Tuesday, 30 September 2014

Songs with Phonetics: Coldplay A Sky Full of Stars

This is my favourite song of summer 2014: Coldplay, A Sky Full of Stars. 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. The main focus is on connected speech and how words join together and sounds disappear.

1- Students listen to the song first and try to fill the gaps. Hopefully they don't get them all.
2- Students match together the possible combinations and write down their answers. Play the song again and make sure they have the correct answers.
3. Then do the questions which follow about connected speech. The answers are after the full lyrics.
4. After some drilling you can play the song again and get them to sing. Good luck with that one though.

Everything is on this word document: Coldplay A Sky full of Stars.

Have Fun!

Tuesday, 23 September 2014

This month's Top TEFL blogs!

It's that time of month again. Here are the top TEFL blog posts I've read over the last month.

Are you burnt out as a TEFL teacher?
Photo by Somedriftwood
Are you burnt out?
Life as a teacher is hard at times; always at the front of the class, on show, keeping people entertained while teaching them a valuable skill. Have you reached the burnt out stage? Check out this article on the Guardian in response to someone who has taught in Taiwan for 17 years, enough to drive anyone barmy.

ESL made easy
ESL made easy is an excellent website for TEFL teachers with ideas for the classroom, tips on 1 to 1 teaching, news, and lots of useful websites.

Improve your students narrative skills with Tin Tin
Another excellent lesson plan on Movie Segments. This one is based on Tin Tin and concentrates on using cohesive language and linkers to improve students narrative writing skills.

List of useful TEFL websites
There's a great list of excellent websites and tools for ESL learners on My Journey in TEFL by Eva. Some of my favourite sites on there, including Lyrics Training.

Using fillers in conversation
Whenever I first teach new students the use of fillers they tend to think I'm a bit of a nutter. Especially as I model a conversation with a volunteer student. But over time they see the benefits. Check out these activities on My That's English titled Madrid Teacher: Wacky Workouts with a real life useful video using fillers.

That's all for this month. Leave me a comment below if you want your website featured next month.

Tuesday, 16 September 2014

What to expect over the next TEFL term!

So, it's back to work. Whenever I start a new term I always try to remember how much I hated my jobs before I began teaching. I did IT recruitment and Sales for about three years in London before I made that jump to leave England and become a TEFL teacher. 12 years later I still have no regrets. Sure, no one likes coming back to work after a holiday, no matter what job you're in, but it could be a whole lot worse.

Reminds me of my P.E. teacher.
Photo by Michael Karshis
I'm surprised how many people have been following this blog considering how little I've been posting (first year of fatherhood has proved tricky in terms of free time for writing). It's great that Teaching English in a Foreign Land has almost had 300,000 page views and my book has sold over 3,000 copies (as well as over 5,000 free downloads). I guess I must be doing something right. I'd like to thank all my followers, people who leave comments, and those who have read my book. 

The aim of this post is to let you know what I plan to write about over the next term. These are the main areas:

TEFL tips: This will include both quick snappy tips and longer lists to help new or less experienced TEFL teachers. Tips will be on lessons, finding work, keeping your job, getting the most out of your students, and general advice.

DELTA: This has become one of the most popular sections, so I'll definitely be writing more blogs about my DELTA experience. I plan to write detailed posts with tips and advice on each of the modules, as well as uploading my LSA's for Module 2. 

Top TEFL Blogs: This is a compilation of the best TEFL blogs that I've read each month. If you want me to include any of your posts then just leave a comment below.

Phonetics Project : I'm a bit of a phonetics freak in my classes, and at home come to think of it. This project is ongoing and gives tips and advice on how to teach phonetics in class as well as activities, including using songs to practise phonetics.

Those are the main areas I'm going to focus on. For Expat issues and Travel then check out my other blog A Novel Spain, which is about life abroad in Spain.

Thanks again for following and reading. Looking forward to some more blogging.

Monday, 25 August 2014

This month's Top TEFL blogs!

Life has been damn busy these last couple of months, but now I have some more time to read blogs about TEFL and travel again, so here's some of the best ones.

Great view of Puerto Rico
Photo by Trish Hartmann
Best views in the world?
If any of you have read my travel book then you'll know that I'm a view man. Lillie also shares my view, get it? View? Okay I'll shut up. Don't let my stupidity sway you from her latest blog about an amazing hotel view in Puerto Rico.

Does Writing about TEFL make you a better teacher?
I think so, after writing about TEFL I believe I have improved as a teacher. But does Alex Case agree? Find out here on his latest blog titled: Does writing about TEFL make you a better teacher?

Do you teach synonyms?
I'm a massive fan of synonyms, not only to help students improve their vocabulary for writing and speaking, but also for providing definitions. For a more detailed analysis of synonyms have a look at this article by Tamara Jones called: The Significance of Synonyms

How to teach imperatives
Check out this excellent lesson on Movie Segments to Assess Grammar Goals called Puss in Boots: Imperatives. There are loads of film clips on this website which are extremely useful for class.

What job should graduates do?
Teaching English of course. Even 'The Telegraph' thinks so. Have a look at this article explaining why TEFL is a good option for graduates.

That's all for this month. Cheers.

Tuesday, 12 August 2014

A Novel Spain: A Better Spain, Winter in Madrid, Surviving Summer in Andalucia and more...

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.

Santander, it's just a lovely place to go, and maybe live.
Photo by El Coleccionista de instantes
In Search of a Better Spain: Santander is a running series about a trip I did along Northern Spain from Santander to Barcelona. 

If you like reading novels about the Civil War in Spain then check out my book review of Winter in Madrid by C.J. Sansom. It's a fantastic thriller / historical novel that teaches you about what life used to be like after the Civil War.

Having trouble in the heat this summer? I bloody well am. Check out this blog about How to Survive the summer heat in Andalucía

I won a blog award, I really did. It wasn't an overly official one, but nevertheless an award it was. Check out what I had to do in return though with my own list of Most Versatile Blogs.

That's all for this month. Next month will include posts about comparing life back home as an expat, travelling in Bilbao, a book review of The Return, if I get to finish it, and Best Blogs in Spain.


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.