand. He was an English teacher in several Satthip District public schools.

Mr Tucker was with his girlfriend at the time and suffered from heart problems for which he was taking medication. After feeling pains in his chest Mr Tucker took some of his prescription pills however they were not effective. Doctors…

Headway Scholarships Go Global

Headway is one of the most popular ELT coursebooks around today with sales topping 70 million. The authors have recently announced an extension to their scholarship program helping 2 teachers a year in their professional development in the UK.
Since 2004 the authors (John & Liz Soars) have funded scholarships for 2 TEFL teachers each year to spend a couple of weeks studying in Oxford. Originally recipients had to live and…

UK Spends £6m to Teach English Unconventionally

The UK government has awarded £6m ($9.5m or €7m) to various projects teaching English to non-native speakers in the country.
The projects are aimed at some 24,000 speakers in so-called ‘priority areas’ in London, the Midlands and the North of the country where many immigrant groups do not speak English.
One hundred and twenty four projects were put forward for funding where they were tasked with putting English into everyday life for…

The Word Which Unites the World!

Q: Which word unites the world?
A: Huh?

In English we say, Hello, and in Italian they say, Ciao, and in Greek they say, Gia, and on and on. Even the universal act of greeting has a thousand different forms in a thousand different languages.

But Dutch researchers have claimed to have found a single word which exists in all languages. And that word is Huh.


How to Cite Online Sources

We often get asked if users can quote parts of our resource library in their own work. This page explains how you can do this and more generally, how any online source can be cited in your work.
Quoting ICAL TEFL Resources
The resources on this site are free to use. You can quote them in any reasonable way in your work (although copyright, of course, remains with ICAL). You can…

Foreign Students reach Record Numbers in US

A report released today shows how the number of foreign students studying in the US has reached and all time high, up by about 40% from 10 years ago and up 7% from last year. This accounts for about 4% of the total student population and contributes almost $25 billion to the economy.
The number of foreign students coming to the US declined following 9/11 but has since built back up

Personal Websites for TEFL Teachers

More and more these days we’re asked about websites for teachers. Are they a good idea? Do they work? Why are they necessary?
This article looks at why teachers might need a website, what you can do with your website and then how to create it.
And no special computer programming knowledge required!
Do you Need a TEFL Website?
This is the first question to ask. Most teachers don’t have websites and many don’t…

Christian Teachers for Thailand

The Church of Christ Thailand have signed a memorandum of understanding to recruit English teachers from the Nagaland Mission Movement based in northern India.
According to CCT the need for English teachers is paramount. To overcome the shortage they will hire teachers based on 3 main criteria:

belief in Jesus Christ
good knowledge of English
bachelor degree in any discipline

New teachers will go through 6 months of orientation followed by 18 months of teaching.

Can we trust the English First Rankings?

English First (EF) have just released their EPI or English Proficiency Index. Essentially it is an analysis of English language ability in countries around the world. But how truthful is it? After just a quick look there are some real concerns that what they’ve done is incredibly unreliable.

They’ve produced this report for the past few years and many newspapers take the findings and repeat them verbatim as news…

Shanghai Favorite for Expats in China

Shanghai (Hu for short, also known as Shen) has again topped the list of preferred cities in China for expats.

The survey was published by the Beijing magazine International Talent Monthly and the China Association for International Exchange of Personnel. Some 72,000 expats participated in the annual survey and again, Shanghai came out on top.

The top 10 cities for expats in China are:


Stave off Dementia with a Second Language

A recent study has found that people who speak more than just one language and who develop dementia, tend to do so up to 5 years later in life than those who speak just one language.
The study looked at some 650 sufferers of dementia and analyzed when they first developed it and how many languages they spoke. In general, those who spoke more than 1 language developed dementia later in…

English Teachers PD in Afghanistan

The Afghan government has signed a major deal with the British Council in Afghanistan to begin training over 16,000 teachers in the country. This is designed to help facilitate the country’s move towards offering an English language university curriculum.
“We are very pleased that the British Council is able to support the future generations of Afghanistan and we are happy and committed to support these educational programmes,” Afghanistan president Hamid Karzai…

English Block for Milan

The prestigious Milan Polytechnic has been delivered a blow in its attempt to teach all postgraduate courses in English. A local court has ruled that making English obligatory is not constitutional and courses must be delivered in Italian.

