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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Elementary Activity: Fruit Basket

One of the first activities I learned for teaching English to Elementary School kids was “Fruit Basket”. Although in Japanese it’s pronounced more like Fruits Basketo due to the way it’s translated into Japanese sounds. This simple Elementary activity is fun for everyone and it’s quite possible that you’ve played this or a variant of it in your…

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BINGO in the ESL classroom

Bingo, also known as “The Game Of Kings”, is known to Japanese kids too. This makes it an easy game to appropriate for English lessons. Elementary The younger they are, the more exciting the prospect of Bingo becomes. I’ve been in some Elementary classes where all I have to do is mention the name of…

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English Club in High School

As well as regular classes many Japanese High School English teachers are also put in charge of English Club. As with most other school clubs it takes place after school and students opt-in at the beginning of the year. There are a couple of reasons why students may choose to join the English club. The…

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Printing

One challenge every new ESL teacher will face is how to print using the large industrial photocopiers that schools have. Once teachers have made their worksheets how should they go about getting them ready for the class? This is something that worried me when I first started teaching so here I hope to give some…

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Interview Activities

What is a conversation? Why do we talk to other people? Sometimes we want to tell someone something: I’m hot. You’re very attractive. These pretzels are making me thirst. And at other times we want to find out something from someone else: How are you? What do you think about my new brown, corduroy trousers?…

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Consistency in the Classroom

Structure is a key part of daily life. People who use the bus regularly don’t need to think about where to get off, they do so almost instinctively. When a waiter announces an order the chef’s hands move reflexively into action. These kinds of reactions come from consistency. Implementing this same kind of consistency in the EFL…

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Making Worksheets

Worksheets are a staple of Junior and Senior High School students’ lives. The kids encounter them frequently. They are an incredibly useful tool that a Foreign Teacher can employ every lesson if they so wish. Some JTEs even insist on worksheets being made. The first worksheet I ever made was the most pathetic thing ever…

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Working with a JTE

Something that nearly every Teacher of English as a Foreign Language will have to do is work with a JTE. The Japanese Teacher of English is the professional school teacher who, in most cases, is in charge of the year’s curriculum and thus also determines the Foreign Teacher’s schedule. There’s a few things to bear…

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Teaching Blunders – Tears and Trauma

A friend of mine once said some thing to me that I think can also be applied to teaching. He said Can you remember the first time you tried to fry an egg? How did it go? Did you make a perfect fried egg? My answers were “Yes.” “Not so great.” and “No.” There were…

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