Featured

Addressing Cultural Differences In ESL Teaching

Vietnam views

Don’t Be Offensive.

I’m going to be talking about why cultural sensitivity isn’t just a bonus in ESL (English as a Second Language) teaching; it’s a necessity. Imagine you’ve got a classroom bubbling with students from Brazil to Bhutan, navigating not only a new language but also a new cultural milieu. The way you handle cultural diversity can make or break their language acquisition journey.

Cultural differences influence how students interpret language cues and classroom dynamics. For instance, notions of politeness, directness, or even humor vary drastically from one culture to another. Recognizing these differences helps in tailoring teaching methods that don’t just communicate language, but also respect and celebrate individual cultural identities.

Creating an inclusive learning environment goes a long way. It boosts confidence, fosters mutual respect, and makes the classroom a welcoming space for everyone. This isn’t just my opinion; there’s ample evidence from educational research that demonstrates how inclusivity can spur student engagement and improve language retention.

Take a look at some case studies and you’re going to find out about schools where teachers have embraced cultural diversity with outstanding results. From using bilingual assistants to celebrate language days, strategies that incorporate cultural elements into the ESL curriculum have been shown to significantly enhance student participation and performance.

Now, let’s move on to the nitty-gritty of communication. How do we, as ESL educators, facilitate a more nuanced understanding of the language that goes beyond mere grammar and vocabulary? Well, that’s going to include an exploration of non-verbal communication and cultural nuances, which is exactly what we’ll dive into in the next section.

Breaking Language Barriers: Communication Beyond Words

When it comes to teaching English as a Second Language (ESL), there’s much more to consider than grammar rules and vocabulary lists. If you’re an ESL teacher, you’re going to find out about the significance of non-verbal communication and cultural nuances, which are just as crucial as the words used in conversation.

Cultural expression is a huge part of how we communicate, and it’s often overlooked in language education. In my opinion, as an educator, you must balance the technical aspects of language teaching with activities that immerse students in the cultural subtleties of English. This is where the use of culturally relevant materials comes into play. Whether it’s through literature, film, or music, exposing students to a variety of media can help them pick up on idiomatic expressions and societal norms.

Role-playing is another fantastic tool. By simulating real-life scenarios, students get a chance to practice their language skills in a context that mirrors the diverse cultural situations they might encounter. In other words, they’re learning to read the room, not just the textbook. This includes understanding body language, personal space, etiquette, and humor, all of which vary widely across cultures.

So, what’s next? It’s critical to weave these insights seamlessly into the very fabric of your curriculum—that’s going to include designing lesson plans that resonate culturally with your students. That’s what I’m going to cover next, giving you practical tips to integrate cultural competence into your everyday teaching, ensuring your students are not just linguistically prepared, but also culturally attuned.

Curriculum Design: Integrating Cultural Competency in Lesson Plans

When you set out to create lesson plans for your ESL classroom, you’re not just shaping grammar and vocabulary lessons; you’re designing experiences that should resonate with every student, regardless of their cultural background. That’s going to include a variety of tasks to ensure that each individual feels accounted for and understood.

Designing culturally responsive teaching materials requires a blend of creativity and insight. It’s all about making sure that examples, topics, and activities reflect the diverse world we live in. Texts, videos, and images representing a spectrum of cultures can make lessons more engaging and relatable.

Adapting curriculum shouldn’t be a one-off effort. It is a dynamic process that involves regular revisions based on your students’ feedback and the latest pedagogical research. This ensures the materials remain relevant and sensitive to the evolving cultural landscape.

Incorporating cultural celebrations and traditions from the students’ home countries can bring a real-world context to abstract language concepts. Imagine celebrating the Chinese New Year or Diwali in class—I’ve seen it ignite students’ enthusiasm and provide a shared experience for language practice.

But remember, continuous professional development is key. Engage in ongoing cultural competency training. This not only broadens your own global awareness but equips you with the latest strategies to handle diverse classrooms effectively.

You can always adjust your approach down the road by staying responsive to both your students’ cultural needs and the latest teaching methodologies. The ultimate goal here is to construct a learning environment that not only teaches English but also fosters cross-cultural understanding.

Here is a lot more about “Lesson Plans and Free Stuff”

Fostering Inclusive Classrooms: Strategies and Best Practices

I’m here to help you with a few strategies and best practices that can transform your ESL classroom into a hub of inclusivity. It’s not just about acknowledging the mix of cultures but actively promoting an atmosphere where every student feels valued and heard.

In my opinion, the role of the teacher is paramount in cultivating an inclusive space. This involves being proactive in addressing any biases, ensuring equity in student participation, and being open to continuous learning about different cultures.

You’re going to find out about techniques like setting ground rules for respectful communication and regularly checking in with students to understand their perspectives. It’s crucial to make room for students to share their cultural backgrounds and experiences as part of the learning process.

If you want to effectively manage culturally sensitive scenarios, it begins with education. Equip yourself with knowledge about potential cultural conflicts and have plans in place to navigate these with sensitivity and respect.

Peer learning and collaborative projects are instrumental in bridging cultural gaps. Choose activities that encourage students to work together, learning from each other’s strengths and cultural insights.

Learn more here about “How to Teach English in Vietnam”

Finally,

You can always adjust your approach down the road, based on the measurement of success. Assessing cultural awareness growth among students is essential. Use reflective journals, feedback sessions, and inclusive practice surveys to gauge the classroom’s progress toward cultural competency.

Steve


 

Any or all links on this site may be affiliate links, and if you purchase something through those links I will make a small commission on them.

There will be no extra cost to you and at times due to my affiliation, you could actually save money.

You can read our full affiliate disclosure here.

Featured

English Language Centers Facing Shortages | Editorial.

Vietnams English industry is suffering from lack of good teachers and poor administration.

Why Do Some Centers have Staff Shortages?

You could be forgiven for thinking that in Vietnam we are still in the throws of lockdown because of the lack of ESL teachers in language centers. Surely they didn’t all pack up and went home during the pandemic?

Some independent education experts speculated that the recent problem affecting English language schools in Vietnam may be caused by the institutions’ delayed response to changes in the preferred teaching strategies of today’s students.

Independent specialists debated that while modern trends in foreign language learning are growing both in Vietnam and around the world, many Vietnamese English language centers appear to have fallen behind because they cannot adapt to the new waves of change.

Higher Costs Hitting Home.

The Apax Leaders affair, ( They were once well respected and have been around for roughly five years), is one of the most recent scandals involving an English language school.

The current situation highlights a number of issues that many other English-speaking locations are facing in the post-pandemic age. That is higher costs, especially office rent, and little increase in tuition fees from the students and parents.

A center’s rent could be hundreds of millions of dong (100 million dong is approximately $4,200 US), and the majority of landlords are unwilling to lower their rate. Also, the global market is searching for native foreign English teachers, but they are hard to come by as many have gone home during the pandemic and found other jobs. Money Conversion by “XE-Money Converter

Language School Closures.

Overall I would estimate that between 40% to 60 % of language schools have either closed or dramatically reduced their size. Many have stopped renting high-priced offices and moved to cheaper ones. They also used smaller spaces instead of large properties to save money. A lot of this happened while still passing on the higher charges in fees, understandably illegal.

Some companies share their offices with partners. They keep only some parts for teaching and sublet the rest for purposes other than teaching, although this is also not allowed by law.

Additionally, many married immigrants have established “schools” inside their homes that can significantly undercut such businesses with higher prices.

While other schools, like Apax, are allegedly going through “re-opening procedures,” it is unclear whether they will actually reopen. Will it be another case of “take the money and run”?

A Shortage Of Qualified English Teachers.

I have been living and working in Vietnam as an EFL teacher for the last 15 years and I have never seen it this bad before. The pandemic drove people out of the country and the non-slackening of visa or immigration rules has made Vietnam to be a less friendly entry point than some other countries.

Add to that the closures and fly-by-night practices of some schools and you have severely dented the reputation of many language schools in Vietnam.

There are a lot of online communities and Facebook groups that have seen continued publishing of unfulfilled jobs. This has led a lot of the English Centers to lower their standards and accept people with rudimentary English language skills. It is almost like stepping back 15 years to the less controlled environment that was still current then.

It is common to see 20 or 30 jobs for a teacher that can’t be filled. The English teachers who remain get bombarded with calls and offers to teach. At one stage I was getting 10 calls a week for different job offers. however, the offers all tend to be around the same hourly rate, more than likely due to the points raised here.

It’s Time to Relax Administrative procedures.

The need for foreign teachers has grown in the post-pandemic era in line with the rise in student enrollment, although there are significant administrative roadblocks.

Obtaining a work permit for a foreign national is currently quite challenging. This makes it difficult for many language schools to afford to hire enough foreign instructors. And the teachers that are coming through are from countries that were not in favor (For English Teachers) before. Like the Philippines and South Africa.

Regarding this situation, authorities should adopt flexible policies and expedite procedures. In this way, the teacher shortage issue might be quickly resolved.

Money or Education.

Vietnamese language schools frequently place more of an emphasis on business than on education. Quite frequently, I would witness parents barging into the centers and lamenting the abject failure of their child’s external exam. A consequence of the school’s policy of forcing students—whether or not they are prepared—through “the system.”

They 9The schools) simply want to increase the number of centers as soon as possible to achieve expansion. They spend money on marketing and increasing sales to attract as many learners as possible. The parents don’t see the rows of telemarketers calling potential students.

For most Vietnamese, if a school looks good with nice chairs, televisions, and all the latest equipment, it must be good. They don’t necessarily see the poor quality of the teachers behind the scenes.

Additionally, they open additional locations with the majority of their earnings. Therefore, it is uncertain whether they have qualified teachers, the ability to provide services, and the financial management skills to effectively manage for the future.

The Need for Change.

After the epidemic, learning habits shifted globally and in Vietnam, but many Vietnamese English centers do not appear to be adjusting to these changes.

Modern students do not fit the mold of traditional classes held in large, spacious venues.

These conventional approaches are too expensive, and the benefits they provide are not adequate compensation. According to what I have observed, this has caused a significant disparity between the investment and the enrollment of students during the post-pandemic period.

During the coronavirus epidemic, many students discovered the possibility to learn online and stopped attending traditional classes. And it was successful because it cut down on the students’ typically time-constrained commute time.

Final Thoughts.

For students of all ages, online courses have been made available in Vietnam by a number of significant English education providers, including the British Council and others.

Centers can choose how many online and offline units to offer based on the time that classes are offered, but they cannot continue to offer entirely offline courses as they do at the moment. With the combination of teachings, the schools will be able to return to the right side of the ledger book and, ideally, prioritize student instruction over monetary gains.

For English centers, it is now vital to integrate online and offline courses since otherwise, failing schools will keep opening and shutting all the time.

For more editorial content read “Marty Hoares” ” Vietnams ESL Sector, a Series of Disappointments


Any or all links on this site may be affiliate links, and if you purchase something through those links I will make a small commission on them.

There will be no extra cost to you and at times due to my affiliation, you could actually save money.

You can read our full affiliate disclosure here.

Featured

How to engage your EFL students | English in the classroom.

TPR at work in the classroom

Engage your students.

A good teacher should always find new ways to engage the student. Looking for new content and activities for the classroom needn’t be difficult or a chore. There is a wealth of ideas and activities that can be gleaned from the internet alone. Then there are other resources like class books, flashcards, YouTube sites, and teacher forums.

A young student in Vietnam.

A. Classroom tactics.

Almost every EFL teacher has encountered this situation: a class of pupils that are uninterested in what is going on in the classroom, regardless of how hard you worked on the lesson plan. Student involvement is a goal we all aspire for, but we also know there is no one-size-fits-all approach to achieving it, whether we teach online or in person.

