Using Pop Culture in the EFL Classroom

One of the things I’ve discovered while teaching English as a foreign language is that students want to tell me things. They want to know if I’ve heard the latest song by so-and-so or watched that new movie starring whats-his-face or seen whos-ya-father on the whatchamajiga show. I quickly realised the obvious: kids are far…

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EFL Activity: Janken Battle

Repeatedly drilling words in the classroom can become pretty dull pretty fast, so let’s spice it up with some violence! Yeh, it’s Janken Battle! Rock, Paper, Fun … I feel so ashamed of that sub-heading. In case you didn’t already know Janken is the Japanese name for Rock, Paper, Scissors (or Rock, Scissors, Paper if…

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ELT In A Special Needs Class

English Language Teaching, or ELT, in a Special Needs class can be a drastically different experience from an English Teacher’s regular classes. Trying to communicate with someone in a foreign language whilst also being sensitive and aware of any other issues they may have is a challenge that I worried about a lot before my…

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When a Christmas Activity Goes Sour

This is a quick post as this event just happened and I wanted to get it down while it’s still on my mind. There are times in the classroom when things do not go smoothly; where they don’t go as the teacher expected. Often these things are unpredictable but other times a drop of consideration…

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Class Sizes in Japan

There are many things that flit through the mind of someone coming to a foreign country to teach English. How will I get to school and back each day? Will students be able to follow the lessons? How many luminescent highlighter pen colours is too many? Well, I can’t answer all of these questions (except…

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The Halloween Lesson

ESL Lesson topics are often chosen based on the time of year. So students might spend some time discussing what they plan to do in Summer or what Christmas presents they’re going to buy. One of the most popular themes is Halloween. There are , here are just a few thoughts for a Halloween lesson. Short Activities…

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Teaching With A Topic

Memory plays a big part in learning. After all, what’s the point in spending all day studying something just to forget it all the next day? There are many ways to help retention. For example, I used to use a specific incense stick every time I revised for an exam, then in the test I…

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When There’s Nothing To Do

Not all of the time a teacher spends at school is occupied with actual teaching. For many foreign teachers a majority of their in-school hours are taken up with tedious desk-sitting. This is the ideal time to prepare for future classes, and that’s what most Japanese teachers and private company supervisors expect. However, what does…

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Activity: Board Games

Board games are a classic tradition that have enriched the childhoods of many and vastly improved countless rain-drenched caravan holidays. The most famous games can be found throughout the world but every country has board games of its own. In Japan it’s not hard to find someone who enjoys a game of Shogi, the Japanese…

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Learning Students’ Names

Names connect us. They bring us together and personalise experiences. A student who is addressed by name will sit up and pay attention. The other benefit is that a teacher who remembers a name is showing that they care about the student. But teaching in a foreign country means students will often have names that…

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