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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English Speech Contest

As well as teaching classes, prepping worksheets and making board games there are a couple of other duties an EFL teacher may be requested to do. Such as: You Speaking To Me? Once a year schools in Japan send two or three students to compete in a local, prefectural or national English Speech Contest. Usually…

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EFL Activity: New Words

The act of learning new words comes with the territory when studying a language. For English it’s the EFL (English as a Foreign Language) teacher’s responsibility to help students in pronouncing and, sometimes, understanding any new words they encounter. New Words I’m speaking from the point of view of an English Teacher who’s taught at public schools in…

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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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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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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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A Standard Lesson Plan For Junior High and Up

I’ve already written a little bit about some activities that can be used in the ESL classroom and about how to forge an effective worksheet but how do these elements come together to make a decent lesson? Here I’m going to go through a standard lesson plan for Junior High or High School based on…

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