This post has been written in coordination with the latest episode of the TEFL Commute podcast, which I produce with Lindsay Clandfield and Shaun Wilden. You can listen to the episode on our website by clicking here. Occasionally I’ve had a student who doesn’t seem to realise that punctuation, capitalisation and spacing are actually things that really matter when writing. Spaces are deposited at random places. Commas are used in between what should definitely be two different sentences. Sometimes punctuation is omitted completely, and you’re left with a piece of writing that resembles a stream of consciousness that you have to try … Continue reading Punctuation Matters!
If you’ve been reading this blog for a long time, or follow me on social media, you should be aware of my involvement in BELTA. BELTA is the Belgian English Language Teachers Association, which I co-founded in 2012 with Mieke Kenis and Guido Europeaantje, and have been president of since its inception. I won’t tell you the full story of how BELTA started here, you can find out more on our website. Suffice it to say we started it from scratch and in four short years we have hosted 3 annual conferences with plenary speakers including Jeremy Harmer, Luke Meddings, Hugh … Continue reading The End Of An Era
A couple of weeks ago, I posted this on Facebook: I got some great advice from my friends, so I thought I’d share some of my favourites with you here. Thom Jones Keep them on their toes, don’t worry if they think you’re a bit of a nutter. Graeme Hodgson Expect to deviate from your lesson plan and just enjoy those “teachable moments” of emergent language! Fiona Mauchline Listen like you’ve never listened before. To anyone. Listen, learn, and show them you have. Maria P. Vlachopoulou Try to keep up with the latest trends, gadgets, bands, songs etc and prepare to face … Continue reading Advice For Teaching Teens
If you’re responsible for teacher development in your school, you might sometimes find that it’s a burden to continually try and find ways to come up with new materials and approaches. Given the choice, I’m sure you’d love to invite Jeremy Harmer, Scott Thornbury or Penny Ur to come in and give a talk or do a workshop. However, thanks to the massive availability of talks and webinars online, it is possible for your teachers to be trained by the leaders in our field without the speakers even knowing about it.
I think the best way to use these materials in your training sessions is to use a flipped approach. Instead of watching the talk together, you can ask your trainees to watch it before the training session. They can make some notes of things they want to discuss and questions they have which they can bring to the session for discussion.
This was something I did a few months at my previous school. We watched Hugh Dellar’s webinar for BELTA, Five Golden Rules, on the Lexical Approach and then discussed the implications of his talk in the training session. What this achieved was that rather than being a solely trainer-led session, it was much more equal and discursive and offered an interesting variety to normal sessions. Continue reading “Flipped Teacher Training”
This Thursday December 10th, I will be doing a webinar for the good people of BRELT. You can find out more about it here on their website but if you don’t speak Portuguese here’s the abstract: If you’re the kind of teacher who goes to webinars, reads books, goes to conferences and generally tries to keep up to date with what is going on in the world of ELT, it can be difficult to make sense of all of these ideas and opinions. In this talk, I’m going to try and cut through the noise and present my list of … Continue reading BRELT Webinar
I think we need to talk about failure. If you teach adults, there’s a good chance you’re teaching a room full of people who have failed to learn English at some point in their lives. I should clarify that when I say failed, I don’t mean that they were a complete disaster, but they probably didn’t reach the target they set for themselves. They’ve probably taken a bit of time off, which could be six months, five years or maybe even longer, and they’ve decided to have another crack. Continue reading “Failure And How To Stop It Before It Happens”
When I worked in Costa Rica, my school required teachers to be CELTA or equivalent qualified. They didn’t care where the person was from, whether they were local, a native speaker or a non-native speaker, as long as you had the qualification and experience, then you could work there. To my knowledge, it was the only private language school in the country that had that requirement. The only one. The other schools, and there were quite a few, did not require the same level of qualifications or experience. Most of them had a preference for native speakers (as I’ve written about here), but qualified teachers were not on their radar. As a result, the school where I worked normally recruited teachers from abroad to come to Costa Rica because, as my DoS once pointed out, all of the qualified teachers living in the country were already working there. Continue reading “TEFL Is An Iceberg – Reflections on CELTA and Standards”