Monday, 30 March 2015

Links for your students...

I wanted to write a blog post today about online links that you can use in lessons or perhaps just give to your students, that are free, fun and fabulous (in my view!).

I have mentioned some of them before, but I don't think it hurts to tell you again, plus there are a few more, I am sure, since then.


Thursday, 26 March 2015

Books, books and more books!

Today I want to share some books with you. 3 that as ESL teacher I have found to be invaluable, and only recently! 

The first one is 'Cambridge Grammar of English: A Comprehensive Guide' by Ronald Carter and Michael McCarthy.
"A major reference grammar offering comprehensive coverage of spoken and written English based on real everyday usage. With its clear, two part structure, this is a user-friendly book from the world's leading English grammar publisher. The version with accompanying CD-ROM (Windows only) makes Cambridge Grammar of English even more accessible with: • The whole book in handy, searchable format. • Audio recordings of all the examples from the book. • Links to the Cambridge Advanced Learner's Dictionary online for instant definitions of new vocabulary."
If you have ANY query as an ESL teacher then this is the book to consult, and the CD-ROM which installs the book onto your PC means that as you are giving Skype lessons, if at any time you need to consult it, it is there (without making you look like an idiot!)

The second one is 'A - Z of ELT: English Language Teaching' by Scott Thornbury.
 "An alphabetical list of terms about English language teaching. This work categorises and describes terms, explains the importance of the concepts and their relevance to English language teaching. It covers grammar, lexis, phonology, discourse, methodology, theory and practice."
You might think that unless you are focussing on something academic you wouldn't need this, however this opens the door to the field of academia around ELT, the methodology and the approaches and (here's the great bit) new ways to teach, news things to teach, and new ways to get great results. If you want to read the research about ELT you are going to need this book! Trust me!

Thirdly, there is 'Big Questions in ELT', also by Scott Thornbury
This book addresses twenty-one themes related to the teaching of English as a second or foreign language, and is organized around a series of key questions. For example, 'How many words do learners need to know?', 'Do rules help you learn a language?' and 'Where do errors come from?' Based on a very popular blog, the author has re-crafted the original posts to take into account the discussion that each one provoked. So that the book can be used in a training context, he has also added eight discussion questions to each theme, as well as a full list of references, and links to the relevant posts on his blog."
This book goes with number two, and answers all those niggling questions you start to have as you become a really effective ESL teacher.

My advice? Get all 3. You won't regret it. You will be armed for anything and probably interested enough to read even more.


The Teacher Abroad

Monday, 23 March 2015

Speak up!

What stops students speaking in the classroom? Why the reticence? One of the most obvious things that research has noted that affects the actions of  learners on their unwillingness to speak is the issue of 'saving face' - of not wanting to be embarrassed in front of others, which can sometimes be aligned with cultural values (modesty over ‘showing off’).

I'll tell you my experience...

Thursday, 19 March 2015

Should we demand more from our students?

I have often wondered if my students are under-challenged by my methods of teaching, especially online students and I have been asking myself just what they are actually getting from my lessons in terms of improved language skills. Should I expect more of them, and would they actually achieve more if I pushed them too?

Monday, 16 March 2015

Communicative Language Teaching

As part of my MA course I have recently been studying Communicative Language Teaching (CLT). I'll be honest. I didn't know anything about it before the course but have become fascinated by it, in particular the thoughts and writing of Scott Thornbury, so I wanted to share something about it with you here.