Thursday, 29 September 2011

Quick Tip: Teach Grammar Completely

We tend to gloss over grammar and not get into the nitty-gritty. We figure since we usually don't like to teach it, students don't like it either. While that can be true, you should still give your students as much information as possible. Remember to talk about form, function, and give examples. Let's use the present perfect as an example.

  • Form: have / has + past participle
  • Function: (there are many, but let's concentrate on one) to show that an event started in the past and is still taking place now.
  • Example: You have studied English for 2 years.

This is just a quick overview. For more info take a look at teaching grammar.

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Wednesday, 28 September 2011

Cool Link: ESL Galaxy

ESL Galaxy has lesson plans, materials, and activities for TEFL teachers. They have a neat e-learning section which has interactive quizzes and exercises. Their games section is also nice since they have worksheets, interactive games, power points, and more. They have a special section dedicated to teaching children ESL.

Got an idea for a cool link?
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Sunday, 25 September 2011

Hot Topic: MA Before Experience

Some people say it's best to get a couple years teaching experience before going for a master degree. In fact, some universities require you to have at least two years teaching experience in order to get accepted into their programme.

These people say it's good to have a basis in teaching before going for further study. It also lets you know if teaching is something you'd like to do for a while.

However, other people say it's best to get your master degree as soon as possible; even if you don't have teaching experience. These people say that it's hard to stop teaching and take time off to get a master degree, which is true since many people go for online degrees. They also think that it's best to be as qualified as you can before you start teaching.

What do you think?
Is it best to wait a couple years before doing a master degree or should you do one as soon as possible?

Got an idea for a hot topic?

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Saturday, 24 September 2011

Cool Link: ESL PDF

ESL PDF has free worksheets for teachers. They have a lot of the basics, such as vocab, grammar, and phrasal verbs.They even have holiday worksheets.

The grammar section is pretty extensive and you can get worksheets for free. They're definitely worth checking out!

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Thursday, 22 September 2011

Quick Tip: Grouping

There are many different ways to group students and some groupings work best for a certain type of activity. 
  • Sitting in rows is good for lectures.  
  • Clusters or tables are nice for group activities.  
  • Two rows facing each other work well for debates.  
  • A circle can be nice for a class discussion.  
  • Pair work for many situation. They can work sit next to each other, across from each other, or even back-to-back for videos

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Wednesday, 21 September 2011

ESL Educators Blog Carnival: September 2011, TEFL Certificates

TEFL Tips is hosting the ESL Educators Blog Carnival this month: a group of bloggers from across the spectrum.  Lots of experience, tips, and ideas to help ESL and EFL teachers out.

From TEFL Newbie
The Internet is the Internet and you will read many opinions, some very definite and positive, but still just opinions about what kind of TEFL Training is acceptable. About international standards. About what employers will or won’t accept. Some people say only the CELTA or Trinity are okay and suggest you are wasting your money with anything else. But you should know that there is not ONE organization or ONE set standard in the world for TEFL programs. Period. There just isn’t. Find out by reading Ted's blog at TEFL Newbie.

Ted Tucker is a retired TEFL educator and TEFL Teacher Trainer. With an overseas career that started as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Botswana in 1989 - he has been abroad ever since working in countries throughout Asia and the Middle East. You can find him at TEFL Newbie.

From My Several Worlds

Just because you speak English fluently doesn’t mean you understand the mechanics of how the English language works. A good TEFL course will give you the basics that you need to become a successful and skilled educator. Here's why you should take a TEFL training course if you want to teach abroad.  Find out by reading the post TEFL Courses Explained - Why You Should Take A TEFL Training Course To Teach Abroad at Carrie's site, My Several Worlds.

Carrie Kellenberger, a freelance writer and photographer living in Asia since 2003, writes about life as an expat, Asian travel destinations, and her experiences working in the ESL industry on her award-winning web site, My Several Worlds

From TEFL Tips
On-site, online, weekend, intensive, semestre long: with so many choices out there it's hard to TEFL cert. Some TEFL courses are well worth the time, effort, and money and others won't get you noticed when you apply for teaching jobs. Find out which ones are worth it and which ones you should skip at Choosing a TEFL Course.