Both students and the Polytechnic administration are frustrated with this blow. They see English as a way of advancing the status of the courses and the opportunities of students…

Teacher Flips Out – Swears at Student

I think we’ve all been there (at least in our heads, even if we didn’t say what we were thinking).

A teacher in California was giving a class on race and ethnicity. A student kept heckling and interrupting. The teacher had enough and suddenly flipped out, swearing at the student and finally telling her to “get the fuck out” at which point the student (who was recording…

Interchange (book)

Interchange is a four-level, multi-skills English series for adult and young-adult learners. It was written by Jack C Richards and is published by Cambridge University Press‏‎ (CUP) and is currently in its 4th edition.
The series comprises a large number of components. There are 4 levels confusingly called:

Level 1
Level 2
Level 3

So if you are starting out, make sure you get the Intro before you move on to Level 1. A number…

Controlling Your Classroom Through Enthusiasm, not Fear

In this guest blog, Tom Fitton explains how to approach teaching so that the students – and you – get the most out of the experience.

The basic rules of human motivation tell us that everything we do is in the pursuit of something enjoyable or the avoidance of something unpleasant and children attending ESL classes are certainly no exception to this rule.

While it is certainly possible…

329 Ways to avoid getting Ripped Off in China

There have been a lot of problems with teachers getting ripped off in China by unscrupulous agents and illegal agents.

In fact, one reliable estimate from the CFTU (more on them later) is that only around 20% of agents in China are authorized and legal – the other 2,000 or so agents are illegal and unauthorized!

And these illegal agents are making a LOT of money…

Teaching English in the Middle East

TEFL/TESOL in the Middle East
The Middle East is traditionally where the best paying jobs have been found for English teachers.
However, in the wake of the so-called Arab Spring of 2012 there have been increasing demands for the “Arabification” of teaching in Arab countries and learning English is seen partly as a political act with Arabic‏‎ being more desired. Whether this will have much long term effect remains to be seen.
In general…

Teaching English in Africa

TEFL/TESOL in Africa
To read about teaching English in specific countries in Africa, see below.
Generally speaking Africa can be divided into several distinct areas when it comes to English teaching.
There are a great number of schools across North Africa from Morocco‏‎ in the west across to Egypt‏‎ in the east. (And then on to the Middle East after that.) Although there are a few universities in this belt most jobs are in…

Qualify to Teach English in China

Do you want to teach English in China?
With ICAL TEFL you can take our TEFL Certificate Course and learn how to teach English and get the most from yourself AND your students!
This course is ideal if you want to teach English in China. It is the basic qualification for teachers of English as a Second language.
With this course you will learn the latest methods and ideas for teaching English. At…

Guest Blogs – write for us

The ICAL TEFL Blog and the ICAL TEFL Resources are hugely popular destinations for English language professionals. Although we have added our own articles, we also welcome submissions from individuals and organizations outside ICAL TEFL.

If you are interested in writing an article for our Blog or Resources, typical requirements are:
Content: related, obviously, to teaching English as a Foreign or Second language in the widest possible…

Changing Structure of English Curriculum

There is growing evidence that the “linear” English languages courses are declining in usage in favor of more clustered materials and returning to the same basic sources when learning.

