Wednesday, 30 November 2011

Cool Link: Kids' Front

If you teach preschoolers or young learners, you're going to want to take a look at Kids' Front. They've got lots of free printables for preschool aged children.

The nice thing about Kid's Front is that not only do they have English activities that are suitable for ESL and EFL young learners, but they also have other subjects as well, such as science and math. They have a special game section called, Learn with Fun and their Activity Centre and Puzzles are also worth looking at.

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Monday, 28 November 2011

Cool Link: Ship or Sheep

It's not uncommon for ESL and EFL teachers to hear, "Teacher, how can I improve my speaking skills?" or "How can I improve my English pronunciation?" Obviously, the best way to improve is to practice speaking English.

Ship or Sheep is a great website that helps students practice minimal pairs. Not only can students see the differences in spelling and phonics, but they can also hear the differences.

The next time a student asks you how they can improve their speaking skills, point them to Ship or Sheep.

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Sunday, 27 November 2011

Hot Topic: Unpaid Vacations

One of the great perks about being a teacher is the vacation time.  Many ESL and EFL teachers get between 2 weeks and 2 months off. The lucky ones get even more time off, like those in Korea who get 5 months.

However, the problem is that some schools are making these breaks unpaid vacations by creating contracts that only last 10 months. This way the school only pays the teacher for the time they're at school and not on holiday.

Some people like this since it guarantees them time off and gives them the chance to teach at a camp or two. Other people don't like this since they'd prefer to stay with one school and earn money. 

What do you think?
Is money more important to you than free time?  Do you prefer 10 or 12 month contracts? 

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Saturday, 26 November 2011

Quick Tip: Set Goals

Just as students set goals, so should you. It helps to have something to work towards. Whether it's a diploma, masters degree, PhD, getting published, becoming a DOS, or giving a workshop, you should have a goal or two in mind so that you can move up the TEFL ladder.

Ideally you should have short and long term goals, as well create steps on how to reach those goals. Creating and reaching goals will set you apart from the crowd and ultimately allow you to get a better job with a higher salary and wonderful benefits.

Many places recommend using the SMART criteria for goals. This mean they should be:
  • Specific
  • Measureable
  • Achieveable
  • Relevant
  • Time-bound

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Friday, 25 November 2011

Poll Results October 2011: Who do you teach?

Question: Who do you teach?
  • Primary schoolers: 23% with 11 votes
  • Middle schoolers: 21% with 10 votes
  • Adults: 18% with 9 votes
  • Young learners: 16% with 8 votes
  • University students: 14% with 7 votes
  • High schoolers: 8% with 4 votes

November's poll: How many years of experience do you have? Be sure to vote now!

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Thursday, 24 November 2011

Job Site: Institute of International Education

The Institute of International Education or IIE focuses on education around the world. In addition to helping colleges and universities connect with campuses around the world, they also manage teaching fellowships and teaching exchanges. The great thing about IIE is that they also help students in need by providing support and scholarships.


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Wednesday, 23 November 2011

Cool Link: First School

If you teach young learners, you're going to want to check out First School.  They have preschool activities and crafts, such as themes and activities.  From the alphabet to holidays to colouring pages to crafts, they have a lot of ideas that will help you out in the classroom. First School is a simple very well organised site with lots of useful info.


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Tuesday, 22 November 2011

Quick Tip: Make a Teaching Portfolio

You've probably made lesson plans, worksheets, quizzes, exams, and graded a lot of your students work. You've put a lot of hard work and effort into this and one way to showcase all of this is to create a teaching portfolio.

Teaching portfolios are a great way to show off your skills at the next interview you have. You should constantly update your portfolio as well.

Student work and the material you've created are just a couple things that can go inside a teaching portfolio, your CV and certificates from conferences are also useful to add to your teaching portfolio. Try reading how to create a teaching portfolio for a full list of what to include.