Each class has its own strengths, dynamics, expectations, and outcomes. Fortunately, we can utilize the tactics listed below to encourage involvement without appearing to be overly pushy.

Oxford University provides some excellent training videos to help you in the classroom as well, and they can be accessed via Oxford Seminars, How to motivate your students and be a better ESL teacher.

Do a warm-up activity.

A quick warm-up exercise allows you to learn about your pupils’ interests and respond favorably in order to form bonds. Everyone enjoys talking about their passions, so why not allow students to communicate with us and one other through their shared interests?

Five warm-up activities

1. The A to Z Game.

Give students a theme, for example, food, animals, countries, etc. Write the letters A to Z on the board. Teams of students must race to write a suitable word next to each letter on the board.

You can also do this without the students running around. Split the class into at least two groups. I have found the students love competing against one another. Especially a boy vs girl challenge.

You can say the alphabet and the chosen student has to give the answer. For example, A- apple, B- banana, etc.

Or you can choose a student from each team to say the alphabet in tandem. ( Penalty points apply if they get it wrong )

2. Draw what I say.

This is a great game for the listening skill. I draw a simple picture and get the students to copy what I am doing without showing the image. I will talk the students through what the picture is about.

For example, I might say draw a line in the middle of the page and on top of that line draw a house with 4 windows and 1 door. To the left of the house draw 6 flowers. In the sky draw the Sun and 3 clouds in the top left-hand corner.

You will need to pre-teach, top left-hand corner, middle of the page, and other keywords as well. This is a great test of their vocabulary skills and prepositions of place vocabulary as well.

At the end of this activity the students will have drawn some very strange stuff, so play it up and have fun with the results

.3. The memory game.

In this activity, the students need to listen closely and add on extra phrases. I normally start the game by saying something like; ” I am going on holiday and taking a camera.

Then each student adds on something else they can take while repeating everything already said. e.g. I am going on a holiday and taking a camera and a bag. Etc.

Again I split the class into two groups and do this activity several times. You can also allow the students to write down the things taken, but don’t slow down the game.

4. Charades.

Students take turns acting out a word that you offer and their classmates try to guess what it is. This is an excellent way to review vocabulary from a prior session or try out a new word.

You can play this as a team activity as well. Put 2 chairs facing forward and choose a student from each team to sit in them. Then behind their backs write a word on the board and the teams have to try to get the chosen person to say that word.

Repeat the process by changing the students who sit in the chairs. This is a lot of fun and the students enjoy this activity.

Young students especially become engrossed in this activity, and they frequently try very hard to act out the meaning of the word.

5. Hangman.

This popular filler can also be a fantastic way to begin a class with beginners who are still unfamiliar with the alphabet. Simply write a freshly taught word on the board ( In dash format ) and have the children guess a letter.

Choose a topic, let’s say food, and tell the class what the topic is and choose a word for the game. Let’s say “Grape”

On the board draw 5 dashes that correspond with the number of letters. I this case 5 _ _ _ _ _. Now the students take it, in turn, to fill in the word, the first group to guess the word wins the points.

When doing a warm-up activity consider the following;

Keep it simple and age-relevant.

A good warm-up activity should cover these points.

  • Simple to comprehend and implement.
  • Easy to execute, in the sense that they require little to no preparation.
  • Appropriate for the age and grade level.
  • Efficient use of time.
  • Attractive and intriguing and fun.
  • Getting to the point of the lesson or the target language
  • To encourage student participation and confidence, use familiar vocabulary.

B. Total Physical Response and gestures.

Teachers and students do not have to be passive during the learning. Try to generate answers by urging them to raise their hand if they have a question or give a thumbs up if they enjoy something.

Students are more involved if they feel the teacher is having fun. So introduce T.P.R into the classroom. T.P.R involves using body language to help students understand a word or phrase.

An example of this is, brush your teeth then doing the action of brushing your teeth. This is a particularly useful technique for teaching younger students.

Learners in an online classroom can answer in a similar fashion by using emoticons or a group board to write on or even in a chat pod

You can find out more about teaching styles and Total Physical Response on my older blog. “Teaching English Abroad”

C. Praise your students.

Praise has a direct impact on students’ perceptions of success and failure. Many pupils assume that their teachers’ assessments of their abilities are the only ones that matter. This isn’t always the case, though. Even an average student may learn to excel with the right direction and perseverance.

It is critical that teachers recognize their incredible potential to influence their students’ ideas. If a teacher can make kids believe in themselves, they will be able to attain new heights and explore new horizons.

To be useful, positive comments must be specific and related to the outcome being discussed. “Great job” is nice, but “I loved how well-structured your argument was” is even better and gives your students a clear path to follow in order to achieve a better outcome.

D. No negative comments.

There is nothing more demoralizing for a student to be told they are lazy and not doing well in the classroom. Try to find out the reason for their apparent laziness or learning difficulties.

It may well be they are helping their family out in the shop after school and not getting to bed until midnight. Even the truly lazy student can be turned around with words of encouragement and praise.

Students who have received effective praise are not afraid of failure or setbacks. These are seen as stepping stones to achievement by them. They see setbacks as opportunities to develop new skills and expand their knowledge. To them, the method or manner by which they failed becomes one of the methods by which they succeed.

E. Create a positive atmosphere.

A pleasant learning environment is one in which each student feels accepted, at ease, respected, and capable of expressing themselves.

It’s crucial to be receptive to what pupils say, and as a teacher, you should constantly remember to set the tone. So, when a student talks, wait for them to finish; praise them when they give a viewpoint, and act appropriately when they show their feelings.

This is probably easier in an online context, as non-verbal reactions on camera can be used to build and reinforce bonds between students.

If there is only one thing you take away from this article, it should be, have FUN in the classroom. You will enjoy teaching more and the student will enjoy learning much more.

Conclusion

There are many things to think about when trying to engage students whether in the classroom or online, and these are but a few ideas. I hope it has provoked some thought about how you will engage your next class.

What is your favorite strategy to engage your students in the learning process? What have I left out?

Who am I and what do I do?

I am an EFL teacher who has been living in Vietnam for 15 years and now have my own school. . I also do teacher placements in Vietnam. If you want to look at my school click on the YouTube button below.

My School in Vietnam

Life in Vietnam can be both fun and challenging, it depends on you how much you wish to enjoy it. But there are some big cultural differences. Those that can accept that do well, those that don’t, not so well.

I hope you enjoyed this brief read.

Stephen

Any or all links on this site may be affiliate links, and if you purchase something through those links I will make a small commission on them.

There will be no extra cost to you and at times due to my affiliation, you could actually save money.

You can read our full affiliate disclosure here.



Featured

What is it like living in Vietnam as an Ex-Pat?

Vietnam has grown in popularity and it is now widely acknowledged as a safe place for ex-pats to live and work. The pleasant weather, inexpensive cost of living, vibrant culture, and gradual improvements in Vietnam’s infrastructure all attract ex-pats. 

These are some of my thoughts and experiences about living in Vietnam for the past 15 years.

My experiences living in Vietnam.

When I first arrived at Tan Son Nhat airport in Ho Chi Minh city the first thing I noticed was the smell. The locals smelled different, and that is because they do not eat so much beef and have a more mixed diet.

And I was told later that it is the same for Vietnamese. The Vietnamese can smell the meat coming out of foreigners pores.

That was more than 15 years ago. When I first came it was after the breakup of my first marriage, and I wanted to see a completely different culture.

The first time was a 3 week holiday and I  traveled from Hanoi to Halong Bay then onto Da Nang, Nha Trang, Hoi An, and then Ho Chi Minh city. it was during this time I fell in love with the country.

                                                           You can find out more about Vietnam here.

A brief return home.

I returned home and immediately decided to get a Tesol degree so I could teach English in Vietnam. That was the start.

Returning to Vietnam I secured a teaching job promptly after a mishap in Hanoi. I had been offered a job in Hanoi where it was said to be close to the city. 

My introduction to Vietnam

I flew up to Hanoi and was met at the airport by the school owner, who then drove me around for ages under the pretext of buying books. Just when it was getting dark he took me to his school and my promised accommodation.

The school was 2 hours from the capital and in the country. My accommodation was an unairconditioned room with a hole in the wall. it was a rather sleepless night battling the mosquitos. 

Two days later I packed my bags and headed to Ho Chi Minh city. I arrived in HCMC and got a job in the first week. 

This is when I knew I would be in for some very interesting experiences.

The next few years. 

The next few years went in a blur of working, meeting new friends, and having a great time. I established myself as a well-liked and known teacher and worked in various schools. I even spent 9 months working in Pleiku in the highlands of Vietnam.

During holidays I also traveled to Cambodia and Thailand. It is very cheap to travel around South East Asia and I made the most of it.

Outside my house in GoVap, HCMC. My photo.

Fast forward to today.

I am now living in Go Vap in ho Chi Minh city. A district that does not have a lot of foreigners in it. I have some amazing stories and have been on some incredible adventures. 

But quite often it is the unexpected things that take your breath away. For example, coming home one night I ran into this outside my house. My neighbors were celebrating TET with a dragon dance. 

The dragon dance originated in China about 2,500 years ago. The Vietnamese dragon dance is not just seen as a dance. It is a form of displaying martial arts, as the performers should be Kung Fu masters. 

Without the Kung Fu component, it would be seen as just a soulless puppet performance.

TET holiday

Tet is the big holiday of the year with a lot of activities and things to do. If you have only been in Vietnam for a short time it may seem boring because most activities are done at the home.

Tet Nguyên Dán, more usually abbreviated to Tet, is Vietnam’s most prominent and well-known holiday and festival. The name Tet Nguyên Dán means “Feast of the First Morning” in Sino-Vietnamese.

The dates of Lunar New Year vary from year to year, although it usually falls in late January or early February. Tet Holiday is considered the perfect time for family members to return home and gather together.  

For Vietnamese the Tet Holiday is an opportunity to relax and enjoy life after a long year of hard labor; as a result, people forget about their problems and concentrate on the festivities. They will also spend time shopping and visiting pagodas and temples during this time.

Tet is a time to relax, eat and enjoy life. And shop. district 1 in HCMC. My photo.

Pagodas and temples.

It is the sights, sounds, and smells that make Vietnam such an amazing place to visit. Often at night, you will hear the monks chanting when you are safely tucked up in bed. They will be up early and stay awake late and it is enchanting to listen to as you drift off to sleep.

Buddhism in Vietnam 

Buddhism, mostly of the Mahayana branch, is the most widely practiced religion in Vietnam. The exact date of Buddhism’s entrance to Vietnam is unknown. 

However, it is most likely around the year 200 of the Christian era. It arrived by northern routes from Central Asia and southern routes from India.

Types of Buddhism in Vietnam

Taoism, Chinese spirituality, and the indigenous Vietnamese religion all have a symbiotic relationship with Vietnamese Buddhism. 

The three Mahayana School of Buddhism, Zen Buddhism, Pure Land Buddhism, and Vajrayana, are the most popular among Buddhists in Vietnam.

Pure Land Buddhism  ( Amidism ) and Zen Buddhism have taken over Buddhist life in Vietnam. Pure Zen was largely followed by monks and nuns, whereas Pure Land Buddhism was chosen by the general public.

You will see monks walking down the street wearing no shoes and yes. it is still a common sight in the outlying districts. 

My local Buddhist monastery. My photo.

What do I do now?

I now have my own school and am married to a Vietnamese lady. We have been teaching online as Vietnam has been quite badly affected by Covid. I also do teacher placements in Vietnam. If you want to look at my school click on the YouTube button below. 

