Wednesday, 29 February 2012

Cool Link: Writing Wizard

If you're looking for worksheets for children so that they can practice their writing, then try taking a look at writing wizard. You can make worksheets so that children can practice writing the alphabet, using cursive, or printing. It's a simple site, but a great idea, so check out Writing Wizard if you teach young learners or children.



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

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Tuesday, 28 February 2012

Quick Tip: Talk to Teachers Before Accepting a Job

When getting hired from abroad it's hard to know if the school you'll be working for will be good or bad, since chances are you won't be able to visit before you start working. One thing that you can do is do your research before you go. Do a search or go to forums, such as Dave's ESL Cafe and see if you can find anything.

Another thing you can do is ask the school to put you in touch with past or present teachers. Granted, the school isn't going to put you in contact with teachers who hate working there, but if they downright refuse to put you in touch with anyone, don't consider taking the job. By talking to teachers you can learn about the school, city, school, and other people at the school.

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Monday, 27 February 2012

Cool Link: Web English Teacher

There's lots of information about reading and writing on Web English Teacher.Whether you're working for an institute or an international school, you'll be able to find something here to help you out.

If you're at an international school or working with advanced EFL or ESL students, then you could use their AP, IB, Drama, Journalism, Shakespeare, or Young Adult Literature.

If you work with students who have a lower level of English, you could take a look at the information about Book Reports, ENL (English as a New Langauge)/ ESL, Grammar, or Just for Fun.

No matter where you teach or what level, if you're looking for reading and writing information, take a look at Web English Teacher.


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Sunday, 26 February 2012

Hot Topic: Parents Involved at School

In this day and age it's great to see parents get involved at school and take an interest in their children's learning. However, some take it way to far by criticising the teacher, school, and admin.

As a teacher you may get parents complaining to the admin about your teaching because their kid is too smart for an activity or perhaps you talk to fast so they don't understand. Either way, there are some parents that you can't please. They complain that you don't give homework, then complain that it's too much.

While some admin support their teachers, many, if not most, side with the parents since the parents pay the fees. In addition, many times the admin is similiar to the parents; neither have teaching experience.

What do you think?
Does the admin usually back the parents where you work?  Have you had problems with parents getting too involved?

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

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Saturday, 25 February 2012

TEFL Tips Was Voted Best Education Blog

TEFL Tips has been voted the "Best Education Blog" in the World Media Awards. What are the WMA's about? Their goal is to recognize the year’s most successful bloggers and publishers. People from around the world submitted their favorites and our team of judges evaluated all of the finalists.

The World Media Awards recognizes successful bloggers and publishers from across the globe. To see all of the 2012 winners, visit the World Media Awards website.

"I am thrilled to help shine a spotlight on some of the best blogs from around the world. I think it's important to hold up examples of bloggers and publishers doing great things." -- Murray Newlands, Founder

