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.

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 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.

The Best Free Digital Tools for Teaching English On-Line.

Here are 8 of my best digital tools that I use for teaching on line and in the classroom.

My Best 8 Digital Tools for Teaching English Online.

Teaching English online can be fun and rewarding, but it also requires some planning and preparation. You need to have the right tools to communicate with your students, create engaging materials, and provide feedback.

In this blog post, I will share with you some of the best digital tools for teaching English online that I have used and personally recommend.

There are free options for all of these tools which fits perfectly within my budget but does not provide me with any revenue.

If you see anything on your travels around my website that you think is cool, I would appreciate it if you purchase via me as so far I have kept this site ad free and would like to continue doing that.

Google Meet.

Google Meet is a video conferencing platform that allows you to host live classes with your students. You can share your screen, use captions, chat, and record your sessions. You can also create breakout rooms for group activities and use polls and quizzes to check understanding. Google Meet is free for anyone with a Google account and works on any device.

Most people I know use Skype, but I have always found this to be easier and the free period during covid was 30 minutes longer than Skype. The quality is exceptional and I never had any complaints from my students. I still continue to use Google Meet for my personal life as well as my business and can not fault the service.

Google Docs.

Google Docs is a word processor that lets you create and edit documents online. You can collaborate with your students in real-time, leave comments, and track changes. You can also use Google Docs to create assignments, quizzes, and feedback forms. Google Docs is part of Google Workspace, which also includes other tools like Google Slides, Google Sheets, and Google Forms.

I run Google Docs from my smartphone (As well as my laptop) and tie it into the books and lessons I am teaching on the day. With most of the tools being Google I find I have little to no problems. It is a no-brainer to use the whole set of Google tools to provide the best experience for your students and to make it easy for yourself.

Yes, there is a bit of learning to do to make sure everything runs seamlessly. But once you have done it a few times you will look like a master and your lessons will run as smoothly as silk.

Google Workspace.

Google Workspace is a suite of cloud-based applications that helps you manage your online teaching business. You can use Gmail to communicate with your students, Google Calendar to schedule your classes, Google Drive to store and share your files, and Google Classroom to organize your courses and assignments. Google Workspace is free for educators and students with a school email address.

Google Jamboard

Google Jamboard is a digital whiteboard that allows you to create interactive lessons with your students. You can draw, write, and add images, stickers, shapes, and text boxes. You can also import slides from Google Slides or PDF files. You can invite your students to join your jam session and collaborate with you on the same board. Google Jamboard is free for anyone with a Google account and works on any device.

Canva.

Canva is a graphic design tool that helps you create beautiful and professional-looking materials for your online classes. You can use Canva to design slides, posters, flyers, worksheets, certificates, logos, and more. You can choose from thousands of templates or create your own from scratch. You can also access millions of images, icons, fonts, and colors. Canva is free for basic features and offers a premium plan for more advanced options.

I use this for so many things, from designing class brochures to templates for advertising on social media. How can this still be free and offer so much? I am embarrassed to the degree I feel like I must upgrade to a paid membership.

There is also a special education offer for teachers and schools. Canva Education…

ChatGPT

ChatGPT is a chatbot that uses artificial intelligence to generate natural and engaging conversations in English. You can use ChatGPT to practice speaking and listening skills with your students or to provide them with extra practice outside of class. You can also customize ChatGPT to suit different levels, topics, and interests. ChatGPT is free for anyone to use and works on any device.

A,I is going to change so much of how things will be done, there is a steep learning curve in front of us all. My other website, which is called AITechWarriors will be helping people stay on top of what is happening in the field of A.I.

Speechnotes

Speechnotes is a speech-to-text tool that converts your voice into text. You can use Speechnotes to dictate your notes, essays, emails, or blog posts. You can also use Speechnotes to transcribe audio or video recordings of your classes or interviews. Speechnotes is fast, accurate, and easy to use. Speechnotes is free for anyone to use and works on any device.

This is a great tool as you can use it to test your students’ pronunciation and vocabulary skills as well as provide obvious benefits for the teacher.