My School in Vietnam

Life in Vietnam can be both fun and challenging, it depends on you how much you wish to enjoy it. But there are some big cultural differences. Those that can accept that do well, those that don’t, not so well.

I hope you enjoyed this brief read.

Stephen

Any or all links on this site may be affiliate links, and if you purchase something through those links I will make a small commission on them.

There will be no extra cost to you and at times due to my affiliation, you could actually save money.

You can read our full affiliate disclosure here.

Featured

How to help your child learn English at home.

Why you should teach your child English at home.

Helping your child learn English at home.

With schools closed due to the Corona virus, parents all over the world are wondering how they can help their children learn English at home. Sure, teachers are teaching online, but as parents, we can do a lot more.

When instructors and parents collaborate, children have a better chance of succeeding in school. Every interaction you have with your child during the day can be used to help them develop their English skills.

Here are some ideas to help home study.

Have fun.

We have a lot of duties as busy parents. It’s all about finding the appropriate balance when it comes to teaching or leading the learning process at home.

Teachers in schools must plan timetables and lessons for the entire class. You have more freedom to focus on your child’s preferred interests and activities when you learn at home. You can consider what will be most beneficial to your child.

Learners of all ages achieve more when they enjoy and find their work engaging and meaningful. Don’t be frightened to have a good time!

Try new things.

There are a lot of online resources to help, so do not be scared to try different things. You have English learning apps, websites, English rhymes, and songs to name a few. To find out how your child likes to learn and what things do they enjoy.

Children’s picture books

For young children learning English, this method can open them to a whole new realm of learning. It can be difficult to select the correct books, but it is critical to recognize the advantages of having this one-on-one relationship with your child.

Picture books give parents and children a compelling incentive to change from their native language to English. The predefined text of a picture book is a very valuable prop for parents who perform poorly in English.

Flashcards.

Flashcards can be a very useful tool. Especially for the beginner or younger learner. Teaching individual worlds is an important part of the learning process and flashcards provide pictures along with the words and pictures.

Rather than a boring home lesson you can make it fun by turning learning into a game. For example, You can buy 2 sets of the same flashcards and play a memory-based game.

Place the flashcards face down and your child has to remember where the 2 that are the same were placed. Laugh and learn will also instill a desire from your child to learn.

==> Using flashcards to teach English <==

Rhymes and songs

Repeating rhymes and songs is a fun method of learning new vocabulary in English. You can create a collection of songs that your child can listen to over and over to become comfortable with keywords.

==> Rhymes and songs to learn English <==

Apps that help your child learn English

Improve your child’s English skills with these entertaining and educational applications! These games, podcasts, videos, and quizzes are designed for kids of all ages and will help them learn English at home or on the go. You can learn more about them by clicking here.

==> Apps for children to learn English <==

Comics, TV, and video games.

Who doesn’t love cartoons, comics, and playing online games.? Okay, not everyone. But a lot of children do. And if you can get your child to read comics, watch cartoons and play games in English, they will learn faster.

Find what they enjoy doing and try to get them to do it in English. The cartoon network in English is a great tool for home learning.

Word searches and other games

Word searches can be a great tool as long as they are not overused. They can be used as a reward for a lesson well done.

However, as a stand-alone tool, it is questionable. It certainly helps with word recognition if used in the right way. Find a word search that relates to the topic you are teaching and the words you have taught.

There are online word search makers that you can use to specifically target the words taught in your childs lesson.

Things to think about.

What does your child like to do in his or her spare time? Drawing? going outside to play? comics? Do they enjoy reading stories? Dancing? indoor games or puzzles?

Make an effort to engage in some of their favorite activities in English.

Is your child more active at different times of the day? Do they like the mornings or the afternoons? What do they do after learning? Do they want something to eat? Choose the perfect moment to tackle the most difficult tasks!

What is your child’s preferred method of absorbing information? Is it possible to teach off-the-cuff during these times? Make a list of what works best for them.

Do you want your child to be able to make their own decisions about their education? Or do they prefer to make decisions with you? Always remember to ask them for their opinions and to encourage them as they build their own study skills.

Can I help if I don’t speak English?

Yes! Encouragement and praise are the finest ways to provide the best support for your child. This boosts your child’s self-esteem and belief in their own abilities.

Encourage children when they take charge of their own education and congratulate them on their efforts

You could even give your youngster the task of teaching English to a member of your family. Did you know that one of the most effective methods to learn is to teach someone else? You could even ask that they teach you.

Conclusion.

Whatever you do, make it fun. Your child will love you all the more for you taking the time out of your day to spend with them.

To develop the love of learning in your child will mean they will want to learn and they will increase any learning skill quicker.

Remember the first skill in learning any language is the listening skill, so the more they listen to English, the faster they will learn.

And be patient, learning anything takes time. And learning a language is one of the most difficult things to do. But small steps now will lead to big leaps in the future.

Who am I?

I am an EFL ( English as a Foreign Language ) teacher who owns a school in Vietnam. I have been here for 15 years and experienced most teaching situations.

From teaching in state schools with 50 plus students to a class to one on one private lessons. I have taught in English centers both good and bad, and the bad decided me to open my own school.

You can check out my school in Vietnam below by hitting on the YouTube button.

My school in Vietnam

 

Any or all links on this site may be affiliate links, and if you purchase something through those links I will make a small commission on them.

There will be no extra cost to you and at times due to my affiliation, you could actually save money.

You can read our full affiliate disclosure here.

TET Vietnam Holiday 2024, A Good Time or Not?

TET In Vietnam 2024.

After living in Vietnam now for 16 plus years I think I am pretty qualified to let you know what TET is like in Vietnam.

From the firecrackers one year that sounded like machine guns (Or were they machine guns) to the cleaning of the house to appease the spirits, or the wife, to the utter boredom of eating pork and eggs until you hate pigs. lol.

This is what it is like over TET in Vietnam.

First What is TET?

You might have heard of the TET offensive, this is when the USA got their butt kicked.

Basically, with a bit of help from AI, this is what it was about. A mixture of butt-kicking and lunar new year.

The Vietnam War.

During the Vietnam War, the North Vietnamese forces launched a significant military operation known as the Tet Offensive against both the South Vietnamese and the Americans12. On January 31, 1968, the first day of Tet, the lunar new year, it started.

Over 100 South Vietnamese cities and outposts were simultaneously attacked. The goal of the offensive was to undermine American support for the war and incite a rebellion among South Vietnamese citizens.

And it worked. sadly so many good people on both sides died on this day and days before this. I am not trying to be flippant, but it was a terrible time for so many people. It is time we laid it to rest. I salute all.

Now All is Forgotten

Some of the older people remember the war, but Vietnam is predominately a young persons nation and they have forgotten and don’t care as much. But they are still respectful.

They are more interested in V-pop, K-pop, or Techno. Their aspirations are similar to Western culture however they are a lot more family-orientated.

This brings us to, what is it like now.

Vietnam TET 2024.

Now let us get into the good stuff. What is it like now and is Vietnam worth visiting over TET?

Yes and no. Let me explain.

When is TET

It changes with the lunar new year so even the kids do not know. And I am not sure if the adults do as well, lol.

But generally, it is in the first or second week of February. I’ve been here so long and still do not know the exact date, damn I am becoming Vietnamese.

What is TET About?

TET is generally about family but there are traditions you need to abide by. For example, wait till you are invited to see someone as it is important who walks through the door first. If you are not invited and just roll in, then it may be viewed as bad luck for the hosts.

And don’t sweep the dirt out of the house on TET because you will be sweeping out money. Love that, another excuse not to clean the house.

TET starts slow as everyone prepares and buys food and flowers. Much like the pictures above. And the video below.

A year or so ago, but the same stuff, damn almost said Krap.

When you do get to someone’s house, what do you do? Drink beer (Don’t pass out) , and wine and eat an enormous amount of food. When drinking you will commonly hear Morb, hai, ba YO. Which is basically 1,2,3 ..drink. And you might hear something that sounds like “chum a chum”, which means drink your whole glass of beer.

This is a Normal TET for me.

Tomorrow we start with this healthy stuff. I promise it will go downhill from here.

A swim, yippee.

Location: You’ll find it at 48/10 Dien Bien Phu Street, Ward 22, Binh Thanh District.

Operating Hours: The pool is accessible to the public from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m

Entrance Fees:

Weekdays (Monday-Friday):

Adults: VND 70,000

Children: VND 40,000

Weekends (Saturday and Sunday):

Adults: VND 80,000

Children: VND 50,000

What Is My Plan?

Drugs, sex, and rock-n-roll, NO, I can’t say that.. let’s be serious…

Back to normality, we need to take the kids home first.

No Teaching for 2 weeks is a bonus so what is next….hehe…

Next is… Reality

A more family-orientated activity.

Clean the House.

Everyone goes on a cleaning binge and wash the floors, take down and wash the fans and if it is dirty…it gets cleaned.

This is the one time everything is spotless. I try to hide and drink beer all day and pretend I am working on my website.

Pork and Eggs

If you have been in Vietnam for longer than two TET holidays you will know about “pork and eggs”. It is a staple food source over these holidays and the first year I spent with my Vietnamese family I ate it for 5 days straight.

To say I am over it is an understatement. This is what it looks like.

Pork and EggsBuying Flowers

Buying some flowers. everyone must spend money on flowers to leave outside their doors.

Here are 7 of the most popular flowers used during Tet in Vietnam, with their Vietnamese names and meanings:

  • Apricot blossom (Hoa Mai): A symbol of spring and the Lunar New Year, apricot blossoms are often used to decorate homes and businesses during this time. They are believed to bring good luck and prosperity in the coming year.
  • Peach blossom (Hoa Đào): Another symbol of spring, peach blossoms are also associated with beauty and love. They are often given as gifts during Tet to express good wishes for the new year.
  • Kumquat tree (Cây Quất): Kumquat trees are small, citrus trees that are often decorated with red kumquats during Tet. They are believed to bring good luck and prosperity, and they also symbolize wealth and abundance.
  • Daisy (Cúc Mẫu Đơn): Daisies are a popular choice for Tet decorations because they are simple and elegant. They are also associated with purity and innocence, which are qualities that are valued during the Lunar New Year.
  • Marigold (Cúc Vạn Thọ): Marigolds are often used in religious ceremonies and are a symbol of good luck. They are also believed to ward off evil spirits, making them a popular choice for Tet decorations.
  • Orchid (Hoa Lan): Orchids are considered to be a symbol of elegance and sophistication. They are often given as gifts during Tet to express good wishes for the new year.
  • Chrysanthemum (Hoa Cúc): Chrysanthemums are associated with longevity and happiness. They are often used in Tet decorations to bring good luck and prosperity to the home.

These are the favorites and normally sit outside the gates of the house to the left or right. And they are never stolen, although I have been tempted. After TET most are thrown away apart from the very expensive ones which are then sometimes sent back to a farm to look after.

TET Superstitions.

TET is accompanied by some superstitions and traditions believed to bring good luck and ward off bad fortune. Here are some common superstitions observed during the TET holiday in Vietnam:

Cleaning before TET.

It is believed that cleaning the house before TET can sweep away the bad luck of the previous year and make room for good fortune in the coming year. However, cleaning during the TET period itself is avoided, as it is believed to sweep away the good luck.

Avoid black and white clothing.

Wearing black or white clothes during TET is considered inauspicious, as these colors are associated with mourning and funerals in Vietnamese culture. Instead, bright and vibrant colors, especially red and yellow, are preferred to attract good luck and prosperity. Although this is now considered old fashioned with younger people.

