Friday, November 2, 2012


Teachers in Pop Culture!

When you think of a teacher who is the first person that pops into your head? Is it someone you actually know? Or is it something a bit more iconic? The good the bad and ugly, but we can learn from all of them!

1. OK, you probably shouldn't grade your essays like this, but there is something to be said about not writing too much on students essays. For one, they get overwhelmed, and it is more work for you! Make a good solid rubric and correct and comment only as needed.

Use songs in class! Yes, yes yes!!! However, try to make it a song with applicable vocabulary and grammar they can use again later. Not just random sounds (unless of course you are dealing with minimal pairs or doing a listening activity).

3. Again! Use movies!!! Movies are GREAT, but don't just put a movie on not give the students any instruction and tune out.

 I fully encourage teaching people how to swear (or how not to)! I usually do a lesson with my students on how to "fake" swear (shoot, cheese and crackers, fudge!). We all learn curse words in other languages pretty fast, but we don't learn those fake swear words. So go ahead and teach them, but you should probably avoid making it the focus of your class.

 DO teach your students different ways to say things! Tell them about different accents and words, but be sure to only do so when appropriate (not the first day of class)Penny Ur talked about this at a convention I went to in Spain. More here

 Mind Your Language has so much fun stuff it is hard to pick! For the sake of simplicity here's a good on that reminds you to teach pronunciation in the classroom, but perhaps do it with a bit more pizazz (think dictoglosses or minimal pairs).

 Know when to use the book and when to look past it. The book doesn't always have all of the answers :)

 DO share things about yourself with your students. DO make it clear that you are knowledgeable. DO NOT scream that your knowledge will bite their face off.

DO try to make class interesting. Get people from outside the class to stop or or skype: authors, and directors and good ones. On the other hand, just use yourself; dress up, bring in music or use anything you can to connect with your students.

DO be honest! I often tell my TOEFL students that the TOEFL is not my favorite test, however they still need to get a good score on it. So, no matter how much they, and I, may dislike the test, we all have to put our full effort into the class and learning our idioms, inferences and more!

I really had a hard time lowering this down to 10!


  1. This is my first time visit your blog. I like this entry of yours especially the videos related to teaching English. Well done.

  2. I think the best commercial that uses a teacher is from Carl Junior

    1. I remember that one! In fact I think it was banned since a lot of teachers protested the way they were shown. Not sure what lesson it teaches teachers though... other than not using sex appeal to run your class :P


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