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Showing posts from 2017

Teaching English to Absolute Beginners

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Undoubtedly, one of the biggest challenges that English teachers will face in their careers is being asked to teach students who have zero English knowledge or ability. In an ideal world, these students would be placed into classes with teachers who are bilingual and can use the students 1st language to help in acquiring the 2nd language...the problem though, is this isn't an ideal world, and many teachers, who can only speak English, are regularly asked to teach students who cannot speak a word of English.

So where should you begin? What are the best approaches to teaching absolute beginners? What part of the language should you focus on first? How do you overcome the huge language barrier that separates your from your students? In this blog entry, I want to provide some popular strategies that English teachers will use in these situations, and also give you some of my own personal insight into teaching beginner English language learners.

Change your mindset
First and foremost, t…

Tips for saving money while teaching abroad

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Teaching English in a foreign country 'can' be a great way to save money or to pay off debts. A lot of the overseas teaching positions offer a decent salary, free airfare, free or subsidized accommodations, free medical insurance, and many other employment perks that can reduce your expenses while living abroad. So everyone who teaches English must save money or pay off debts while abroad, right?

Wrong...Saving money abroad, like saving money at home takes discipline and sacrifice. Although it seems like expenses are very low in many teaching positions, that doesn't mean that there isn't a lot of things that you can spend (or waste) your money on. Likewise, there are some expenses that come along with living abroad that have to be kept up with to prevent new debts.

In this blog entry, I just want to provide some simple, easy-to follow tips for saving money while teaching English in a foreign country. By following some of these tips I was able to pay off half of my stud…

Myths about Teaching English in China

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Recently, through my work, I have been in contact with many institutions in China that are desperately seeking English teachers to work in their schools. These opportunities range from teaching children all the way up to working in universities. At the same time, I know there are many teachers in Canada and the US out there who are looking for jobs abroad; so I couldn't figure out why there is this disconnect between these schools and the abundance of teachers looking for work. So, I decided I'd look deeper into why potential English teachers are not going to China, and these are the assumptions that I have found that are keeping people from going to China:

1. China is too polluted
2. China is not safe
3. Schools will rip you off
4. The pay is too low
5 . There are too many people in China

While there is definitely some validity to some of these assumptions, there is a lot of wrong with them as well. In this blog, I want to examine some of these myths, with the hopes of convincing…

Fantastic Professional Development Opportunity at the University of Victoria this summer

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Fantastic professional development opportunity this summer! There are still spaces available in this specialized certificate program for international English teachers. Contact tefl@uvic.ca for details :) Teaching English as a Foreign Language at UVic @Continuing Studies at UVic

https://continuingstudies.uvic.ca/education-learning-and-development/programs/professional-specialization-certificate-in-teaching-english-as-a-foreign-languag 


Homework and Its Importance

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When I was a student I hated homework, and then when I first became a teacher I hated giving homework to my students. To be honest, I guess never really thought of all the benefits that students get from regularly completing homework. Instead, I was like a lot of rookie teachers; just trying to be liked by my students, instead of thinking about what is actually best for them. Whether you are teaching English or any subject, homework is a key part of the learning process. On top of this, homework also teaches students additional lessons that contribute to their success later in life. Below is a list of some of the reasons that I think giving students homework is so important:

1. First of all, homework helps review and reinforce the new material that students are currently learning in class. There is a reason that the expression "practice makes perfect" has been around so long, and that is because it's true. Especially if you are trying to learn a new language, practice i…

Will you face discrimination as an ethnic minority while teaching abroad?

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For a while now, I've been considering writing a blog entry on the topic of discrimination that English teachers sometimes face when teaching abroad (specifically in Asia). I guess I haven't written this entry yet because of the fact that I didn't really experience any harsh discrimination while teaching abroad. Don't get me wrong, I definitely stood out like a sore thumb in many situations, and I have often been treated as a novelty, but the level of discrimination that I faced certainly was traumatic. In fact, at times being an ethnic minority had it's benefits as people would go out of their way to help me, offer free food, put me at the front of a line, etc. What you should know about me though (if you hadn't seen my blog picture) is that I am a white male, with blue eyes and brown hair...pretty much the stereotypical ESL teacher in many Asian people's minds. Unfortunately during my time in Korea, I had friends who represented different ethnicities (ev…

Another great new travel product by ChrisiL

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Sorry about the shameless self-promotion entry, but I gotta help out my wife anyway I can.  Based on the success of the Jewelry Travel Wallet, by my wife's company ChrisiL, she is developing a fold-able sunglasses case that will protect your sunglasses and not take up too much space in your bag...what do you think so far??? She hopes to have them for sale this summer, but in the meanwhile if you haven't checked out ChrisiL's Jewelry Wallet you can check out the pictures below or visit the website: www.chrisiljtw.com