Money and giving lucky envelopes.

It is customary to exchange red envelopes, known as “lì xì” or “mừng tuổi,” during TET. These envelopes contain lucky money, which is believed to bring good luck and blessings for the new year. New money is best to give with fresh crisp notes.

Avoiding borrowing and lending.

Vietnamese people believe that borrowing or lending money during TET can bring financial difficulties in the coming year. It is considered better to settle any debts before TET and avoid engaging in monetary transactions during the holiday period.

Firecrackers and loud noises.

Firecrackers used to be a common part of TET celebrations in Vietnam, as the loud noises were believed to scare away evil spirits and bad luck. However, due to safety concerns, firecrackers are now largely prohibited.Apart from a couple of years ago when someone in my area set off firecrackers that sounded like a machine gun. Damn.

First visitor of the year.

The first visitor to a house after midnight on New Year’s Eve is considered significant. The belief is that the first guest can determine the luck and prosperity of the household for the entire year. Usually, a respected and successful person is chosen as the first visitor to bring good fortune.

These are just a few examples of the many superstitions and traditions associated with TET in Vietnam. So was I lucky this year. Read below.

What Happened to Me this TET.

All my good intentions of going to District 1 to look at the flowers and walk around and video for this blog went out the window. How did this happen?

My Vietnamese wifes friend invited us to her shop to drink beer and eat. The food was amazing and the company was great. My wifes boyfriend is a policeman and a big drinker and a big guy. Also very funny.

Unfortunately after drinking about 15 beers, he brought out the whisky. It laid me low for 3 days. but this is what happens over TET and you have to roll with the flow.

All in all, I did have a great TET but did miss out on the flowers in District 1. Walking around with thousands of others….hmmm.

If You Were in Hanoi

You would have seen this amazing show. The video is a live drone show in Hanoi during the New Year festival, showcasing a spectacular display of drones in a 4K60 HDR format. Amazing.

And in Ho Chi Minh City

And if you were in Ho Chi Minh City, this is what you would have seen.

Hanoi is the capital and there is also some leftover animosity so I am sure the funding is not the same.

However, every city and town has its own TET celebrations and each is special in its own way.

Final Words

I hope you liked a look at what Vietnam has to offer and the experiences you can have if you come here to work as a teacher.

So is TET fun and a good time to visit? Vietnam is never boring but be prepared for a lot of shops to be closed over the official TET holiday.

Steve


Any or all links on this site may be affiliate links, and if you purchase something through those links I will make a small commission on them.

There will be no extra cost to you and at times due to my affiliation, you could actually save money.

You can read our full affiliate disclosure here.

 

ESL Grammar Activities For Teachers

Grammar is the Cornerstone of Language.

I’m going to kick things off by addressing why grammar is the cornerstone of language acquisition for ESL learners. Without a solid grasp of grammar, students may struggle to communicate effectively or be misunderstood, which can lead to a lack of confidence. That’s why it’s imperative for you, as an ESL teacher, to have a strong command of essential grammar rules.

You’re going to find out about the common hurdles you might encounter when teaching grammar. It’s not unusual to face a classroom with diverse language backgrounds or students with varying levels of proficiency. Each student might have unique challenges with different grammatical concepts, and your job is to navigate these waters skillfully.

This isn’t just about memorizing rules; it’s also about understanding how these rules apply to real-world communication. Approaching grammar teaching with a student-first mindset means tailoring examples and exercises to be relevant to students’ lives and interests. It’s about fostering an environment where grammar isn’t daunting but rather a tool for unlocking the full potential of the English language.

Choose techniques that resonate with your teaching style and your students’ learning preferences. Introduce grammar in a way that’s engaging and thought-provoking, ensuring that your lessons stick. That’s the strategy I like to leverage to transform grammar from a feared subject into an approachable one.

In the upcoming section, ‘Fundamental Grammar Building Blocks,’ we’re going to cover the indispensable parts of speech, sentence structure, verb tenses, and subject-verb agreement. Just remember, your first attempt at introducing these concepts doesn’t need to be flawless. It’s a learning curve for both you and your students. Let’s prepare to lay down the foundation for building strong grammar skills.

Fundamental Grammar Building Blocks

You’re going to find out about the core elements of English grammar in this section. Think of grammar as the scaffold that supports language construction; without a firm grasp of these basics, students’ language abilities may remain shaky.

Parts of Speech.

I’m going to start by discussing parts of speech because they’re the foundation of every sentence. Nouns, pronouns, adjectives, verbs, adverbs, prepositions, conjunctions, and interjections each play a critical role, and they need to be taught early on in ESL education for optimal understanding.

Sentence Structure.

Next up is sentence structure. Crafting sentences that are both clear and grammatically correct is a cornerstone of language learning. I’ll talk about the importance of subject-predicate construction, the use of objects, and how phrases and clauses fit together to convey precise meanings.

Tense Consistency.

I’ll also dive into tense consistency, teaching you how to guide students in using the past, present, and future tenses effectively. ESL learners often struggle with the concept of time in English, so I recommend adopting a consistent approach, using timelines and real-world examples to elucidate this topic.

Verb Agreement.

Finally, I’ll cover subject-verb agreement, because it’s crucial. Whether a subject is singular or plural, the verb must agree. This isn’t just about memorizing rules; it’s about understanding the logic behind them, which can be a sticking point for many learners. I’m here to help you with strategies and tools to explain this concept with clarity.

Contextual Grammar: Beyond the Basics

Contextual grammar takes the rules and principles of English and applies them to real-life situations. This isn’t just about memorizing rules; it’s also about understanding how language works in various contexts. As an ESL teacher, you’re going to find out about some nuanced aspects of grammar essential for your students to communicate effectively.

First up, modal verbs. These helpers (can, could, may, might, shall, should, will, would, must) are crucial in conveying possibility, ability, permission, and obligation. Your students might struggle with their subtleties, but I’m here to help you guide them through the maze.

Conditionals are your go-to for teaching probability and possibility. They can be tricky because they’re not just about the form—’ if this, then that’—it’s also about the meaning behind each conditional. From zero to third conditionals, it’s vital to show how each one fits into everyday conversation.

Direct and indirect speech is where things can get tangled. You’ll be helping your students learn how to shift from reporting speech (‘She said, “I am tired”‘) to conveying the message without quoting word for word (‘She said she was tired’).

Lastly, let’s talk about relative clauses. These are the bits that connect ideas within a sentence (‘The book that you gave me is on the table’). They’re excellent for adding information without starting a new sentence and they help in keeping stories flowing. But, you’ll need to explain the difference between essential and non-essential clauses to prevent confusion.

So, now you’ve got a handle on these advanced topics, let’s move on to something even more exciting—bringing grammar to life in the ESL classroom. You can always adjust your approach down the road, but with these advanced grammar foundations, your students will be better equipped to express themselves with clarity and confidence.

Click here for over 15,000 downloadable Grammar sheets at “Grammarism”

Grammar and Engagement: Interactive Teaching Techniques

Now, harnessing the power of play in the classroom isn’t just a nice-to-have, it’s a must for helping students internalize grammar rules. That’s where games and collaborative activities step in to transform rote learning into an interactive experience.

Feedback and correction are like the guardrails on the road to language mastery. Done right, they provide direction without discouraging learners. Remember, it’s about building confidence as much as competence.

Grammar teaching isn’t just about the ‘what’; it’s also about the ‘where’ and ‘how’. Folding cultural nuances into your grammar lessons can provide rich, real-world context that gives rules relevance.

Assessment shouldn’t be a source of dread for your students. When you use methods that emphasize understanding over memorization, you promote long-term retention and more meaningful learning. It’s true, that change can be slow, but even small shifts towards engaging, practical assessment can yield big improvements in how students grasp grammar.

How to Make Grammar Fun.

Making grammar fun for ESL students can greatly enhance their learning experience and engagement. Here are some ideas to make grammar lessons more enjoyable:

Interactive Games:

Incorporate grammar games into your lessons, such as grammar bingo, board games, or online quizzes. This adds an element of competition and fun while reinforcing grammar rules and concepts.

Use Multimedia:

Utilize videos, songs, and interactive online resources that focus on grammar. Engage students with visually appealing and entertaining content that demonstrates grammar rules in a relatable context.

Hands-on Activities:

Include hands-on activities that promote kinesthetic learning. For example, create grammar flashcards for students to match, or have them physically rearrange sentence cards to practice sentence structure.

Role-plays and Skits:

Incorporate role-plays and skits where students can use grammar rules in context. This enables them to practice grammar more dynamically and creatively, fostering communication skills alongside grammar acquisition.

Storytelling and Creative Writing:

Encourage students to write stories or engage in creative writing exercises where they can showcase their grammar knowledge. This allows them to apply grammar in a creative and personalized manner.

Gamify Learning:

Implement a points or rewards system where students can earn badges or prizes for mastering grammar concepts. This gamification approach adds an element of excitement and motivation to the learning process.

Incorporate Technology:

Integrate educational apps, online grammar games, or interactive websites into your lessons. These tools can make grammar learning more visually appealing and provide instant feedback to students.

Group Projects:

Assign group projects that require students to collaborate and apply grammar rules. For example, create a grammar poster or a grammar-themed skit to encourage teamwork and application of grammar concepts.

Real-life Context:

Teach grammar within real-life contexts and situations that students can relate to. Incorporate examples from everyday conversations, news articles, or popular culture to help students see the relevance of grammar in their daily lives.

Celebrate Progress:

Recognize and celebrate student progress and achievements in learning grammar. Praise their efforts, offer positive reinforcement, and showcase their work to the class or school community.

Click here to find my “Favorite 10 ESL Websites” to help with resources.

Remember, creating a positive and supportive learning environment is crucial when making grammar fun for ESL students. Adapt your teaching methods to cater to different learning styles, provide ample practice opportunities, and foster a sense of enjoyment and curiosity in your students.

Final Thoughts.

I’m here to help you with these strategies, so you can take your teaching to the next level. I hope that you’ll find this advice not just theoretical but actionable in your next lesson.

Have you got other effective grammar-teaching tactics? Share them with us—we’re all on this journey together! And if you’re looking for even more insights, stay tuned for my upcoming articles on teaching English as a Second Language.

Check out my No. 1 ranking Website “VietnamESL”

Steve


Any or all links on this site may be affiliate links, and if you purchase something through those links I will make a small commission on them.

There will be no extra cost to you and at times due to my affiliation, you could actually save money.

You can read our full affiliate disclosure here.

Vietnam Is Not All Sunshine And Sweethearts.

Things I Dislike about Vietnam

Generally, I love Vietnam and its people and the magnificent landscape that never fails to “awe: me.

After 16 years of living here, I consider Vietnam my home for reasons above and beyond being married to my wonderful wife.

Listening to foreigners whingeing about Vietnam is one of my favorite “sports”. I have heard people complaining about being “shortchanged” 10,000 dong and seen arguments over 50,000 dong.

While this is quite petty, there are some valid reasons for people to feel aggrieved. Especially if they have been here for a while.

Not that we want special privileges for lasting so long, lol. More for the fact that we know that you know the scam about to be perpetrated.

Here is my small list of “complaints”. Just another whingeing foreigner, go home “”Om Tay” or, my favorite “Tay balo”…..Mr Backpack. Lol.

My Favorite Peeves.

My normal response to people who moan and complain about a country they were not born in, is…to go home. But there are things over the last decade and a half that I have tried to avoid but not always successfully.

Before I start my “decompression”, let me start by saying every place has its pros and cons and luckily the cons far outweigh the pros, albeit you can find a lot of them here too. Lol.

