Friday 30 October 2015

Poll Results: My Time in Korea . . .

I asked people what they thought about their time in Korea. Here are the results.
  • It was just right. I'm still here. 30.19% with 48 votes.
  • It was too long. I should have left earlier. 14.47% with 23 votes.
  • I'm still here after 5 years. 11.95% with 19 votes.
  • It was just right. I left when I should have. 11.32% with 18 votes.
  • It was too short. I should have stayed longer. 8.18% with 13 votes
  • I'm still here after 3 years. 5.66% with 9 votes.
  • I love everything except for the fact that I'm still single. 5.66% with 9 votes. 
  • The legal system is crap! 3.77% with 6 votes.
  • It was too long but I'm here for another year yet. 3.14% with 5 votes.
  • It was too short. I came back! 2.52% 2ith 4 votes.
  • Regretful. 1.89% with 3 votes. 
  • Never go there. 0.63% with 1 vote.
  • Wish I had a uni job in the US or Thailand with better pay 0.63% with 1 vote.
With 159 responses an overwhelming 70% have positive things to say about Korea. You can read more about Korea at the Best TEFL jobs in Korea, Is Korea still a good place to work, and Getting a uni job in Korea.


Monday 26 October 2015

Life After ESL: Foreign Teachers Returning Home

Jackie Bolen has written a few guest posts for me including how to choose an ESL job wisely, how to advance your TEFL career, and why I love teaching at a Korean university. She's been teaching in Korea for 10 years and has decided to make the move back home to Canada. She's active in a number of Facebook groups and has a few websites including Wealthy English Teacher and Teaching in a Korean University.

Granted Jackie does get some flack, but I believe that's because people are jealous. She's a real go-getter and doesn't waste her time. She uses her free time to build websites and write books. By doing this she's been able to create a substantial passive income stream, meaning that she literally makes money while she sleeps. Here are some of the books she's written and I'm sure there will be many more to come:
While some people will end up in the TEFL field forever and will hopefully advance their TEFL career, sooner or later many of us will go home. We'll have to leave our bubble and face the real world.

Years ago I wrote a blog post about life after TEFL with some advice for teachers going home. While I only skimmed the surface, Jackie has a new book out called, Life After ESL: Foreign Teachers Returning Home that is jammed packed full of stories and advice from teachers who have made the transition from TEFLing abroad to getting a job back home.

Her book starts with the results from a survey she did about teachers going back home. Then she goes on to offer 13 pieces of advice, job options that you will have, her own story, and then what jobs will be in high-demand by 2020 for a handful of countries around the world.

If you're thinking about going home soon or even in a few years, I highly recommend you read Life After ESL: Foreign Teachers Returning Home. Start planning now and it will make the transition so much easier.


Sunday 25 October 2015

Grading Shy Students on Participation

Most of the classes I teach are based on conversation, however, not all students like to talk in class. Being an introvert, I understand where they're coming from. Just because they don't like to talk every single class does not mean that they deserve a low participation score. There are other ways they can participate in class. Below you can find 7 ideas to help you grade shy students.

  1. Tries to use English when working in partners or small groups. Some students don't like talking in front of the class, but feel more comfortable in small groups.
  2. Pays attention to the teacher and classmates. Even if a student volunteers all the time, if they're talking while you're talking or on their cell phone, then they should get a lower grade.
  3. Doesn't use their cell phone. Students are addicted to their phones, but don't you think the shy student should get points for not using their phone while the outgoing student is constantly texting?
  4. Listens actively. They take notes and/or give people their undivided attention.
  5. Does the activities and stays on task. They concentrate on the task at hand and get it done.
  6. Helps other people out. Just because they're shy doesn't mean they don't understand.
  7. Actively seeks out help. They ask a classmate or the teacher if they don't understand.