Grammarly

Grammarly is a writing assistant that helps you improve your grammar, spelling, punctuation, vocabulary, and style. You can use Grammarly to check your writing for errors and suggestions on how to fix them. You can also use Grammarly to set goals for your writing based on your audience, tone, and purpose. Grammarly is free for basic features and offers a premium plan for more advanced options.



The basic version is so good I have never felt the need to upgrade. I am 100% happy with the format and what I can do with it. They have recently added an AI interface which I am playing with and it gives you 100 free “prompts” per month. Along with chatGPT and the other A.I tools, I doubt I will ever get to use the lot.

Quillbot

Quillbot is a paraphrasing tool that helps you rewrite any text in different ways. You can use Quillbot to avoid plagiarism, simplify complex sentences, or generate new ideas for your writing. You can also use Quillbot to change the tone or mood of your text based on different modes like formal, informal, creative, or humorous. Quillbot is free for up to 700 characters per paraphrase and offers a premium plan for unlimited paraphrasing.


This extension is permanently open on my browser and that shows you how often I use it. Being able to paraphrase something quickly is vital for my business, thus the reason I stare at it every day.

Final Thoughts.

These are my 8 favorite online tools for teaching English. There are many ways you can use them and, as is said, you are only limited by your imagination.

For example with “speechnotes” you could use it not just for translating from speech to text but you could use it for testing the vocabulary and pronunciation of your students. How well are they pronouncing that word? Are they stringing sentences together grammatically correctly?

With chatGPT, you can get your students to phrase questions about their favorite topics and see if the answer corresponds with what they thought.

So fire up the thinking cap and use the tools that we have on hand to make our classrooms a lot more fun. And if the above aren’t enough tools for you, here are a few more that I have reviewed and used in the past, and for most still do. Look at my post named “On-Line Teachers Tools to Make Life Easier”. It just rolls off the tongue, doesn’t it?

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.

How to Teach English Using ChatGPT.

Teaching ESL With ChatGPT. 

English is the most widely spoken language globally, despite not being the most spoken language overall. Additionally, it is the language of international films, computers, and medicine. Even more so when used as a second language. 

Harvard Business Review; Global Business Speaks English.

Learning English as a Second Language (ESL) has become more crucial. Language acquisition has experienced significant modifications as a result of the ongoing development of new technology.

ChatGPT is an astonishingly quick technological leap that is gaining worldwide attention (perhaps even in North Korea). It is an open artificial intelligence language that seems to be on everyone’s lips.

ChatGPT for Teaching ESL Students.

ChatGPT can be used to teach ESL English to kids in different ways, such as:

  • Conversation practice: ChatGPT can be used to converse with the students on topics of interest or related to the lesson. The teacher can monitor the chat and provide feedback or corrections as needed.
  • Writing practice: The teacher can have the students write prompts to ChatGPT, perhaps as a whole class exercise, and then discuss the responses as a class. The students can also use ChatGPT to edit their own writing or check their grammar and spelling.
  • Vocabulary practice: ChatGPT can be used to learn new words and phrases related to a specific topic or theme. The teacher can ask ChatGPT to generate vocabulary lists, definitions, or example sentences for the students to study.
  • Ad Lib activities: ChatGPT can be used to create fun and creative stories with blank spaces for the students to fill in with their own words. The teacher can give ChatGPT a prompt to make an “ad-lib” story about a particular theme or topic, and then have the students come up with the words to complete the story.

These are some of the possible ways to use ChatGPT in an ESL English classroom, but there may be more. ChatGPT is a powerful and versatile tool that can enhance language learning and teaching. However, it is important to use it responsibly and ethically, and not rely on it too much or let it replace human interaction.

It is also important to check that students do not use it to complete any essays that have been given out for homework. There are certain things that can be used to check students and the use of A.I. Excessive use of lists and numbers at the end of sentences are 2 points you can look out for.

Examples of How to Use ChatGPT,(as written by ChatGPT) 

And Underwritten by me.

Here are some examples of how to use ChatGPT for different language-learning activities. 