Fueled both by a demand for more efficient and faster delivery and more improvements being made constantly in the field  there is a gradual shift being made from the traditional course structure which flows almost like a line, leading from…


I think we have all found that giving clear instructions to our students, especially lower proficiency students, can be a real challenge. We quickly learn that giving only oral instructions can be futile in getting our students to understand what it is we want them to do. The temptation is to explain the activity again, only to find that our students are even more confused, resulting in failure…

German Shitstorms are not Vulgar…

An interesting sideline to the eternal debate about taboo words‏‎.

The BBC reports that the English term, shitstorm, considered by many to be vulgar and not a word to be used in public as such, has entered the German‏‎ vocabulary. However, it has entered as a perfectly acceptable term and, for example, was used by Angela Merkel at a recent public meeting and no one batted an eyelid.


Ignorant. Offensive. Cheap. Yahoo & the Daily Telegraph.

In the past week or so I’ve seen a couple of videos posted online which feature famous people speaking English.

One was in the British Daily Telegraph newspaper and was of Russian president Vladimir Putin talking about the World Expo. The Daily Telegraph sneer and giggle and make snide comments about the way he speaks English.

And again this morning I saw a Yahoo sports article…

ICAL TEFL Testimonials

A random collection of students’ feedback. Thanks to each and every ICAL student for sharing their course experience with other TEFLers.
What ICAL Students Say
From XN1C3B Paul, working on mod3.
What I’m learning in my ICAL studies has already helped me very much with my teaching in China, especially the information about developing a lesson plan.

From XN24CF Jacob, submitting his final assignment.
I feel like…

Experience Teaching Abroad – worth it or not?

An article in Education Week (see link below) says that when a group of teachers spent time abroad they were much more employable when they returned to the US than a comparable group who did not spend time abroad.

The actual figures quoted were 20% of graduate teachers who had not experienced life abroad got jobs whilst 100% of graduate teachers who had spent time abroad had…

How many words do you know?

How many words do you know?

There’s a fascinating web project which hopes to find out not only how many words you know, but how many words everyone else knows as well.

Since it began it’s measured over 2 million people and the results have just been published. They make fascinating reading, especially as it’s divided into native speakers of English as well as English language learners…

English and Creole; not English or Creole

I read an interesting article on teaching English in Trinidad and Tobago today. Essentially Creole is spoken in TT and by some it’s regarded as a “sub-standard” English. In schools children learn to speak standard English which means erasing the mistakes they’ve learned at home speaking Creole.

There’s a move now  however  to teach standard English in the same way students would learn to speak any other foreign language…

The Death of French is Greatly Exaggerated

Until recently English was all but banned in universities in France and only English language courses and visiting dignitaries were allowed to use it.

But now the French government is about to lift restrictions and allow English to spread into teaching. In reality many universities already use English to teach various subjects (notably science) but this was previously done behind closed doors and everyone pretended it didn’t…

Making a Local Copy of a Website

Imagine this. You are standing in front of your CALL‏‎ class and tell them to visit a certain online resource on which you’ve based an entire lesson.
The students start work and then one by one tell you that the website you’ve told them to visit no longer exists. It’s offline and can’t be accessed.
This leaves you standing there, wondering what you are going to do for the rest of the lesson!

Self Grading Students

Guest blogger Timothy Wright explains what happened when he got the class to grade themselves.
Want to improve your student grades? Simple, have your students grade themselves. It may shock them and it may shock you, but it works!
It’s not as crazy as it first seems and it’s something which makes a difference. In a good way. And I know because I just tried it.
Let’s take my class last year. I…

ESLdrama – Using Video Drama in the Classroom

ESLdrama is a brand new web series produced especially for learners of English.It’s stylish, clever and well produced. I watched the first episode earlier and found it completely engaging. Then I spoke to Sean James Sutton, the director of the series, to find out more…

Jenny – Sean, why produce a series like this? Surely there are plenty of video resources for ESL learners already?

Sean – The…

ESLdrama Web Series

ESLdrama is a web series (a drama for ESL students) designed specifically for learners of English.

