Friday 30 January 2015

iPadagogy: using iPads in Class

It's gotten to the point where teachers must use technology in class. Smart boards, Youtube, blogs, wikis, Blackboard, smart phones, tabs are just a few of the options that you have to choose from. Here's a photo from Educational Technology which as a bunch of ideas on how to use an iPad in class. It's based on Bloom's Taxonomy.

From smart boards, to Youtube, and even smart phones and tabs, there are lots of options to choose from. You can see the photo on the right or go to this link to see a larger version.


Sunday 25 January 2015

How to Help Teachers Become Better Teachers

Unfortunately in this day and age it seems like all schools care about is the bottom line. Students are customers instead of products. Some schools solely rely on student evaluations, which many think are just a popularity contest. I think admin has to support their teachers. There are many ways to become a better teacher. Below are 4 easy ways this can be done.

Very few schools seem to assign new teachers mentors and they are missing out on a huge opportunity to help teachers. Many schools do quite the opposite in fact. All teachers who start at a school, whether experienced or not, should be assigned a mentor. This person can help with things such as navigating the school's intranet, planning lessons, getting used to the school's technology, and even finding out how the copy machine works. Mentors are especially important when teachers don't speak the local language. It can be incredibly frustrating to try to do something simply like enter students' grades in a foreign language.

One of my first jobs had in-service workshops every other Saturday. Yes, people would complain that they would have to go to unpaid training, however, it really helped everyone involved. Two teachers were chosen at a time to present about a specific topic. By doing this, everyone got to present as well as be part of the audience. Learning about new topics and methodology is what teaching is all about since these things change often.

External workshops and conferences
I'm surprised at how few places encourage teachers to go to workshops and conferences. At the very least they should let teachers know about upcoming events. It would be nice if they would also offer to pay for part of the entrance fee.

Online Courses
We literally have the world at our fingertips. Free courses are available online at Academic Earth, Class-Central, Coursera, EdX, Lynda, Skill Crush, U of People, Udemy, and Udacity. You can also get TEFL certs online. Some popular online courses for TEFL certs are the CCELT and the Univeristy of Toronto. You can even do most of the CELTA and DELTA online nowadays. 

Peer observations
Observing other teachers and being observed can help teachers learn new ways of teaching and get feedback on how they teach. The school should set up times when teachers can be observed.


Tuesday 20 January 2015

Support TEFL Tips

This is going to be my 8th year of blogging and over the years I've been able to help people and give them advice through blog posts, comments, and emails. If you'd like to give back, there are a couple of ways you could help support the TEFL Tips.

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Thursday 15 January 2015

Getting a Fantastic TEFL Job: How to Find Hidden Gems

I recently finished my series on the The Best TEFL Jobs in the World and had a number of people ask me where I found all these jobs. Here are the ways I've found out about good jobs. I recommend making a list of good and bad jobs so the next time you are looking you know which ones to apply to.

Word of mouth
Network and get to know people. While I personally don't like recommending people for jobs nor asking them to recommend me, by talking with people you can find out key pieces of information.  Knowing where a school advertises and when is half the battle. There are so many job sites out there it's impossible to look at them all. In addition, some places only place adverts on their website or only recruit via word of mouth. Networking is key in finding a good place to work.

Read between the lines
Some job adverts don't give salary details. This may be because they're looking for professionals and not just people looking for the highest salary. It also may be because the salary is super low. Again, networking and talking to people will help you find out which jobs are good and which are bad.

Other times they post outdated salary info. This could be because a secretary just copies and pastes the info to a job board and never updates it.

Scour the internet
Here's a list of tons of TEFL job boards. Facebook and forums might also be a good place to find jobs. Find country-specific sites as well. I personally like these sites for Korea.


Saturday 10 January 2015

Business 101: Teachers, Don't Compete on Price

I double majored in Art and Business Management. Polar opposites, I know, but they both really suited me and helped me as a teacher. One of the topics that I'm passionate about is teachers' pay. When asked if teachers are paid fairly, they all unanimously said no. Salaries are going down, benefits are decreasing while responsibilities are increasing and so is the cost of living. But what can you do? It's you against them.

While that is true, there are still issues that you have control over, private lessons are one of them. Teachers who teach private students quickly learn what the going rate is and most of the time start at the lower end or in the middle. What they're trying to do is make their lessons as cheap as or cheaper than other teachers. There are a number of reasons why this is a bad choice and I'm going to discuss them below.


Why You Should Not Compete on Price
  1. Someone will always beat you. They will. Just watch and see. Before you know it you'll have a pricewar on your hands. You'll lose. It'll become a consumers' market and as a teacher you'll have to accept a lower and lower price per hour.
  2. You'll feel undervalued and underappreciated. There's more than just teaching that goes into private lessons. You may have to travel to get to them. You'll have to prep your lesson plans. Before you know it your one hour private lesson has expanded to three hours, however, you're only getting paid for one.
  3. People associate cost with worth. You get what you pay for. So if you charge less per hour than other teachers, students may think you're a worse teacher.
  4. Price is only one thing. There are other things out there, such as value, customer satisfaction, student test results, and innovative teaching methods, just to name a few. 

Why You Should Charge More
  1. People like status symbols. Diamonds, Ferraris, Mansions. They're all very expensive. There are much cheaper options out there, but people choose to get expensive items. They're status symbols that people like to show off. Similarly, there are people who will brag about being able to afford $100 an hour private lessons. Don't be followed into thinking that everyone wants the cheapest option out there.
  2. You'll make more money. If you increase your prices by 20% then that means you can make 20% more than before.
  3. You can work less. If you increase your prices by 20%, then you can work 20% less and still make what you made before. The more you charge, the more you make.
  4. You'll deal with higher quality people. If you don't want to deal with people who will nickle and dime you and always fight over price, you need to charge more. By doing this you will end up dealing people of a higher caliber. People who believe that money isn't the end all and are willing to pay for a good lesson.


Tuesday 6 January 2015

Poll Results December 2014: Would you pay to see job adverts?

In December I asked people if they would pay to see job adverts. Here are the results:
  • Yes: 6.25% with 1 vote
  • No: 93.75% with 15 votes
  • Maybe:  0% with 0 votes
I agree that there's no need to pay to see job adverts. There are tons of sites out there where you can find the info for free.


Thursday 1 January 2015

$100 discount on CCELT's online TEFL course for January 2015

CCELT is a 100-hour online TEFL certificate that focuses on quality instruction. CCELT is partnered with North America’s top teacher placement agencies, meaning that graduates will have access to a wide variety of TEFL jobs worldwide. You can work at your own pace and complete the certificate on your own time. The course costs $495 but they are currently offering $100 off until January 31st to celebrate the new year. Use discount code CCELT15. Enroll today!


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