  1. Conversation practice: You can chat with me about your hobbies, your favorite movies, your plans for the weekend, or anything else that interests you. I will try to respond in a natural and engaging way, and you can practice your fluency and comprehension skills.
  2. Writing practice: You can write a short story, a poem, a letter, or an essay to me, and I will give you some feedback on your content, style, and grammar. You can also ask me to rewrite, improve, or optimize your writing for a specific purpose or audience.
  3. Vocabulary practice: You can ask me to teach you some new words related to animals, sports, food, or any other topic you want to learn more about. I will give you a list of words with their definitions and example sentences. You can also ask me to quiz you on the words you learned or to make sentences using them.
  4. Fill in The Blanks“: You can ask me to create a funny story with some blank spaces for you to fill in with your own words. For example, you can say “Make an “Ad Lib story about aliens” and I will generate something like this:

One day, a group of (adjective) aliens landed on Earth. They came from the planet (name) and they wanted to (verb) with the humans. They had (number) eyes, (color) skin, and (noun) for ears. They spoke in an (adjective) language that sounded like (sound). They were very (adjective) and curious about everything they saw. They especially liked (noun) and (noun). They did not like (noun) and (noun). They stayed on Earth for (number) days and then they left in their (adjective) spaceship.

    Introductions. You can use ChatGPT to write some introductions, then get the students to write their own and interact with Chat. 

  • Hi, I’m Maria, and I’m from Brazil. I’m learning English because I want to travel the world and meet new people. I like to play soccer, listen to music, and watch Netflix. What about you?
  • Hello, my name is Ahmed and I’m from Egypt. I’m studying English because I want to work as an engineer in a multinational company. I enjoy reading books, solving puzzles, and playing chess. How do you spend your free time?
  • Greetings, I’m Li and I’m from China. I’m improving my English because I want to study abroad and learn more about different cultures. I love to cook, paint, and meditate. What are your hobbies?

Practicing Introductions With ChatGPT

“I would like to introduce myself. My name is Stephen and am 55 years old. I live Ho Chi Minh City and has 4 persons in my family. In my free time I like painting and drawing. “

Nice to meet you, Stephen. I’m Bing, a chat mode of Microsoft Bing search. I can help you with various tasks and topics. You have introduced yourself very well, but I noticed some minor errors in your message. If you don’t mind, I can help you rewrite it to make it more accurate and natural. Here is my suggestion:

I would like to introduce myself. My name is Stephen and I am 55 years old. I live in Ho Chi Minh City and there are 4 people in my family. In my free time**,** I like painting and drawing.


Do you see the difference?


How To Use ChatGPT For Learning English

A 90-Minute Lesson Plan For ESL English. (Provided by ChatGPT)

Here is a possible lesson plan for using ChatGPT in an ESL class:

Objective: To practice conversational skills and vocabulary using ChatGPT, an AI chatbot that can interact in a natural way.

Materials: Computers or mobile devices with internet access, ChatGPT website (chat.openai.com), paper, and pens.

Procedure:

  1. Warm up; (10 minutes): Ask the students to brainstorm some topics they would like to talk about with a chatbot. Write their ideas on the board and have them vote for the most interesting ones. Explain that they will use ChatGPT, an AI chatbot that can answer questions, tell stories, give opinions, and more.
  2. Demonstration (10 minutes): Show the students how to use ChatGPT on the website. Choose one of the topics from the board and type a message to start a conversation with the chatbot. Show the students how the chatbot responds and how they can continue the dialogue. Point out some features of the chatbot, such as its ability to ask follow-up questions, admit its mistakes, challenge incorrect premises, and reject inappropriate requests. Explain that the chatbot is not perfect and sometimes it may write incorrect or nonsensical answers. Encourage the students to be curious and respectful when chatting with the chatbot.
  3. Practice (40 minutes): Divide the students into pairs and assign them a computer or a mobile device. Have them choose one of the topics from the board or come up with their own. Tell them to take turns typing messages to ChatGPT and reading “its” responses aloud. Remind them to use complete sentences and correct grammar and spelling. Tell them to keep track of how long they can maintain a coherent and engaging conversation with the chatbot. Have them switch topics every 10 minutes.
  4. Feedback (20 minutes): Have each pair share their experience with ChatGPT with the class. Ask them to report on how long they chatted with the chatbot, what topics they discussed, what they learned from the chatbot, what they liked and disliked about the chatbot, and what difficulties or challenges they faced. Write their feedback on the board and discuss it as a class. Ask them to suggest some ways to improve their conversational skills and vocabulary using ChatGPT.
  5. Wrap up (10 minutes): Review the main points of the lesson and ask the students to reflect on their learning outcomes. Ask them if they would like to use ChatGPT again in the future and why. Give them some homework assignments, such as writing a summary of their conversation with ChatGPT, researching more about ChatGPT or other AI chatbots, or creating their own prompts for ChatGPT.