It is essentially a soap opera built around the lives of half a dozen or characters. Each episode features several short scenes and the language used is basic. It has been designed to be both entertaining and also useful for all levels of classes from beginners‏‎ to advanced.

The video is the…

Changes to EPIK Requirements

There have been rumors floating around about the recent changes made for any teacher joining the EPIK scheme to teach in South Korea‏‎.

This blog post explains exactly what those changes are and exactly what you need to join EPIK.
What is EPIK?
EPIK is a program run the by the South Korean government to supply English teachers to South Korea.

It’s not the only way to go…

Pay > Paid vs Payed

What is the past form of pay?

This often causes problems for students. The verb‏‎ pay means to give money to someone and it is usually an irregular verb.
I pay $15 each month for my internet connection.
Last month I paid $15 for my internet connection.
I have paid $15 every month for the past year.
However, some people will assume that pay is a regular…

Class Blogs for Reading & Writing & Fun!

As TEFL teachers, we all know that getting the class to engage is vitally important and also that engagement comes through enjoyment.

This means that anything which lets your class practice English in a fun, non-didactic way is going to be a hit. And we have just been playing with class blogs which are a brilliant way to do this!

This article is how you can…

Teaching Abroad with Diabetes

Diabetes is a medical condition where a person has high blood sugar (glucose) levels.

There are 3 types of diabetes (see below) and the incidence of diabetes is increasing significantly in developed countries. It has been described in terms of “epidemic” proportions in the US and since most TEFL teachers are from the US, this means the number of TEFL teachers likely to suffer from diabetes is…

Teaching English and Living in Thailand

The Essential Guide to Teaching English and Living in Thailand. Guest blogger and author Michael Plews gives us just a taste of what it is like to teach and live in Thailand.
Sun-kissed beaches, amazing cuisine, a rich cultural heritage and some of the friendliest people on the planet; Thailand‏‎ is truly an amazing place to live. With a continuing need for English teachers, you’ll find that the ‘Land of Smiles’…

Celebrities vs Education

I go on the news sites each morning to catch up on what’s happening in the world. And yesterday I tried a new site: Reuters. They have a bit of a reputation of being there with the scoops, pretty fair minded when it comes to reporting and they’re well regarded in the industry.

However, like all news services, they couldn’t give a damn about education.

Take a look…

Reasoning stronger in a Foreign Language

According to an article in the Scientific American (link below) people are more logical and reason better in a foreign language than their native tongue.

Basically they looked at questions where reasoning was required (financial decisions  gambling and so on) and found that if they were asked in the subject’s native tongue they were analyzed more emotionally than if they were asked in a learned language.

The main…

TEFL and Travel – Is it Possible to Combine the Two?

We’d like to welcome guest blogger Evelyn Robinson; in this first blog for ICAL she writes about traveling the world as a TEFL teacher and the opportunities available out there!

Every TEFL teacher gets frustrated when their friends and family see their job abroad as a holiday, or a relaxing jaunt. After all, when you’re dealing with lesson plans, marking and the politics…

Listening for Pleasure

Listening‏‎ is one of the four major language skills‏‎. This article is about listening for pleasure.
Often as teachers we’ll give our class a very specific listening task which will often run like this: listen to this short dialog between a shopkeeper and a shopper; I’m going to ask you at the end to tell me how many sausages the woman bought and what the total cost was of all her…

Its vs It’s in English

Its and it’s are often confused, not only by learners but also native English speakers (the picture on the right comes from one of Disney’s theme parks). This article explains the difference between them.
Very simply, its (without the apostrophe‏‎) is a possessive pronoun meaning, “belonging to”:
The tablet surprised me with its quality.
Its fur was soft and lightly colored.
Both these show something belonging to: in the first example quality belonging to…