Teaching English in South America

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A couple years ago I had the opportunity to visit Argentina and Chile, and while I was there I couldn't help but think "wow...it would be amazing to teach English in South America." Countries in South America have so much to offer visitors: rich histories, beautiful and diverse landscapes, unique cultures, delicious cuisine, friendly people, vibrant languages and so much more. Although I have not taught in South America, I wanted to highlight a few popular spots for teaching English and also provide some advice on what you should expect if you choose to teach there. To do this, I'll rely on my experience traveling there, my friend Diego's(from Peru) guidance, and some research that I have done on teaching in this area of the world. If you have taught in this area of the world, please please please leave your own advice in the comment section below or on my google+ page


Chile
Probably one of the most popular spots to teach English in South America is Chile. As a re…

Dealing with Reverse Culture Shock

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I few months back I wrote a blog entry that looked at ways that people can deal with culture shock in a positive manner when they travel to a foreign country. What a lot of people don't realize though, is when you return from an extended visit abroad people are often faced with something called Reverse Culture Shock. The idea may seem strange a first, as many people think "how can I experience culture shock in my home country, when I have lived there my whole life?" but take it from me or anyone who lived abroad for a significant amount of time, it really exists. In fact, reverse culture shock can be so powerful that I've seen people who are incapable of handling life backhome, who quickly return to their life abroad.

In this entry, I first want to try to explain what reverse culture shock is and then I'll offer some suggestions on how to deal with this unnerving feeling that many experience upon their return home.

People who experience reverse culture shock, li…

Looking for some great teaching opportunities in China?

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Hey Everyone
I recently started working with Maple Leaf Education through my work at the University of Victoria, and they have a lot of exciting opportunities for TEFL teachers in China right now. If you're interested in finding out more about teaching in China, you can check out their website at www.mapleleafschools.com or email them with your questions at  esl@mapleleafschools.com



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These Acronyms are Making Me CRAZY: ESL, EFL, EAL, ELL, TEFL, TESL, TESOL, CELTA....

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As someone who promotes English teaching-training programs at a university for a career, I'm constantly being asked by potential students, institutions, and even experienced teachers what all these acronyms stand for and what's the difference between them. I get questions like "Should I take a TEFL class or a TESL class?" or "What's the difference between ESL and ELL?" all the time, so I wanted to write a quick blog entry to address the confusion.

Before I start to break down some of these acronyms, it's important to note that so many acronyms exist simply because the field of English language education is constantly evolving and becoming more specialized; especially over the last couple decades. Some of these terms may sound similar and may lead you to wonder, why do they all exist, however these slight differences can impact significant decisions like: Which type of course is best suited to my career goals? What are my students greatest needs? Wh…

7 Essential Tips to Successful Classroom Management

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For many new teachers (and even some experienced teachers), so much classroom time is often wasted on managing the behavior of your students in class. For me, the same was definitely true. My memories of doing my practicum to become a public school teacher, to this day are still enough to provoke nightmares. The stress that can come from having to focus so much time and energy on classroom management, while trying to make it through the required curriculum, is literally enough to make some teachers quit and pursue other careers. 

The good news...it doesn't have to be this way. The less good news, is that there is no set of procedure or tips that will solve all teachers classroom management problems. So much of how your class operates depends on two factors: You and your unique set of students. That being said, I can guarantee the following tips will help you manage your classroom.

1. Remember you are the boss
For a lot of new teachers, especially if you are only a few years older tha…

Best Countries To Teach English in 2017 | TEFL in Korea, Vietnam, China, Thailand & Cambodia

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Good insight into the TEFL job market in 2017.



Thanks Alex Stevenson from http://ninjateacher.com


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Best foods to try while teaching in these Asian countries

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I'm going to post a bit of light-hearted entry this week, as I'm going to talk about one of my favorite parts of traveling and living in a different country:









If you are like me, food makes a huge impact of your level of happiness. I also know that when traveling to a new country it can be difficult to find something that you like to eat. This is especially true when traveling or living in Asia, where the food is dramatically different than Western food options. When I first arrived in Korea I had no idea about Korean food as I'd never tried any before going there. It honestly took me about 6 months to find out what foods I enjoyed when I lived there. The same can be true about China. Sure I'd had lots of Chinese food in Canada, but the funny thing is Chinese food is a lot different in China than in North America. When you add in the language barrier when visiting many restaurants in Asia, then ordering food gets that much tougher. So here we go, my favorite food in se…