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by Donna Hutchinson
London based TEFL Teacher, @donnatamara

Be a sport! Inspire your students during London 2012.

By Thomas Brasington from London, England (Athletics 2012) [CC-BY-SA-2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

The Olympics, London 2012. It’s finally here! It’s been a long time coming but here they are and let’s hope they’re going to be an Olympics to remember (in a good way). In terms of London’s summer students, it’s probably an amazing time to be in our town; hectic and at times probably unbearable but without doubt, a unique time to be here in London. 2012.

I’m unsure whether some of my recent students are sick of all the Olympics-related lessons I’ve put together of late but it’s hard to ignore all that realia out there just waiting to be manipulated and utilised. In general though, I think many students have found it interesting and it has made them a little more excited for the games. Documentaries about Olympic superstars such as Usain Bolt and Michael Phelps did get them interested as well as learning about stories of Olympic glory and/or misery. It’s hard to deny that sport brings people together.

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by Donna Hutchinson
London based TEFL Teacher, @donnatamara

Students must not use mobile phones in lessons

By Garry Knight from London, England [CC-BY-SA-2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

It drives me CRAZY when students use their phone in class. My blood boils at the sight of a student using their phone when I’m talking or giving instructions. Don’t even get me started on how I feel if I have to repeat said instructions. I mean, I usually don’t mind them using dictionary apps to translate though I’d rather they use a real-life dictionary. Other issues I have confronted with phones are having to stop students taking photographs of running dictations; Googling the answers to a general knowledge quiz; or just plain answering a phone call in the middle of a lesson.  I honestly feel that I am not exaggerating when I say that it is the bane of my existence. …Ok, maybe I’m exaggerating a little bit but let me have this one.

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by Donna Hutchinson
London based TEFL Teacher, @donnatamara

Time’s Up on Reading Exercises!

By Joi [CC-BY-2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

Reading skills. A tricky one. Reading for gist; skim reading; scan reading; reading for detail. Trying to get students to read how you want them to can be fruitless task. On the CELTA we’re told to set students a time limit in order to encourage them to read in whichever way you desired but I have found that students will read however they please. There are those who stop at every unknown word, scrutinising every little thing; those who don’t really take anything in; those who read aloud… You know how it is.

Recently I have started a new tactic. Inspired by other teachers, I have created my own approach which still gives students some level of independence. My idea isn’t revolutionary and I doubt that I am the first to come up with it but I want to share it.

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by Donna Hutchinson
London based TEFL Teacher, @donnatamara

When I first started teaching, I used to get ever so frustrated that all the material I needed had to be new to me. I would woefully look around at more experienced teachers who had go-to material whilst I was rifling through books and internet resources. Of course, many teachers would give me recommendations or even give me some of their own material which I am eternally grateful for, but I’d still have to familiarise myself with it.

Recently though, dear readers, I have come to discover that I too have started on the path of go-to material and the effects are amazing. For one, I don’t spend hours planning and familiarising, and two, most of it is saved on the computer so no digging around in files or folders. I tell you, it has begun to revolutionise my teaching. I am so glad I have reached this point but at the same time I’m well aware that this is only the beginning, there is so much more I must accumulate.

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by Donna Hutchinson
London based TEFL Teacher, @donnatamara

This week, I have been teaching should have, could have, would have… I always find that this topic makes one reflect on the past. Despite the fact that very often we use these structures  to convey criticism or regret I decided to try and make it a little more positive and introduce the notion of serendipity, fate, destiny… written in the stars. I tend to set a writing task with this topic and usually feel like I’m giving my students a free therapy session. I don’t mind of course but I sometimes feel bad for making them spell it all out in black and white and then have me scribble in red all over it. In any case, it does make me feel as though I’m getting to know a little more about them and who they are. My degree is in psychology and thus I am forever cursed with analysing people, especially those which I care about and/or have to interact with on a regular basis.

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by Donna Hutchinson
London based TEFL Teacher, @donnatamara

Thank you, m’Lord; Class trip to the Royal Courts of Justice

By Urban (Own work (Own picture)) [CC-BY-SA-2.5 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.5)], via Wikimedia Commons

Another successful trip to add to my growing repertoire!

Today I took my students to the Royal Courts of Justice as this week’s topic has been Rules and Freedom. I was a little apprehensive at first because much of the law terminology can be confusing and I have favoured studying the topic with higher level classes. However, my high intermediate class took to the subject well and so I thought I’d take a chance. Also, I’d never been to the courts before and had heard it was a good experience in general.

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