Articles

Making Board Games for EFL Classes

by Barbara Waldern

Adding board games to one’s repertoire of teaching materials for the English as a foreign or second language class can help spice up the classroom experience for both student and teacher. If planned well, they are good learning tools for they can reinforce vocabulary, syntactical structure and conversation strategies. To give you examples of their application, I will tell you how I have used board games in my teaching, and explain the kind of board game I recently invented for conversation classes.

I first used board games in academies for children...

By Barbara Waldern on December 19, 2015 - 3:43pm | Articles by Barbara | 0 Comments | Read more

TEACHER IMMEDIACY -- warming up the classroom and motivating students

by Barbara Waldern

After giving the TALK lecture and writing the article on relevant acivities for conversation classes for new EFL teachers, one question lingered on my mind: what does it mean to say warm up the classroom and make the atmosphere more conducive to learning? When asked this question by a new teacher during the lecture, it was difficult to answer it succinctly. I wanted to use the word “intimacy”. Oops. Instead, I said make it a sociable and enjoyable place, but is that really a teacher’s job? No, it is not. I myself warned new school teachers about the importance of...

By Barbara Waldern on August 27, 2015 - 5:56pm | Articles by Barbara | 0 Comments | Read more

Top 10 Ways to Make your Conversation Class Even More Awesome

by Jackie Bolen
 

Speaking and conversation classes are what many of us find ourselves teaching in Korea, a lot of the time. I'm sure you want to make them as interesting, engaging and awesome as possible, right?

Here are my top 10 tips to make your conversation classes even better. 

1. What’s your Goal? Be clear about the aims of your lesson. “Practicing speaking” isn’t enough and just free-talking with your students is kind of a waste of time. Something more specific like, “Introduce and practice 5 feeling words,” or “Practice using the simple past in...

By Jackie Bolen on August 19, 2015 - 12:55pm | Articles by Jackie | 0 Comments | Read more

Conversation Practice Class 101 -- Tips for the new EFL teacher

by Barbara Waldern

In this article, I would like to share my lecture notes from my TALK program presentation in August 2015. I spoke to 150 young adult newcomers in five groups of 30 about activities for the English language speaking class in public schools (elementary and secondary levels). These recruits attended a two-week orientation on Korean culture and language teaching before wrapping up their initiation with the provincial Ministry of Education program on the education system and administrative procedures.

Background

TALK stand for “Teach and Learn in Korea” and it...

By Barbara Waldern on August 15, 2015 - 3:11pm | Articles by Barbara | 0 Comments | Read more

English Teacher Burnout: How to Avoid It

by Jackie Bolen
 

It's That Time Again...

You know that feeling you get when you teach the ABCs one more time, or that unit in the book about movies or weather? Or, the students who email you asking for a higher grade when they've done nothing to deserve it? Or, admin at your school who tell you some important thing at the very last second?

If you're not careful, these things can start to get to you and you'll find yourself burned out in short order. Here are some tips that have helped me get through 10 years teaching English in Korea with a happy outlook on life...

By Jackie Bolen on August 3, 2015 - 4:45pm | Articles by Jackie | 0 Comments | Read more

Korea as a dynamic hub of PD?

By Michael Griffin
 

What do Thomas Farrell, Barbara Sakamoto, Claire Kramsch, Chuck Sandy, Willy Renandya, and Jeremy Harmer have in common? Aside from being huge names in our field they are all people who were scheduled to give talks in South Korea in calendar year 2015. South Korea (hereafter Korea) is home to some big ELT conferences. I believe the KOTESOL International Conference is the biggest and best-attended of these. From my view, big conferences are just one of the reasons Korea can be a great place for professional development for English teachers. In this short “...

By Michael Griffin on July 17, 2015 - 9:57am | Articles by Michael | 0 Comments | Read more

Speaking Tests: My Favorite and Not So Favorite Options

by Jackie Bolen
 

There are a few different options for speaking tests for your conversation classes, all of which have their advantages and disadvantages in terms of teacher effort, ease of grading and how well it measures what you’re trying to measure. I'll briefly outline the four major options:

A Speech

Some teachers put a big emphasis upon this, but a speech is not really a true test of conversational ability so if you teach a conversation class, it’s not ideal. Communication is more of a 2-way thing and is far better judged by the following speaking test...

