How To...

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… 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… All categories, How to..., Teaching skills

How to teach writing: writing lesson ideas

So you're looking for writing lesson plan ideas, and you're not sure where to start. Does any of this sound familiar? Yes, but writing is boring. Is it? Sure, but writing could be time spent in class doing fun speaking tasks. Who said you can’t do both? But my students get more out of class from interactive activities. Exactly – writing… All categories, Teaching skills, How to..., Certificate courses, ESL activities

Gamification in English language teaching: more than child's play

Ever feel like your students are stultifying, bored and demotivated? Maybe it’s not the subject, but your teaching. Competing for the splintered attentions of our learners has never been harder. It has now become a chronic situation, familiar to all teachers when struggling to motivate learners. There is now a generation of children who have… All categories, Certificate courses, How to..., ESL activities, Diploma courses, TESOL Masters

Teaching pronunciation: an introduction to the IPA

The IPA stands for the International Phonemic Alphabet and is used in ESL to address pronunciation issues by isolating difficult vowel sounds, consonants or diphthongs. Problem areas can then be addressed by identifying the manner (the way in which the sound is produced), place (position of the tongue, teeth, lips, etc.), and voice (use of the… All categories, Certificate courses, How to..., Five ways to

Integrating skills in English language classes

Don't forget to visit our CPD training calendar for upcoming training events! English language teaching can be separated into systems, skills, and phonology. Systems refer to grammar, whereas skills denote reading, writing and listening, and speaking. Phonology incorporates elements of pronunciation, such as intonation, connected speech, and… All categories, How to..., Teaching skills, ESL activities

How to teach intonation

Many non-native English speakers have problems recognizing and using the different intonation patterns in English.  For an instructor, it’s crucial to raise the learners’ awareness of intonation because it performs a function, as well as indicating an emotion. Teaching this aspect of phonology is often an area overlooked by teachers and something… All categories, Certificate courses, How to..., ESL activities, Diploma courses, TESOL Masters

Receptive skills for English teachers: how to teach listening and reading

‘Receptive Skills’ (also known as ‘Passive Skills’, or reading and listening) are often contrasted with productive skills (speaking and writing).  When learning a new language learners tend to develop their receptive skills first and then acquire productive capability. It’s a complex relationship between the two as they all play a supporting role… All categories, How to..., Certificate courses, Diploma courses, ESL activities

How to exploit reading texts for TEFL classes

Teaching TEFL classes in Hong Kong can present a bit of a conundrum. In a culture that prioritises grammar instruction and accuracy over fluency, reading tasks are often seen as a series of questions to which the answers simply need to be copied straight from the text. However, reading comprehension texts for ESL learners create opportunities to… All categories, ESL activities, How to..., Teaching skills

The importance of context for English teaching: experience, situation and surrounding language

Whenever we use language, whether we are speaking, listening, reading or writing, we do it in some kind of context. The situation we are in, the tone we want to express and the ways that others respond to us all affect the nature of the language choices that we make. Language without context lacks important reference points for meaning, and so is… All categories, Certificate courses, Diploma courses, How to...

English or Englishes: are varieties of English important for learners?

Over the past 200 years or so, English has grown to become the lingua franca (shared language) in a huge range of industries. The fields of media, engineering, medicine, shipping, air travel, international business and commerce all rely on English as the common language which can facilitate communication between countries anywhere in the world.… All categories, How to..., Certificate courses, Diploma courses, TESOL Masters

Teaching grammar for young learners: children learn languages differently to adults

The grammar juggernaut continues to roll on despite many of the criticisms of an overly grammar-oriented focus that we’ve discussed previously on this blog. In spite of our criticisms, one of the confusing things to make clear is that we don’t discourage teachers from teaching grammar entirely.  Even though students may to an extent (especially in… All categories, How to..., ESL activities, Certificate courses, Diploma courses

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