5 things I have learnt from the Native vs Non-Native debate so far.

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I posted a blog several months ago about this interesting topic. I hadn’t read anything about it beforehand or been asked to write by someone championing the cause, I had simply seen it in Spain, everywhere I looked, and felt that it was not right. Why should my partner, who is a far better teacher than me, not get a job but I should because of my nationality? It baffled me, after all, ‘teachers are made not born’, but apparently I had serendipitously been born in the right place and been afforded unworthy privilege as a result.

I have been following this topic for several months now, since I published my article, and although just a small time, in the grand 60 years of discrimination that has taken place, I have in fact learnt several things about the topic and I feel I should share them:

Continue reading “5 things I have learnt from the Native vs Non-Native debate so far.”

New Facebook Group for EFL teachers!

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After the minor success of our blog; we decided that we wanted to start a Facebook Group where people can post their blogs, whether they are established ones or new ones, about EFL teaching as well as teaching resources. It would be a great place for people to start discussions and ask questions about working as an EFL teacher. We want to read your blogs and we want them all in one place. We don’t have many members yet (….7) but we thought it’d be worth a try. Here’s the link enjoy! (There are no cookies)

5 things to watch out for when looking at EFL job advertisements.

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There are many many websites that you can browse to find the perfect TEFL job, however the sheer amount can at times be overwhelming and what may be the perfect job can descend into a nightmare quite fast. Making sure you pick the right job is make or break for any teacher and sometimes the adverts, and what you get when you arrive in your destination, can be vastly different. All jobs come with a danger of not meeting expectations but having some knowledge of what to look for and what to avoid may just be the difference between walking into a disaster and walking into a damn good time.

My most obvious piece of advice is don’t let where you want to go cloud your judgement. I’ve heard it so many times: Continue reading “5 things to watch out for when looking at EFL job advertisements.”

Quizlet

Quizlet is a flashcard website/ application that can be used for learning, practising and testing vocabulary or grammar in teaching English (or any other language!). It offers games and other fun learning tools as well, that can be easily used in the classroom. It works for every level and is an incredibly customisable tool for the classroom. You can cover them all and it makes a great interactive addition to your teaching repertoire. I have been using it in the classroom for several months now and the students really enjoy it and it offers a break from the traditional Spanish chalk board classrooms and brings the class into the 21st century. It’s free to use (you only need a computer and Internet connection) and very straight forward with a wide range of options to suit lots of needs.

Below are listed some advantages and disadvantages to quizlet so you can better decide whether it’s for you or not.

Advantages

  1. One of the most interesting and useful features I discovered when I watched the webinar is that you can import vocabulary lists from Excel/ Word/ Pdf document by copying and pasting the words. Forget the endless hours of adding vocabulary sets word by word, as you can now simply import whole lists!
  2. Selecting audio language is very important so that your students can listen to the words/text in the appropriate accent.
  3. Combine sets you’ve already made to make one revision set.
  4. Copy HTML to post a set on a website.
  5. You can also send vocabulary sets to specific students and share them with other teachers to reduce workload. Sharing is caring!
  6. Use hints in definitions to help students find the answer 
  7. Texts in brackets aren’t read aloud.
  8. As I said before, you can practise grammar as well by creating multiple choice and gap filling sets in the definitions cards but make sure students see the definition card first!
  9. Select privacy. 
  10. There’s also the option to buy the Premium version: it gives you the possibility to record your text/examples/words yourself!


Disadvantages

  1. Offline mode: although it is supposed to work offline, it has been noticed that sometimes it doesn’t, especially on tablets and mobiles phones and when the vocabulary sets include pictures. So, be prepared to deal with anticipated problems if you want to use it offline.
  2. The newest feature of Quizlet is called ‘Quizlet live’ and it’s a teacher-led game very similar to ‘Kahoot’. You should definitely give it a try if you a) work on a computer, as it’s not available on tablets and mobiles yet, b)have more than 6 students in you class, as that’s the minimum number of players. Also, make sure that your students have their mobile phones with them!

If you want to learn more information about how to get the most out of using quizlet click here and watch a webinar/tutorial.

What do you think about Quizlet?

What educational tools do you use in your lessons? 

Conversation classes 101

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Before I came to Spain I only had a vague knowledge of conversation classes and it was not a point that was really focussed on during my CELTA. However after arriving in Spain i soon realised how popular they were and all the problems that can come with this interesting concept of solely speaking for an entire lesson.

I’m not entirely sure where this idea of everyone must have a conversation class comes from , as improvement in all areas of language is valuable and as the skills are interlinked it seems in my opinion quite strange to focus and be obsessed only with one. I can’t see a conversation class being effective for anyone under B2 level (free to disagree). Below this level, speaking can be incorporated into any lesson and specific focus on pronunciation and fluency can also be done here. For higher levels a conversation has the benefit of focussing purely on speaking for the whole class time and within that you can focus on very specific student speaking problem1s or the more wider overall fluency and it gives students enough time to switch their minds into English mode and really test what they know and how they can express themselves.

Either way, in Spain (and most of Europe) you will be asked to do them so here are some pointers that might help you. Some are common sense and some might just make the difference between a successful class and unsuccessful one. Continue reading “Conversation classes 101”