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Friday, 24 February 2012

My Favourite TEFL Tips Posts

Over the years I've written a lot of articles about teaching but I have my favourites which I update the most often. Here are my favorite posts in no particular order.
  • Is a degree necessary to teach English abroad?: This question comes up so often on TEFL forums. While it would be ideal that everyone had a degree, university is so expensive nowadays that not everyone does. This article tells you which countries you can legally teach in without a degree and also lists some specific employers that will hire you. It also tells you how you can get your degree online from legit universities as well as explains ways to fast-track your college career via testing out of classes, using work experience, and more.
  • Choosing a TEFL course: There are tons of TEFL courses out there it's hard for a newbie to know which ones are worth the money. This article will compare and contrast the advantages of doing an online TEFL course vs. an on-site TEFL course. It also tells you about the top 3 TEFL courses, what good TEFL courses should have, as well as provides resources (such as the Peace Corps) for you to find out about TEFLing for free if you can't afford a course at the moment. 
  • How to write a TEFL CV: Having gotten hundreds of CVs over the years I'm always surprised at how many people can't write a good CV. Your CV is how you sell yourself to an employer and you should put a decent amount of time and effort into writing it. CVs for teaching jobs overseas are a lot different from those back home, for example, you'd probably include a photo as well as your birthday and other personal information. This article will tell you what you should include and gives you tips on how to write a good CV (such as looking at teaching job adverts to find out about key phrases).
  • How to write a TEFL cover letter: Just like CVs, it's amazing how many people don't put a lot of effort into their cover letters. This article will tell you what you should and shouldn't include in a cover letter as well as provide a cover letter template. Most people know that they should be personalised, but few actually do it. Some people are even guilty of emailing a cover letter addressed to the wrong person. 
  • What's the best country to teach English in?: This article will tell you which countries are the best for saving money, for living well, a mix of both, teaching in Europe, and teaching in international schools. You'll find out about the most popular countries for TEFLing and why people go there.
  • Europe without an EU passport: Some people wrongly believe that they can't legally live, work, or teach in Europe without an EU passport, but there are programmes that will allow you to do so. For example, France and Spain's Ministries of Education have special  teaching assistant programmes for native speakers that provide them with a visa, stipend, and on occasion: housing. This article also discusses citizenship, residency, has country specific info for Europe, and a whole lot more. At 3,000 words this is one of the longest articles I've written.
  • TEFL job sites: Not so much an article as a list of places to look for teaching jobs, this post breaks job sites down into categories such as chain schools and recruiters, higher education job sites, international school job sites, general TEFL job sites, and a whole lot more.
  • TEFL interview and demo lesson: Interviews can be stressful and demo lessons can be especially nerve-wracking. This article gives you interview tips, suggested answers, tips for asking the interviewer questions, as well as links to other teaching job interview sites. The demo lesson section will tell you how to prepare, what to expect, and more. This article will provide you with tips so that you can ace your next teaching interview and demo lesson.
  • Sites for lesson planning: tons of links that will help you plan your lessons and make them fun and exciting. From beginners to advanced as well as specialised classes, you'll find tons of links here.  
  • Furthering your education: TEFL certificates, diplomas, master degrees, and PhDs: This article explains about some of the most popular TEFL certificates and diplomas. You'll also find a comprehensive list of master degree programmes related to teaching, TEFL, and linguistics around the world that can be done entirely online or only require a minimum amount of time on campus.
  • Working holiday visas and short-term jobs: While most jobs last for a year, this article will discuss WHV (working holiday visas) and short-term jobs. You'll find out what type of jobs offer short term contracts, how to get a WHV, specific employers that offer shorter contracts, and which countries often have short-term teaching contracts.
  • FAQ for Latin America: This article has FAQ for many countries in Latin America. Find out about visas, salaries, how to get work, border hopping, and who the best employers are. I've complied info from teachers who have lived in this counties and put them into one easy-to-read article. At 5,000 words this is one of the longest articles I've put together.
  • International schools: Some of the better jobs are at international schools. Find out what the requirements to teach at international schools are, recruiting fairs, how to get a good job, how to become a licensed teacher, and more. You'll also learn where to look for jobs, about international school recruiters, as well as where to look to find out if an international school is good or bad.
  • Saving for retirement and where to retire: Many TEFL teachers spend so much time abroad that it's only logical that they retire overseas. This article will list some of the most popular countries around the world, tell you what their requirements are, and explain where you can get more information about their retirement visas.

    TEFL Tips recommends:

    Thursday, 23 February 2012

    Korea's Private School Act

    Updated 2 December 2014

    A new blog about TEFLing in Korea came out late last year. The author goes by the "Will Wiggle".

    Way too many teachers get the short end of the stick when teaching in Korea and this is partly due to the fact that they don't know about the laws. Will Wiggle is out to change all that. He has less than 10 posts on his blog, but they're all pure gold and people are starting to stand up and pay attention to what he has to say.

    In January he posted about Korea's Private School Act which states, “any teacher / instructor / professor working at a private school (not hakwons) or a private university who is going to be non-renewed must be notified in writing at least 4 months in advance and be given a chance to appeal in a hearing.” This eliminates 11 month firings which are so common in Korea. You can find the Private School Act in Korean and English on Will Wiggle's Blog or look for him on Facebook.  

    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. 


    Your Opinion 
    What do you think about TEFLing in Korea?

    TEFL Tips recommends:

    Wednesday, 22 February 2012

    Cool Link: Language Software

    Language Software Reviews is helpful for both students and teachers. It has reviews for 10 different languages, such as Spanish, Chinese, and French.

    They also have reviews for a number of software programmes, such as Babylon and Rosetta Stone. If you're students are looking to buy a programme, you can point them to this site.  In addition, if you'd like to learn the language of the country you're teaching at, this might be a good places to start.

    Got an idea for a cool link?
    Email me with your cool link, name, and website (if you have one) and I'll post it ASAP.

    TEFL Tips recommends:

    Tuesday, 21 February 2012

    Job Site: Teachers International Consultancy

    Teachers International Consultancy has information about their schools as well as upcoming seminars and training sessions. You can also fine international school jobs available for qualified teachers.

