MEMORIZE THE TEMPLATE NOT THE ANSWER
I’ve conducted thousands of TOEFL Speaking classes with non-native English speakers over the years. A percentage have a belief that memorizing answers will give them an edge in the TOEFL Speaking Section. It won’t. Here’s how to improve TOEFL speaking.
(Oh, btw, test your TOEFL IQ now!).
Continue reading “Don’t Memorize! Instead Do this 1 THING to Improve TOEFL Speaking”
BEING POLITE IS A GOOD THING
English teachers everywhere are constantly assessing students’ English abilities. For the soon-to-be-assessed, like those taking TOEFL Speaking classes, this can be a trying time spent anticipating common questions and often memorizing long stretches of language. For the assessors, short evaluations can be dull and even frustrating.
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FOCUS ON THE PRODUCT NOT THE PROCESS
Korean freshmen are characterized by, among other things, a need for highly structured English language experiences. Particularly in TOEFL writing, students tend to be insufficiently educated about the structural and organizational features of an academic paragraph. The result is written work riddled with problems.
Continue reading “For Nerds and Teachers ONLY: English Paragraph Structure”
CREATE A ROBUST LEARNING ENVIRONMENT
A lot of what TOEFL Teachers do involves planning. With varying degrees of thoroughness, in-field instructors are constantly creating schemes and means to smooth classroom interactions and facilitate learning outcomes. Good teacher-devised learning plans, whether at the program level or the lesson level, are predictive, responsive, and adaptive.
Continue reading “3 Action Plans to Create a Better Learning Environment”
A SIX SENTENCE PARAGRAPH IS POWERFUL
Writing is the weakest skill because it is the most neglected skill in the classroom. Students know it; instructors know it. Any survey asking ESL students to rank their English skills always places the productive skill of writing at the very bottom of the list. Teachers and learners shirk the quill for a host of reasons.
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Should You Keep a Diary?
It wasn’t until after I boarded the 747 bound for South Korea in the fall of 2003 that I had ever considered keeping a diary. In fact, to be fair, it wasn’t my idea at all. In the airport moments, before we said our goodbyes, a family friend placed a little-wrapped box into my carryon.
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Why Do We Have English-Only Classrooms?
It is safe to say that the EFL teaching community has accepted the communicative approach to task-based English language learning. Theoretically, teacher-fronted classes that had a focus on explicit grammar instruction have been replaced by student-centered activity-based classes that are characterized by greater learner-learner interaction, more negotiation of meaning, and inductive absorption of language rules.
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Why I Hate Accent Neutralization Courses
One of my colleagues was talking recently about an English language course designed for call center workers in India. The course calls for ‘accent neutralization’. I always roll my eyes when I hear of classes like this–sound more American!–where you get the ‘heck of a ballgame last night’-type of approach to small talk and a lot of ‘how y’all doin?’ choral drills.
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Should You Say What You Feel?
Interactional talk has been called ‘the lubrication of the social wheels’; it brings us up to speed, bolsters self-esteem, reinforces commonly held beliefs, and soothes the human need for fellowship.
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Find Time to Relax
A significant part of what I do as an EFL teacher is based on interaction. I am continually thinking about better ways to teach it. I am constantly surrounded by people engaged in it. In my classroom I am at times encouraging, demonstrating, explaining, monitoring, managing, and correcting it.
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