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Monday, 21 November 2011

Cool Link: One Stop English

One Stop English has been around for a while and they've got lesson plan ideas and even have a forum. My favourite part of the site is the material related to specific teaching situations such as Business English, EAP, ESP, exam prep, teaching children, teaching teenagers, and CLIL. If you want to get more new ideas, you can subscribe to One Stop English.


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Sunday, 20 November 2011

Hot Topic: Teaching Hours

Tell people you're a teacher and more likely than not they'll tell you you're lucky because you have long vacations and only teach for a few hours.

Most TEFL and TESL teachers teach between 15 and 25 hours a week and while that may seem like few hours there are other things to be taken into consideration such as planning, meetings, grading, and creating material.

Nonetheless, there are teachers out there eager to teach 30, 35, or more hours in an effort to earn more money.  Some may teach at another school, teach private lessons, or just work overtime. Some teachers say this is bad since quantity is often traded for quality.  Others say they have no problems juggling the amount of hours.

What do you think?
Is money more important to you than free time?  Do you think if teachers teach many hours the quality of the lessons goes down?  Are you a teacher who can easily teach 25 or more hours per week?

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Friday, 18 November 2011

Hot Topic: The Cultural Politics of Americanization


The English Only Movement in the USA has caused lots of discussion. Some people are unhappy with the fact that Spanish is rapidly becoming a second language. From nutrition facts to call centres to adverts, Spanish can be seen all over the US.

English is still a desired language and you can see this if you travel abroad. People from different countries often use English to communicate. It has replaced French as the international language. Though people are always happy if you can speak a bit of the local language.

Some people believe this is the case because the US is a superpower. However, some people view English as the only important language and don't want the USA to have any other language. 


What do you think?
How do you feel about the US having more than one official language? Why do you think English has become the international language?

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Thursday, 17 November 2011

Job Site: Council of International Schools

If you're looking for an international school job then you need to take a look at CIS.  First, you'll have to make sure that you're qualified to teach at an international school. 

International Schools can tell you about the basic requirements. CIS is accredited and helps with teacher recruitment by holding international school job recruitment fairs. You will teach K-12 students subjects, such as math and science, in English.

If you're interested in other programmes, such as teaching fellowships or teaching exchanges, try reading the article, Exchanges and Fellowships. The information on the CIS website is not just for teachers, but also for schools, universities and those on educational boards.

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Wednesday, 16 November 2011

Cool Link: Tools for Educators

Tools for Educators is a fantastic site for all teachers. It's a branch of MES English (check out Mark's other sites here) and if you don't know about that site, you're definitely going to want to check it out if you teach ESL or EFL to kids.

Tools for Educators is great whether you teach kids ESL, EFL, math, science, history, or art, you will be able to find something here to help you out. You'll be able to make certificates, quizzes, comics, worksheets, printables, online material, board games, crossword puzzles, bingo and lots more - even dice! 

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Tuesday, 15 November 2011

Quick Tip: Writing is a Process

As teachers we often focus too much on product rather than production. Writing is a process that should students should learn step by step. It's hard enough for people to write in their native language let alone a foreign language.

ESL and EFL students need guidance when writing in English. Planning needs to be done before students can sit down and write a final draft. You should take students through these steps and have them count towards their final grade.

Perhaps the final copy could be worth 25% and other things such as notes, outlines, first drafts, editing and proofreading could make up the other 75%. Using a rubric will help both you and your students. 


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Monday, 14 November 2011

Cool Link: BBC Learning English

There's no denying that the BBC is a fantastic resource.  In addition to the regular BBC website and programmes, they have a special site, called BBC Learning English. They have general English as well as Business English.  For sport fans, they also have a Sport section.

Of course, they have grammar, vocabulary, and pronunciation.  The latter is nice since ESL and EFL students seem to constantly strive to have better English pronunciation.  There's a special section for teachers as well.

