student fails: how we love them.

The TEFL Life: A TEFL blog

There is often a lot of attention on pronunciation and teaching it. For a long time I thought pronunciation was not high on my list of priorities, but then there are moments when you realise why there is such a focus on it.

Today was such a day. I love my students and I understand they are going to make mistakes (my language learning is appalling) but sometimes it’s hard not to laugh when they have no idea what they have just said.

The obvious chuckles are the b*tch/beach, vegetarian/vagatarian distinctions, but sometimes it’s a bit more subtle but still good for a giggle.

Today I attended a prize giving for a language school and a student was selected to give a speech:

“My teachers always tell me, working in a team is bitter than to work alone”.


[for more awesome funninesses check out

and Helen Doron English on Pinterest]

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Computer Assisted Language Learning

Game On!


Computer Assisted Language Learning, or CALL in the English language learning field, helps students learn English (or any other language) more quickly and thoroughly than if they were only taking traditional class based lessons.  There are many applications that are available, and some are definitely more useful than others.  One of the best language learning software producers I’ve come across is English Language Learning Inc.  Most of their software runs through a browser or can be downloaded and installed on Windows or Mac OSX computers, as well as on IOS and Android devices.  There are some exceptions, but those are made clear before you purchase them.

English Language Learning

A teacher (or a student) can purchase online accounts, where the students can log in and practice anywhere.  The system will keep track of users’ progress and the amount of time they have logged in.

The flagship product is Pronunciation Power, which…

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Returning to the States After Teaching Abroad

Arysteja's Blog

Let me start by saying that I am going to try to be as objective as I can, but this blog is personal. VERY PERSONAL.

So many people go abroad to teach English. Sometimes these experiences are really awful, and other times they are pleasantly life changing. I experienced the latter. I lived abroad in South Korea for 7 years. There, I completely paid off all of my debt, learned some amazing teaching skills, and discovered who I was as an individual. In addition, I did something that I would NEVER have been able to do living in America. I traveled, lived, ate, and had fantastic health care for a fraction of a fraction of what just rent costs in the States. It is amazing what you can accomplish when basic survival is not a concern. To say the least, being an English teacher was a breath of fresh air…

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Shifting the dominant culture paradigm in ESL/EAL- Teaching for a diverse, globalized world.


Look at materials designed to teach English as a second/additional language (ESL/EAL) and you’ll probably see a book or audiovisual texts not just about language but also about a host national culture. ESL teaching materials include cultural lessons through vocabulary and grammar teaching. This is because the traditional paradigm of language learning was to integrate immigrants or the colonized into a dominant culture.

One assigned ESL text that I used in the primary classroom presented a very clear target culture. It was published in England and the content expressed a goal of assimilating non-English speakers into a monocultural United Kingdom. The child characters in the textbook were white with Anglo-Saxon names. Their activities in the text determined the learned vocabulary for each unit- they visited ‘castles’, ate ‘roast beef and mashed potatoes’ and wore ‘tracksuits’ and ‘trainers’. On one page per unit, there was an attempt to internationalize the content…

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Teaching English As A Newb


I was 6 years old the last time I played the role of “teacher” among my fellow peers as we innocently played “school.” You know that time in your life where you pretended to be like the older adults around you? I would pretend like I was the perfect teacher waving my ruler around commanding my poor peers to do as I say. Fast forward to now, I am in my 4th week of teaching English as a foreign language to South Korean middle school and high school students. In many ways, nothing has changed from that 6 year old girl that was playing “teacher” with her friends in that 1st grade classroom over two decades ago. I still get a slight thrill standing in front of a classroom. I still like to write on the white board just so I can see how pretty (or ugly) my…

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How much free work do you do as a teacher every week? Every month? Every year? It has become very clear to me over my 6 years in the industry that there are a number of things that directors, owners, students and even other teachers expect us to do without payment. For this post, I thought about listing some of the things that I have to do for free and stating the case for why they should be paid. This is completely based on my own experiences in Dublin and is not representative of a consensus view. It’s merely the start of a conversation, no more, no less.

1. Lesson Planning.

This is the first and most obvious one that jumps out for me. In all my time teaching I have never once been paid to plan a lesson. I have heard of schools where lesson planning is paid for…

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Virtual Dice in the classroom


After Teachers’ Training for EPAM English instructors back in September 2014 I became aware of how to use dice and games with dice in the classroom. That was one of the most attractive ways of drilling vocabulary or grammar, or just use it for a lesson starter or for a warmer (along with a board game). Just because of people who showed how it had worked for them, I started using it in my classroom, both for Business and for General English. I guess, there’s no use in explaining how to make use of rolling dice. Moreover, I know that some teachers use it every single day. It turned out that I am no longer an exception to this fact.


Yesterday with two Elementary students we were learning ‘Free Time and ways of spending it’. I elicited possible ideas, and after that we were having an enormous list of things…

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