Tuesday, 16 September 2014

What to expect over the next TEFL term!

So, it's back to work. Whenever I start a new term I always try to remember how much I hated my jobs before I began teaching. I did IT recruitment and Sales for about three years in London before I made that jump to leave England and become a TEFL teacher. 12 years later I still have no regrets. Sure, no one likes coming back to work after a holiday, no matter what job you're in, but it could be a whole lot worse.

Reminds me of my P.E. teacher.
Photo by Michael Karshis
I'm surprised how many people have been following this blog considering how little I've been posting (first year of fatherhood has proved tricky in terms of free time for writing). It's great that Teaching English in a Foreign Land has almost had 300,000 page views and my book has sold over 3,000 copies (as well as over 5,000 free downloads). I guess I must be doing something right. I'd like to thank all my followers, people who leave comments, and those who have read my book. 

The aim of this post is to let you know what I plan to write about over the next term. These are the main areas:

TEFL tips: This will include both quick snappy tips and longer lists to help new or less experienced TEFL teachers. Tips will be on lessons, finding work, keeping your job, getting the most out of your students, and general advice.

DELTA: This has become one of the most popular sections, so I'll definitely be writing more blogs about my DELTA experience. I plan to write detailed posts with tips and advice on each of the modules, as well as uploading my LSA's for Module 2. 

Top TEFL Blogs: This is a compilation of the best TEFL blogs that I've read each month. If you want me to include any of your posts then just leave a comment below.

Phonetics Project : I'm a bit of a phonetics freak in my classes, and at home come to think of it. This project is ongoing and gives tips and advice on how to teach phonetics in class as well as activities, including using songs to practise phonetics.

Those are the main areas I'm going to focus on. For Expat issues and Travel then check out my other blog A Novel Spain, which is about life abroad in Spain.

Thanks again for following and reading. Looking forward to some more blogging.

Monday, 25 August 2014

This month's Top TEFL blogs!

Life has been damn busy these last couple of months, but now I have some more time to read blogs about TEFL and travel again, so here's some of the best ones.

Great view of Puerto Rico
Photo by Trish Hartmann
Best views in the world?
If any of you have read my travel book then you'll know that I'm a view man. Lillie also shares my view, get it? View? Okay I'll shut up. Don't let my stupidity sway you from her latest blog about an amazing hotel view in Puerto Rico.

Does Writing about TEFL make you a better teacher?
I think so, after writing about TEFL I believe I have improved as a teacher. But does Alex Case agree? Find out here on his latest blog titled: Does writing about TEFL make you a better teacher?

Do you teach synonyms?
I'm a massive fan of synonyms, not only to help students improve their vocabulary for writing and speaking, but also for providing definitions. For a more detailed analysis of synonyms have a look at this article by Tamara Jones called: The Significance of Synonyms

How to teach imperatives
Check out this excellent lesson on Movie Segments to Assess Grammar Goals called Puss in Boots: Imperatives. There are loads of film clips on this website which are extremely useful for class.

What job should graduates do?
Teaching English of course. Even 'The Telegraph' thinks so. Have a look at this article explaining why TEFL is a good option for graduates.

That's all for this month. Cheers.

Tuesday, 12 August 2014

A Novel Spain: A Better Spain, Winter in Madrid, Surviving Summer in Andalucia and more...

If you live in Spain, or are thinking of moving here, then my other blog, a Novel Spain, is worth taking a look at. Here is my monthly blog of the latest posts.

Santander, it's just a lovely place to go, and maybe live.
Photo by El Coleccionista de instantes
In Search of a Better Spain: Santander is a running series about a trip I did along Northern Spain from Santander to Barcelona. 

If you like reading novels about the Civil War in Spain then check out my book review of Winter in Madrid by C.J. Sansom. It's a fantastic thriller / historical novel that teaches you about what life used to be like after the Civil War.

Having trouble in the heat this summer? I bloody well am. Check out this blog about How to Survive the summer heat in Andalucía

I won a blog award, I really did. It wasn't an overly official one, but nevertheless an award it was. Check out what I had to do in return though with my own list of Most Versatile Blogs.

