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ESL Teacher Blog
The teacher's point of view: thoughts, observations and ideas about ESL teaching.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Cold and Flu Season

It is cold and flu season, which leads to many students being absent from class. 
Student absenteeism is preferable to students attending class and spreading germs to all their classmates.  Yet student absenteeism, or even the possibility of absenteeism changes the way I plan my lessons. 
I find it easier during this season to teach, as much as possible, self-contained lessons.  Lessons that rely on students having covered material, which was taught in previous classes, are difficult to manage at this time. 
It’s actually frustrating, for both the students and the instructor, to have to re-teach points to some students prior to beginning a new lesson.  The students who do not need to be re-taught, will feel the review is too long and the students who were absent will feel the points are being covered too quickly.  The timing of lessons is thrown off, and it is not an ideal situation.  I much prefer to teach lessons that can be taught within one day, during this time of year.
Of course, in some situations this isn’t possible.  The curriculum at some schools is structured in a way that lessons rely heavily on previous ones.  In that situation, instructors have no choice but to proceed with the set curriculum.  In that situation, I just accept the fact that parts of the lessons will have to be re-taught. 
POSTED BY Cecelia Sumi AT 11:09 PM   1 Comments  Add Comment

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Valentine's Day - Let's Talk About It

February 14th is Valentine’s Day.  It is celebrated in North America, Europe and Asia.  The holiday is not regarded as a religious celebration.  Therefore, it makes an ideal topic for discussion in intermediate to advanced classes.  It is especially interesting in multi-cultural classes that have students of diverse backgrounds. 


Have students get into pairs and discuss the following questions:


1. How is Valentine’s Day celebrated in your country?

2. Have you ever received/or given a valentine’s gift or card?

3. Do you think Valentine’s Day is important?  Why or why not?

4. Do you think Valentine’s Day should be celebrated in elementary schools?  Why or why not?

5. Do you think Valentine’s Day is a fun or a romantic day?

6. How will you celebrate this Valentine’s Day?


Monitor the pair work as needed. 


Find an ESL Valentine's Day related lesson here.

POSTED BY Cecelia Sumi AT 11:04 AM   0 Comments  Add Comment

top Sunday, February 03, 2008


ESL teachers spend a great deal of time preparing for lessons.  Being well prepared before teaching a lesson will not guarantee that a lesson will go smoothly, but it will definitely help. 
Teachers review the lesson objectives, explanations, and exercises so that they may deliver the lesson confidently and clearly.  
They also try to anticipate possible questions, or concerns the students may have.  This second point is perhaps the most difficult.  Sometimes students will get caught up on a word, expression or concept that the teacher never anticipated.  Instead of a quick and easy explanation the lesson’s focus suddenly changes to ensuring they understand the challenging point.
This happened to me once when I was teaching a holiday cooking lesson.  The students were unable to completely grasp the meaning of the word “yield”.  No amount of explaining, or trying to demonstrate with examples could make the concept clear.  The students consulted their own dictionaries, but still didn’t seem to have a solid understanding of the word.  We spent about 10 minutes discussing the word “yield”, not a great deal of time really, but when teaching a 90 minute lesson, losing 10 minutes makes a difference.  We had to rush through some of the other explanations in order to complete the lesson.
No amount of reviewing the lesson in advance would have led me to expect the word “yield” would be a problem.  But the next time I teach the lesson I won’t be surprised if the “yield” concept comes up again.
POSTED BY Cecelia Sumi AT 5:27 PM   0 Comments  Add Comment


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