Articles by Jackie Bolen

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

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

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

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