That's all for this month. Next month will include posts about comparing life back home as an expat, travelling in Bilbao, a book review of The Return, if I get to finish it, and Best Blogs in Spain.


Thursday, 24 July 2014

Songs with phonetics: Sing, Ed Sheeran.

Here's a great summer song by Ed Sheeran, Sing. Below is an activity for your students once they know the phonetic alphabet. If you haven't taught your students phonetics yet, then have a look at ways to teach phonetics.

There are a couple ways you can do this lesson.

1- Students listen to the song first and try to fill the gaps. Then put the words in the correct columns and listen again.
2- Students look at the missing words first and put them in the correct columns. Then listen to the song and complete the gaps.
3- This song has something extra with connected speech where the students have to find examples of words joining together.

I've prepared the song with numbered gaps, an activity to put the words in the correct column, plus the full lyrics and answers. I plan to get my students to learn the chorus and sing it a few times. Everything is on this word document: Sing, Ed Sheeran.

Have Fun!

Saturday, 12 July 2014

How Delta changed my life!

Are you thinking about doing Delta and not sure what it involves? Would you like to hear a detailed breakdown of each of the three modules plus tips and advice on how to succeed? Interested in knowing how it could change your career and life? Then check out my webinar this Wednesday 16th at 15.00 with Cambridge English Teacher

Photo by Brett Jordan
A while back Susan Griffith, travel writer, mentioned my book in her webinar and since then Cambridge English Teacher have invited me to talk about my experiences doing Delta

If you're not able to attend then I will be writing some more blogs about my experiences in the next couple of months. These will include what was involved in each of the modules, how long it takes, prices, along with my tips and advice. I'll also be posting about each of my LSA's if you need any help.


Friday, 6 June 2014

Best place to learn, and teach, English in Sevilla!

Not many English language schools around the world have the class to make their own television advertisement. With the growing economic recession in Spain sometimes it's necessary to appeal to new audiences and create extra publicity to keep the flow of students coming in. That's why I'm proud to work for ELI in Sevilla, we are constantly trying new things to appeal to a wider range of customers. Check out this video titled "No solo los niños aprenden de los padres" "Not only children learn from their parents."

The man responsible for this excellent ad is Colm Farry, a freelance videographer based in Sevilla, have a look at his blog: Colm Farry.

It's a great ad because it shows how the world is changing and that more and more people are depending on English to improve their lives. It also shows that anything is possible if you really put your mind to it. So if you are looking for English classes in Sevilla get in touch now.

Do you own a language school? What are you doing to attract more students in these trying times? Have you got your own TV ad?

Thursday, 29 May 2014

TEFL Tips: The Stare!

What's the best way to control your naughty students? I've tried a few things over the years. When I first started teaching teenagers and adolescents I used to lose my rag a lot. I was unsure how to deal with that troublesome age and often found it difficult to control the class. I think that was mainly because I wanted them to like me, to sort of see me as a friend, but it often meant I had no power over them and they would soon take advantage and start playing up.

Don't stare at me boy!
Photo by Road Fun
That doesn't happen anymore. It normally takes me a while to get a class into shape, depending on the previous teacher. I'm strict to start with, especially on homework and Spanish in the class. But the one trick that I've learnt over the years, as opposed to throwing a pile of books on the floor to scare them (not recommended) is the stare.

You'd be surprised with the power a mean stare can have over individual students, or even the class. I use it a lot and it’s my telepathic way of communicating to the students that they are in the wrong, or are about to get thrown out of class.

Tips for a mean stare:
  • Fix your eyes directly on their eyes.
  • Keep your lips tight.
  • Bite your teeth together.
  • Breathe loudly through your nose.
  • Don’t blink.
  • Wait for them to realise they have done wrong.
  • Once they have stopped or gone quiet, finish with a smile to show you are not a monster, but you are the boss.

I use stares a lot in class at the start of term, but once they know you are in control then they’ll normally behave and you can start being yourself. There’s nothing wrong with scaring a group of students and then gradually easing up on them, but start soft and you’re a goner.