An often overlooked strategy for helping students improve their pronounciation is working with the International Phonetic Alphabet. Phonetics is a website created by the University of Iowa that has been around for many years and that explains what the sounds of American English are and how they are produced. For every phoneme there is you get an interactive diagram of how that sound is articulated, audios with the sound itself, and sample words where the sound occurs.
The only requirement for you to make the most of this great tool is to keep your Flash complement updated. There is also an app available for smartphones. Learn a little bit more about Phonetics in this video.
On Coursera you will find a myriad of online courses to further your own education as an English language teacher.
Note: Most courses are for free, and they only charge a fee if you want a certificate they can send you. Some others have a fee, but still they are rewarding.
These are the kind of courses you will find on Coursera:
Powerful Tools for Teaching and Learning: Web 2.0 Tools
Foundations of Teaching for Learning 2: Being a teacher
The Reflective Practitioner
Leveraging Student Thinking
Lesson Planning with the English Language Learner in Mind
Foundations of Virtual Education
Do take a look at Coursera; it is worth it!
Song lyrics and poetry are excellent prompts in class to entice students to reflect and express their ideas. However, sometimes we as teachers are ill-equipped to make the most of songs and poetry, and we end up having them as fill-in-the-gap excercises. Not only are songs and poetry a fun way to learn new vocabulary or reinforce grammar; they also contain cultural information, they tell stories, they appeal to our and our students’ imagination. Genius is an excellent webpage where lyrics and poems are “analyzed” so that you can understand certain references to history, literature, folklore, etc. Find the song or poem of your choice and click on the interactive lines to get the information you need to design your activities.
Jack C. Richards is a household name in the area of applied linguistics and the creator of successful ESL/EFL learning materials, like the Interchange series. He also happens to have an official website where he shares many of his articles and publications on the field of language teaching-learning at no cost. For the profession’s sake, pay a visit to this site and broaden your horizons.
Some of the articles by Dr. Richards that might pique your curiosity are:
- Creativity in language teaching
- The structure of a language lesson
- Teaching listening and speaking: From theory to practice
- Developing classroom speaking activities: From theory to practice
- Peer observation
The Español como Lengua Extranjera dictionary at the Centro Virtual Cervantes is an excellent reference for us teachers who are always trying to be better professionals. Most of the terms of the ELE dictionary apply to other languages, so do explore it if you are into terms related to teaching. For example, if you are doing research on listening, or if you want to know the difference between English as a second language and English as a foreign language, this is the place to find that information.
Educaplay follows the ongoing gamification trend which means trying to make education fun and motivating. On this webpage you can design educational games using the tools at your disposal. Create online crosswords, questionnaires, dictation activities, and more. Definitely a site worth checking.
There’s Skype, alright. But there’s also ooVoo, which is also free and easy to use. You can text and video chat with your students or colleagues for free. It’s available for PC and for iPad! Do give it a try!