If you want to use technology in the class, every Tuesday they have a Flatmate video that your students are sure to enjoy. They also have podcasts, downloads, widgets, and a whole lot more, so check out BBC and make your lessons more exciting.


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Sunday, 13 November 2011

Hot Topic: Money's Not Important

Updated 2 December 2014

Looking at the base salary for a TESL or TEFL position can be depressing.  Money's become an issue all over the world, even in first world countries. Just take a look at We are the 99%.

There seem to be two schools of thought about money: those who care about it and those who don't.

Some people decide to head to Korea or the Middle East where the money is. Others don't care much about money and prefer to live well, like in China for example, where you might expect to earn about $600 a month. I'm not sure what those people will do when retirement rolls around though.

However, there are often added perks no matter if you go to the countries where you can make money or those where you can live well. Housing is often taken care of and that can save you a lot of money.  Free flights are often added as well. You might have chances to earn extra cash either at work by working online or at another job.  Not having to pay for a car, gas, car insurance, or health insurance can also help a lot.

Another thing to consider is the cost of living. Back home it might cost at least $25 to eat at a restaurant, but it another country it might only cost $2. Make a chart, add up the perks and subtract items you won't have to pay for like a car. You'll see that with a bit of budgeting you might not only live well, but be able to save too.

If you want to teach at a university in Korea, I'd definitely recommend Jackie Bolen's book, “How to Get a University Job in South Korea: The English Teaching Job of Your Dreams.” She wrote a couple of guest posts here at TEFL Tips, How to get the university job in Korea that you want and why I love working at a Korean university. She's been in Korea for over a decade and really knows her stuff. 


What do you think?
Is money more important to you than other things?  Or do you prefer to live well and don't care about saving?

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Saturday, 12 November 2011

Cool Link: English Addicts

This cool link was suggested by Brad Patterson.

English Addicts is a daily English lesson that improves listening comprehension and builds vocabulary. Written by 5 seasoned ELT teachers, each new lesson has 10 activities based on a hand-picked excerpt from Voice of America. In 2007, David Graddol prepared a report for the British Council demonstrating that 775% of people using English neither use an American nor British accent.

English Addicts seeks to prepare students for this reality as its 13 international accents attune their ear to both the English they may require, or the English they might encounter. Introduce your students to the free weekly lesson on Fridays. If they choose to invest further, there are over 1500 lessons are at their disposal, as well as tracking program that will allow you to monitor their progress. This will show them how quickly they can advance while following the news that interests them. For class purposes, teachers should also check out the itunes podcast accompanied by free discussions tasks with each new lesson on EnglishAddicts.com

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Friday, 11 November 2011

Job Site: World University Jobs

World University Jobs is geared towards all types of university jobs around the world. From jobs within the teaching sector, to director positions, HR jobs, fellowships, research positions, and more, they have a lot of job lists.

You can search by keyword, date posted, location, specialty, and even sort jobs. They have an advanced search option as well.

They also have other useful info such as conferences as well as links to other sites that might help you out. If you're looking for a fantastic university job, be sure to check out this site. 

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Wednesday, 9 November 2011

Cool Link: Unique Teaching Resources

Unique Teaching Resources is geared towards reading and writing, but they have other material to help teachers in the classroom as well.

Their section on positive reinforcement is great for students of all ages and particularly in early childhood education as it can help with classroom management and discipline.

If you're working with young learners, you might want to check out their teaching resources for months and holidays.  They have a lot of neat ideas there. Teenagers, adult beginners, and intermediate students would also benefit. 

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Tuesday, 8 November 2011

Quick Tip: Use Peer Editing in the ESL and EFL Classroom

More and more teachers are using the writing process to teach writing in the EFL and ESL classrooms. If you start teaching young learners about the writing process it'll become much easier for them when they have to write paragraphs and essays in the future.

Part of the writing process involves editing.  There are usually three types: self, peer, and teacher.

