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the Direct Method and You!

December 7th, 2007

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In a quick intro to the show, we find out Mark is ecstatically jubilant this week. Things are fabulously wonderful in Japan. Find out why.

Continuing with teaching methods, this week’s show is about the Direct Method. Mark and Ron will run down for you what the direct method is, how it was used and why.

We may give the Direct Method a bit of a hard time in the beginning, but all methods have merit and many things you can use and things you probably already use come from the Direct Method. There are a lot of great things you get from it. Mark and Ron put forth a few ideas of what parts of the method you can use in your classes tomorrow. I’m going to say ‘use’ one more time. Basically, things you can use.

Discuss this show at the ESL Teacher Talk forums. Leave comments about this show, words of encouragement, suggestions for future shows, or just pop-in and tell us who you are.

Game of the Week: Story Differences

It works just like find the difference pictures. Students have two versions of one story and they need to find the differences by discussing their stories. It’s a great speaking and negotiating activity. Students need to practice verifying information or expressing differences of opinion. Enjoy!

The last minute class. Ahh!

November 21st, 2007

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This might be the last podcast that opens with a Halloween discussion. It was recorded back at the beginning of Oct. If you’d like to see the outcome of all of this Halloween talk, here’s the pictures and run down of Mark’s 2007 Halloween party www.marks-english-school.com/news/2007halloween/
Kenny has left the building and someone has to teach his children’s class that starts in 10 minutes. Mark has asked Clive to cover the lesson and Clive is in a panic. Luckily, Clive has 10 minutes to get some advice and Mark offers a few ideas for what you can do in this situation; assessing levels, activities with no materials, describing items, phonics, singing and more. There’s enough information to teach 4-5 hours without a lesson plan!
More info on the exercise game: www.mes-english.com/games/gamestoplay.php

Kenny has done it again and is looking to get fired. This time he’s gone home with the sniffles and Clive needs someone to cover an adult class that starts in … you guessed it! 10 minutes. Well, Mark has agreed to do it, but is concerned that’s there’s no lesson plan and he doesn’t want to look like an idiot. So, Clive gives Mark a few ideas for things he can do for assessing the class’s level to activities that can be done on the fly; soap operas, quiz games, current events, writing prompts, and a few other ideas.
If you have some ideas for things teachers can do in this situation, please share. Visit the ESL Teacher Talk forums and post your ideas or comments!

Game of the Week: GOTW challenge

You have 10 minutes and the clock is ticking… Put you ideas here.

Methodologies: Grammar Translation

November 8th, 2007

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This show we’re starting a small series on methodologies in ESL/EFL. Through the years there have been quite a few different takes on teaching languages. We’ll look at each one and give our ideas on what’s good and bad.

This first segment, we’ll take a look at Grammar Translation.

Discuss this show, other shows, and grammar translations over at the ESL Teacher Talk forums!

Game of the Week: Ognib

Play a game of Bingo or almost Bingo but use only one board. It’s an excellent game. For more bingo options check out these options www.mes-english.com/flashcards/bingo.php

Getting ‘Genki’ With It

October 24th, 2007

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This show we welcome Richard Graham from GenkiEnglish.com. Richard runs www.genkienglish.com and provides music, games and downloads for teachers. He tells us a bit about how he got started with music, what was behind the creation of his songs, and what new things are available over at GenkiEnglish.com.

Also, in case you were wondering, we do explain what ‘genki’ means 🙂

Richard also goes over some good ideas for how to teach songs, new words, sentences and delivery. He offers some suggestions for how to keep the excitement up throughout the lesson.

The second segment deals with how to get the students singing. Even if you can’t sing like an angel, there’s hope. Find out what you can do.

Visit GenkiEnglish.com: This site is a collection of games, songs and ideas for use by teachers of languages to children. 40+ themed lesson ideas complete with printable picture cards, online teaching guide video, recommended game and original song. Fully illustrated games to get the kids speaking in class.

You can also check out what’s going on with Richard Graham in his blog: Richard’s Diary

Discuss this show over at the eslTeacherTalk Forums! We’re listening.
Games of the Week: Mingle and Gorilla

Mingle is a great game for practicing questions related to numbers as answers. It is also a great way to get kids into groups.

Gorilla is a great game to get students moving and interested while you’re drilling flashcards. It’s a simple game and very effective for keeping the children engaged in the lesson.

Teaching Phonics – spelling and order (Part 2)

October 10th, 2007

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It’s wet and wild in Japan. A Typhoon has landed and after the podcast Mark actually had to head out to do some volunteer fire fighter work.  Saving the day!

This week we’re back with part 2 of phonics order.  Mark and Ron finish off phonics and what order they teach things.  As well a that, they touch on some ideas for advanced phonics teaching and advanced learners.

Toward the end we touch on phonics for all ages and by the end of of a double header, we hope we have given you a few things to think about.  If you are setting out your phonics curriculum, maybe we’ve offered some direction.  if you already have your system set up, well … maybe you’ll get something from the show.

