TEFLtastic updated nearly every day (really!)

You certainly wouldn’t think  it from the number of actual posts, but under the hood (also known as the classroom activities section) new links to my articles and worksheets are added several times a week. To make it easy to spot when pages have either been updated since you last came to them or have been neglected for ages and so should be treated with caution, have started writing dates when pages were last updated and labelled the newest links. And if I do ever feel inspired to actually blog again, this blog posts bit of what is still called rather misleadingly “TEFLtastic blog” will of course be here waiting…

Posted in Teaching English as a Foreign Language | 1 Comment

New photocopiable classroom activities March and April 2015

A bit of a random selection as always, but I do seem to be coming up with a lot of dice games recently and my collection of EFL games using dice is now up to 16.

Meetings on the topic of travel (with travel collocations)

This/ that slapping game

Meetings on the topic of problems (with adjective opposites)

Discussion about language learning with adverbs of frequency

Good and bad travel experiences speaking

Like + Gerund Personalised Speaking Dice Game

Time Expressions with Present Simple personalised speaking and presentation (adverbs of frequency and prepositions of time)

Problems with some and any speaking practice

Problems with Have and There are speaking practice

Negotiating phrases error correction pairwork

Wh- Questions for Making Small Talk

Brainstorm a telephone dialogue line by line

Subject and Object Questions Speaking Games

Telephoning Problems Vocabulary, Roleplays and Phrases

Favourites Drawing Dice Game

Negotiations Jigsaw Dialogues and Useful Phrases

Favourites Alphabet Dice Game

Passive Tenses Environmental Quiz

Ending Presentations Politeness Competition Game

Useful phrases for FCE Writing Part One Essays

Adjectives with too and not enough problems and solutions

Problems with Too & Not Enough Presentation and Practice

FCE (Cambridge First Certificate) Writing Part One Essays Advice and Useful Phrases

FCE (Cambridge First Certificate) Writing on Speaking Part One Topics

Starting and Ending Negotiations phrases card games

Closing Lines for Different Kinds of Emails

Can, can’t and prepositions dice game

Adverbs of Frequency for Describing Business Culture

A & An for Describing Companies and Jobs

You can also find all of these on the relevant index pages via the dropdown menus just under the photo above, and many of my worksheets are also mentioned in the very extensive resources section of the brand new website EFL Magazine.

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New Market Leader Elementary materials page

Only up to Unit 5, but 22 relevant links so far, including a fair few worksheets written specifically for use with this book:

Market Leader Elementary photocopiable classroom activities

Pages for the other ML books here.

Posted in Business English and ESP, Photocopiable worksheets | Leave a comment

37 activities for There is/ There are

32 teaching ideas, 5 photocopiable worksheets and four pages of related stuff on my much much expanded page here:

There is/ There are games and other worksheets

Posted in Grammar | 1 Comment

Does Jihadi John have a CELTA?

A lot of news sources are reporting that Mohammed Emwazi, allegedly the ISIS member nicknamed Jihadi John, did a “Celta” course before unsuccessfully applying to teach in Saudi in 2012, but apparently the only source of that info  says “His frustration with his predicament resulted in him choosing to undertake a SELTA course with two other friends, which he passed well”, so not sure how anyone became sure that it was the Cambridge CELTA. In perhaps a sign that I’m not the only one with doubts, one of the news stories later took his life timeline with that bit in down. Doing a TEFL course because you can’t see any other way out of your life does sound about right though…

Posted in Teaching English as a Foreign Language | Tagged | 3 Comments

New free English teaching classroom materials January and February 2015

Latest ones top. If you want more on any of these topics, they are also all on the relevant index pages in the full worksheets section here.

Verbs with Two Objects School Rules Discussion

Verbs with Two Objects Roleplay Discussion

Ending presentations politeness competition game

Meeting people criteria board game

Too formal or informal for most business emails

Starting Presentations Politeness Competition Game

Present Simple and Continuous for Describing Your Company and Job

IELTS Academic Writing Task Two Tips and Useful Phrases

Prepositions of Position Making Sentences TPR Game

Present and Past Ability Bluff

Common Mistakes in Emails Pairwork Speaking Error Correction Game

Making Arrangements Cultural Differences and Useful Phrases Modal Practice

Can you Make the Academic English Sentences Passive?

