Homesickness While Living Abroad

I think that homesickness hits every ex-pat at least once during their stint in a foreign land. It can be debilitating and I’ve seen many people suffer from it while working or studying far away from home . However Diagnosis: Homesickness There are a variety of symptoms associated with homesickness, and not everyone exhibits all…

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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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Shopping in Japan – VIDEO

When shopping in Japan there are many supermarkets to choose from to do your regular shopping, but how much does it all cost? Let’s look at how much I spend on a weekly shop up here in the rural north of the country. Shopping in Japan How much do you spend on a weekly shop? How…

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The Demilitarised Zone: A Step Into North Korea

When I started planning my trip to South Korea I had to do some research. I knew very little about the country beyond the cuisine I’d sampled in Japan. One thing I was vaguely aware of was the Demilitarised Zone. I had next to no factual knowledge about the place but in my mind I…

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ESL Teacher In Japan: Back To School

As an ESL teacher in Japan my winter vacation started on Christmas Day last year. However, for many of my fellow teachers it started later than that. Some of my JTEs barely had any time off at all! So although I may lament the shortness of my holiday I should really count myself lucky. I…

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ESL Activty: The Envelope Game for Junior High/High School

Before exam time schools often ask their resident ESL instructor to teach a review lesson. Going over previously taught content and structure can be a little dull. I’ve done more than one review lesson which were nothing more than a series of simplistic writing drills echoing the structure found in many traditional written tests. This might…

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VIDEO: Star Wars Snack Attack – A Quick Bite In Japan

Everyone’s going Star Wars crazy at the moment; myself included. Here in Japan there has been a real barrage of stuff appearing on shelves and in freezers. Not one to waste an opportunity to indulge in some less-than-healthy nibbles, I swept up as much rebel scum snackage as my feeble arms could handle, and documented my findings here….

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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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Winter In Japan – Get the Tauntauns ready!

Surviving winter in Japan, especially the northern Tohoku region, can be a struggle; but it’s not impossible. With a little thought and careful planning anyone can pass through these treacherous times of chilliness relatively unscathed. Keep it toasty When the temperature starts to drop I know it’s time to set up possibly the greatest Japanese…

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Activity: Word Trees

There are many sounds in the English syllabary that ESL students struggle with. Sounds like the ‘th’ in “this” or the ‘v’ in “va-va-voom” just don’t exist in some other languages and many students struggle to contort their mouths into the right shapes. So what can the ever-resourceful ESL teacher do to support their flagging…

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