Sunday, January 30, 2011

Do students hear what you say?

Do students hear what you say?

Teachers assume that students hear what they say but quite often this is not the case. Remember that you are teaching students who are listening to you in a language with which they are not familiar – in varying degrees. First, it takes their brains longer to process new information, compare it with what they already know and assimilate it. If they are required to form a response, expect an extra long pause. 

Students hear what they think you said. This is not necessarily what you said. It is what they think they heard. This is why review and reinforcement is absolutely necessary. In a class, there are many distractions and a student’s mind is not always 100% on what the teacher is saying. If a teacher speaks too fast for the student’s brain to process the information, s/he may tune out. When that happens, learning does not take place.

Asking whether a student understands what s/he had just heard is a wasted question. Students, particularly in Asia, will always nod or say yes they understand whether or not they do – because that is what the teacher wants to hear. It is better to ask students to tell you what they understand or to give you an example of how to use the concept you just explained.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Relearning Grammar

Relearning Grammar 

You would think an English teacher would know his or her grammar, right? Unfortunately this is not always the case. Native English speakers often did not take grammar as a subject. It was included in ‘English’ classes but not as a subject unto itself. From the 1960s to almost 2000, grammar virtually disappeared from British classrooms. It has begun to reappear and I think this is at least partly in response to student demand.

In Asia particularly, students want to know ‘why’ everything is the way it is. Teachers don’t always know. I mean why can ‘ough’ be pronounced eight different ways? Is there a rule? No…not really. Sure, English has rules…and an equal number of exceptions.

Oxford University Press and the other ESL publishers now feature whole series dedicated to grammar. Personally, I view teaching grammar alone as not a good idea – particularly to younger students. In high school when students are getting ready for university and its many writing tasks, then you need it. So I can understand including it at that level. But, I’m not sure of its value at primary levels. English should be taught as a whole. If you teach Listening, Reading, Writing, Spelling, Speaking and Vocabulary-building, you will have plenty of opportunities to incorporate grammar into your lessons.

Having said that, Betty Azar’s Fundamentals of English Grammar is a very good book with a separate workbook and many exercises. But, for me, doing a lot of reading will teach you how the language works just as well as a grammar book . It won’t teach you ‘why’ but do you really need to know?

Friday, January 28, 2011

China needs thousands of teachers!

China needs thousands of teachers!

Do you know that China has over 10,000 schools that hire foreign teachers? This country is so huge that you can work in major centres like Bejing or Shanghai, where there are literally millions of students or in thousands of smaller cities or towns. The choices are immense. China is modernizing at the speed of light. They already have more than 370,000 Internet users (more than the population of the USA) who buy 45,000 products online per hour! These are people who need to learn English and whose children need to learn English.
You can become a player on this stage and who knows where that could lead for you. 

Possibilities are limited only by your imagination. All it takes are a degree, a TESOL certificate and the willingness to gain hands-on experience in foreign environment. But as foreign as China might be is some respects, you will still find familiar sights such as McDonalds, KFC, brand name shops and instant access via the Internet and cell phones to your friends and family back home. 

What’s holding you back? Many people go with a spouse, fiancĂ©e, or friend and often they can teach in the same school. Ready for the adventure of your life?

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Teaching is not for everyone

Teaching is not for everyone
True, though it is a great experience. Teaching may not be for everyone but everyone knows one or more people who may be interested in considering teaching as a career.

Who do you know who just graduated or is about to graduate from college or university? Who have recently lost his or her job? Who just retired and is bored silly? Who has gone through a divorce and wants to get away for a while? Who is ready for a change of career? Who wants to do some extended traveling and needs a way to pay for it?

If you know anyone in any of those categories, they may consider teaching overseas for a year or two so you might be doing them a favour if you refer them to a website where they can earn their TESOL certificate and prepare to teach oversea. At the same time, you can become an IEC affiliate and make a little cash for yourself just for referring them. That’s a win-win situation! 

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Teaching Jobs are Waiting for YOU!

Y'know, I never thought of myself as a teacher. Then, I got the travel bug...well, always had it really but I had never been to Asia. On my first trip, I literally fell in love with the whole area and Thailand in particular. One day, I happened to see a small ad in our daily paper for a TESL course being offered in the city. I enrolled. I didn't know the first thing about teaching but that course taught me everything I needed to know. I started answering ads and it wasn't long before responses started coming in. One night, I received a phone call from Jakarta, Indonesia. A school there wanted me to join them immediately. I actually agreed to go. Then, the same evening about three hours later, I took another call. This time it was from Thailand and I was offered a teaching position. I decided that Thailand was where I wanted to go so I accepted and then called Indonesia back to bow out. It literally changed my life overnight.

Here's a sampling of teahing jobs that are offered around the world:

Bulgaria[1], China[29], Czech Republic[2], France[2], Germany[1], Greece[1], Hong Kong[1], India[1], Indonesia[6], Iraq[1], Italy[12], Japan[2], Kazakhstan[1], Libyan Arab Jamahiriya[1], Malaysia[3], Oman[2], Poland[1], Portugal[1], Qatar[1], Russian Federation[4], Saudi Arabia[8], Singapore[1], South Korea[6], Spain[8], Sri Lanka[1], Thailand[2], Turkey[4], Ukraine[1], United Arab Emirates[5], United Kingdom[74], Vietnam[4], Worldwide[8] 

Where would you like to go?