IELTS Speaking on Reading (to tie those two parts of the exam together and talk about exam and study tactics)

Gradable and Extreme Adjectives Miming Game

Emailing Phrases Tenses and Verb Forms Review

Making Proposals & Suggestions in Negotiations Game

IELTS Speaking Dice Game and Questions Review

Structures of Different Kinds of Emails

Present Continuous Actions in Different Places

Class Rules Modals of Obligation, Prohibition and Permission

IELTS Academic Writing Part One- Processes (talking about process task and the process of writing in IELTS more generally)

Preparing for Presentations Negotiating for Points Game

Rephasing in ELTS Academic Writing Task 1

Green Initiatives Modals Debate

FCE Writing Part One essay tasks on language learning

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MyTEFL.net courses – all the usual signs of dodginess

If you want to know how dodgy a TEFL course is, all you usually need to do is look at the accreditation page and look for these typical signs:

– Mention of membership of IATEFL (which is available to literally anyone, including your postman and paper boy, and so proves absolutely nothing)

– Inclusion of the IATEFL logo (which not only doesn’t prove what they want it to, but is specifically banned by IATEFL, and so proves the exact opposite)

– Meaningless weasel words like “leading” (and no answer when I asked them what that actually means)

– Not only having a link to an accreditation agency that only accredits other dodgy-sounding TEFL courses, but only being an “affiliated course” on their tiny list of accredited courses and so presumably not even directly accredited

– Stats that sound as impressive as they are supposed to for about ten seconds until a quick calculation shows how ridiculous they are (in this case “over 40 years of combined experience teaching”, which could be for example a whole course with just five trainers with eight years of teaching experience each, a calculation that would give Cambridge “thousands of years of combined teaching experience”)

All that from just the one page. And from other parts of their site:

– Limited time discount offers (not generally a good sign in any industry)

– Names of courses that make the low standards instantly clear like “Advanced” for an 80 hour online course and the hilarious “Master TEFL Expert Teacher” for the real length of a basic TEFL course like Trinity CertTESOL but of course in this case all online with no observed and graded teaching practice, the most important bit…

Posted in Online TEFL certificate | 4 Comments

Why I’m a TEFLer who doesn’t worry about money

Given the crappy pay and job prospects, a lot of TEFLer understandably have money worries. Not me! And unlike most TEFLers who don’t worry about money, it’s not because I haven’t thought about the future.

The way I see it, the future could go one of several ways, none of which will be affected by stressing about them, and the only future worth worrying about is so unlikely as to be hardly worth considering.

The reasonably possible futures are:

  • The invention of cold fusion, improvements in robotics etc will mean that all humans will be able to live a life of luxury on the moon or Mars, however bad their career choices up to that point
  • Someone who loves my worksheets will suddenly become filthy rich and offer me shitloads of cash to express their eternal gratitude for my help with making “this/ that/ these/ those” or the Unreal Past teachable
  • Enough authors working for the big publishers will unable to resist the temptation to rip off my free online worksheets that I’ll be able to sue them for a bucket full of gold coins
  • The boom in mixed-race minor celebrities in Japan will last long enough that I can live off vaguely amusing anecdotes about the childhood of my daughter
  • I’ll become the first foreigner to live permanently in a cardboard box with the homeless in Ueno Park in Tokyo
  • The environmental apocalypse will leave all us living in cardboard boxes in parks, sewers, fields, etc – making me feel much better about it
  • The stress of having to look for another job at age 60 when my employers lay me off at their obligatory retirement age without having actually offered me any pension plan up to that point will make me have a fatal heart attack or stroke in my last class at the age of 59 years and 364 days
  • I’ll save just enough money to be able to afford to be able to spend 3 months trying to drink myself to death in best possible way in the beer bars of Belgium (before going the Ueno Park route if I am unfortunate enough to survive any longer than that)
  • Aliens will invade and become benign overloads that sort out this screwed up society of ours
  • Aliens will invade and wipe us all out

The virtually impossible future that it’s not even worth thinking about is:

  • That I will save enough money to have a comfortable retirement
Posted in Teaching English as a Foreign Language | Tagged | 6 Comments

New Cambridge First Certificate Writing Part One essays page

I’ve only managed to write one worksheet on this new part of the exam so far, but have tried to make up for it by linking to all of the few other updated resources online and my other relevant functional language and grammar pages:

FCE Writing Part One essays materials

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Changes to FCE exam from January 2015

Been updating my extensive but now slightly out of date FCE materials pages.

Changes to the exam from this month that I’ve least started to update my stuff to match:

– Use of English and Reading papers combined and so paper and some sections renamed

– No more stories in Writing Part Two

– No more letters or emails in Writing Part One

– Writing Part One now always an essay (see following post)

– Speaking Part Three now in two parts (discuss, then interrupted by examiner and then asked to decide), more like opinion questions than before, and based on written prompts rather than pictures

Changes I didn’t need to make because I never had anything on it:

– No more set texts and matching questions in the Writing

Changes to the exam I haven’t updated my stuff to match yet:

– Fewer questions in all sections of the Reading and Use of English paper

– Both Writing Part One and Writing Part Two now 140-190 words (presumably because there is no longer lots of text to read in Part One)

– No more emails/ letters with lots to read before you write

– Speaking Part One now 2 minutes instead of 3

Changes that I probably won’t be able to do anything about:

– There’s presumably a new version of FCE Result out, but I won’t be using it and so those pages probably won’t be updated.

See this TEFL Geek page and the Cambridge FCE handbook for two complete updated sample tests for a more systematic description of the changes.

Posted in Teaching English as a Foreign Language | 2 Comments