ICAL TEFL Community

The ICAL TEFL Community gives a voice to TEFL teachers and other guests wherever you are.
Let’s start with…
If you’d like to start a discussion or ask a question about TEFL then visit the ICAL TEFL Forums. Here you’ll find discussions about absolutely anything to do with English and teaching English. It’s free and easy to join in here.
You can also find here the TEFL News section. This…

Space Rocket explained in 1,000 Words

It’s estimated that the most common 1, 000 words in the English language are used in 89% of communication. Well, to prove it’s possible to say almost anything using those words the folks at xkcd have taken a blueprint for the space rocket Apollo 5 (or Up Goer as they call it since apollo nor space nor rocket are on the list) and reduced it to use vocab from just…

Old Fashioned Teachers & Music

Most teachers are old in comparison to their students. And because most teachers choose materials for their class, this often means that the materials they use are old. And by old, I mean stuck in the past and out of date.

When a TEFL teacher decides to use music in the classroom it inevitably means dredging up music from the past – the Beatles in particular seem…

Instant Gratification & TEFL

Prof. Goodnight is the pen name of a senior ESL trainer working at a major North American university. Here he discusses the rise of technology in the classroom and how bad it is.

The NY Times reported earlier this week on two recent studies which suggest that students nowadays have far shorter attention spans than in the past.
One reason, they suggest, is the overwhelming use of technology, notably the internet.
I agree…

Well Travelled TEFL Teachers are Sexier

Well travelled TEFL teachers are sexier- it’s true!

Well sort of.

In a recent survey by an Australian online dating survey it was found that those who traveled were sexier than those who stayed at home. Perhaps it was the idea of someone with independence and adventure in them which made them more appealing but as TEFL teachers we often spend years away from home living…

Teaching with Chopsticks

Guest blogger Jonathan Last presents an extract from his autobiographical book, Teaching with Chopsticks, an honest, funny, and insightful account of a year spent teaching English in South Korea.

Lunchtime. I’m trying to hide my growing weariness at rice every day, and fantasising about getting scouted by Seoul FC and seeing out the rest of my time in Korea as the first English superstar in the K-League, when the staffroom chatter…

English Teaching in Korea – not as straightforward as you may think!

One of our ICAL students blogs about her duties as English Teacher in a public school in Korea. Writing under the pseudonym of Elsa Kellenbence, she gives a straightforward and honest account of her on-going struggle to keep discipline in the classroom, get students to stay awake (literally) in class, win her Korean co-teacher’s support, etc.
But you won’t find only problems here. Elsa is very determined to make a difference…

Tips for Reading with Young Learners

Reading with very young learners often demands a different approach to teaching reading‏‎ skills with older learners. For one thing young learners may not yet be able to read well in their own language‏‎ so dealing with a different language (and possibly a different alphabet‏‎) may bring up extra difficulties.
Another issue is concentration. Young learners have much shorter attention spans than older learners so keep things simple and keep them short.

Group Work: Are You Doing It Effectively?

We’d like to welcome Larry Jarocki, MA Applied Linguistics, as a guest author of the ICAL Blog. Larry has been an ICAL tutor for over a decade. Here he talks about his recent findings on effective group work in the ESL classroom, following an eight days seminar on Cooperative Learning.
As a practicing ESL and English teacher for nearly two decades, I’d seen and conducted many lessons involving group…

TEFL Teachers & Local Laws

Living in a foreign country it’s sometimes easy to assume you are above the law. You feel slightly outside local society and it’s not hard to pretend that the local laws simply don’t really apply to you. After all, you are from the USA‏‎ or the UK (or wherever) and you abide by your laws.

This was exemplified a few years ago when some female American soldiers…

TEFL Coursebook Evaluation Form

The following is an example Coursebook Evaluation Form.
If you are thinking of using a TEFL coursebook with your class and want to see if it might be suitable, complete this kind of form to find out.
Obviously this is a general example, but with a little tweaking you can make it suitable for your school.
Basic Information

[the name of the book]
[name of author]

[who published it]
[what learner level is this for?]

