Thursday, 24 July 2014

Songs with phonetics: Sing, Ed Sheeran.

Here's a great summer song by Ed Sheeran, Sing. Below is an activity for your students once they know the phonetic alphabet. If you haven't taught your students phonetics yet, then have a look at ways to teach phonetics.



There are a couple ways you can do this lesson.

1- Students listen to the song first and try to fill the gaps. Then put the words in the correct columns and listen again.
2- Students look at the missing words first and put them in the correct columns. Then listen to the song and complete the gaps.
3- This song has something extra with connected speech where the students have to find examples of words joining together.

I've prepared the song with numbered gaps, an activity to put the words in the correct column, plus the full lyrics and answers. I plan to get my students to learn the chorus and sing it a few times. Everything is on this word document: Sing, Ed Sheeran.

Have Fun!

Saturday, 12 July 2014

How Delta changed my life!

Are you thinking about doing Delta and not sure what it involves? Would you like to hear a detailed breakdown of each of the three modules plus tips and advice on how to succeed? Interested in knowing how it could change your career and life? Then check out my webinar this Wednesday 16th at 15.00 with Cambridge English Teacher

Photo by Brett Jordan
A while back Susan Griffith, travel writer, mentioned my book in her webinar and since then Cambridge English Teacher have invited me to talk about my experiences doing Delta

If you're not able to attend then I will be writing some more blogs about my experiences in the next couple of months. These will include what was involved in each of the modules, how long it takes, prices, along with my tips and advice. I'll also be posting about each of my LSA's if you need any help.

Cheers.


Friday, 6 June 2014

Best place to learn, and teach, English in Sevilla!

Not many English language schools around the world have the class to make their own television advertisement. With the growing economic recession in Spain sometimes it's necessary to appeal to new audiences and create extra publicity to keep the flow of students coming in. That's why I'm proud to work for ELI in Sevilla, we are constantly trying new things to appeal to a wider range of customers. Check out this video titled "No solo los niños aprenden de los padres" "Not only children learn from their parents."

The man responsible for this excellent ad is Colm Farry, a freelance videographer based in Sevilla, have a look at his blog: Colm Farry.



It's a great ad because it shows how the world is changing and that more and more people are depending on English to improve their lives. It also shows that anything is possible if you really put your mind to it. So if you are looking for English classes in Sevilla get in touch now.

Do you own a language school? What are you doing to attract more students in these trying times? Have you got your own TV ad?

Thursday, 29 May 2014

TEFL Tips: The Stare!

What's the best way to control your naughty students? I've tried a few things over the years. When I first started teaching teenagers and adolescents I used to lose my rag a lot. I was unsure how to deal with that troublesome age and often found it difficult to control the class. I think that was mainly because I wanted them to like me, to sort of see me as a friend, but it often meant I had no power over them and they would soon take advantage and start playing up.

Don't stare at me boy!
Photo by Road Fun
That doesn't happen anymore. It normally takes me a while to get a class into shape, depending on the previous teacher. I'm strict to start with, especially on homework and Spanish in the class. But the one trick that I've learnt over the years, as opposed to throwing a pile of books on the floor to scare them (not recommended) is the stare.

You'd be surprised with the power a mean stare can have over individual students, or even the class. I use it a lot and it’s my telepathic way of communicating to the students that they are in the wrong, or are about to get thrown out of class.

Tips for a mean stare:
  • Fix your eyes directly on their eyes.
  • Keep your lips tight.
  • Bite your teeth together.
  • Breathe loudly through your nose.
  • Don’t blink.
  • Wait for them to realise they have done wrong.
  • Once they have stopped or gone quiet, finish with a smile to show you are not a monster, but you are the boss.

I use stares a lot in class at the start of term, but once they know you are in control then they’ll normally behave and you can start being yourself. There’s nothing wrong with scaring a group of students and then gradually easing up on them, but start soft and you’re a goner.

Tuesday, 13 May 2014

A Novel Spain: Football Derbies, the Feria in Sevilla, and Semana Santa

If you live in Spain, or are thinking of moving here then my other blog, a Novel Spain, is worth taking a look at. Here is my monthly blog of the latest posts.

Ole, La Feria in Sevilla.
Photo by MasterCov
I'm not a massive fan of the Spanish Liga, but I do follow what's going on. Here's a blog based on a trip to the mental derby between Sevilla and Betis, the two local clubs here. There are two blogs: Derbies in Spain are Insane, and Derbies in Spain are Insane, part 2.

Seville has two massive festivals in Spring, Semana Santa, and the Feria. I'm more of a Semana Santa fan so check out these blogs titled What I will and won't miss about Semana Santa, and What I won't miss about Semana Santa. Also these two about the Feria: What's so special about the Feria in Sevilla, and What does my head in about the Feria in Sevilla.

Hope you enjoy them.

Thursday, 8 May 2014

Excerpt 12: Time to move on from Salvador!

I always find it hard to move on from a country where I've been teaching English. While I taught English around the world I built up a real connection with all the places I lived in. Of course there were a few things that normally did my head, but most of the memories I have of living abroad were happy ones. Here's the next excerpt from my book about when I had to leave Brazil. I can't believe that was almost ten years ago. 

Miss this place, Salvador, Bahia.
Photo by lapidim
Despite falling in love with Salvador and teaching, I had to move on. My visa was due to start in Australia and a new adventure waited. I had mixed emotions about leaving.

