These days, faced with low pay and poor working conditions in most private language schools, more and more teachers are going it alone and teaching privately. Before starting, it's good to have certain things in place in order to make it a smoother transition. Here goes: 1. Find out what they don't like. Obviously, it's important to do a thorough needs analysis before you begin teaching a student. However, not every learner knows what they like when it comes to English classes - indeed they won't know this until they've tried...

English teacher, 'How are you feeling today?' Student, 'Tense' English teacher, 'How were you feeling yesterday? How will you have been feeling by the end of the week? How have you been feeling this month?'   Did you groan? I hope so, because that makes two of us. I certainly let out an audible 'oh...

[caption id="attachment_3320" align="aligncenter" width="297"] 2005_0918_174853AA by hslo CC BY-SA 2.0[/caption] I  recently came across a blog post by Cathy Moore titled 'How to respond to learning styles believers', in which she talks about the perils of debunking theories to which people have become quite accustomed and attached to over the years, but which have been shown not to be based on evidence - in this case the theory related to learning styles. I posted a link to the article on Facebook and from the ensuing response and comments, it's...

1 You listen to songs, mainly paying attention to the lyrics for examples of language use you can practise in class. 2 You have a huge bank of useful but interesting general knowledge, entirely gleaned from coursebooks. 3 You gesticulate wildly all the time when speaking to people, something you learnt when trying to explain concepts such as 'put off' or 'defeated'. [caption id="attachment_3185" align="aligncenter" width="300"] ...

Photo by Higor Cavalcante | CC BY 2.0 No matter where you are in the world today, English is everywhere you look. It’s used in shop signs, products in the supermarket, the names of buildings, menus, graffiti, airports, public transport, shopping centres, notices, advertising posters and hoardings. In fact, here in Brazil there is even an English name for this type of advertising – ‘outdoor’ (as well as ‘busdoor’ for adverts on the back of buses, and ‘indoor’ for adverts in stations, shopping centres, etc.). I first became interested in Linguistic...

Good morning. My name's Damian and I like coursebooks. I've liked them for about 20 years now. Coursebooks are a funny beast in our profession. They seem to take a lot of flack from various sectors of the industry, yet they are - and continue to be - all pervasive. Whatever your connection with ELT, every one of us has at least used a major coursebook in the past, and I would venture as far as to say that all of us owe at least one good teaching idea...

One of the books that made the biggest impression on me last year was Evgeny Morozov's To Save Everything, Click Here: Technology, Solutionism and the Urge to Fix Problems that Don't Exist. In it, he describes the rise of tech companies into all-pervasive areas of life, their inherent solutionism, and the threats this process poses to society as a whole. So what exactly is solutionism? Well, in its simplest terms, it's the belief that pretty much everything we face in live can be cast as a simple problem + solution. The...

There are these two young fish swimming along and they happen to meet an older fish swimming the other way, who nods at them and says 'Morning boys. How's the water?' And the two young fish swim on for a bit, and then eventually one of them looks over at the other and goes, 'What the hell is water?' Excerpt from the commencement address given by the late David Foster Wallace to graduates of Kenyon College in 2005. (Photo: Diving Maldives: Gold Striped Emperor Fish by Malcolm Browne CC BY-ND 2.0) Over the course...

Kitten! by Sergey Ivanov CC BY-SA 2.0 This month's post has nothing to do with kittens, but do we really need an excuse?  This month I'm straying from the topic of teaching slightly to look at what happens when we, as teachers, write about our profession. It's a topic that's quite close to my heart as it's what first got me interested in developing critical thinking skills in teachers. I think it's fair to say that as teachers we have all, at some point or another, read books, blogs, and articles...