Final Thoughts.

While it is possible to use ChatGPT and other AI programs, the one major drawback is being able to provide computers to each student. In a lot of countries that teach ESL the students and schools do not have the resources that they have in Western Countries.  

In Vietnam, where I teach, the infrastructure to provide the resources in public schools is currently not available. The private schools could fund the hardware but the costs wouldn’t be able to be covered by most of the parents of the students.

While ChatGPT is unlikely to take over the teachers role in the classroom, I do expect there will be increasing changes throughout the Education Industry. Just how much remains to be seen.


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.

Chat GPT for Educators.

What is Chat GPT?

A recent advancement in artificial intelligence called Chat GPT enables computers to comprehend and reply to input in natural language. It was developed by San Francisco-based OpenAI, a startup with close ties to Microsoft.

This technology represents a substantial advancement in artificial intelligence and is based on the most recent developments in language processing and machine learning. Deep learning is used by Chat GPT to analyze data from different sources, then use that information to provide answers to any questions being asked. Then, as you wait for your question, it will search its database and reply in microseconds to what is being asked.


What is Deep learning?


Where can It Be Used?

Customer service, sales, marketing assistance, human resources, legal, and government, are just some of the things it can be used for. It can be used wherever natural language is required, such as in chatbots and virtual assistants.

This technology will change the way we interact with computers, and it is a major advance in artificial intelligence.

How Much is Chat GPT?

Currently, Chat GPT is free. And for something that Elon Musk says is “scary Good”, how can that be?

ChatGPT had more than 1 million users in the first five days of its launch, according to OpenAI’s CEO Sam Altman. And ChatGPT is the fastest-growing app in the whole world, said Swiss bank UBS. About two months after its debut, UBS analysis predicted ChatGPT would have 100 million active users by January (It was right). It is also attracting 96 million new visitors a month and its revenue is expected to hit 1 billion dollars by the end of 2024. Source. Gitnux, Chat GPT statistics.

Comparatively, TikTok reached 100 million users in nine months. Do you think with a customer base like that, it will remain free? The computer costs alone must be astronomical and I can’t see any business that could continue to absorb those costs.

Monetization.

Open AI’s Sam Altman admitted that will eventually need to be monetized because of its “eye-watering” compute costs, Musk was informed that the average cost of each response was in the “single-digits cents”. With 100 million users asking multiple questions even single-digit cents will be adding up.

Can Chat GPT help Educators?

As teachers, we must be asking ourselves the question “Can we ethically use Chat GPT in the classroom or even outside the classroom in pursuit of school business? can we use it for writing tests, or even putting together lesson plans or sample “papers” for the classroom, or even for marking tests. let us first look at what can be done before we discuss the moral and ethical implications of Chat GPT or any of the other A.I. programs out there.

What AI Programs are in the Market Now?

