It’s Golden Week here in Japan – a week long holiday that gives everyone a well earned rest. Even me. I’ve used my time off to brush up on some teaching basics, and find some new websites of use to an English teacher.
Best English website
First of all, one of my favourite websites of late, Dr. Grammar’s FAQ. The Dr. Grammar website is designed as a resource for writers but it’s just as useful for teachers. The FAQ section is perhaps the highlight of the site. It offers some excellent definitions and examples of usage of grammatical terms that confound most English speakers. When I’m stumped by a question on grammar that needs a simple explanation I turn to Dr. G and he sorts me out with some English meds.
The basics of teaching
I also mentioned that I’ve been going back to the basics of teaching. I’ve been doing this with the help of David Riddel’s insightful book Teach Yourself: Teaching English as a Foreign Language. It’s a very practical book that backs up its advice with examples. Possibly the next best thing to a TEFL qualification.
Using TEFL textbooks
Finally, as I have been using textbooks a lot recently, I decided to familiarize myself with the books and some techniques of teaching from textbooks. I strongly recommend three things when teaching using a textbook:
1. Don’t stick to the textbook – adapt the material to make it as relevant as possible
2. Teach alternative methods – textbooks often teach set phrases but you should make sure your students understand the separate parts of the phrase rather than just the phrase as a whole
3. Check the material for errors – the number of grammatical and sometimes spelling errors in these textbooks is unbelievable.
Back to Golden Week
For the rest of Golden Week, I’m going to catch up on my sleep, although tonight I have to wake up at 3.45am to tune in for the 2nd leg of Chelsea v. Barcelona in the Champions League. Happy teaching!
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