Sitting over a hot computer and a cold beer (75c U.S.A)here is the list I have come up with.

The Heat.

It is not so much the heat, but the consistency of the heat. Yes, I could move out of H.C.M.C. Unfortunately, that is where our business is.

One of the best jobs in H.C.M.C Vietnam would have to be a weather forecaster. There are seasons, but they all revolve around hot. For example, hot and dry or hot and wet. Sometimes even hot and windy.

The Traffic.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), Vietnam has the second-highest motorcycle ownership in the world, after Taiwan. As of 2016, there were over 37 million registered motorcycles in Vietnam, accounting for more than 90% of all vehicles on the road.

Motorcycles are the main mode of transport for most Vietnamese people, as they are cheap, convenient, and flexible. However, they also contribute to many traffic problems, such as air pollution, noise pollution, road accidents, and fatalities.

And I feel like I am caught in the middle of it. Just crossing the street can be hazardous let alone driving. I do not know of any foreigner who has stayed for a long time and not had a traffic accident of some description or another.

The traffic congestion in Vietnam is mainly caused by rapid urbanization, the lack of public transport infrastructure, the poor road quality and design, and the low compliance with traffic rules.

HCMC is the most affected city by traffic jams, as it has a population of over 9 million people and an area of only 2,095 square kilometers. The average speed of vehicles in HCMC during peak hours is only 15-20 kilometers per hour, and sometimes even lower than 10 kilometers per hour.

Traffic Accidents and fatalities in Vietnam.

The road accidents and fatalities in Vietnam are also alarming. According to the WHO, Vietnam ranked among the top 10 countries with the highest road traffic death rates in the world in 2018, with 26.7 deaths per 100,000 population.

Roads are being fixed and things are slowly changing, but it remains one of my pet peeves. Just about everyone I know has witnessed a fatality. I have seen two very traumatic fatalities and even watching it leaves you shaking.

Higher Prices for Foreigners.

Even after living here for 15 years I am still obviously viewed as a foreigner, and because of that the natural assumption is that you are rich. Because of this when shopping in a lot of markets, especially the touristy ones you are charged triple the normal price.

The best way to deal with this is to quote a reasonable price and if it is not accepted, walk away. Quite often you will be called back grudgingly and the price agreed upon. But please don’t haggle over a few thousand “dong”. The merchants do need to make a profit and it is embarrassing to see foreigners haggling over a few cents.

Petty Crime in Vietnam.

Vietnam is one of the safest countries I have ever lived in. It is safer than Australia and most Western countries.

But opportunistic petty crime can be a pain. It is not rampant, but there is enough to make you nervous about holding your mobile phone in a street situation. I have seen and been a victim, of people on motorbikes snatching your phone or bag if you are negligent in safety.

Vietnam Hospitals and Doctors.

The doctors who have helped me here in Ho Chi Minh City have been great. Let me tell you my hospital story about bowel cancer and then the little niggling things that don’t quite add up.

Approximately 11 years ago my stomach swelled up and I was rushed to hospital after several days of constipation. I had a bowel blockage caused by a cancerous growth.

I was taken to surgery ASAP and operated on over 17 hours. The doctors saved my life, however it did cost me about $15,000. Probably not much for the USA, but a lot here. Anyway, I certainly couldn’t complain.

That being said, medical communication in Vietnam differs greatly from that of medical communication in my own country. In Vietnam they give you only the essential information here, ignoring any things they consider to be “optional.”

Not being able to buy what I want.

After living in Vietnam for so long it can become difficult to buy certain things, especially clothes in Western sizes. Purchasing specialized sports goods, hardware, large-sized clothing and shoes, and other uncommon items can be quite difficult in Vietnam.

I am frequently compelled to buy goods from abroad or arrange for a family member to buy them for me and have them shipped to Vietnam. Of course, this operation means that there are often long delivery delays—up to one month.

A real pain if you want the right-sized underpants.

Final Say.

Overall I love Vietnam, but if you are thinking about staying for a while it is also good to know about the problems.

Steve


Any or all links on this site may be affiliate links, and if you purchase something through those links I will make a small commission on them.

There will be no extra cost to you and at times due to my affiliation, you could actually save money.

You can read our full affiliate disclosure here.

 

 

 

 

 

Learn A New Language With AI.

Learning Languages With an AI App

Learning a new language is easy for some and downright difficult for others. As an ESL teacher, I strongly recommend a classroom approach to learning a language. But that does not mean I do not agree with other styles of learning. One of the best I use for myself is having an app on your phone you can use anywhere.

So let’s dive in and see if you agree with some of my statements.

The Symbiosis of Classroom and App-Assisted Language Learning

  • Benefits of Traditional Classroom Learning for Language Acquisition: Traditional classroom learning provides a structured environment for language learning. It offers direct interaction with a teacher and peers, which can enhance understanding and fluency. Classroom learning also provides immediate feedback, which is crucial for language acquisition. And possibly even more important, it provides students with seeing how words are formed visually, and rather than having to hunt for answers if using an app, you can ask the teacher to explain.
  • Identifying Gaps in Classroom Learning and Leveraging Apps for Reinforcement: While classroom learning is beneficial, it may not cater to individual learning styles and pace. Language learning apps can fill these gaps. They allow learners to practice at their own pace and according to their own schedule. Apps can reinforce what is taught in the classroom and provide additional practice in areas where a learner may be struggling.
  • How Apps Offer Personalized Repetition and Aid Retention: Repetition is key in language learning, and apps excel at this. They can offer personalized repetition exercises based on a learner’s performance. This targeted practice aids retention and helps learners master the language more effectively.
  • The Importance of Immediate Corrections and Native Pronunciation Examples in Class Versus Apps: Immediate correction in a classroom setting helps learners rectify mistakes in real time. However, native pronunciation examples may be limited in a classroom. Apps can provide a wide range of native pronunciation examples, helping learners understand the nuances of the language. Some apps even offer speech recognition technology for immediate pronunciation correction, making them a great supplement to classroom learning.

The Role of AI in Language Learning

  • Introduction to AI-Driven Language Learning Apps: AI-driven language learning apps are like smart tutors in your pocket. They use Artificial Intelligence to make learning a new language easier and more efficient. These apps can adapt to your learning style, provide instant feedback, and even understand and correct your pronunciation.
  • How AI in Apps Adapts to Individual Learning Styles and Paces: Every person learns differently and at their own pace. AI in language learning apps can understand this. It observes how you learn and then adjusts the lessons to fit your style and speed. This means you get a personalized learning experience, which can help you learn a new language faster.
  • Examples of Speech Recognition and Machine Learning in Language Reinforcement: Many language learning apps use speech recognition. This means the app can listen to you speak and correct your pronunciation. Machine learning is another technology used in these apps. It allows the app to learn from your mistakes and your progress, and then adjust future lessons accordingly. This constant reinforcement helps you to better remember and use the new language.
  • Contrasting AI’s Immediate Translations with In-Person Teacher Guidance: AI can provide immediate translations, which is very helpful. But it’s different from having a teacher. A teacher can explain things in different ways and answer your questions. They can also understand your feelings, like if you’re finding a lesson hard. AI is getting better, but it’s not the same as a human teacher. Yet, the two can work together to provide a powerful language-learning experience.

Remember, the goal is to show how AI-driven apps and traditional classroom learning can complement each other in language learning. !

Finding Your Learning Style:

  • Different Learning Styles and Their Impact on Language Study: People learn in different ways. Some people learn by listening, some by seeing, and others by doing. These are called auditory, visual, and kinesthetic learning styles. The way you learn can impact how quickly and effectively you pick up a new language.
  • How to Identify Your Personal Learning Preferences: It’s important to know your learning style. You can do this by thinking about how you learn best. Do you remember things better when you hear them, see them, or do them? Once you know your style, you can use it to help you learn a new language.
  • Strategies to Combine Classroom Lessons with App Learning for Various Learning Styles: Classroom lessons and language apps can work together. If you’re a visual learner, you might use an app that has lots of pictures. If you’re an auditory learner, you might use an app that lets you listen to native speakers. And if you’re a kinesthetic learner, you might use an app that has interactive exercises.
  • The Role of Auditory, Visual, and Kinesthetic Elements in Language Apps: Language apps use sound, images, and interaction to help you learn. These match up with the auditory, visual, and kinesthetic learning styles. So no matter what your learning style is, there’s an app that can help you learn a new language.

Remember, the goal is to show how understanding your learning style and using the right strategies can make learning a new language easier and more effective.

My Top Language Learning Apps.

Mondly

Mondly is a language-learning app that uses gamification to make learning a new language fun and engaging. It offers short and engaging lessons that focus on useful vocabulary. However, it doesn’t place as much emphasis on grammar or speaking skills as other apps. Let’s look a bit closer. (Click the above link to find the latest deals)

Upon logging in, the first screen you see is the Mondly dashboard, which has a map-like appearance. There are several landmark icons on this map, and each one stands for a distinct subject or idea.

You can view each of these various “landmarks” by swiping left to right across the interactive map. Among many other things, these subjects include the weather, travel, and family. Once you click on a topic, there are typically six to eight lessons within it.

Mondly offers daily lessons that you can either finish directly by diving into one of these “stand-alone” topics. Because the topic lessons tend to build upon one another, the daily lessons are really just Mondly’s suggested order of operation.

The curriculum’s core lessons are these daily ones, though you can always go ahead and skip lessons if you’d like. You can also access a weekly quiz if you finish all of your daily lessons for the week. In addition, you can access a monthly challenge after finishing all of your weekly quizzes.

Hopefully, you can see where this is going. Consistency and streaks are important to Mondly, and you typically adhere to this by taking the assigned daily lessons.

The Lessons

Each lesson consists of about twelve short, interactive drills and exercises covering the four main communication domains: speaking, reading, writing, and listening.

Among these drills are:1. Spelling words and phrases; 2. Listening to words and phrases in your target language and then repeating them; matching phrases to images (which is very similar to Rosetta Stone); 3. Completing mock conversations by choosing the appropriate response; translating sentences between languages; and listening to a question and choosing the appropriate multiple-choice answer.

Mondly makes an effort to gamify and enjoy the process of learning a language. It’s pretty cool that the main dashboard has the appearance of an interactive map, and you can always view your stats from the navigation bar.

Virtual Reality

Mondly provides virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) learning apps in addition to their standard app and language courses. These apps are intended to supplement the standard lessons.

This is the main way that Mondly sets itself apart from rivals. Mondly is kind of a pioneer in the field of digital language learning because of the novelty of the programs.

You can immerse yourself in virtual environments with the Mondly VR app. You’re thrown into a variety of scenarios where you have to communicate with locals, such as making travel arrangements, ordering takeout, or going grocery shopping. Put another way, the app aims to use virtual reality to mimic authentic scenarios with native speakers.

In case you lack a VR headset, Mondly provides their augmented reality app at no cost when you register for a premium account. Using augmented reality technology, the AR app scans your room and creates animations and a computer-generated teacher for you to enjoy in your own home.

Please go to Mondly to view their pricing. They do have a free version, however, that is very limited. Most people go for the premium price structure which is only $10 per month or $48.00 if paying yearly in advance. Mondly is very cheap when compared with other language apps.

My Opinion

There are a lot of good points about Mondly. Gamification and low cost are the obvious ones. But it does let itself down in the grammar department and it isn’t the best in developing your conversational skills. But you can’t beat the price.

