I have been teaching English for over 2 years in north-western Madagascar. It was here where I was hired by a large aquaculture company to implement an English training program for their 900 employees. I also work directly with the people and children in the neighbouring village with a foundation named Fondation Ecole de Félix. This foundation brings access to education and healthcare for the Ankarana people.
Textbook Used: Longman Academic Writing Series
Authentic Material to Supplement Textbook: 15-minute Video Humans Need Not Apply
Mixed-level classes are the norm in East Asian high schools, and this is especially true in Hong Kong. Due to the prevalence of English content on the Internet, by FC6 Level (grade 12) some students attain native level fluency, and keeping them engaged and drawing on the advanced students as a resource can actually enhance the experience for the entire class and make for a dynamic and fruitful lesson.
When teaching high school students in Hong Kong the teacher needs to be able to devise a lesson plan that engages the fluent students without alienating the lower level students.
This lesson uses the video below to teach about argumentative essay writing, expose students to authentic listening material, and create interest for the writing assignment.
About the Author: Jacob Pejvack completed our 250-hour TESOL Diploma. Jacob has more than 20 years of experience as an ESL teacher, having spent the majority of time in East Asia. Teaching writing skills to advanced students is his preferred subject.
Curriculum classes in the EPIK program will likely have 20-30 students, a mixed ranged of English proficiency, and limited space for desk rearrangement/movement. NETs are encouraged to supplement and/or replace textbook activities with their own, while bearing the following in mind:
- The practice stage has students working as a class or in large groups, and has them drilling the material through the various styles of repetition. As these activities will be teacher-guided, NETS should be wary of having excessive teacher-talk-time (TTT).
- The production stage has students working in smaller groups, where they have developed sufficient proficiency with the targets to become self-regulatory. Although these activities have students transforming/manipulating the target language, there will be inevitably some overlap with the practice stage depending on how the NET chooses to implement the activities.
- TPR activities will be somewhat difficult to incorporate into curriculum classes, given the number of students and likely limited space to move around. “Fun” activities can still be devised, but NETs need to think of the logistics (where students will be, if they need to move their chairs / bodies / books to play, etc.) before implementing the game.
About the Author: Tania Sanclemente completed Advanced 120-hour TESOL Certificate program and the 20-hour Practicum. She spent two years in South Korea working as a public school teacher and provincial coordinator.
As mentioned in my previous post, South Korean elementary school students do not get enough reading in their English language curriculum. One class hour—a class hour actually being forty minutes—out of every six is dedicated to reading a short contrived passage of just a few sentences, all of them carefully formulated to fit with what the students already know and are currently learning. There is nothing new or exciting in the passages or in the one or two simple comprehension questions that follow them. As a native English teacher (NET) in a South Korean public elementary school, I feel I should introduce the students to longer authentic passages to give them some solid, meaningful reading practice. I found a perfect opportunity to do so with my sixth graders.
About the Author: Patricia Brooks completed the 250-hour TESOL Diploma. She teaches grades 3 to 6 with EPIK in South Korea.
In South Korea, for every three hours of EFL speaking and listening instruction elementary school students receive, they get only one hour of reading and one hour of writing instruction. So what can be done to help address the lack of reading and writing instruction in the South Korean classroom, or at least to maximize the benefit the students reap from the little reading and writing time they do get?
In this article, I will show you what I did to help get my fifth graders improve their writing skills. With my fifth graders, I supplemented a lesson on asking permission and expressing prohibition (target grammar: “May I _____?” “Yes, you may [____]”/ “No, you may not [____].”) with a writing activity meant to introduce the kids to things that are and are not permissible in American culture. At the same time, they were encouraged to think about norms of behavior in their own society.
About the Author: Patricia Brooks teaches grades 3 to 6 in South Korea’s EPIK program. She completed the 250-hour TESOL Diploma program with Coventry House International-OnTESOL.
Curriculum classes in South Korea consist of approximately 20-30 students, and generally have the homeroom teacher as the NET’s co-teacher. These classes are all larger in size, limited in space (for movement), include a mix of students with varying proficiency and interest in English, and are relatively short (40 minutes). EPIK and Talk teachers in South Korea have a textbook that largely follows the PPP lesson planning format, but it does not fully use communicative activities in context. The extent to which NETs must follow the book will be determined by the school.
About the Author: Tania Sanclemente spent two years in South Korea, where she started as a teacher in rural public elementary schools and continued as a provincial coordinator for the TaLK program. Tania completed our 120-hour TESOL course.
Authentic materials are just as useful in the production stage as they are in the presentation stage of an ESL lesson. Incorporating these materials into your lessons will not only generate interest in the material, but will also facilitate interaction between the textbook and real-life situations. This is important for learning, as it requires students to interact hands-on with the material while utilizing the vocabulary and grammar studied in that day’s class. Following are some examples of how this approach to English learning can be applied in your classroom in the production stage of your lesson, using the Grade 6 Cheonjae English textbook as a guide.
At the end of a lesson, not only is it important to review what’s been learned in the textbook, but it’s also important to check that students understand and can use the language that’s been taught. This year, with my Grade 6s, I looked for ways to encourage them to think on their own and use English in a creative and productive way. This was a difficult task, as my students are low-level and lack confidence when it comes to English. However, one effective method I found of getting them interacting more personally with English was through end-of-lesson projects that focused on translation. I wanted them to practice moving between the two languages independently, rather than relying on a teacher to hand the information to them, while maintaining their creativity. Translation activities can be great for this purpose, but the drawback is that it requires either your own knowledge of the students’ native language or a co-teacher who is willing to put in an equal amount of effort, so be sure to account for this before beginning this type of task.
As a teacher, it can be hard to get your students excited to learn at the beginning of a new lesson. EPIK, the public school program in South Korea, uses a series of textbooks called Cheonjae, which typically fails to get my students engaged at the initial stages of a lesson. Instead, I have found that using authentic material is an effective way of getting them motivated.
I find that my students are especially engaged when the material is tailored to my personal life. This article will outline some different ways you can use personalized authentic material as a motivator in your lessons, specifically for EPIK teachers using the Cheonjae textbooks.
About the author: Karina Dirstein completed the online 250-hour TESOL Diploma online while teaching English with EPIK in South Korea.
In this blog, our 120-hour TESOL certificate graduate explains how to use communicative activities and authentic materials to supplement Unit 2 of the FCE Oxford Textbook.
Verb Patterns are one of the more challenging grammar topics to teach to students as at this point in their learning, it’s just a matter of re-learning and memorization. One of the best ways to help students learn and remember Verb Patterns is to have students see them in context. I created a list of discussion questions to start this section off. Once they have finished the discussion, I have them underline the two verbs and note which verbs have -ing following them and which have the infinitive following them. I then move on to complete #1 and #2 from the textbook.