What made it easy? When the rain season arrived, Salvador was gloomier, as were the Bahians; they hate the rain just as much as we do.
Classes at P.E.C were too tense. Daisy was on the war path.
I was down to three hundred pounds. I’d enjoyed living a simple life, but my money was still vanishing. I hadn’t helped by making a huge cock up. I needed to get to L.A to depart for Sydney, but there was a special offer flight to Miami. I read that a Greyhound bus from Miami to L.A took eleven hours (Yes, I know I’m a plank). So I booked the flight with enough time to see some of Miami and L.A. How long does the bus from Miami to L.A? Three days and eleven hours = Muppet.

What made it difficult? My Portuguese was finally improving. On one of my last evenings in Pelo, I was sitting on the cathedral steps, remembering the fun I’d had, when a lout sat next to me.
“Hola, tudo Bem?” he said.
“Sim, Tudo Bem.”
“Chocolate?” He grinned.
“Chocolate? What, for eating or drinking?” I asked him in Portuguese. He laughed. The conversation continued in Portuguese.
“No, you know, for smoking,” he said, holding a bag of brown hash by his side.
“But how do you smoke chocolate, won’t it melt?”
“Your Portuguese is good, you sure you don’t want some?”
“I don’t smoke, but thanks anyway,” I said.
“Okay, man. Take it easy.” We shook hands. Three months before, I probably would have got angry and walked off.
I’d miss the music. Carnival style nights in Pelo were amazing, even after all my travels those nights were still the best. I was even lucky enough to see Olodum in Pelo, one of Brazil’s most famous samba reggae bands.
Mostly I’d miss teaching Brazilians. I haven’t met such fun, polite, and enthusiastic students since.
Charles and Marcus were fine about me leaving. I think the Witch was glad to see me go. When I told the female class, Daisy caused a stir.
“What? But why?” she said, getting angry. She was about to blow.
“I know, I’m sorry, it’s been fun though,” I said. She stormed out.
Saying goodbye to Anderson and Junior was emotional.
“Man, when I’m in London we can meet up, you need to stay in contact, mate,” Anderson said as we hugged on the cathedral steps.
“Yeah no worries, keep practising those expressions, you never know when a fit English bird might pop through Pelo.”
“Yeah I will, keep safe,” he said. We shook hands and they disappeared through the crowds in Praca da Se. They were good honest lads and had showed me the highs of Salvador.

On my last day I was sad. Two lizards watched me pack my rucksack and clean the cell. When I left, a small pile of ants waited outside, as if waving me off.  I’d told Murphy the time I was leaving, but he wasn’t there.
“See you in the World Cup one day,” I said to Fabrizio as he crashed about with his matchbox cars. The King was asleep on the couch, and Buck Teeth and Small Head were playing cards. I gave Big Breasts a hug (yes, they were firm) and thanked Frizzy for everything.
As I paced up the road, I bumped into Teddy Bear.
“Good luck man, take it easy with the landlady,” I said, winking.
“What? How did you know?” he said, laughing. I waved goodbye to the ladies working in the supermarket and the Prince and Princess came out of an internet cafe in Pelo to say goodbye.
While I strolled through the plaza that I’d been frightened of, taxi drivers didn’t give me hassle when I declined their lifts, homeless lads who had asked me for money nodded their heads knowing I was leaving town.
“Not running today?” said a Portuguese voice, a policeman.
“No, not today.”
“Good journey,” he said. I’d never noticed him before.
As I reached Praca da Se, I stopped for a second to watch a group of lads practising Capoeria and I saw my oldest Bahian friend.
“Hey King Barry, I thought I was going to miss you,” said Murphy, sweating and panting.
“Me too.”
“Give me your bag, I’ll help you. I can’t believe King Barry is leaving. This is a sad moment for me. You will go now to hit some Australian women, you are a lucky English man.”
“Not really,” I said.
“Yes you are! I want to get out of this shit-hole; when you are in London, you can be my sponsor okay? Get me a job and things.”
“Yeah sure Murphy, if you ever come over.”
He walked me to the bus stop.
“Don’t forget about London man, tell me when you’re there and I’ll come over,” he said as I got on the airport bus.
“Sure mate, thanks for everything; you’re a diamond geezer.”
“A what?”
“A diamond geezer, a good man.”
“Okay you too, diamond geezer,” he said, laughing as he shook my hand for the final time. “Good luck King Barry! Hit those women!”
“I’ll try.” The driver ushered me on.
As I waved goodbye to the tall lanky man who’d helped me, I felt a lump in my throat. Murphy was a kind person with a good heart and if he was ever in London, I’d repay the favour. I glanced at him one last time, was that a tear in his eye? Nah it can’t be, I thought, but it was.
As the bus travelled along the coast, I thought back to the hard moments. Brazil had taught me to be tougher, more street savvy, and less naive.
I checked in and browsed round the duty free section. A soundless video of the Carnival played. I put on the headphones.
“Zoom Zoom Zoom Zoom, Zoombaabaa Zoombaabaa.” I smiled.
The chapter in Latin America was over and a new one was about to commence. That was the beauty of being a travelling TEFL teacher.

Thursday, 24 April 2014

Songs with phonetics: Happy, Pharrell Williams

Happy by Pharrell Williams is such a cool song. It's had over 170,000,000 views on youtube as well so your students will obviously love it. If you haven't taught your students phonetics yet, then have a look at ways to teach phonetics.



There are a couple ways you can do this lesson.

1- Students listen to the song first and try to fill the gaps. Then put the words in the correct columns and listen again.
2- Students look at the missing words first and put them in the correct columns. Then listen to the song and complete the gaps.
3- This song has something extra with connected speech where the students have to find examples of words joining together.

I've prepared the song with numbered gaps, an activity to put the words in the correct column, plus the full lyrics and answers. I plan to get my students to learn the chorus and sing it a few times. Everything is on this word document: Happy - Pharrell Williams

Have fun and be happy!