Babbel

Babbel is an online, self-paced language-learning program that offers high-quality lessons unique to each language. It’s more challenging than most other language apps, but the exercises can be tedious. Babbel is best for people already skilled at learning languages or those who already speak a language related to the one they want to learn

Babbel is a language learning app that offers courses in 14 different languages. It uses a variety of methods to teach languages, including interactive lessons, games, and real-life conversations with native speakers. Babbel is designed to be user-friendly and accessible, and it can be used on a variety of devices, including smartphones, tablets, and computers.

The app is based on the spaced repetition system, which means that it repeats words and phrases at increasing intervals to help you remember them. Babbel also uses a variety of other techniques to help you learn, such as interactive exercises, quizzes, and games.

One of the things that sets Babbel apart from other language-learning apps is its focus on real-life conversations. The app features dialogues that are recorded by native speakers, and you can practice speaking and listening by recording your own responses. Babbel also offers live tutoring sessions with native speakers, which can be a great way to get personalized feedback on your progress.

Babbel is a subscription-based service, and the cost varies depending on the length of your subscription. The app is available in both a free and a paid version. The free version gives you access to a limited number of lessons, while the paid version gives you access to all of the app’s features.

Overall, Babbel is a well-designed and effective language-learning app that is suitable for a variety of learners. It is easy to use and accessible, and it offers a variety of methods to help you learn.

In my opinion, though it will not make you a fluent speaker of the language you have chosen.

Rosetta Stone.

The cleverly named language app “Rosetta Stone” was a key to deciphering Egyptian hieroglyphs, which allowed scholars to read and understand ancient Egyptian texts and inscriptions.

But our Rosetta Stone is a comprehensive language-learning software that helps you build a solid foundation in a foreign language. It’s excellent for beginners and offers a ton of additional content for more advanced learners. However, it won’t make you 100% fluent.

Rosetta Stone is a language learning app that offers courses in 25 different languages. It uses a variety of methods to teach languages, including interactive lessons, games, and real-life conversations with native speakers. Rosetta Stone is designed to be user-friendly and accessible, and it can be used on a variety of devices, including smartphones, tablets, and computers.

The app is based on the immersion method, which means that it teaches you a foreign language through context versus through translations. Rosetta Stone courses used to be entirely software-based (meaning you had to purchase a physical CD or download the program to your computer). However, courses are now offered through online subscription so users don’t need to buy the course outright. 

One of the things that sets Rosetta Stone apart from other language-learning apps is its focus on pronunciation. The app features speech recognition technology that helps you practice your pronunciation by comparing your voice to that of a native speaker. Rosetta Stone also offers live tutoring sessions with native speakers, which can be a great way to get personalized feedback on your progress.

Rosetta Stone is a subscription-based service, and the cost varies depending on the length of your subscription. The app is available in both a free and a paid version. The free version gives you access to a limited number of lessons, while the paid version gives you access to all of the app’s features.

Overall, Rosetta Stone is a well-designed and effective language-learning app that is suitable for a variety of learners. It is easy to use and accessible, and it offers a variety of methods to help you learn. However, some users may find the immersion method challenging, and the app may not be suitable for those who prefer a more structured approach to language learning.


TalkPal.

Talkpal is a brand new app. that has just come onto the market and offers 57 languages that they say offer a new way to learn.

What distinguishes TalkPal from other applications for language learning?

TalkPal employs cutting-edge AI to offer an interactive, enjoyable, and captivating language learning experience, in contrast to existing language learning applications. With the use of artificial intelligence and an active learning strategy, users can become fluent. TalkPal replicates authentic situations in which users engage with native speakers to acquire knowledge.

TalkPal provides two membership options: TalkPal Premium, which has more advanced capabilities and no restrictions, and a free subscription with restricted features. TalkPal Premium offers the choice of monthly or yearly payments. These begin at $10 a month, or $5 if paid annually.

TalkPal provides comprehensive coverage of grammar, allowing you to understand the subtleties and complexities of other languages and, as a result, improve your speaking, reading, writing, and comprehension abilities.

The four basic skills of listening, speaking, reading, and writing are covered and while it is still a new app all the feedback has so far been very positive.

My Opinion.

From an ESL teacher’s perspective, each of these apps has its own strengths and weaknesses.

For example, Mondly’s focus on vocabulary can be useful for beginners, but its lack of emphasis on grammar and speaking skills might be a drawback.

Babbel’s challenging content can be beneficial for advanced learners, but its exercises might be tedious for some.

Rosetta Stone’s comprehensive approach is great for building a solid foundation, but it might not be enough to achieve fluency

Testimonials.

As for testimonials and success stories, many users have found these apps helpful in their language-learning journey.

For example, some users have found Mondly’s gamified learning experience enjoyable and effective. Babbel users have appreciated its challenging content and unique lessons for each language. Rosetta Stone users have praised its comprehensive approach to language learning. Duolingo users have enjoyed its fun and engaging learning experience.

In terms of a comparative analysis of app features, each app offers unique features that align with different learning objectives. For instance, Mondly’s VR & AR apps are game changers in language learning.

Babbel offers live classes and focuses on vocabulary that’s actually useful.

Rosetta Stone offers optional online tutoring sessions. So whichever app suits your style of learning and budget, I wish you the best in your language-learning journey,

The Best App for You!

Choosing the Ideal App: A Comparative Guide for Aspiring Polyglots

  • Criteria for Selecting the Best Language Learning App for You: The best app for you depends on your needs and goals. Consider factors like the languages offered, the teaching method, the type of content, and the cost. Also, think about your learning style and how much time you can commit to learning each day.
  • A Closer Look at User Interface, Content Quality, and Language Options: A good app should be easy to use, with a clear and intuitive interface. The content should be high-quality, engaging, and updated regularly. And of course, the app should offer the language you want to learn!
  • Analyzing Pricing, Subscription Models, and Accessibility of Each App: Some apps are free, while others require a subscription. Consider what you get for the price – does the app offer enough value to justify the cost? Also, check if the app is accessible on your device and if you can use it offline.
  • Closing Thoughts on Commitment Beyond Apps for Achieving Language Proficiency: While apps can be a great tool for language learning, they’re just one part of the puzzle. Achieving proficiency requires commitment and practice beyond the app. This includes speaking the language with others, immersing yourself in the culture, and continually challenging yourself.

The goal is how to choose the right language-learning app and how to use it effectively.

If you choose your app on price alone, Mondly stands out against the others. There are a lot of other language apps and each of them has its good and bad points. So take your time and choose one that you feel most comfortable with.

Steve


Any or all links on this site may be affiliate links, and if you purchase something through those links I will make a small commission on them.

There will be no extra cost to you and at times due to my affiliation, you could actually save money.

You can read our full affiliate disclosure here.

Free ESL Lesson Plan for Kids

Lesson plans should be a part of your skillset as an EFL or ESL teacher. Using this time wisely will help a lot when you are in the classroom.

Building a Lesson Plan.

Building a lesson plan is essential if you want a defined outcome for your class. Students and some teachers need structure and a determined direction to move from one learning point to another. And even though you may feel that “after 15 years I can wing it easily”. A lesson plan is like the “ABCs” of learning English. A good lesson starts with a good lesson plan.

I have wanted to provide free lesson plans for all classes. However, after thinking about it I believe each teacher is unique much like their students. And we should be doing our own lesson plans depending on the teaching styles we use. 

For example, I use the T.P.R style of teaching or Total Physical Response as it fits in with my personality. T.P.R revolves around using all aspects of communication to teach English. I use body language, visual representations like flashcards or newspaper clippings, and music to enhance my lessons.

Wikipedia has a good understanding of TPR and click the link to find out more.

Mapping Out a Lesson Plan.

It does not take long to map out a good lesson plan and there are a lot of different resources on the internet that can help, from templates to word searches and everything in between.

The following is the lesson I did tonight for fifteen 8-year-olds who need movement in the class to help stimulate the brain cells.

This is what I wrote and what I did. I do not keep rigidly to a lesson plan and if something doesn’t work I will drop it immediately and use something else. What you should take away from that statement is “always have an extra 15-minute segment” that you can use in the classroom if something you have planned does not work.

Also, look at How to Design a Lesson Plan.

Free Beginners ESL Lesson Plan for Body Parts.

I keep my lesson plans short and then that gives me enough room to improvise depending on the students’ questions or responses. The best attribute a teacher can bring to the classroom is the ability to think on one’s feet. 

My class size was 15 students and the class time was 1 hour and 30 minutes. I think this is the best length for an 8-year-old class without them getting bored. At 8 years old you still need to move them from activity to activity to keep their minds engaged in learning.

I broke my lesson down into 4 parts.

1. Introduction.

We had two new students starting so I wanted everyone to introduce themselves. At this level, it is not the easiest thing for the students unless you provide an outline for them to write. If you look up ESL introduction templates or images you will have a wide selection to choose from. This is what I chose tonight.

I usually do my class time allotment in 5-minute blocks for younger children and I estimated this would take 3 blocks or 15 minutes.

By the time I had explained everything and the children had written and filled in the gaps, we were on the 11-minute mark.

I then got the children to read and they did a pretty good job so I rewarded them with “points.” It took about 20 minutes for these exercises to be finished.

I used ESL Printables for this.

What’s This Points Thing?

At the start of the class, even before we did the introduction worksheet I split the class into two teams, Boys and Girls. Vietnam is very competitive and it can really help in learning and class control at this age.

There are 8 girls and 7 boys in this class, so thankfully a perfect (almost) split. Otherwise, I would go A and B. The reason I use teams is if they do a good job, I reward them and if they are noisy I will penalize them. Peer pressure is quite a deterrent at this age, and anything that helps in their learning works for me too.

Also at the start of the class, I will go around the class with the alphabet and if anyone gets the letter wrong they lose a point to the opposing team.  

I do the same with days of the week and months of the year and numbers from one to 50. It is a great way to review the basics or go over a past lesson.

2) Body Parts Game and Video.

Because my whole lesson revolves around learning new body parts and learning the correct pronunciation I use all the different TPR styles that I can in 90 minutes. 

The game is very basic but extremely funny. The students must follow you in touching various body parts. You get them to watch and participate 4-5 times and then they have to do it (as a group) alone. For example, I will say…touch your nose…touch your eyes…touch your mouth, etc, and they must follow your actions. I one team member gets it wrong they lose a point to the opposing team.

I break it up with, stand up, sit down, and raise your left arm (watch how many copy and still follow with the right hand) Thus you have to teach left and right. I blocked this out for 2 units of time followed by a video that ran for 5 minutes. 

I improvised after the great video and handed out a sheet of paper for the students to listen, follow, and draw the face that was explained in the video. It was an easy video for the students to follow and we all had a lot of fun. We ended up watching the video twice because of the improvised drawing and the time stretched out to a 25-minute block.

3. Body Parts Writing and Matching.

After a few minutes of very noisy activity, I had to quiet them down and get back to doing some writing and matching words to their respective body parts. There are a lot of great worksheets for this and this is the one I used today.

Body Parts

After the students completed this chart, we read out the body part names for pronunciation purposes and then we had a flashcard game. This game uses the “family and friends” body part flashcards. 

I then go individually through the flashcards pronouncing the words and placing them face down on the ground so the students do not know which card is which. I then choose one person from each team to come and pick a card that I have asked for. I may have said “I want a nose”, and they may pick up an arm…Lol, no points. If they get the correct card then it is 2 points for the team.

I estimated this would take up 3 blocks of time or 15 minutes and I was almost correct, it went for 20-plus minutes because the children didn’t want to stop. If you are looking for Flash Card games click on the link to an older post.

4) Wordsearch and Final Game.

Even though I am not a big supporter of word searches as they can sometimes be overused by teachers who don’t want to teach, I do sporadically use them myself. Especially for the younger students and as a reward if the lesson has gone well and the students seem to have absorbed the content of the lesson

.This word search is from English 4Kids.