By Jackie Bolen on June 17, 2015 - 9:42pm | Articles by Jackie | 0 Comments | Read more

The Responsibilties of Communication

by Justin Ancheta

Many years ago, I had the chance to attend a university-level summer engineering camp in high school. Towards the end, there was small-group activity centered around the Challenger Disaster of 1986. My group represented the engineers who were pleading with upper management to delay the launch of the space shuttle Challenger. The twist was that we couldn't use direct language in communicating our intent: words like “clear”, “failure”, “can't”, “must”, “crash”, “therefore”, and “have to” were replaced with words like “perhaps”, “likely”, and “maybe”. (The reason? A...

By Justin Ancheta on June 13, 2015 - 4:35pm | Articles by Justin | 0 Comments | Read more

Stop Talking so Much!

by Jackie Bolen

When many teachers first start off their time in the classroom, they talk a lot (this is one feature of a teacher-centered classroom) and way more than they actually should. If you want your students to get better at speaking in English, they need to be speaking in English for most of the class, ideally at least 90% of it (this is one aspects of a student-centered classroom) if they are at intermediate to high levels of proficiency.

A Better Plan

The best way to make this happen is to put students in pairs or groups of 3, set up an activity or give them...

By Jackie Bolen on June 8, 2015 - 5:05pm | Articles by Jackie | 0 Comments | Read more

A Student Research Project on Learning English

by Barbara Waldern

Although the South Korean government continues to promote and plan English education as part of its globalization and economic development planning as it has since the 90s, questions about this thrust of economic planning have come from all directions. Teachers critique approaches and methodologies to teaching English as a foreign language, especially since big businesses and government authorities have been putting more and more value on raising communication competencies. Despite huge investments, TOEIC scores and TOEFL scores remain far from impressive....

By Barbara Waldern on June 5, 2015 - 8:00pm | Articles by Barbara | 0 Comments | Read more

Raising Cultural Awareness in FL Classrooms

by Barbara Waldern

Living and teaching in a foreign culture has its frustrations and anxieties. Rather than succumbing to such negative feelings, one can use the opportunity to develop more cultural awareness. Moreover, one can assume some responsibility in educating herself and students about cultural difference. Who better than a foreign FL teacher to teach cultural awareness?

As more societies become more and more multicultural in this day and age, and people generally must travel farther and more frequently, intercultural contact is a fact of life. Appreciating cultural...

By Barbara Waldern on April 30, 2015 - 8:19pm | Articles by Barbara | 0 Comments | Read more

Blindness

by Justin Ancheta

Recently, one of my favorite paintings has been Pieter Breugel the Elder's “The Blind Leading The Blind”. While it's ostensibly an illustration of Matthew 15:14, it's taken on a variety of meanings to a variety of people. For me, it's an illustration of the many absurdities and perils of teaching English – how we can be blind to so many things, especially in how we lead others who may be just as blind as us.

Like scales falling from my eyes, the extent of my own blindness came to me a few weeks ago. I was going through my lesson PowerPoint files, revising...

By Justin Ancheta on March 26, 2015 - 12:40pm | Articles by Justin | 0 Comments | Read more

Players In The Classroom

A post by Peadar Callaghan

A Multi-player online (MMO) game is very similar to a modern day classroom. They are both created environments with different ways to interact with material that is being supplied, either by the teacher (in the case of the classroom) or the server (in an MMO). They encourage both social interaction and individual work. The system is made up of many different individuals with different motivations goals and preferences for their style of interaction.

So what type of people would you expect to find in an online game?

In 1996 Richard Bartle put...

By Webeditor National on January 27, 2015 - 3:44pm | Articles by Webeditor | 0 Comments | Read more

Adding Content to Language - Presenting Text!

A post by Rob Dickey

There's more to English than the nuts and bolts of the language. As with any language, it's meaningful only in context.

Unless you are dedicated to strict-translation or the grammar-translation or audio-lingual methods, you probably use content in your language lessons. Beyond the materials offered by the textbook, where can we go? Here I'll offer an amazingly useful topic area, and provide links to useful resources.

Topic:  Business Communications: How to format your paper for "western" audiences.

Far too often lower-skilled English language...

By Robert Dickey on January 27, 2015 - 9:09am | Articles by Robert | 0 Comments | Read more

Back To School EdTech

Guest Post by Paul Lawley-Jones

For the majority of teachers in Korea it’s back to school on Monday 1st September.

Going through many teachers’ minds is “How can I engage my students? What new things can I do? What tools can I use to help me achieve that?”

In this article I’m going to give a brief overview of some tools I’ve used in the past, am going to use this semester, and some alternatives that I haven’t used that you may want to look at, too.

Student Communication

Google Communities

This semester I’m going to require my students to set up Google...

By Webeditor National on September 1, 2014 - 1:48pm | Articles by Webeditor | 0 Comments | Read more