Monthly Archives: October 2013

Activities for Teaching Writing Skills

How can teachers build their students’ confidence in the ESL classroom? Activities that allow students to practice their language skills in context work best. Communicative activities allow creativity and provide real metrics for students to measure their own improvement.  Today we will introduce 3 tactics for teaching writing skills in a communicative way.

Integrate skills! Ask your students to find an interesting article. They can do this for homework or, if possible, use the internet in the classroom. Depending on the level of your students, they can write a summary of the article, write an opinion piece, predict what is going to happen, provide solutions, or compare and contrast to other articles on the topic.   When the writing activity is over, your students can present what they have written to their classmates.  Here is an interesting article on 40 things to do with a text.

Use peer editing activities! Writing is considered a lonely process and authors often fail to read their work as detached readers.  Ontesol shows that peer editing activities create a collaborative environment where students focus on providing constructive feedback, which helps them improve their critical thinking skills.

Get to the point! Beginner students may not be able to write long essays, but there are 6 simple activities that will help them practice their writing skills in real-life situations. In this blog Busy Teacher tells you how to use e-mails, postcards, memos, and other writing activities in the ESL classroom.


5 Resources on Fostering Creativity in The Classroom

The following resources by education and ESL experts provide tips on how to foster creativity in the classroom.

#1 Marvin Mertel writes in Eleven Classroom Creativity Killers that teachers should provide proper and extensive feedback when marking students’ work,  provide students with enough practice after presenting a topic, ask open ended questions, and allow students to make mistakes.

#2 Organic Creativity in the Classroom is a book by 23 education experts who share their stories and provide strategies for encouraging students to become more creative in the classroom. You can download a free sample for free.

#3 On October 24, Adam Simpson will offer a free webinar to show ESL teachers how learners can explore the English language through creative activities. Find out which activities facilitate creative thinking and help your students improve their communication skills!

#4 Education expert Ken Robinson created a video to illustrate out how a simple change of questions and testing methods can boost creativity. Rather than asking students to find the right answers, students should be given space to explore and expose their findings to their classmates.

#5 ESL teachers face many difficulties when teaching speaking skills lessons in cultures which educational systems are deep rooted in rote memorization. Using class debates in the ESL classroom is one way to spark creative thinking and participation. Ontesol emphasizes that the role of the teacher during the class debate is that of a moderator rather than presenter, which allows students to speak freely and make mistakes. When the debate is over, the teacher can provide feedback to reinforce certain topics.


Interac TEFL Recruiters will Tour North America

Want to teach English in Japan? Every year Interac sends recruiters to North America to hire hundreds of ALT teachers for elementary, junior high, and secondary schools.

Looking ahead to November and December, Interact recruiters will be visiting Seattle, Washington DC, Denver, Minneapolis, Newark/New York, Orem, Nashville, San Francisco, and Toronto. Don’t leave it too late to complete your job application. Apply today through the Interact website

This introductory video will tell you more about Interact and the ALT job.



The Rise of Online Education

The online education industry has grown at an astronomical rate since Phoenix University was launched in 1989. At the time, PU went online with only 12 enrollments, today e-learning is a $34 Billion industry and it is estimated that 50% of all university courses will be delivered online by 2019.

The TEFL industry, which caters to over 300,000 English language teachers every year, is not alien to the rise of online education. Some of the best TEFL certification courses are currently offered online. Ontesol, for example, has offered accredited TEFL courses since 2003.  CELTA launched an online version of the 4-week standard program in 2012.

The primary benefits of online education is time and cost efficiency, and for this reason the industry raised many questions in the early days. The level of online programs, however, can be as good or better than on-site courses because students can generally take more time to do their work and they also receive more personal attention from their tutors.

TEFL Certification Review

I want to say that ONTESOL provided me with an excellent learning experience in their 120-hour TEFL certification course.

The course material was comprehensive, detailed, yet easy to understand.

Both my tutors, Ainsley (for the TEFL) and Claudia (for the TEYL) were brilliant.  They gave me detailed feedback on the work I submitted, and were friendly and helpful, yet very professional.  I really appreciated the length they went to, to correct and comment on my work.  I have learned a lot from their comments.

I would definitely recommend Ontesol to anyone seeking an online TEFL course for their career as an English teacher.

Testimonial written by EeFong from Singapore.

Free Online Conference by Reform Synopsium

Follow Reform Synopsium @RSCON4 on Twitter to access over 150 presentations and keynotes from teachers worldwide!

Here are some of the best presentations happening between October 11 and October 13:

  • ‘Gamifying Your Class’ by David Dodgson ‏@DaveDodgson
  • What adult language learners can learn from children” by Lexical Leo @leoselivan
  • Panel on leading and inspiring teachers by pammoran @pammoran
  • Educator as a Social Networked Learner: Presentation Materials by Jackie Gerstein Ed.D @Jackiegerstein
  • Integrating the 4 skills by Fabiana Castella @FLCasella

IELTS Learning Tips For Teaching Listening Skills is a website that provides resources and ideas for helping students get a high score on their IELTS exam. On this article, provides tips on how to improve their listening skills, a link to an interesting podcast published by the BBC, and a few links to tests that students can try out before taking the exam and see for themselves how much they need to improve.

If you are a TESOL teacher helping students get ready for the IELTS exam, this article provides you with enough ideas and resources to prepare a good lesson plan. Remember, teaching listening skills is not the same as testing listening skills. Playing a tape and asking students to fill in the gaps is not enough. TESOL teachers need to teach listening skills in a communicative way, meaning that it is very important to teach English with a purpose. Provide meaningful context so your students acquire language skills for real-life situations.