You can also use these types to elicit the spelling of the words from the students. This took about 10 minutes.

My Final activity was reinforcing the new vocabulary by getting them to stand up, touch your eyes, nose, mouth, hair, etc.

The Girls won and then we all went home. 

Final Thoughts.

It needn’t take a lot of time to write a lesson plan and it should be flexible enough to change at the drop of a hat. Some of my best lessons have happened when I left the boundaries of the lesson plan. 

The lesson plan took me less than 15 minutes to do, although I have been doing them a long time and know where to get most of my resources. I also have 15 years of material for teaching in several folders. Prepping time has become much shorter.  

But a good teacher should always prepare a lesson plan for no other reason than to determine what you want to get out of today’s lesson. What improvement do you want to make to your students English skills?

Steve the ESLMAN


Some links on this site may be affiliate links, and if you purchase something through these links, I will make a commission on them. There will be no extra cost to you and, you could actually save money.  Read our full affiliate disclosure here.

ESL Lesson Plans for Adults Free

Teaching Adults English.

Designing an ESL lesson plan for adults can be challenging, but also rewarding. Adult learners have different needs, motivations, and goals than younger students, so you need to tailor your lessons accordingly. Here are some tips on how to create an effective and engaging ESL lesson plan for adults.

1. Know your learners. Before you start planning your lesson, you need to know who your learners are, what their level of English is, what they want to learn, and why they are learning English. This will help you choose the most relevant and appropriate topics, materials, and activities for your lesson.

2. Set clear and realistic objectives. Based on your learners’ needs and goals, you need to define what you want them to achieve by the end of the lesson. Your objectives should be specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound (SMART). For example, by the end of the lesson, learners will be able to introduce themselves and ask for basic personal information in a formal setting.

3. Choose engaging and authentic materials. To make your lesson more interesting and meaningful for your learners, you should use materials that are relevant to their lives and interests, such as articles, videos, podcasts, or songs. You should also use authentic materials that expose them to real-world language use, such as newspapers, websites, or social media posts.

4. Plan a variety of activities. To keep your learners motivated and involved, you should plan a mix of activities that cover the four skills of listening, speaking, reading, and writing. You should also include activities that promote interaction and communication among learners, such as pair work, group work, role plays, or discussions. You should also vary the level of difficulty and complexity of the activities according to your learners’ abilities and progress.

5. Assess your learners’ performance and provide feedback. At the end of the lesson, you should check if your learners have achieved the objectives you set for them. You can use different methods of assessment, such as quizzes, tests, presentations, or portfolios. You should also provide constructive feedback to your learners on their strengths and areas for improvement. You should also encourage them to reflect on their own learning and set goals for future lessons.

Make Your Own Lesson Plan Template.

If you are looking for a template ESL lesson plan for adults, you might find this blog post helpful. It outlines the basic steps and components of a successful ESL lesson, as well as some tips and resources to make your teaching more effective and engaging.

A template ESL lesson plan for adults should include the following elements:

– A warm-up activity to review previous material, activate prior knowledge, or introduce the topic of the lesson.

– A presentation stage to introduce new vocabulary, grammar, or skills, using clear explanations, examples, and visuals.

– A practice stage to give students the opportunity to use the new language or skills in controlled or guided activities, such as drills, exercises, or games.

– A production stage to allow students to apply the new language or skills in more authentic or creative tasks, such as role-plays, discussions, or projects.

– A feedback and correction stage to provide students with positive and constructive feedback on their performance, as well as to correct any errors or misunderstandings.

– A wrap-up activity to summarize the main points of the lesson, review the learning objectives, and assign homework or further practice.

Some tips and resources to make your ESL lesson plan more effective and engaging are:

– Use a variety of activities and materials to cater to different learning styles and preferences.

– Incorporate real-world contexts and situations to make the lesson more relevant and meaningful for the students.

– Adapt the level of difficulty and complexity of the activities to suit the students’ needs and abilities.

– Use clear and simple instructions and check for understanding before starting each activity.

– Monitor and support the students during the activities and provide feedback and corrections as needed.

– Encourage student interaction and participation and create a positive and supportive learning environment.

Template Examples.

You can find more examples and templates of ESL lesson plans for adults on these websites:

– https://www.teachingenglish.org.uk

– https://www.fluentu.com

– https://www.esl-lounge.com

My current fave site is Twinkle, have a look, don’t worry I’m not making money off this. Twinkle..

Example Lesson Plans.

Here are two examples of ESL lesson plans for adults that you can use in your classroom or online teaching.

Example 1: Present Perfect vs. Past Simple

Objective: To help students practice the difference between present perfect and past simple tenses in speaking and writing.

Materials: A worksheet with sentences in present perfect and past simple, some dice, and a timer.

Procedure:

– Warm-up: Ask students to think of an event that happened in their life recently and write a sentence about it using the present perfect tense. For example, “I have finished reading a book.” Then, ask them to write another sentence using past simple tense with a specific time expression. For example, “I finished reading the book yesterday.” Have them share their sentences with a partner and compare the use of tenses.

– Presentation: Review the rules and examples of present perfect and past simple tenses on the board or on a slide. Explain when to use each tense and how to form them. Highlight the differences in meaning and usage.

– Practice: Give each pair of students a worksheet with sentences in present perfect and past simple. Have them roll a dice and read the sentence that corresponds to the number they get. Then, have them rewrite the sentence using the other tense. For example, if they get a sentence in present perfect, they have to rewrite it in past simple, and vice versa. Set a timer for 10 minutes and have them complete as many sentences as they can.

– Feedback: Check the answers as a class and correct any errors. Ask students to explain why they chose a certain tense and how it changes the meaning of the sentence.

Example 2: Giving Advice

Objective: To help students practice giving advice using modal verbs and expressions in speaking.

Materials: A set of cards with common problems or situations that require advice, such as “I want to lose weight” or “I have a job interview tomorrow”.

Procedure:

– Warm-up: Ask students to think of a problem or a situation that they need advice on and write it down on a piece of paper. Collect the papers and shuffle them. Then, distribute them randomly to the students. Have them read the problem or situation they got and think of some possible advice they would give.

– Presentation: Review the modal verbs and expressions that can be used to give advice, such as “should”, “could”, “might”, “why don’t you”, “have you tried”, etc. Give some examples of how to use them in sentences. Explain the difference in meaning and tone between them.

– Practice: Divide the students into pairs or small groups. Have them take turns picking a card from the set and reading the problem or situation aloud. Then, have them advise each other using the modal verbs and expressions they learned. Encourage them to use different ones and to explain their reasons for giving that advice.

– Feedback: Ask some pairs or groups to share their problems or situations and the advice they gave with the class. Comment on their use of language and give suggestions for improvement.

Check it Out.

Check out my other posts for more information on teaching Adults. This is the link to click on…

How to Teach ESL English to Adults.

How to design a Lesson Plan.

I also have a lot of other stuff you may find useful, so check out my site. www.vietnamesl.com

Final Thoughts.

Remember, every group of students is different. What works well with one group may not work as well with another. Be flexible and willing to adapt your teaching strategies as needed.

Don’t stick to your lesson plan and if you have to veer off in a different direction that is fine, The one thing I have learnt is teaching should be flexible to cater to your students’ needs. And the best thing to do is incorporate FUN. Do that and your students will want to learn English and love you forever as a great Teacher. 8-).


Some links on this site may be affiliate links, and if you purchase something through these links, I will make a commission on them. There will be no extra cost to you and, you could actually save money. Read our full affiliate disclosure here.

ESL Earnings and Costs in Vietnam

Living and Working in Vietnam as a Teacher.

When I read the news I see a lot of people complaining about the cost of living. I read stories of people in England having to choose between heating their house or eating. I also see so many pictures of the homeless in America it makes me sad.

There is another option. Asian countries, and especially Vietnam are crying out for English teachers and I am going to explain what qualifications you need, how much (or little) it costs to live, and how much you can make…and save. Yes, you can easily save $1,000 a month and more if you are prepared to work hard.

Let’s Cut to the Chase.

Qualifications.

The qualifications you need to teach English in Vietnam are minimal. If you are really interested in teaching English legally in Vietnam the minimum requirements for most teaching jobs in Vietnam are:

– A passport from a native English-speaking country or a high level of English proficiency

– A university degree certificate in any field, preferably in education or a related subject

– A teaching certificate such as CELTA, TEFL, TESOL or equivalent

– A health check from a local hospital or clinic

– A landlord form or police registration to prove your address in Vietnam

– A clean criminal background check from your home country or the country where you have been living for the last six months

Some employers may have additional or different requirements depending on the type of institution, the level of students, and the curriculum. For example, some international schools may require a degree in education and several years of teaching experience. Some language centers may accept candidates without a degree or a teaching certificate if they have other relevant qualifications or skills.

To work legally in Vietnam, you will also need to obtain a work permit and a temporary residence card. These documents are usually processed by your employer once you have a job offer and a valid business visa. The process may take several weeks or months and require various fees and paperwork. If you get a job with a good school they should pay for this.

Not that I recommend it, but there are schools that will pay cash for anyone who can speak English without the above requirements. Also, you will find that some schools will pay for ad-hoc or part-time work and you can get paid after class. If you want to find out more about this, leave a message.

Pay Rates.

The average salary for teaching English in Vietnam in 2023 can range from **27 million VND ($1100)** to **51 million VND ($2200)** per month. Nearly a year after the pandemic, English centers and schools have gradually recovered financially and in revenue, so the average salary of expat teachers has also been raised. Rates are on the rise and it is a good time to come to Vietnam as an ESL teacher.

However, this is just a general range, and the actual salary you can earn may vary depending on the type of institution you work for. Here is a breakdown of the salary ranges for different types of teaching jobs in Vietnam :

– Public Schools: **1500$ – 2000$/ month**

– Private Language Schools: **1150$ – 1800$/ month**

– International Schools: **1900$ – 2300$/ month**

– Universities: **895$ – 2200$/ month**

– Private English Lessons: **15$ – 60$ /hour**

As you can see, there is a wide variation in the pay rates for ESL teachers in Vietnam, depending on the level of education, prestige, and location of the institution. Generally speaking, public schools pay less than private language centers, which pay less than international schools and universities.

However, public schools may offer more benefits, such as paid holidays, visa assistance, and accommodation allowance. Private language centers may offer more flexibility, such as part-time or freelance contracts, and more teaching hours.

International schools and universities may require higher qualifications, such as a master’s degree or a teaching license, but they also offer higher salaries and more professional development opportunities.

Another factor that affects your income as an ESL teacher in Vietnam is your location. The cost of living and the demand for English teachers vary across different regions and cities in Vietnam.

For example, Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City are the two largest and most developed cities in Vietnam, where you can find more job opportunities and higher salaries. However, they are also more expensive to live in than smaller cities or rural areas. So consider your personal preferences and lifestyle when choosing where to teach in Vietnam.

Cost of Living.

Personally, I can live in Vietnam for less than $1,000 a month. However, I am quite frugal and don’t go out a lot. You can rent for about $200 a month for a room or small house in the suburbs of Ho Chi Minh and you can live on $10.00 per day quite easily. But if you want to party every night then your costs will obviously go up as well.

Here is a link to a site that provides a comprehensive list of Vietnams costs. Vietnam costs. However, I believe they are a bit high.

What is it Like Teaching in Vietnam?

I have quite a few posts explaining both what it is like teaching in Vietnam and how to teach different levels of students. here is one link you may find useful or once again leave a comment and I will answer you directly.

