10 Dictation Activites for EFL classes 23

10 Dictation Activites for EFL classes
Why write things on the board for the students to write in their notebooks when you can dictate them? Dictation gives your students a clear model of pronunciation and allows them to practise their listening and writing skills. Here’s an example: Imagine you have a few topic questions you want your students to discuss. You ...

10 ways to use course books and encourage learner autonomy

10 ways to use course books and encourage learner autonomy
Whatever you might think about using course books in class, most teachers in most teaching contexts are obliged – or strongly encouraged – to use them. In fact, I imagine most of you have succumbed to the temptation of starting a class by saying: Your learners may well be comfortable with this approach. However, after ...

The Only 3 Things Teachers Must Do

The Only 3 Things Teachers Must Do
Think of a teacher who had a positive effect on you. Maybe this teacher made you think that teaching might be something you would like to try. Maybe this teacher awakened a passion for learning in you that was previously dormant. Maybe this teacher opened a window to a subject that until then had held ...

Do you have to be from Mars to teach Astronomy?

Do you have to be from Mars to teach Astronomy?
The native versus non-native speaker debate rages on…… In a previous post, I discussed native speaker English teachers (NS teachers) and non-native English teachers (NNS). The title of the post ‘Can non-native speakers of English become good TEFL teachers?’ was, as some people pointed out, potentially insulting towards non-native speakers . My reason for choosing ...

Reasons why 3 is the magic number in ELT

Reasons why 3 is the magic number in ELT
Throughout human history, the number three has been seen as something magical. Stories have a beginning, a middle and an end Presentations and essays have an introduction, the main body, and a conclusion. Even humour uses the rule of three structure: I’ve met a woman. She’s beautiful, she’s intelligent and her name is James. (Sorry ...

The Minimalist One-to-One Classroom

The Minimalist One-to-One Classroom
  Sometimes I think the ideal one-to-one class is just two people talking about things that matter to them. No distractions, no course books, no technical gadgetry, no fancy materials……and most of all….no gap-fill exercises! Can we actually teach English with nothing more than a pen and something to write on?   “By reducing the ...

The Curse of Knowledge

The Curse of Knowledge
Do you ever despair of your learners and wonder why they can’t understand your explanations of grammatical structures? You can’t understand it. You studied the grammar diligently until you knew everything about the structure you were going to teach. And yet, when you shared your knowledge with your learners, they looked at you in that ...

English teachers are now in the improvement business

The times they are a-changin’ Back in the old days of TEFL, learners could count themselves lucky if their teacher used a course book that had pictures in. They could count themselves really blessed if the classroom was equipped with a cassette player to play audio materials, usually performed by impoverished drama students intoning phrases ...

5 best books for TEFL teachers 1

5 best books for TEFL teachers
A former trainee asked me which TEFL books she should buy to improve her teaching. Naturally, I admonished her for not having bought my best-selling e-book A Short Guide to TEFL (shameless plug) but she promised me that she would and I dutifully went home and inspected my bookcase. Over the years, I’ve amassed about ...