Discuss phonics and this show over at the ESL Teacher Talk forums.  (to register use this VIP code: 7575)

Game of the Week: Phonics Toss

This is a pretty easy game and designed for younger learners, but adults like to have fun as well.  All you need is your phonics flashcards (make your own if you need to) and a few balls (wads of paper will work.) It’s easy and people love it.  Happy teaching!

Teaching Phonics – spelling and order (Part 1)

September 26th, 2007

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It’s tough to cover all of phonics, but Mark and Ron give it a shot. The show takes a look first at spelling through the ages and why English spelling is the monster it is.  There are a lot of things that have happened within English spelling over the past 1000 years.  Mark goes through a few of the things that have had a big impact on English spelling.

Hopefully the lecture doesn’t lose you and you continue listening for part one of teaching order. While order is a widely debated, we will go ahead and give you our take on it and why.

We’ll be back with part two of teaching order in the next show.

Discuss the show at the ESL Teacher Talk forums  (register with this VIP code: 7575)

Game of the Week: Word Baseball

Ron gives us a great game this week, Word Baseball. You can use it in your phonics lesson or it can be adapted to other lessons.  It requires little to no preparation and can be used on the fly if you need more practice or need to fill some extra time.

Setting up classes and getting the right levels together

September 12th, 2007

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Just when you thought the stores were putting out their Halloween stuff a little too early, Mark explains to you the market they’re after. Luckily, Halloween isn’t the topic of this September show. Don’t let the beginning make you think other wise.

Mark and Clive both run their own school and one of the more difficult problems with running your own school is getting classes together. Not only getting bodies in the door but also making sure those students are in good groupings with similar level and goal oriented students.

It’s a full house with Ron, Clive and Mark all chiming in on how they select textbooks, assess students’ levels, and how they deal with different age groups.

Mark’s carvings can be found about half way down this page.

Discuss the show and or pumpkin carving over at the ESL Teacher Talk Forum. (To register use this VIP code 7575.)

Check out Clive’s site ESLpodcards for listening resources for teachers with accompanying worksheets and transcripts.

Game of the Week: Fizz Buzz

Clive has brought the game of the week and it’s an adapted version of a British drinking game. While you technically could play it as a drinking game, we don’t recommend it 🙂 Instead, you can use the game to review vocabulary such as irregular verbs.

Mark, Clive and Ron give the game a go! Listen to the show to see who the winner are.

Tips for Teaching Advanced Learners

August 30th, 2007

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Teaching advanced learners can often feel like tuning up a Ferrari. What do you do? How do you make those students run better? This week’s show brings back Chris Cotter from www.headsupenglish.com. Mark, Ron and Chris cover how to break bad habits, build vocabulary, use dictionaries, set goals, and keep students motivated.

Discuss the show over at the ESL Teacher Talk Forum. (To register use this VIP code 7575.)

Visit www.headsupenglish.com to find complete lesson plans and materials for upper-intermediate and advanced EFL/ESL learners. The materials are based on current events in the news – what we and our students are talking about.

Game of the Week: Conversation Excitifier

This week’s GOTW is a great way to excitify dialog practice. You don’t need any extra materials, just your dialog and your students! The activity can be adapted to discussions on different topics or themes for more advanced learners.

I must say, this week’s GOTW is excitifying!

Lesson Plans Based on News Articles

August 16th, 2007

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Using news articles in classes provides interesting and useful content, but how should we go about it? This show Chris Cotter from www.headsupenglish.com visits with us. HeadsUpEnglish.com offers ESL lesson plans based around current news articles with matching activities and worksheets for ESL teachers and audio for students. In our first segment, Resource Talk, Chris explains a little about himself and his website www.headsupenglish.com.

The second segment, Pro Talk, Mark, Ron, and Chris discuss how to create your own lesson plan based around news articles and how they execute lessons based around news articles, covering reading strategies, warm-up activities, vocabulary introduction, and follow-up exercises.

To get your hands on free ready-to-go news articles lessons and free matching audio downloads visit www.headsupenglish.com

For more discussion on this topic and other ESL Teacher Talk podcast discussions visit the ESL Teacher Talk Forum.

One other good site with news articles and accompanying activities is www.breakingnewsenglish.com.

Game of the Week: Steal the Conversation

This week’s guest Chris Cotter brings the game of the week. It’s a simple fluency activity designed to encourage speaking and taking control of the conversation. Preparation is simple and there’s a bonus activity included called “Anti-Steal the Conversation,” but listen to the show and see if you can come up with a better name.

New Classes With Adults

July 29th, 2007

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Mark and Ron pick up from the show two episodes ago and deal with new classes, new students and new teachers. This show covers adult classes and young adult learners. we go over some ideas for a teacher’s first class, an entirely new class, a single new student and private classes. There are tips, advice and a few things to just to be aware of. Enjoy the show!

Visit the ESL Teacher Talk Forums and join in on the show! If you aren’t a forum member, use this VIP code: 7575 to register.

Game of the Week: Tic, Tac, Know
A quick game that’s easy to set up. You need 9-16 flashcards and a few students. It’s flexible and gets the students moving. It is designed for young learners but I’m sure adults as well can enjoy the game and learning. Happy teaching!