    They have over 25 years experience recruiting teachers and are associate members of a variety of professional organisations. They work with over 100 schools and most of the schools have about 1500 students.

    They have long and short term positions, as well as last minute positions. If you're interested in applying for positions, you'll have to register with them first. Many of the schools are British, so you should have experience or knowledge of the British Curriculum (UKNC).

    Got an idea for a job site?
    Email me with your job site, name, and website (if you have one) and I'll post it ASAP.

    TEFL Tips recommends:

    Monday, 20 February 2012

    ESL Educator's Blog Carnival: Tips for Teaching Specific Groups

    TEFL Tips is hosting this month's carnival. The topic for is tips for teaching specific groups of learners. If you're interested in participating in this blog carnival please contact me.

    . . .  from My Several Worlds
    Teaching English as a Second Language can be a challenge for any native English speaker, even those with TEFL training. This month, Carrie Kellenberger offers three tips to teach specific groups of ESL learners, including tips for teaching kids, teenagers, adults, Business English, IELTS, and zero-beginners. You can find Carrie's tips and more at the ESL educator's guide - tips for teaching to specific groups of ESL students at 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 Wandering Educators
    The Jo Sheppard Head Start Center in Florida serves immigrant and migrant populations. The classrooms are cozy, linguistically rich environments. There is a solid group of well-trained teachers guiding the cognitive, emotional, and linguistic development of the children in a variety of ways. The Center’s focus remains bilingualism: acquire English and develop Spanish. The school is a model for bilingual education. You can find Maria's tips and more at soar leaders tomorrow.

    Maria Alvarez is the ESL Editor for Wandering Educators. She teaches ESL/Bilingual Endorsement Courses at Quincy University, and is a tutor and academic advisor IB/AP English and Spanish, College Prep.

    . . . from TEFL Tips
    Teaching young learners is particularly rewarding because they learn so quickly. However, it can also be challenging to teach when the girls are sitting nicely with their hands folded on their laps while the boys run laps around the classroom. Or when the boys are eager to do science experiments and the girls want nothing to do with them. No one can deny that boys and girls learn differently. Therefore it's only logical that you adapt your activities to suit them. Making simple changes will allow boys and girls to get the most out of class. You can find Sharon's tips and more at how boys and girls learn differently and what to do about it.

    Sharon de Hinojosa has been TEFLing since 2003.  She started posting on Dave’s ESL Cafe and found herself regularly giving advice to newbies and thought it would be good to compile answers to FAQ that newbies often have and that’s how TEFL Tips got started.

    TEFL Tips recommends:

    Sunday, 19 February 2012

    Hot Topic: Summer and Winter Camps

    You've just been told that you get to teach an English camp. There'll be fun, games, and of course a whole lot of English learning going on. It'll be all day, from at least 9am to 6pm, but hopefully you'll get paid extra for teaching it. Some employers make it mandatory by sticking it in the contract.

    Camps can be good and bad. The good thing is that students are exposed to English all day and they often only last for a week or two. The bad news is that they're often poorly organised and not very well paid for all the work that goes into them.

    Both students and teachers are usually exhausted after camps and sometimes teachers end up feeling bitter because of all the hardwork they put in and having to constantly be on their toes, especially if they aren't paid extra.

    What do you think?
    Do camps help students learn English or are they just a way for the school to get publicity?  If you had to teach a camp lately, did you get paid extra for doing so?

    Got an idea for a hot topic?
    Email me with your hot topic, name, and website (if you have one) and I'll post it ASAP

    TEFL Tips recommends:

    Saturday, 18 February 2012

    Job Site: Network of Christian Schools

    If you're looking to work in a Christian K-12 school, then take a look at Network of Christian Schools. There aren't that many schools in the system, but they do have schools all over the world. They have schools in North America, South America, Africa, Asia, and the Middle East.

    If you'd like to work at one of their schools, you can check the careers section. They also recommend you contacting them even if there are no positions at the school where you'd like to work.


    Got an idea for a job site?
    Email me with your job site, name, and website (if you have one) and I'll post it ASAP.

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    Friday, 17 February 2012

    Quick Tip: Personalise Your Cover Letter

    It's easy to make a standard cover letter and copy and paste it into an email or attach it as a file.  The problem with this is that every job is different and every cover letter should be different as well.

    In addition, no one wants to get a cover letter that says "to whom it may concern" or "dear sir or madam". The least you should do is find out the name of the person you're sending it to. Cover letters are what an employer sees first and if your cover letter gets rejected, the employer will never look at your CV.