Sharon de Hinojosa is your host here at TEFL Tips. I've been teaching English since early 2003.  I got started posting on Dave’s ESL Cafe shortly after and found myself regularly helping out other people and giving advice to newbies.  Over time, things progressed and I thought it would be a good idea to compile answers to FAQ that newbies often have about TEFLing and that’s how my wonderful TEFL Tips got started.

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Tuesday, 20 September 2011

Cool Link: ESL Flow

ESL Flow is a site for those who teaching elementary, pre-intermediate, and intermediate levels. They also have some pretty neat picture based lessons.

It's a pretty simple site and easy to navigate. They have topics such as debates, culture, and small talk. They also have the 4 skills, grammar, and vocab as well as a section on IELTS. 

Got an idea for a cool link?
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Sunday, 18 September 2011

Hot Topic: Criminal Background Checks

Some countries, like Korea, require their teachers to get criminal background checks (CBC) / criminal record checks (CRC) in order to get a visa to teach English.

Many teachers hate getting these checks, not because they have something to hide, but because of all the work it takes to get them.

American teachers, for example, have to go to their local police station and get fingerprinted. Then send that to the FBI and wait up to 3 months. That report usually gets sent to family or friends back in the US if the teacher is abroad and then they have to send it to the Department of State in Washington to get it apostillised and that can take another 2 weeks.The clock starts ticking from when the FBI stamps your CBC; from that date it's only good for 6 months (in Korea). I got two checks last year and they both took 4 months, from the time they left Korea until I got them back apostillised.

Other teachers don't like them because they say it makes them feel like criminals. Other foreigners can work in that country and don't have to get CBCs, but they do. Visa officals maintain that it helps keep the children they teach safe, though even teachers who teach adults have to get CBCs.

What do you think?
Should teachers be required to get CBCs?  Did you have to get one for your job?

Got an idea for a hot topic?

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Saturday, 17 September 2011

Cool Link: My English Grammar

My English Grammar is a website dedicated to grammar. From the basics, such as nouns and verbs to more advanced grammar, such as clauses, determiners, and qualifiers, you'll find it all here.

They've got lessons on parts of speech, an introduction to tenses, and useful information on English Writing. Next time you need help figuring out grammar be sure to check out this site.

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Friday, 16 September 2011

Quick Tip: Stop Talking

Too often teachers spend too much time talking and not enough time listening. Teachers need to learn how better classroom management skills. Teachers may like to be the centre of attention and have everyone looking at them.  However, TTT (teacher talk time) shouldn't be greater than STT (student talk time).

Most teachers only wait a second or two for students to come up with the right answer and that's simply not enough time. Try waiting for a minute or two. Watch the clock. It'll be hard, but it'll give students time to think and write their answer down if they want. Although many of us are afraid of silence, it really gives the students time they need.

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Wednesday, 14 September 2011

Cool Link: English Club

English Club has resources for those who want to teach English as well as learn it.  They've got some neat features such as idioms, slang, phrasal verbs, lesson plans, games, quizzes, as well as a forum. They also have a Learning English Video Project that is worth checking out. Their site is great because it's made for teachers by teachers.


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Monday, 12 September 2011

Hot Topic: Too Young to Teach

Discrimination is rampant in TEFL. While most schools and language institutes accept anyone who's qualified, some have age limits (ageism) and some promote sexism.

Some schools won't hire you if you're too old and others won't hire you if you're too young. Having finished high school and university early, I started teaching a couple months after my 20th birthday. I had a TEFL cert and a BA and didn't have  problems getting a job. But that was years ago.

Times have changed. Some employers want their teachers to be at least 25 to teach for them. They cite maturity as a reason. Other times, countries have restrictions. In Malaysia for example you have to be 27 in order to get a work visa. In China, in theory, you have to be at least 24 to teach English.

What do you think?
Do you think teachers should be 25 to teach?  Have you had problems getting a job due to your age?

Got an idea for a hot topic?

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Sunday, 11 September 2011

ESL EFL Roadshow: Job Interview Tips

TEFL Tips is hosting the first ESL EFL Roadshow this month: a group of bloggers from around the world. Lots of experience, tips, and ideas to help ESL and EFL teachers out. This month's topic is job interview tips.

From TEFL Newbie
Most people approach TEFL interviews the same way they would an interview back in their home country. Two problems with that. First, many of us are hoping to escape that uncomfortable and degrading process in a new world overseas. Second, more often than not your interviewer is not from that Western world and has distinctly different ideas about who they want to hire and why. Here's how to win that job!  Find out by reading Ted's blog TEFL Newbie.

