Teaching skills for working with teens

Teaching skills for working with teens - Image by Mansour BethoneyTeaching English to teenagers can be frustrating and fulfilling in equal measure. They can be full of energy and ideas that add a real buzz to the class, but they can also be sullen, self-conscious, reluctant to work together and difficult to engage. However, if you approach lessons with teenagers with the right ideas, materials and tricks of the trade, there’s no reason why they shouldn’t be a great success.

Here’s our list of indispensable teaching skills for working with teens:

***Do group project work***

Group projects come in all shapes and sizes and work well with teenagers. They increase motivation, promote learner autonomy, have clear, achievable objectives, involve all four language skills, and can be managed in a way that lets everyone in the group take on a role that’s best suited to them. They also make a welcome break from routine and can be run over several classes, with a section of each lesson allocated to them. You’ll find plenty of examples of project work here and here. Continue reading

Collaborative learning in EFL class with teens and adults

Collaborative LearningForget the traditional classroom scenario that sees the teacher at the board imparting facts or explaining ideas while students sit passively at their desks. If you really want your learners not only to acquire knowledge but also the skills necessary to make good use of that knowledge in the outside world, then collaborative learning is the way forward.

Collaborative learning builds on two keys premises; firstly, that we learn by doing; secondly, that we learn best when we learn together, with peer-instruction allowing students to check each other’s understanding and address any misconceptions. This of course is central to acquiring good language skills, not only because language is an inherently social act but also because misunderstandings only make themselves known in actual use of language. Continue reading

7 tips for teaching writing in the EFL classroom

teaching writingMany students shy away from writing in English as they feel it is either difficult or boring. At the same time, it can be tempting for the teacher to tackle the skill by setting simple compositions with little structure or purpose. However, writing is not only a necessary language skill, especially for students hoping to use English in their work or studies, but also a great way to improve their level overall, and it need not be boring. We look at 7 tips for teaching writing in the EFL classroom.

Tips for teaching writing in the EFL classroom:

1. Know the aim of text and the target reader

Perhaps the two most important things to bear in mind when teaching writing (and when writing oneself) are the aim of the text and the target reader, as these will dictate the type of language used and the organisation of the text itself. Writing an informal email to a friend to let them know your news requires a very different approach to writing a report for your boss about the progress of a project you’re running. Equally, it would be just as odd to give titles to the sections of a letter of complaintMy Shock on Discovering the Item Didn’t Work, How This Has Inconvenienced Me, Here’s What I Want You to Do About It! – as it would to open a love letter with ‘To whom it may concern…’ Continue reading

Top tips for passing the CAE (Cambridge Advanced English)

Top tips for passing the CAE examAs English grows ever more in demand in the worlds of education and employment, more and more people are taking the CAE to prove their level of proficiency. Preparation for the exam is an excellent way to improve all four language skills, but the exam is demanding. Knowing exactly how it works, what each part is testing, and how to tackle the different skills is crucial for success. Below are our top tips for passing the CAE Cambridge Advanced English. For a thorough course of exam preparation, look no further than MyEnglishLab Cambridge CAE.

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Top tips for passing the FCE (First Certificate in English)

If you’re planning to take the Cambridge First Certificate in English, it’s not only your level of English that’s important. Understanding the exam itself and knowing how to tackle each of the papers is crucial for success. Below are our top tips for passing the FCE. For a thorough course of exam preparation, look no further than our special MyEnglishLab Cambridge First. Continue reading

PTE, TOEFL, IELTS, TOEIC, Cambridge exams… Which English exams should I choose?

Pearson PTE - English examsIn today’s globalised world, it is increasingly important not only to be proficient in English but also to be able to prove your level of proficiency. Companies with international business often require job applicants to present a certificate that shows how fluent they are in English, while for non-natives applying to universities in English-speaking countries, demonstrating you have a high enough level of the language to study your chosen subject is a basic entry requirement. With so many options available, the first question has to be, ‘Which English exams should I choose?’ Here we look at what’s on offer. For some top tips on how to prepare, click here.

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7 tips for English exams to help you prepare

tips for English examOnce you’ve decided which English exam to take, the next step is to prepare. Whatever the exam you’ve opted for, it’s not enough just to have the right level of English. You also need to know what the exam involves, what techniques will help you to pass it and what to expect on the day. Here are 7 tips for English exams.

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10 great websites for learning English

websites for learning EnglishWith such an abundance of authentic English online these days, from videos to articles, podcasts to blogs, there’s no excuse not to use the internet to help you improve. However, you might also want something targeted especially at the learner. Here, alphabetically, are 10 great websites for learning English that we think you’ll enjoy. Continue reading

5 different English classes – but which type of class is for you?

These days there are all kinds of classes available for the budding English language student. Here are 5 of the most common English classes. Which type of class do you go with?

1. Grammar-based

Traditional language lessons were heavily reliant on grammar-based instruction, with lots of explanations of rules, lots drilling of structures and lots of translation exercises. But grammar alone doesn’t get you very far. Vocabulary is more useful. If you’re dying of thirst in a boiling hot English-speaking country (although, let’s face it, that’s unlikely to be the case in the UK), it won’t do you any good to know that in English pronouns must usually be expressed, that uncountable nouns don’t take an article or that the object follows the verb if you don’t know the words ‘want’ and ‘water’. Continue reading

Teens, teen brains and exam prep

Ian Wood Madrid

Ian Wood’s visit to Spain last week was not only a wonderful opportunity for him to get the message out  about changes to the Cambridge exams.  At our Madrid and Seville events he also did us the added favor of looking at teenagers, teenage brains and exams with this thought-provoking talk:

 

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mission impossible

 

The teen brain is a topic which I’ve written about before, and so it was great to be able to follow up his talk with one of my own, Helping students help themselves with assessment.  It focused on implementing technology via the SAMR model to foster a Blended learning approach in exam preparation courses by giving students more autonomy and protagonism.

At the center of both of our talks was an emphasis on the teen learner as a doer actively constructing their own learning in a social context which is relevant to them.  Voice, choice, grouping, creativity and personalization were words that really jumped out at me on slides 18 and 19 of Ian’s presentation, for example.  And when he spoke about using media teens relate to, like texting for practicing writing skills, it really resonated with me as it is also similar to something I’ve been thinking about recently.

I know I speak for both of us when I say we sincerely enjoyed giving these talks and getting a chance to meet and speak to many of the teachers who came out to see us.  Thank you for all the energy and good vibes!