How AI is Changing the TEFL Industry

Everyone is talking about AI. But why should you as a TEFL teacher care? Your EFL students get good grades, your boss thinks you’re doing a good job and you’ve got plenty of qualifications. Why would you want to spend more time learning how to use this new technology? Why should you care about AI? Your students are already using it. Last week I ran a one-day class about writing clear emails. At the end of the workshop, I asked the EFL students to write an email to a colleague explaining what… Teaching skills

How to Create Lesson Plans with AI

As a language teacher, one of the most important things you do is plan. It is difficult to overstate how important planning is for teachers. Most of what goes right and wrong in a lesson is down to planning. Planning is also one of the most time-consuming activities for teachers. If you’re anything like me, you probably spend as much (or more) time planning as you do teaching. But some kinds of planning are more useful than others. Some institutions expect their teachers to write detailed plans… ESL activities, Teaching skills

10 Critical Thinking Activities for Young Learners

Critical thinking is one of the most important skills in life. It can help you better understand yourself. It can help you make better decisions. And it is vital for academic success. Yet in many schools, curriculums prioritise a culture of uncritical thinking. In English classes for example, students are taught to repeat what the teacher says and memorise language from coursebooks. Students get praised for giving correct answers and criticised for mistakes. In school exams, they need to… Teaching skills, ESL activities, Five ways to

5 Fun Games to Teach Grammar

One of the biggest challenges young learner teachers struggle with is keeping their students’ attention when they present grammar. Not many six-year-olds want to listen to an explanation about prepositions or a description of how to use the continuous aspect. But, if you teach kids, your school will expect you to teach grammar to your students. So how can you present grammar in a way which won’t bore your class? After all, students can’t learn anything from a grammar presentation if they’re not… Teaching skills, ESL activities, Five ways to

7 Practical Activities for Business English Classes

In task-based learning, students learn English by using English. The tasks are ideal for business English classes because they put students in realistic scenarios where they need to negotiate, solve problems, and communicate in English. In this post we’ll look at how to design activities for business English classes. I’ll share some of my favorite tasks for business English classes. Finally, we’ll discuss how you can use these ideas in practice. How can I design activities for Business English… Five ways to, ESL activities, Teaching skills, Theme based learning

Using EdTech to Enhance Speaking and Communication Skills in your Classrooms

In a century that is becoming more complex by the day, empowering learners with effective English communication skills is more crucial than ever. This is also true for learners preparing for high stakes spoken English exams such as the Trinity Graded Examinations in Spoken English (GESE). Yet, a recurring challenge in the education world is the lack of diverse, engaging, and interactive materials, or challenges in sourcing and creating them. This deficit has often led to stagnant learning and… Teaching skills, ESL activities, Certificate courses

Giving Children Control over your Lessons

Think for a moment about how much control you have over your life. You decide who you socialize with, who you marry, where you work, what clothes you wear, how much TV you watch and where you live. Now think about how it feels when you lose control over a part of your life. Losing your job might make you feel angry. If you couldn’t leave your house during a Covid lockdown, you might feel anxious. Or if your TV breaks and you can’t choose what to watch, you might feel frustrated. Thankfully,… All categories

Using TV Shows to Teach English

Using authentic material in the classroom has never been alien to me, but it was only when I was doing my postgraduate qualifications did the idea of using TV series completely hit home. Since then, it’s been a staple and I recommend them for trainees on both the CertTESOL and DipTESOL. Sometimes there’s a reaction of shock, sometimes of doubt, but once they’ve been tried, generally there’s no going back. How often do you use TV series in the classroom? There’s such a wide range of series… Teaching skills, ESL activities, Theme based learning

12 'Get to know you' activities for ESL students

David Ausubel (1968) wrote that “the most important single factor influencing learning is what the learner already knows. Ascertain this and teach them accordingly.” But how can English language teachers learn what their students already know about English? And how can teachers learn what students already know about the world? In this blog post we’re going to look at activities TEFL teachers can use to learn about their students. What can you learn about your students? Learning about your… All categories

PPP Vs ESA: Staging Models for TEFL Teachers

One of the most confusing points for new teachers undertaking initial teacher training courses are the similarities and differences between staging models. In particular, the difference between Donn Byrne’s Present, Practice, Produce (PPP) and Jeremy Harmer’s Engage, Study, Activate (ESA) is something I have often found myself answering questions on. The purpose of this blog is to explore some of the similarities and differences between these two staging models. Relationship to methodologies… All categories

Creating Teaching Materials with ChatGPT and DALL-E2

Creating teaching materials is one of the most time-consuming things that teachers do. Finding a text on a specific topic can take ages. Even once you’ve found or written a text, you might then need to edit it to match the level of your students. Then you might go through the text to pick out useful vocabulary. You might even search for images to go along with the text. All that time could be better spent planning lessons, reflecting on teaching, or just watching HBO. Until recently, there were… Teaching skills, ESL activities, Five ways to, Theme based learning

Jigsaw Activities in Receptive Skills Lessons

It is well acknowledged among TESOL & TEFL instructors that a focus on receptive skills is important in language learning. Learners who are effective readers and listeners in English are better able to communicate and open themselves up to useful sources of language input. It is, therefore, important that receptive skills lessons engage students and provide practice which is useful for the development of their skills. This blog will outline how ‘jigsaw’ reading and listening activities can… ESL activities, Teaching skills

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