    Another thing you should do is read through the job advert and highlight the skills or qualifications they ask for.  If they're looking for someone with a masters degree and two years experience teaching at a university, then you should mention that in your cover letter.

    It doesn't take much time to personalise a cover letter and it's much better to send out 10 personalised cover letters than 20 generic ones.  The generic ones are likely to be chucked in the bin while at least the personalised ones will be read.

    Got an idea for a quick tip?
    Email me with your quick tip, name, and website (if you have one) and I'll post it ASAP.

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    Thursday, 16 February 2012

    Job Site: Tutor Bungalow

    If you're looking to teach private lessons in the US, then you should register with Tutor Bungalow. It's free to register and students can search for you by your location or the subject you teach.

    To make things even better Tutor Bungalow works with some in-home tutoring companies that can also match you with students.  If you're in the US and looking to become a tutor, then register with Tutor Bungalow.


    Got an idea for a job site?
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    Tuesday, 14 February 2012

    Quick Tip: Use Rubrics for Grading

    When you have to grade subjectively it can be hard to be fair. Since there's no black and white answer, it's easy for emotions to get in the way.

    The best thing to do is to create rubrics. You can create them by yourself or with your students. Rubrics are great because they help break everything down into smaller sections, which are easier to grade.

    You can find more about using rubrics in rubrics for assessment. So the next time you have to grade speaking or writing in your EFL or ESL classroom, try using rubrics.

    Got an idea for a quick tip?
    Email me with your quick tip, name, and website (if you have one) and I'll post it ASAP.

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    Monday, 13 February 2012

    Cool Link: English Current

    Trying to make English come alive in class using real life examples?  Then look at English Current. It's got free materials based on current events and the news. It's organised by topic as well as date the lesson plans were made, so you'll be sure to find something that will help you out in class.

    While the news lesson plans make up the majority of the site, they also have warm up material, job interview tips, lesson plans for private classes, insurance vocabulary and worksheets, and well as 20 common mistakes made by Czech speakers. New lesson plans are created about twice a week, so check back often for new ideas.

    Got an idea for a cool link?
    Email me with your cool link, name, and website (if you have one) and I'll post it ASAP.

    TEFL Tips recommends:

    Sunday, 12 February 2012

    Hot Topic: Being a Foreigner

    You move to a new country and everything's peachy for a while, then reality and culture shock set in: you're a foreigner. You're an outsider. Someone people get pointed and stared at or completely ignored when they try to ask a question.

    Some people always remain on the outside, not integrating or learning the language. Others try hard to learn the language and integrate themselves into society even though it can be hard. Sometimes even people who speak the language very well remain on the outside simply because they are viewed as a foreigner.

    What do you think?
    Do you try to learn the language of the country you're living in?  Have you been able to integrate yourself into society?

    Got an idea for a hot topic?
    Email me with your hot topic, name, and website (if you have one) and I'll post it ASAP

    TEFL Tips recommends:

    Friday, 10 February 2012

    Cool Link: Teaching English Games

    Free games arranged by ages: preschool, primary, teens / adults can be found at Teaching English Games. She also has games and stories for sale as well.

    In addition to the games on Shelley's site you can find ESL plays, ESL stories for young learners, and ESL teaching articles. There's lots of material on this site to help make teaching English fun, so be sure to take a look.

    Got an idea for a cool link?
    Email me with your cool link, name, and website (if you have one) and I'll post it ASAP.

    TEFL Tips recommends:

    Thursday, 9 February 2012

    Job Site: Electronic Network for Latin American Careers and Employments

    The University of Texas at Austin has EnLANIC or the Electronic Network for Latin American Careers and Employment. They have employment links to websites, databases, governmental organisation, higher education, and international organisations.

    As if that's not enough, they also have internship, fellowship, and volunteering links. They also have another section specifically for students studying Latin American Studies at the University of Texas at Austin. If you want to work in Latin America, then check this site out.

    Got an idea for a job site?
    Email me with your job site, name, and website (if you have one) and I'll post it ASAP.

    TEFL Tips recommends:

    Wednesday, 8 February 2012

    Cool Link: Total ESL

    While they're mainly focused on ESL and EFL jobs, Total ESL also has lots of other things that might interest you.

    They've got teacher resumes (so you can get ideas on what to put on your CV), lists of language schools through Asia, the Middle East, and Europe, private tutors (so if you're looking for private students, you can add your info), ESL debates, blogs, country specific information, warnings about scams, useful links, and lots more.