If you are looking for a job here, I will also be able to help you if you are qualified or not. => LOOK HERE <=

Final Thoughts.

In conclusion, teaching English in Vietnam can be a lucrative and fulfilling career choice for ESL teachers who want to explore a new country and culture while making a positive impact on their students’ lives.

The pay rates for ESL teachers in Vietnam depend on many factors, but they are generally competitive and sufficient to cover your living expenses and save some money.

If you are interested in teaching English in Vietnam, make sure you do your research on the job market, prepare your qualifications and documents, and apply for the positions that suit your skills and goals.


Some links on this site may be affiliate links, and if you purchase something through these links, I will make a commission on them. There will be no extra cost to you and, you could actually save money. Read our full affiliate disclosure here.

How To Avoid Teacher Burnout in ESL

Avoiding ESL Burnout.

Teaching ESL can be a rewarding but challenging career. You get to interact with students from different cultures and backgrounds, help them improve their language skills, and witness their progress. But it can also be stressful, exhausting, and demanding. How do you avoid burnout teaching ESL? Here are some tips that might help:

Tips for Sanity.

– Set realistic goals and expectations. Don’t try to do everything at once or expect perfection from yourself or your students. Focus on what you can control and celebrate small achievements. Some students are great, some not so much, but you are helping them even if they don’t know it.

– Take care of yourself physically and mentally. Eat well, sleep enough, exercise regularly, and find time to relax and recharge. You can’t teach well if you’re not feeling well. Try not to party too much. It tends to happen when you first arrive in a foreign country, especially Asia.

– Seek support and feedback. Connect with other ESL teachers, join online communities, attend workshops, or find a mentor. Share your challenges and successes, ask for advice, and learn from others’ experiences. Build a network of friends you can talk to about any problems at work. Personal problems will happen and having someone to talk to is a literal lifesaver.

– Be creative and flexible. Try new methods, materials, and activities in your lessons. Experiment with different ways of teaching and learning. Adapt to your students’ needs and interests. Keep things fresh and fun for yourself and your students. Learn new stuff, It makes class life more exciting and fun. Go into your class and focus on having fun and the students will warm to you immediately which will make your teaching easier.

– Remember your purpose and passion. Remind yourself why you chose to teach ESL and what you love about it. Think about the positive impact you have on your students lives and the difference you make in the world. You are helping others achieve their dreams and traveling the world at the same time. Not many get to do this, so revel in the joy.

  • If Things Get Bad. Do not hesitate to contact me or a professional if you are suffering. There are online services that provide help. You can use this link. I Want to Talk.

What are some fun ESL activities?

Here are some ideas that you can try in your classroom:

– Games: Games are a great way to motivate students, practice vocabulary, grammar, and skills, and have fun. You can use board games, card games, online games, or create your own games based on the topic or skill you want to teach.

– Songs: Songs are a wonderful way to expose students to authentic language, culture, and pronunciation. You can use songs to teach vocabulary, grammar, listening, speaking, or writing skills. You can also have students sing along, fill in the blanks, or write their own lyrics.

– Stories: Stories are a powerful way to engage students’ imagination, creativity, and emotions. You can use stories to teach reading, writing, speaking, or listening skills. You can also have students read aloud, act out, or write their own stories.

– Projects: Projects are a good way to integrate different skills, topics, and resources in a meaningful way. You can use projects to teach research, presentation, collaboration, or problem-solving skills. You can also have students work individually or in groups on topics that interest them. This takes a bit of time to set up and is better with more advanced students, however, the benefits are amazing. I have a lot of ideas on my website about this.

– Websites: There are a lot of websites that you can use for free that will help you in the classroom. Here is a link to some of them. Teaching Websites.

– My Website; I have a lot of stuff that can help you teach from young kids to adults if you take the time to check out my site. It is all free and I do not advertise. Yet. Lol. Here is the link to my website. MY WEBSITE.

Final Thoughts.

My Father and Mother were both teachers as well as my brother, so chalk flows through my veins. I have been teaching in Vietnam for over 15 years and now own 2 schools, so I know what I am talking about. Burnout is a thing we all have to cope with, and how we cope is what makes the difference.

Steve


Some links on this site may be affiliate links, and if you purchase something through these links, I will make a commission on them. There will be no extra cost to you and, you could actually save money. Read our full affiliate disclosure here.

Back to School in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam.

A new school year means we need to prepare for new classes and new students.

The Holidays are Over Again.

In Vietnam, a school year is divided into two semesters: the first begins in mid or late August and lasts until the end of December, while the second begins right after the first, which is about mid-January and ends in May.

It took me quite a few years to adapt to the extended holidays for children they have in Vietnam. With almost 3 months a year of holidays for children, it was, I realized, both a blessing and a curse. (A blessing and curse for all involved, the teachers, parents, and students. Perhaps the worst affected are the parents who have to organize what to do with their kids while they work.)

As a traveler, it gave me 3 months in which I could easily move around the country, or even further, as I had plenty of time to use. And as a lot of the teaching contracts are yearly it gave me time to look at where I wanted to spend my next 12 months and find suitable accommodation in an area close to my new school.

On the downside, I had to make sure I had correctly budgeted for the time I had off. Not that it was a significant problem as I could pick up piecemeal work at any number of private schools or even pick up private tuition.

You can read here at ‘The Vietnamese Education System” to learn more about teaching in Vietnam and the type of work available. And things have not changed much over the years. You can find many posts and many tips and techniques that I have found to be successful over the years and I am happy to share these free of charge via my website.

Another almost beneficial downside was the amount of knowledge that the students had forgotten during their extended holidays. And it was this ( amongst a few other things) that made me decide to open my own school in Vietnam.

Back to School and Enhancing Your Opportunities.

September has arrived, and if you’re anything like the teachers I know, your thoughts have already begun to return to the long list of tasks you “need” to complete before you enter the classroom. We are all aware of how lengthy the to-do list is when it comes to setting up your classroom for a new school year. For this reason, this post will provide you with a list of actions you may take to aid in back-to-school preparation.

And your to-do list relates to whether you have your own school or private students or whether you are teaching in the public school system. I will try to cover both as they are equally important. I often came across teachers who used to say, why bother preparing as it is just the same but just a new year. I found those who said that were the teachers who drifted from one place to another and never “kicked on” to become professional ESL teachers.

If you have your own private school or students you will have been continually teaching but perhaps on restricted hours. Or perhaps you have closed for a week so the students’ parents can spend some time with their children over their holidays.

So here we go.

Preparation Prevents Poor Performance.

If you have taken the 3 months off the first thing I do is mentally and physically prepare myself for the resumption of classes. It might seem trivial or an ad-hoc thing to do, but if you have gotten into the habit of sleeping in again, I like to spend 1 week prior to school waking up at 5.30 a.m. and re-adjusting my body clock.

Most schools and classes will start between 7. a.m. and 8 a.m. in Vietnam and it doesn’t help if you are still half asleep with 50 noisy kids starting your day. You must be alert and on the ball, especially in the first few days of the new semester. How you present yourself in front of the class in the first week will establish how the rest of the semester goes.

Preparing your “tools of the trade” is the next step. As basic as it sounds, make sure everything you take with you works. I want my markers, pens and pencils to be ready for use along with erasers and rulers. This is very basic stuff, but I have seen teachers on the first day asking if they can borrow a pen or marker or chalk because the school has not got any. Really embarrassing if it happens to you.

If like me you use a microphone headset, check it out the day before to make sure you have enough charge for the day or replacement batteries if needed.

When teaching in a classroom in Vietnam you may have upward of 50 people per class. (My biggest class size was 56 children who were 7-8 year olds).

If you don’t want to lose your voice by the end of the day I strongly advise that you invest in a microphone headset. The Aporo headset I have is 30 watts output and is very light. It comes with 2 headbands and is easy to wear for a whole day.

The use time is between 8-12 hours and I have never needed to recharge it through the day. This is perhaps the best “tool” I have ever used in the classroom and has without doubt saved my voice on many occasions.

If you are lucky enough to have your own classroom then other types of preparation come under what I call…….

Simple and useful.

1) Name tags.

2) Welcome signs.

3) Classroom schedule.

4) Pre-prepared exercises

A Day in The Life of a Vietnamese High School Student.

Here is a video that was made about a day in the life of a Vietnamese High School Student. A lot of ESL teachers will say they hate teaching teenagers. But while teaching teenagers has its own challenges it also provides one of the sweetest emotional rewards. I have seen students at their worst and at their best. During this stage of their lives, they are at their most open and if you can establish a good connection with your students you will have an outstanding year of teaching.

Updating Your Electronics.

If you’re a teacher, you already know what a difference having the appropriate materials and equipment makes. A good laptop is a necessary tool for today’s professionals. Of course, you’ll want to get a good deal on your buy, with an emphasis on the appropriate specs.

You’ll need something that delivers powerful processing performance. Ample storage is important as well, so there’s no concern about storing a multitude of documents and media files. You will also want a robust machine that can take a few knocks as well as something that is covered by a good warranty in case of any misfortune.

I have used a lot of brands and models over the years and because of my role, I continually stay on top of the latest models. These are my current top 5 laptops for price and performance. All these laptops can be had with a price sub $1,000.00.

  • Apple MacBook Air M1: This laptop is one of the best laptops overall, as well as the best MacBook for students. It has a fast and efficient M1 chip, a long battery life, a high-quality display, and a sleek design. It is also compatible with many apps and software that you can use for learning English or Vietnamese. It starts at $999, which is a reasonable price for its value.

  • Dell XPS 13: This laptop is one of the best Windows laptops, as well as one of the best business laptops. It has a powerful performance, a stunning display, a comfortable keyboard, and a durable build. It is also lightweight and portable, making it easy to carry around. It starts at $999, which is a competitive price for its features.
  • Google Pixelbook Go: This laptop is one of the best cheap laptops, as well as one of the best Chromebooks. It has a simple and elegant design, a long battery life, a smooth performance, and a great webcam. It is also ideal for using Google apps and services, such as Google Translate, Google Drive, and Google Classroom. It starts at $649, which is an affordable price for its quality.

  • HP Pavilion Aero 13: This laptop is one of the best laptops on a budget, as well as one of the most popular laptop brands in the U.S.. It has a compact and lightweight design, a fast processor, a decent battery life, and a colorful display. It is also customizable and upgradable, allowing you to choose the specifications that suit your needs. It starts at $630, which is a bargain price for its performance.

Language App.

As well as a decent laptop that can be used by both the teacher and student, I have found that MONDLY is a great app that can be put on your computer and laptop that helps the student with their learning. Click on the MONDLY logo to check this out.

I also have 2 other posts relating to tech tools in the classroom that may help you organize what you need to make life in the classroom easier for you. These are…

And don’t forget the free online tools that we can use as well, here is a link to a list of my top 10 online tools.

  • Online Teachers Tools to make life easier.
  • Final Thoughts.

    After teaching in Vietnam for over 15 years in various schools ranging from Kindergarten to teaching Teachers how to teach English, the one thing that I have learned to be most necessary is to make sure you prepare for each new semester as thoroughly as you would as if it is the first class you have ever taught.

Every student is different and each of them deserves 100% input from you the teacher. The more you involve yourself in the lesson the more personal satisfaction you derive from it.

If you have any questions or feedback I am happy to answer any or all directly or by email.

If you wish to read more about Education in Vietnam you can look at this post from Wikipedia.

“Education in Vietnam”




Some links on this site may be affiliate links, and if you purchase something through these links, I will make a commission on them. There will be no extra cost to you and, you could actually save money. Read our full affiliate disclosure here.