The end is nigh (or is it?)

The Thai Ministry for Education plan on rolling out a train the trainer style scheme set on improving the English teaching skills of Government school teachers in a bid to cut back on the costs of hiring foreign teachers, according to the Bangkok Post this morning.

Wait… WHAT!

Don’t panic though, my ever hopeful one-day TEFL dreamers… the scheme has to a) happen and b) actually work.

A stand out quote from the article for me was;

…. the ministry recently conducted a survey of the capability of Thai English-language teachers across the country and found more than 43,000 Thai English language teachers in public schools, but only six of them have been found to have the ability to achieve native-like fluency in English.

… and a six week training scheme is going to sort out the other 42,994 people?

The Thai teaching style is worlds apart from more progressive, Western countries and it does not lend itself well to the EFL classroom.  Not only will the English language abilities of the teachers need to be brought up to near-native fluency, but their whole teaching philosophy will also need to be updated and transformed.  In six short weeks.

I think it’s great that the Ministry for Education want to make improvements to their home grown teachers, and I do agree that relying on importing foreign teachers at a higher cost is not a long term goal.  I just don’t know if this scheme is going to be the magic solution that they claim it is.

Inside my classroom: Halloween video comprehension

image

Time for another halloween themed video lesson with this short film:

Play the clip to students, then hand out a comprehension sheet and play it again (I find I have to let them watch first without having 30 pieces of paper flapping in people’s hands).

The language is really simple and has handy subtitles so you could easily adapt your questions to suit any ability.

Here are some example questions to get you started:

What date is halloween?
What vegetable are they carving into a lantern?
What are they carving the pumpkin into?
What do they put inside the pumpkin?
What does fancy dress mean?
What is the boy dressing up as?
What is the girl dressing up as?
What time do they get changed into their outfits?
What other outfits can you see at the party?
What fruit did they play games with?
What is apple bobbing?
Who comes to the door?
What do the trick or treaters say?
What do they give the trick or treaters?

Depending on the level of the class you could choose to use multiple choice questions, open questions or a mixture of both.  With lower ability classes I often go through the video and pause it at specific points to give the students a chance to read the subtitles fully.  If you make sure that your questions run in chronological order you can pause the video as each answer crops up to make it even less challenging.

A further activity that you can do for advanced students with any video comprehension lesson is to have them write their own questions for a partner – students love to play teacher every now and then!

Inside my classroom: Hello, Goodbye – a Beatles song lesson

This super catchy song is perfect for beginner ESL classes; it’s simple, fun and I warn you now it will get stuck in your head – apologies in advance…

Play the song to the class and go over the key vocabulary on the board;

  • hello, goodbye, high, low, yes, no, stop, go, I don’t know…

Then use this fill in the blanks lyrics worksheet and go through the song again a few times until the students are happy with their work.  You can keep the key words on the board to help them.

Finally go over the answers and have a good old sing song!  Students particularly like the video and often ask for it to be played as a reward at the end of a lesson – a sure sign of success for this activity.

You can also use this song to introduce simple rhymes and opposites, or just as a bit of fun.  Enjoy!

Inside my classroom: Halloween creative writing

inside my classroom halloween lesson ideas

With Halloween just around the corner why not incorporate some spookiness into your lessons?

Here are some short films that are excellent prompts for a goulish creative writing lesson;

Take a trip with a young boy to the museum to look at the dinosaurs where things aren’t quite right.  What happens next..?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7WXXsdGWPEM

Venture inside a spooky cave, what will you find inside?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r3l4q8HdRcA

Journey through an old graveyard, where ghosts and ghouls lay behind the gravestones…

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TmN_He6e-AA

As the videos have no spoken language in them they can act as inspiration for all abilities and incorporating any vocabulary or writing techniques that you have been teaching.  None of them are overly scary, most of the spookiness is up to your imagination, so they are fine to use with younger children.

Students can be shown a film and create a story board, rewrite what they saw, predict what happens next or make an alternative ending.

More Halloween themed lesson ideas:

Halloween video comprehension

Inside my Classroom: Take This Lollipop – creepy internet safety resource

take this lollypop

Take This Lollipop is an online interactive film that has been around since 2010 and I have used it time and time again both back in the UK in a youth work setting, and in my ESL teaching here in Thailand.

Once of the units I needed to cover with one of my classes last year was Internet Safety – an important topic to explore with young people – and I used Take This Lollipop as a way of introducing the concept of privacy and protection on the internet.

The way it works is that someone has to log in using their facebook on the homescreen at takethislollipop.com – remember, this resource was created to highlight the importance of protecting your information on the internet so they don’t save any of the log in details once the activity is complete.

Once logged in, the film starts.  We see a creepy man sat at a computer surfing the net.  He starts checking out facebook and hey, who’s that?  It’s the profile of whoever logged in at the beginning.  He starts ‘facebook stalking’ the profile and starts behaving quite disturbingly.  Photographs of the facebook user and their friends start to show up – it really freaks out the students to see this horrible man looking at pictures of them.

Depending on how much information the facebook user has on their profile, the creepy man looks up their address and used google maps to see the street.  If the student hasn’t listed an address it will only zoom into their hometown – but if they have written their whole address on their profile it will zoom right in on their street.

The film ends as the creepy guy drives off in his car with the facebook users’ profile picture taped to the dashboard.

This interactive online film is excellent for starting discussion on internet safety, information protection and privacy.  It also helps to highlight how important it is that we think about how much personal information we choose to share on social networking sites.

Have a go at home with your own facebook first and see how much it freaks you out!

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Those of you who have liked the facebook page will already be aware that I have put Teacher Tuesday to bed – it was just too limiting only being a Tuesday kinda thing.  Inside my classroom will have exactly the same content of lesson ideas, inspirations and useful links, only now I can share things with you any day of the week.  Tuesdays just weren’t working for me anymore, it’s nothing personal…