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 ...

Guest blog: English Language Learning Specialists in Asia (ELLSA 2013)

Hi everybody, If you have never been to a professional conference or seminar, you should certainly think about going to one. As well as meeting lots of like-minded teachers, you will also hear talks which will certainly give you lots of food for thought. This post was written by Vanessa, a teacher working in South ...

Teach sentence stress with Bob and Julie

English is often termed a stress-timed language, which means that we pronounce content words (often nouns, adjectives and main verbs) more loudly and more slowly than grammar words like prepositions and articles. The beat or rhythm of the language is also determined by these stressed content words which means we ‘swallow’ the content words. Syllable-timed languages, ...

Free ebook: Speaking Unplugged: 30 Activities for One-to-One Classes

Free ebook: Speaking Unplugged: 30 Activities for One-to-One Classes
Hi everybody, Finding interactive and communicative speaking activities for one-to-one classes can be difficult. Here is an ebook (download as a Word Document or as a pdf) which contains 30 fun activities which require very little preparation and no resources apart from a pen and paper and, most importantly, the imagination and creative abilities of ...

Am I the right age or nationality to get into TEFL?

Am I the right age or nationality to get into TEFL?
I’ve worked with and trained recent graduates who were able to manage classes without raising their voices and middle-aged former project managers who went blank in front of a group of expectant students. Most TEFL training courses will not accept trainees younger than 18 but there is no upper age limit. However, the demands of ...

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 ...

What kind of people become TEFL teachers?

What kind of people become TEFL teachers?
  I’ve been in the business since 1996 and I’ve watched a wide range of people enter a classroom and teach. I’d like to present a few of my favourites – names have been changed to protect the innocents.   Bob was a favourite of mine. In his late forties, he had worked in publishing ...

5 Quick and Easy ways to use YouTube in class with the sound turned off!

5 Quick and Easy ways to use YouTube in class with the sound turned off!
YouTube is a wonderful resource for language teachers and learners. When I mention this to trainee teachers, many of them assume I am only talking about YouTube clips which have been specifically created for language learners. When this happens, I’ll show them a few simple ways to use authentic YouTube clips for speaking practice. These activities ...

One-to-One Teaching: “Getting to know you” Questionnaire

One-to-One Teaching:
Asking a series of questions to a new private student has many benefits as you get some idea of: their listening skills how fluent they are their ability to produce extended speech range of grammar and vocabulary common errors they make gaps in their knowledge pronunciation difficulties personal interests learning experiences ideas for future lessons ...

Coffee, biscuits and the Past Participle

Coffee, biscuits and the Past Participle
I’m sitting here, drinking a cup of coffee and eating a chocolate biscuit and thoughts pop into my head:   As a kid, I adored chocolate biscuits. I reckon I had eaten hundreds of  biscuits by the age of 5. An an adult, I have drunk more than my fair share of cups of coffee. ...