Length of Course:
[how long…

LGBT TEFL Teachers – where do you fit in?

In our article on LGBT teachers (link below) we quote Scott Thornbury who suggests that TEFL attracts a higher percentage of gay teachers. In his article Window Dressing vs Cross Dressing in EFL Sub-Culture he actually talks about the relatively high proportion of gays & lesbians in TEFL.

We haven’t seen any research on this subject and wonder if it is actually true. So we have put in this…

The Sopranos comes to ELT

One of my favorite shows was The Sopranos, a tale of modern American mob life. In one episode Tony Soprano’s right hand man, Christopher Moltisanti, has to sit an exam which it would be impossible for him to pass. The solution? Get a bright college kid, forge some identity documents and have this kid sit the exam in Christopher’s name.
The result? A somewhat dumb Jersey mobster has a stockbroker license.

Cooperative Learning

Cooperative Learning is a teaching strategy in which small teams‏‎, each with students of different abilities, use a variety of learning activities to improve their understanding of a subject.

Although cooperative learning takes place within teams of students it is not to be confused with mere group work. The main difference between the two is in the cooperative nature of the learning. In fact, cooperative learning has been found…

Don’t Pay Your Agent!

Another story today of someone who lost a healthy lot of money by paying an agent to find them work… and the agent did nothing.

In today’s Guardian news paper is the sobering story of a teacher who paid to an agency called ESL Job Finder to find them a TEFL job.

And the agency basically won’t refund their money and has done nothing to help.

This is…

Teaching the /θ/ and /ð/ sounds

A number of students have difficulties producing the /θ/ and /ð/ sounds found in words like:
think – /θɪŋk/
thought – /θɔːt/
threw – /θruː/
this – /ðɪs/
that – /ðæt/
those – /ðəʊz/
Note that the main difference between these sounds is that one is voiced and the other is voiceless. Other than this they are produced in the same way with the mouth and tongue in the same position.
Making the /θ/ & /ð/ Sounds
First you…

Elision in TEFL

Elision happens when you miss out one or more sounds as you’re speaking.
Sometimes it’s known as slurring or muting but the important point to remember despite what some people say, it is not a sign of “bad pronunciation” or poor education, but simply the natural way in which words are formed and put together. Everyone elides words regardless of their education, background, accent, or upbringing!
Why Elision?
Elision occurs because English is…

Present vs Present Perfect

There is sometimes confusion over which to use of these verb forms: the Present Simple or Present Continuous vs Present Perfect.
The cat is here.vs The cat has been here.
Simon is writing.vsSimon has been writing.
Generally speaking we would use the present simple or present continuous to talk about something which is happening as we speak. In the examples above I can see the cat on the chair and maybe I can…


Simply put, Psycholinguistics is the study of how psychological factors and neurological factors influence the way we learn, understand, and use language.
It tries to answer questions like:

How do our brains process language?
How do we recognize speech and how do we produce it?
How do we perceive letters, words, sentences and so on?
How do we store and recall language in our brains?

Then it can be taken to a more practical or applied…

Why the English can’t speak Foreign

I read a very interesting article the other day on one man’s theory why British people (and let’s expand this to pretty well most native English speakers) don’t speak foreign languages well, if at all.

I read a very interesting article the other day* on one man’s theory why British people (and let’s expand this to pretty well most native English speakers) don’t speak foreign languages well…

Reflections On Learning CALL

The following is a paper written by Rebecca Rose Orton on her CALL training and experience. Rebecca volunteers at the English Language Institute (ELI) at Gallaudet University, in Washington, DC. The following is a paper written by Rebecca Rose Orton on her CALL training and experience. Rebecca works at the English Language Institute (ELI) at Gallaudet University, in Washington, DC. Memoirs of My CALL Training and ExperienceBy Rebecca Rose Orton Introduction…

