What is self-evaluation? elt learner-centred pedagogy self-evaluation

By Dr Jeremy Koay

A limited view

While learner-centred pedagogy is a common idea, evaluation is usually teacher-centred for a number of reasons. The belief that only teachers should evaluate students’ progress is driven by the idea that teachers are language learning experts. Advocates of...

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What demotivates language learners? elt motivation

By James Jenkin

Demotivation to learn English, roughly speaking, means losing any enthusiasm to learn the language. Every teacher meets demotivated students. Why have they lost interest?

Some researchers (Arai, 2004; Kojima, 2004) have highlighted internal factors: in particular, a lack of...

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The importance of contemporary cultural resources china culture elt modern china

By Lottie Dowling

In January 2017, I returned to Beijing, China for work after a two-year absence.  I left Beijing in 2015 after living there for nine and a half years to move to Australia.  Having arrived in Beijing pre-Olympics and lived through the incredible transformation of the...

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What is the zone of proximal development? elt sociocultural theory the zone of proximal development vygotsky zpd

By Dr Jeremy Koay

A limited view

The zone of proximal development (ZPD) and Krashen’s notion of i + 1 are sometimes misunderstood as expressing the same idea (Lantolf, Thorne & Poehner, 2015). The main difference between the two concepts is that the ZPD focuses on what learners can...

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Global competence: the new education frontier 21st century skills elt

By Lottie Dowling

Globalisation has become an everyday word, often heard in the news, political statements or trade-related topics.  We don’t need to look far, however, to see how globalisation affects us all on a daily basis: we drink coffee grown in Brazil, wear clothing manufactured...

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What Google trends reveal about English elt google trends ielts toefl

By James Jenkin

We see a lot of trends in TESOL. We know ‘grammar-translation’ is out, ‘post-method’ is in.

One tool to do this is Google Trends (trends.google.com), which shows the number of searches for a term over time.

TEFL and TESOL

100 signifies the peak popularity...

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What is a graded reader? elt graded reader reading

By Dr Jeremy Koay

A limited view

Graded readers are generally understood as storybooks that are simplified and adapted for children by limiting the vocabulary range and controlling the grammatical structures. However, content is not limited to storybooks, and there is a significant proportion of...

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Teaching meaning context elt meaningful

By James Jenkin

Most people realize that when you teach someone a word, you have to teach what it means.  We do it instinctively, often providing a dictionary-like definition: ‘A clock? That’s the thing that tells the time’.

Teacher training courses like CELTA spend a lot...

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What is extensive reading? elt extensive reading

By Dr Jeremy Koay

A limited view

Trying to improve my English as a secondary school student in Malaysia, I tried to read as many English books as I could. I went to the school library and borrowed books that interested me. Because I hadn’t developed a reading habit in my teens, this...

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What is reflective language teaching? elt reflective teaching

By Dr Jeremy Koay

A limited view

If language learning is likened to a chemistry experiment, there is probably no room for teacher reflection, as chemical reactions are mostly predictable within controlled environments. However, human behaviour and human interactions are different from chemical...

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Help! I've been asked to teach ESP! elt english for specific purposes esp

By James Jenkin

ESP – English for Specific Purposes – describes an English course tailored to a specific job, such as English for Doctors, English for Hotel Receptionists or English for Pilots. In ESP ‘the purpose for learning is paramount and related directly to what the...

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What is task-based language learning? elt task-based language learning

By Dr Jeremy Koay

A limited view

A common misunderstanding of task-based language learning is that it does not provide adequate grammar coverage (Ellis, 2009). However, this is not the case. In fact, some advocates of task-based approach suggest that some teaching of grammar should be included in...

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Why Lesson Planning is Useful elt lesson planning

By James Jenkin

Teachers are often told they need to write lesson plans. This might be on a teacher training course, or at the school where they teach.

From my experience, it’s often for the wrong reasons. Directors of Studies see producing a lesson plan as a kind of discipline (Of course,...

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What is Peer Feedback? critical thinking elt feedback

By Dr Jeremy Koay

A limited view

Peer feedback refers to comments and suggestions that learners receive from their classmates. Students and teachers who are not aware of its benefits and goals are often sceptical about this, and may think it is a waste of time. Given the complexity of the task,...

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What qualifications do EFL teachers need? celta professional development teaching certificate teaching requirements tefl tesol

By James Jenkin

This is a question often asked by prospective teachers. The very unsatisfying answer is: it depends.

This is because of the size and spread of the TEFL (Teaching of English as a Foreign Language) industry. The number of learners is expected to grow to 2 billion this decade...

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What is Group Work? authentic task elt group work student interaction vygotsky

 

By Dr Jeremy Koay

A limited view

Some teachers and students, particularly in an exam-oriented learning environment, think that group work is a waste of time. This is often because group activities are not well-designed. Due to unclear instructions and expectations, learners tend to work ...

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Bringing a Course Book to Life course book elt learner-centred pedagogy materials development

By James Jenkin

Many language learners (and teachers) like having a course book.

Students feel a book gives a course direction, and makes it seem organized. They can review what they’ve covered. And many modern course books are well-written, attractive and interesting.

However, we can make...

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What is Children's Literature? children's literature diversity elt extensive reading intense reading

By Dr Jeremy Koay

A limited view

Children’s literature is usually associated with colourful pictures, fairy tales and nursery rhymes. In some families, bedtime stories are a ritual. Some teachers believe that reading stories written for children is useful for second language (L2) extensive...

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Chinese Adventure Immersive Camp communicative language teaching elt

By Lottie Dowling

In the first week of school holidays in Victoria, Australia, I accompanied 25 young Victorians on a three-day holiday adventure camp – with a twist.  This camp had all the usual trappings of a school holiday camp: water-based activities, a campfire session with...

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What is English for specific purposes? elt english for specific purposes esp

By Dr Jeremy Koay

A limited view

Don’t you know the meaning of ‘key signature’ [a technical music term]? I thought you were an English teacher!

This comment reflects a lack of understanding of the idea that that language is used differently in different contexts. If you are not...

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