Using rubrics or checklists can help students use peer editing successfully in class.  Make sure students take it seriously and not just say that everything's ok. They should take time to proofread (checking for mistakes) and edit (making it better) it. One way to do this is to give students a grade for proofreading and editing another student's work.

Next time you do writing in class, be sure to give peer editing a try.  It helps both the student editing and the one receiving the feedback.

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Monday, 7 November 2011

Cool Link: The Teachers Corner

The Teachers' Corner is not specifically aimed at ESL and EFL teachers, but rather teachers who teach in regular schools or international schools.

The website is organised into sections such as lesson plans, thematic units, seasonal, bulletin boards, resources, worksheets, teaching jobs, and more.

Despite the fact that it's not directly related to ESL or EFL, there is still a lot of material that you can use in your classroom. The bulletin board and worksheet section have good ideas. You could even use the lesson plans for students who are learning subjects in English aka CLIL (content and language integrated learning).

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Sunday, 6 November 2011

Hot Topic: Masters or Teaching License?

Many people have trouble deciding whether to get a masters or teaching license.  The truth is they often serve different purposes.  Teaching licenses, otherwise known as PGCE (postgraduate certificates of education), PGDE (postgraduate diplomas of education) will lead to you becoming an NQT (newly qualified teacher) and then you'll have QTS (qualified teaching status).

All these letters simply mean that you can teach in K-12 schools. If you are able to teach in these schools, you could get a job at an international school.  In other words, you should go for a teaching license if you want to work with kids.

Masters degrees are often required to work at universities.  While having a masters degree might also increase your pay if you're at an international school, it won't get your foot in the door.  You'll need a teaching license in order to teach at an international school.

Some people say that working at an international school is better since you get free education for your children, but others say the long hours and stress that go along with it aren't worth it.  Others prefer university jobs where they have less hours per week, more vacation and don't have to deal with parents.

I personally prefer working at a university since I get a decent amount of overtime, can work a bit during the breaks and still have a couple months vacation. 


What do you think?
Is it better to get a masters degree and teach at a university or to get a teaching license and teach at an international school?


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Saturday, 5 November 2011

Quick Tip: Get ESL and EFL Students Involved

It can be easy for a teacher to forget that students need to do a lot of practice in the ESL and EFL classrooms.  Rather than try to coax students to talk and get involved in the lessons, it may seem easier to just lecture and give explanations.

You really should try to get students more involved.  Have them talk more and focus on STT (student talk time).  They could even pick an activity or theme for the day's lesson.  By giving them control, they will feel that they have more choice in the matter and will be more likely to learn.

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Friday, 4 November 2011

Hot Topic: Bosses with No Teaching Experience

In an ideal world our bosses would be in the education business because they love educating students. However, the reality is that many people start TEFL or TESL schools because it's a chance for them to make money.

They're businesspeople, not teachers or educators.  At one end of the spectrum it works out well since they know how to deal with clients and promote their business, but at the other hand they might not have any idea about curriculum or how to teach.

These same bosses tend to criticize teachers and offer them ridiculous ideas. They might also cater to the parents and their whims rather than back their teachers up.  However, their schools can do very well because of the business know-how the bosses have and many times they end up opening up franchises or another school. 


What do you think?
Do bosses with a teaching background make for better employers?  What's your DOS like: do they have an education background or are they more into the money aspect of teaching? 

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Thursday, 3 November 2011

Job Site: University Directory

If you're eager to get a university job, then you should take a look at University Directory. They have lists of universities around the world.  The site is very simple, but it has a lot of information.  It's a good place to start if you're looking for a uni gig.


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Wednesday, 2 November 2011

Cool Link: Chomp Chomp

Chomp Chomp's theme is that grammar bytes. It's a site dedicated to grammar for TESL, TEFL, and regular classroom teachers. They've got grammar terms, practice exercises, handouts, presentations, rules, as well as a couple of youtube videos. It's easy to navigate and great for students and teachers alike.


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