Korea, People, Racism

Korea is a unique country that has a lot of offer. But one thing the country does lack is diversity. As a result, you feel isolated, belittled and often times, hated as a foreigner. Especially a black foreigner…
We’d like to welcome Tate Nanje as a guest author of the ICAL Blog.Originally from Cameroon, Tate grew up in the USA and first worked in Korea as teacher in…

Learn to Teach English in Spain

Teach English in Spainwith the ICAL TEFL Certificate Course
In the past couple of years the economy in Spain has begun to pick up after suffering badly. The demand for English teachers is increasing and more people are taking an ICAL TEFL Course and becoming qualified to teach English in Spain.
To teach English in Spain you need:

to have a degree (a BA/BSc in almost any subject is fine)
to have TEFL certification…

Teaching in Greece

This is a first-hand account of what it’s like to teach English in Greece‏‎ written by an English teacher who went out there many years ago… and never got around to leaving!
What’s it like?
Damn fine! Teaching English in Greece is one of the better choices one can make in life. In one fell swoop you’re taken from some overcrowded, smelly city and dumped in a serene calm paradise…

Politecnico di Milano – in English

I was reading today that the Politecnico di Milano in Italy‏‎ is changing to an English-speaking university only. Quite a remarkable move considering the level of English penetration within Italy. This is a country, after all, which is in the bottom third of English knowledge within Europe.

The university is one of the largest in Italy with about 36,500 students and from 2014 most of its degree courses (and…

Grammar Tests for British Children

The British government wants to introduce more formal grammar tests to schools in the UK. However this is being countered by the main teachers’ unions who say it is an attack on teachers. The British government wants to introduce more formal grammar tests to schools in the UK. However this is being countered by the main teachers’ unions who say it is an attack on teachers. Since the 1970s British…

Pig – Goat‏‎ – word game

Pig – Goat is a traditional game which is easily adapted for your TEFL classroom. Sometimes it’s boringly called the “last letter word game” or “word chains” but whatever the name, it’s ideal as a filler activity at the end of the class. Playing the Game If the class don’t know the game then it’s best to play it all together with you leading. Later they can play it in small groups and…

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…

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…

Suicide & the Hangman Game

There's a report in a Japanese paper about how a TEFL teacher in Yachiyo has come in for criticism after continually playing Hangman‏‎ with students even after a student at the school committed suicide by hanging. Now I think pretty well every teacher on the planet has used hangman at one time or another, not least because it's a popular game in
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Travel makes you Creative!

How Multicultural Learning Experiences Facilitate Creativity - that's the title of a research paper published earlier this year. It says, essentially, that if you have more experiences traveling and living abroad then you'll be more creative in your everyday life. However, I'd also suggest that the kind of people who are going to live and travel abroad are going to be more creative anyway. It takes a lot of gumption to leave your
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Macmillan Bribery in TEFL

It’s just come out that Macmillan Publishers has been banned by the World Bank over bribes it paid to the Sudanese government to secure lucrative education contracts in the Sudan‏‎.
This came as quite a surprise to me (and I guess a lot of other people, too) for a couple of reasons.

Firstly while we can expect bribes from oil companies, arms manufacturers, giant multi-nationals and so on, you don’t really expect…

Teaching in [put country here] frustrations!

Trust me. If you want to find out what it’s like teaching in a particular country be prepared to wade through loads of advertising rubbish if you decide to use Google!
We had an inquiry from one of our students who was interested in teaching in Croatia‏‎ and asked us to look into finding him work there. In the TEFL Resource Library here we’ve got loads of information about teaching…

Back behind a Desk – learning a new language

Well I'm on business/holiday right now but in Portugal‏‎ - a country I've never visited before. I always think it's a fascinating experience to be in a place where you know nothing at all of the language. It immediately reminds you what it is like to be a complete beginner. And that's something every teacher needs once in a while I think! There's the slight fear of saying anything in case it's
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