Ted Tucker is a retired TEFL educator and TEFL Teacher Trainer. With an overseas career that started as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Botswana in 1989 - he has been abroad ever since working in countries throughout Asia and the Middle East. You can find him at TEFL Newbie.

From Istanbul's Stranger
Remember, you're interviewing them too. Four tips about weird job interviews that might be telling you something is seriously awry. Find out more by reading Istanbul's Stranger's blog.


Istanbul's Stranger is originally from Reno, Nevada and most recently from Portland, Oregon. Stranger came to Turkey almost 10 years ago. She had all kinds of education before that, which she's still paying for. Stranger's been working in the former Byzantium since she arrived, teaching adults at language schools and universities. She also did some freelance writing while on work-hiatus for baby-raising, and currently babysits grown-up children in the English prep department of a large university.

From Teacher in Mexico
Congratulations! You just finished your EFL teacher training, those grueling four weeks of sweating over coming up with interesting ideas for classes, of pouring over page after page of theory, of juggling type three conditionals. Well you're all done. So what’s next? The job interview. Find out more by reading Guy's blog Teacher in Mexico.

Guy Courchesne, TEFL course instructor, Teachers Latin America. Guy is a journalist and and EFL teacher that has lived in Mexico for 11 years. Guy has been teaching business EFL and TEFL courses for the last 9 years in Mexico City, Acapulco, and Guadalajara. Guy is a member of Mextesol and also gives English teaching workshops to language institutes around Mexico. You can find him at Teacher in Mexico.

From TEFL Tips
Interviews can be daunting but if you're prepared and know what to expect you'll have no problem acing your interview. Don't forget to ask questions as well! Find out what questions you'll be asked and what questions you should ask the interviewer by reading TEFL Tips.


Sharon de Hinojosa is your host here at TEFL Tips. I've been teaching English since early 2003.  I got started posting on Dave’s ESL Cafe shortly after and found myself regularly helping out other people and giving advice to newbies.  Over time, things progressed and I thought it would be a good idea to compile answers to FAQ that newbies often have about TEFLing and that’s how my wonderful TEFL Tips got started.

TEFL Tips recommends:

Saturday, 10 September 2011

Cool Link: Teacher Planet

Teacher Planet has lesson plan templates, rubrics, worksheets, tools for teachers, and a lot more.  While not specifically aimed at TEFL teachers, there is still a lot of information you can use in your classroom, such as rubrics, themes, certificates, jokes, articles, and even online degrees. To make things even better they even have a special section for ESL. 

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Thursday, 8 September 2011

Quick Tip: Positive Reinforcement

When you think of classroom management and discipline you tend to think more about punishments than rewards. It really should be the other way around. Positive reinforcement works wonders and with all ages, levels, and number of students in a class.

Shouting at students and tell them to sit up straight ruins the whole environment. Compliment one student on seating nicely and you'll find the rest eager to please the teacher and will sit up properly straightaway.

Boys and girls tend to learn differently, but positive reinforcement works with everyone. There are lots of ways to use positive reinforcement in the classroom.
  • Verbal praise is great and free. 
  • Some teachers use stickers, games, or candy.  
  • Try phoning home. You'll feel good and I guarantee you'll make the parent's day.  An added plus: the parent will tell their child and they'll beam with pride.


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Wednesday, 7 September 2011

Poll Results: August 2011

Question: How long is your commute?
  • Less than 15 minutes 40% with 9 votes
  • 15-30 minutes 30% with 7 votes
  • 31-60 minutes 26% with 6 votes
  • 61-90 minutes 4% with 1 vote

September's poll: How do you get to work? Be sure to vote now!

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Tuesday, 6 September 2011

Cool Link: ESL Base

This website has TEFL jobs around the world, information about teacher training, language schools, country specific information, as well as a forum.

ESL Base is pretty well organised and has courses, schools, diaries, and TEFL A-Z arranged by alphabetical order. You can find lots of useful TEFL info here no matter what age or level you teach.

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Sunday, 4 September 2011

Hot Topic: Too Old to Teach

Discrimination is here to stay and ageism is alive and kicking in the TEFL world. While most jobs have cutoff ages around 55. I've seen some adverts that don't accept teachers older than 45. Sometimes this is due to visa requirements, but other times it's due to individual schools.