Tuesday 20 October 2015

7 Tips for Finishing an Online Course

Image source
Whether you're doing a diploma, a masters, a doctorate, or a MOOC, here are some tips to help you finish what you start. This is based on the #ELTchat Summary of 24th September 2014.
  1. Pay for it: Whether it's true or not, people still think that you get what you pay for. If you're taking the class for free you're less likely to finish it. If they have a paid option, such as some of the courses at Coursera, consider paying the fee. 
  2. Know what's expected: Make sure you're able to do the course. That means that you have the appropriate background knowledge as well as the time to devote to it. 
  3. Organise yourself and manage your time wisely: Some courses just have a final project while others will have quizzes and tasks for you to do throughout the course. Make a weekly plan of what you want to get done so that you don't fall behind. It's challenging to juggle your personal life, work, and studies. Make a plan to make sure that you're not stressing out the night before the final project is due.
  4. Make sure it works for your learning style: Some people prefer videos to readings, or many small quizzes compared to a bit final project.
  5. Enlist a friend: Have someone who can keep you accountable. It could be someone taking the course or even a friend. If it's someone taking the course it's even better as they could become your study buddy.
  6. See if it could help you at work: Tell your boss that you're studying. This will keep you accountable and also show her that you're interested in CPD.
  7. Ask yourself why you're doing it: You need to be motivated in order to complete the course. If it's required you still need to find out what benefits you will get by taking the course.


Thursday 15 October 2015

Using Differentiated Instruction in Mixed Level TEFL Classes

Differentiated instruction has become popular amongst teachers. Ron recently wrote about it a few months ago in his post, the start of a new semester and differentiated instruction. TEFL courses also cover it. Check out the CCELT (100 hours) and the University of Toronto. Teachers may struggle in mixed level classes because they know that it can be hard to cater to all the different levels. While convention may tell the teacher to teach to the average level, they know that some students are being left behind and others are bored with the lesson. This does nothing for student motivation.

Differentiated instruction can change that. There are many ways that you can use this in your classroom. It will allow all students to progress and better their English. Have a variety of different assignments. After teaching a lesson, students need to practice what they have learnt. You could have different exercises available to them. Lower students could do multiple choice and higher students could do fill in the blanks.

Offer students choices for homework: Just as you would do in class, allow them to choose which homework assignments they’d like to do. Go online: Tell students about websites that they can use to practice their English. Your textbook might have options as well. They often have online quizzes and listenings that are interactive and appeal to learners.

Meet with students: Have quick progress meetings with your students. It will help them achieve their goals, give you feedback on class, and ask you questions. Some students may not want to meet with you one-to-one so give them the option of meeting in a small group.

Pair strong and weak students: It’s a win-win situation. The stronger student solidifies what they have learnt by explaining the concept to the weaker student. The weaker student gets to have the concept explained in a different way. Often students are better at explaining things than teachers.

Try TBL (task-based learning): By using English for authentic tasks students see how English can make a difference in their lives and students can be assigned roles based on their English abilities.

Try flipping the classroom: Studies have shown that flipped classrooms allow for more learning and less time wasting. It’s more student-centered and there’s less grading involved. Students and teachers enjoy flipped classrooms as well.

As you can see there are many options for using differentiated instructions in mixed level classes. Try some out and see how it goes!


Saturday 10 October 2015

The Flipped Classroom

Image source
With all the focus on autonomous learners, it's only a question of time before the flipped classroom becomes the norm. Although it's a relatively new concept, there have been a number of books written about the flipped classroom. It has students learning outside the classroom as well as inside. It's a type of blended learning. The flipped classroom takes the focus off the teacher and becomes student centered. A great example of the flipped classroom is Khan's Academy.

Technology is often used. Activities that are usually used for homework are used in class. Examples of this are peer-editing and PBL (project-based learning). The goal of this is to allow students to apply the knowledge they have learned rather than just regurgitate it. Students problem solve, work in groups, and do research. The teacher isn't seen as all-knowing, but rather as a guide. Students are more actively involved and motivated and take charge of their learning.

Studies have shown that students in flipped classes outperform those in traditional classes. There are pros for teachers as well: no daily lesson plans and no grading papers. Students are also able to choose how they want to be assessed. This allows them to work with their learning styles. Just because some students test well and others don't doesn't mean that the latter don't understand. They can choose a test, an essay, speaking, or even making a game.

If you're interested in learning more, #ELTchat has had two discussions about flipped classrooms: the flipped classroom and flipped learning in English language classes - what's the best use of your face-to-face time in class?


Monday 5 October 2015

Poll Results: How Did You Get Your Job?

I asked people how they got their job. Here are the results:
  • Friends/Networking: 14.29% with 2 votes.
  • Online: on the school's website: 35.71% with 5 votes.
  • Online: from a job website: 42.86% with 6 votes.
  • Print: such as a journal or newspaper. 0% with 0 votes.
  • Cold call: 7.14% with 1 vote.
It looks like more and more people are going online to find jobs. Here's a list of great TEFL job sites that you should check out.


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