Why you need to stop punishing your students: solutions for 3 common problems

In many of the young learner classes I watch, teachers try to control their students’ behaviour using punishment. In this article, I’m going to tell you   why punishment causes more behaviour problems than it solves  which punishments are the most destructive  alternatives you can use to stop negative student behaviour  how to prevent negative behaviour from reoccurring in the future.  Problems with punishment  I said at the start, I think you need to stop punishing your students.… All categories, How to..., Teaching skills

Turning your whole school into your classroom: a practical guide

Shakespeare once said that the whole world can be a stage. Well, I think your whole school can be a classroom. Unfortunately, in most of the schools I visit, learning (and teaching) seems to be anchored in the classroom. So why should teachers take classes out of the classroom and use the rest of the school for learning? Why get out of the classroom? It can be challenging to get learners to move in class, especially if: you teach in a small space. your classroom has furniture which can’t… All categories

Unlock real class discussions through information gap activities

It’s fairly easy to get students to talk. It’s a little harder to get students to talk to each other. Hardest of all is getting students to listen to each other. Teachers often ask students to “Discuss what you did on the weekend” or “Speak to your partner about your favorite foods”. Instructions like these work with motivated students. But if students are less driven, they might say a couple of things, then lapse into silence. And no wonder! They don’t have a reason to speak (or listen).… All categories

Managing Behaviour in the classroom for Young Learners

When teaching young learners, rewards and punishments often fail to reach the root of behaviour problems. Students misbehave for a variety of reasons. If you don’t know why a student is misbehaving, you can’t select an appropriate solution. Question: Why do my students keep misbehaving? I’ve tried using different rewards and different forms of punishment. For some students, it doesn’t make a difference. Answer: Because you treated the symptom, not the cause. In this article I’ll show you… All categories

Mastering breakout rooms: 7 common mistakes and how to fix them

It’s every online teacher’s worst nightmare: you set up the activity, things are going well in the first break out room, then you go into the fourth break out room and… silence. No one is talking. What went wrong? To solve any problem, you first need to understand the cause. What’s stopping your students from speaking in breakout rooms? In this post we’ll explore seven common teaching mistakes that result in silent breakout rooms. For each, we’ll explore the problem and look at potential… All categories, How to...

TESOL / TEFL Certificate options during the Coronavirus (Covid-19) Pandemic

2020 was a year of change for everyone. Due to the Covid 19 situation, all of the Trinity Cert TESOL courses at English for Asia are currently online. Saying this does cause some confusion and misunderstanding. Despite the change in delivery, the number of contact hours remains the same as when the courses are conducted face-to-face at the centre. The 130 contact hours on the Cert TESOL course does exceed the minimum requirements e.g. from the Hong Kong Education Bureau who require 100 contact… All categories, Careers in TESOL, Certificate courses

Top 10 Tips for Teaching English with Drama

Do you have any tips about teaching English with Drama? After experimenting and learning with English teachers from many different countries and cultures, here are 10 of my most useful tips. All of these tips are simple, adaptable and easy to implement while teaching English with Drama. Think of the skills, not just the performance A performance is a reflection of the preparation. Learners who spent time developing their skills: language skills, (body + voice), performance skills, and soft… All categories, Teaching skills, Theme based learning

Debating: how to teach debate effectively

When teachers talk about debate and debating classes, it never ceases to make me smile and think, ‘Oh dear …’. This is both from a teacher training and a teaching perspective; where there’s always one enthusiastic trainee who wants to have ‘debate’ as the focus for their speaking lesson. Then there are those teachers that include ‘debate’ in their classroom or run extracurricular debating clubs. What perhaps scares me the most are those teachers who profess to be ‘experts’ and try to train… All categories, Teaching skills, How to...

Why Grammar Matters: 3 Key Takeaways for TESOL Teachers

After 20 years of teaching English in Asia, my thoughts on teaching grammar have swung. When I started my teaching career, I honestly thought that we should not teach grammar to EFL/ESOL students. After all, many native speakers do not know grammar, so why would we expect our EFL/ESOL students to know it let alone be able to explain it. Surely, we are not expecting language learners to be linguists who are able to describe the technicalities of the language they are learning? What learners need… All categories, How to..., Teaching skills

Listening: the most important skill for teachers

We’re always encouraging our learners to listen for a purpose. But, how often is it that we focus on our own listening skills as teachers rather than maintaining that ‘instructional teacher mode’ and ‘tune in to the language and errors?’ Nothing’s wrong with identifying errors; it’s an essential part of our role as TESOL teachers, either in the physical classroom or the online classroom. But do we listen in the right way? According to Jim Scrivener, there are three different ways that teachers… All categories, Teaching skills, ESL activities

The Key Ingredients to Successful Online Learning

The challenges we've faced in 2020 have led to an incredible surge in online teaching and learning. For many of us, learning online is a new (and possibly intimidating) prospect that can leave us unsure about how to get started. Through my own process of trial and error as an online CertTESOL teacher trainer, I've come up with the following list of tips to support you in your online studies (feel free to add cupcakes to the list if needed). Set goals As with any course of study, it’s… All categories, Certificate courses, ESL activities

From Covidiot to Infodemic: Coronavirus lexicon explained

Social change has a tendency to bring about language change, either through need or prestige. Social conditions might dictate the speed at which change takes place, but language adapts to reflect changes in society and allows accommodation of new ideas. The current times are no exception and the Oxford English Dictionary (OED) points out: ‘It is a rare experience for lexicographers to observe an exponential rise in usage of a single word in a very short period of time, and for that word to… All categories, Theme based learning

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