While many people think this is unfair (and they're right), there are also lower age limits. Malaysia, for example, won't give teaching visas to people under 27.

While I understand that it gets more difficult to teach and medical care may increase while you get older, I think that people should be able to teach until they're at least 65. People have fought against ageism. Some have won and others have lost. Always have a Plan B in case things don't work out.

What do you think?
What's the cutoff age at your job?  Have you had problems getting a job due to your age?

Got an idea for a hot topic?

Email me with your hot topic idea, name, and website (if you have one) and I'll post it ASAP.

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Friday, 2 September 2011

World Media Awards

The following is a guest post by Murray Newlands

Blogging Awards: Why you Should Participate

There are a lot of very good bloggers and publishers doing excellent work, and those who stand out deserve to have their hard work recognized, relate with each other, and see their readerships grow. That’s why the World Media Awards exist- to recognize and reward great contributions to media from bloggers and publishers.

In my own career, I’ve learned and benefited so much from others that I wanted to help establish some way to give back to an industry I love show appreciation to the up-and-coming leaders. The World Media Awards will culminate in a 1 day event in San Francisco that will celebrate the best in blogging, forums, publishing and media from around the world.

So if you are a world-class blogger, why should you enter?

1. Get Recognized- You Deserve It!
You put a lot of work into making your blog incredible. You know it and your readers know it. The World Media Awards is a way for you to get authoritative recognition from other bloggers and industry experts. That recognition will help you grow your readership, make new collaborative connections, and hopefully have great moments that make all the late nights even more rewarding.

2. Meet Other Bloggers Who Care
Blogging, forums and most other on-line media is about conversation and interaction, but sometimes it’s easy to end up pecking away behind a monitor in your office or home all alone. Meeting other bloggers and publishers keeps the fire lit and the conversation going. When you enter the World Media Awards, you’ll be listed alongside other bloggers and publishers who put the same level of pleasure, care and work into making their blog top notch.

3. Expose Yourself to New Partners
If your blog or forum is part of your business, being part of the World Media Awards will increase your exposure by putting your name in front of numerous visitors to our site and the award ceremony. That means you can find out who else is doing very good work, strut your own stuff, and expand your network of contacts and collaborators. You can learn how to become a blogging success.

4. Make Yourself Irresistible to Clients
What helps your chances at winning that next pitch more than extending your network? Telling that network that you are the winner of a World Media Award. Winning an award shines a light on your achievements, and it serves as an example of the commitment, engagement and exacting standards you apply to your work.

5. Be Part of the Beginning of Something Big
Because 2012 is the first year for these awards, you have the one-time benefit to be the inaugural winner and set the standard for the World Media Awards in your category. Getting in on the ground floor of these awards will open doors for you as a blogger and a publisher.

The bottom line is, the World Media Awards will shine a spotlight on the year’s most prosperous bloggers and publishers, and on the companies and businesses that serve and interact with them.

Now is your chance to be one of them.
The sponsors include Growmap, Pace Lattin, VigLink and Trancos. World Media Award judges include Steve Hall, Sarah Austin, Chang Kim, Julie Wohlberg, Pierre Zarokian, Ivka Adam, Cheryl Contee, Krystyl Baldwin, Adrian Harris, Jeremy Wright, Rob Bloggeries, Dave Duarte, Tanya Alvarez, Dana Oshiro, Tom Foremski, and Judith Lewis. hashtag #wmads on Twitter.

Media partners include Adrants, Bloggeries, MediaVision, The Affiliate Marketing Awards, Read Write Web, My Blog Guest, Web Traffic Control and FeedBlitz.

Murray Newlands is author of How to Make a Blog Book and Online Marketing; a User Guide. He is also founder of the Affiliate Marketing Awards. Born in the UK, he now spends his time in San Francisco and New York. Murray works for Audience Mindshare and consults for Trancos Ins as well as being an advisor for VigLink. Currently he is working on his new book: The Email Marketing Book.

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Thursday, 1 September 2011

Teaching the Teachers


Updated 26 September 2014

This article has been published in Voices by IATEFL in the November / December 2011 issue and the March / April 2012 issue. You might also be interested in becoming a teacher trainer.

nomad soul from Dave's ESL Cafe has some good advice for teachers wanting to get into training. 

If you're looking for online courses, check out How to Train the Trainers offered by International House.

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