American English site is yet another robust source of useful information, materials and ideas to improve or strengthen our practice.
The site is home to the quarterly journal English Teaching Forum, which in itself is reason enough to pay a visit. Here are some of the articles that caught our eye and might be useful for us ENP English teachers.
Teaching Techniques: Physical Vocabulary in the Beginner-Level Classroom
Observation Tools for Professional Development
A Ten-Step Process for Developing Teaching Units
Beyond the Gap Fill: Dynamic Song Activities for Song in the EFL Classroom
There is also the Resources section where not only do you get to know what other teachers are doing to teach difficult grammar or the four skills, but you will also find very well thought activities and materials ready for you to download and use. Take this Color Vowel Chart for example, which is an interesting way to teach all the vowel sounds of the standard American English accent.
Finally, you also get access to past webinars on ELT, which you can download in PDF version, too. Have a look at this one on teaching with Jazz Chants.
What about paying a visit to American English and seeing what works for you? It’ll sure prove to be time well-spent.
If you are into teaching the IPA to your students, you are not alone. Some English teaching professionals are convinced that getting your students acquainted with the IPA works for them to become a little bit more autonomous. Check this ELT author for more on this theory.
Now, suppose you decide to practice the IPA in class and you want to change a text into IPA for your students to get the hang of it. You find your words in an online dictionary and copy the IPA transcription for each of them, or you could use a reliable online IPA transcription tool than can save you a lot of time. A transcription tool allows you to turn words or small chunks of sentences into IPA code.
Here are some reliable transcription tools that you can find online. Give them a try.
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.