    Got an idea for a cool link?
    Email me with your cool link, name, and website (if you have one) and I'll post it ASAP.

    TEFL Tips recommends:

    Tuesday, 7 February 2012

    Poll Results January 2012: How many years of teaching experience do you have?

    January's poll was "How many years of teaching experience do you have?"  Here are the results.
    • less than 1 year:  37%  with 11 votes
    • 1-2 years: 30% with 9 votes
    • 3-4 years: 10% with 3 votes
    • 5-9 years: 20% with 6 votes
    • 10-15 years: 3% with 1 vote
    • more than 16 years: 0% with 0 votes
    It appears that newbies are more interested in learning about TEFL via blogs than olbies are. Be sure to vote in February's poll: "How long is your vacation?"

    TEFL Tips recommends:

    Monday, 6 February 2012

    Cool Link: ESL Kid Stuff

    If the colours don't grab your attention, the content will. ESL Kid Stuff is made for children learning English. They've got tons of material, such as flashcards, worksheets, lesson plans, games, songs, holiday, class tips, articles, and links to help you out.

    The downside? You've got to pay to get access to all of this. The good news is that it's only $25, so you could spring for it, or ask your boss to pay. You can see some of their flashcards, worksheets, and classroom management tips for free.

    Got an idea for a cool link?
    Email me with your cool link, name, and website (if you have one) and I'll post it ASAP.

    TEFL Tips recommends:

    Sunday, 5 February 2012

    Hot Topic: Online TEFL Certs

    Updated 28 November 2014

    Since technology has become a part of life, people are looking at ways to study without having to take time off work.  Online masters degree programmes are popping up all over the place, as are online TEFL certs. Is this good or bad?  Well, it's both.  Some places are legit and some aren't.

    The general concensus is that a TEFL cert should have 100 (or 120) hours with 6 hours of teaching practice. Most online courses are shorter than 100 hours; they may only be 30 or 60.  In addition, few of them actually have any teaching practice component. Some of them do, for example, the CELTA can now by mainly done online. CCELT is a 100-hour online TEFL certificate. There's also one from the University of Toronto that has 100, 120, and 150 hour options.

    So if you're going to study a TEFL cert you should do it right.  If you want to do one online, make sure there's a practical teaching component.  Sometimes you have to travel to the TEFL course provider or sometimes they allow you to ask an experienced teacher to observe and grade you.

    What do you think?
    Are online certs worth it?  Is it better to do one on-site?

    Got an idea for a hot topic?
    Email me with your hot topic, name, and website (if you have one) and I'll post it ASAP

    TEFL Tips recommends:

    Saturday, 4 February 2012

    Quick Tip: Diversify Your Income

    You've probably heard the expression "don't put all your eggs in one basket" and it holds true for money as well. Retirement fund managers tell people saving for retirement to diversify their savings and you should also diversify your income. There are lots of ways to earn a bit off extra cash, both online and off line. Even if it's only a couple hundred dollars it's better than nothing. You could save this money, use it for a vacation, pay off debts, or invest it.

    Here are some simple ideas to help you earn more money. If you're looking at making money online read earning money online.  If you want to make money off line read supplementing your salary

    Don't forget about taxes. Some countries, like the US, require citizens and permanent residents to file every single year even if they don't owe any money.  The US also requires you to pay taxes if you earn more than $400 a year from self employment.  You can read more at US taxes for expats.


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    Friday, 3 February 2012

    Cool Link: English Media Lab

    More and more ESL and EFL students are asking for interactive learning, English Media Lab has the perfect solution for children and adults alike. They've got free English exercises for interactive ESL learning, such as online grammar exercises, vocabulary videos, pronunciation exercises, and interactive quizzes.

    As if that wasn't enough, they also have games, puzzles, and math exercises for children. You can use these activities in class or assign them for homework, so check out this website today.


    Got an idea for a cool link?
    Email me with your cool link, name, and website (if you have one) and I'll post it ASAP.

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    Thursday, 2 February 2012

    Job Site: Association of American Schools in South America

    If you're a licensed teacher looking to teach in South America, then look no further than the Association of American Schools in South America (AASSA).

    They've got information about their schools, recruiting information for those who want to work at their schools, conferences that you can attend, as well as membership of AASSA. Check out the AASSA if you'd like to work in a K-12 school in South America.


    Got an idea for a job site?
    Email me with your job site, name, and website (if you have one) and I'll post it ASAP.

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