1. VoicePen AI: Convert audio content into blog posts, using AI.

https://voicepen.ai

2. Krisp: AI tool for removing background voices, noises, and echoes from calls.

https://krisp.ai/

3. Beatoven: AI tool for creating custom royalty-free music.

https://www.beatoven.ai/

4. Cleanvoice: AI tool for automatically editing podcast episodes.

https://cleanvoice.ai/

5. Podcastle: AI tool for studio-quality recording from your computer.

https://podcastle.ai/

6. Vidyo: AI tool for making short-form videos from long-form content.

https://vidyo.ai/

7. Maverick: AI tool for generating personalized videos at scale.

https://lnkd.in/eptCVijb

8. Soundraw: AI tool for creating original music.

https://soundraw.io/

9. Otter: AI tool for capturing and sharing insights from meetings.

https://otter.ai/

Copy and Content AI Tools:

—————————

1. Copy: AI tool for generating copy that increases conversions.

https://www.copy.ai/

2. CopyMonkey: AI tool for creating Amazon listings in seconds.

http://copymonkey.ai/

3. Ocoya: AI tool for creating and scheduling social media content.

https://www.ocoya.com/

4. Unbounce Smart Copy: AI tool for writing high-performing cold emails at scale.

https://unbounce.com/

5. Puzzle: AI tool for building a knowledge base for your team and customers.

https://www.puzzlelabs.ai/

And these are just a few of them, there are a lot more out there. And as sure as eggs our students will know a lot more than we do.

How can We Use AI in the Classroom?

A.I. (Artificial Intelligence) is one of the most recent changes we’ve observed in the educational system, and it has many people concerned about the potential consequences it may have. But it will never fully replace human instructors, AI supposedly has a lot to offer in the classroom.

They have already deployed “Robot Teachers” to varied degrees of success in some places in China where they are unable to send foreign teachers (mostly due to remoteness).

Source: The Daily Mail 2019 I can almost hear the Robot teachers saying, Dr Who like, exterminate, exterminate.

What areas could we effectively use AI in the classroom?

Teaching, and teaching ESL (English as a Second Language) needs to have a human in the classroom. I have yet to come across any AI that can understand sarcasm or when describing a new word be able to articulate via body language. Also picking up different nuances in the accent requires a human ear and an electronic ear, in my books, doesn’t cut it. Not yet anyway.

The Cons of Chat GPT.

One thing we must remember is Chat GPT only has an accuracy of 85% +. And while that may be good enough for most other things, it is not good enough for marking, tutoring or any other teaching activity. But if you can build those parameters into what you are doing and still manage the results effectively then it may be a useful tool.:

Source. Gitnux Chat GPT important statistics

It’s also critical to be aware that Chat GPT is still in beta format. The website clearly states that it may yield misleading information, including outright false information. Some have discovered that, when specifically prompted, it can also produce biased and discriminatory information.

Marking or Grading.

Scantron testing and computer tests have both been used for electronic grading for many years. As AI develops, teachers may be able to delegate all assignment marking to an AI, freeing up their time to spend more time with each student individually and adapt the curriculum to fit the needs of each class.

Additional cons apart from the 85% accuracy are the need for constant internet supply and the cost. So why do it? The time saved is immensely powerful. The amount of work teachers are expected to do just keeps increasing and if we can find anything to streamline our workflow, don’t get in my way.

Tutoring.

Tutors are crucial because teachers can’t be with their pupils at all times. Some students merely require a little bit more assistance with a certain subject. Going to a tutoring lesson might be unsettling for shy students rather than meeting with a tutor. Students who struggle with social or academic anxiety may find that working with an AI tutor gives them the support and self-assurance they need to thrive in school.

Helping Students Write.

Along with Chat GPT, you also have tools like Quillbot and Grammarly. Quillbot and Grammarly have slightly different ways of doing fairly similar things. Namely, they will check the spelling, grammar, and word order of what you have written. There are both free versions and paid versions. For students, especially ESL students, the non-paid version is quite ok.

And Chat GPT and a lot of other AI writing apps may help by prompting the student with appropriate headings for the student to add extra text or information. While Chat GPT and tools like Rytr make it easier to write content, it leaves itself open for blatant copying. Not plagiarism but copying straight from what the AI writes.

This is the part of AI that scares me the most. While trying to help the students we may inadvertently end up with a generation who can not write a story without help from AI.

In Ryters own words, “Generate killer content, effortlessly. Never face writer’s block again. From blogs to emails to ad copies, auto-generate catchy, original, and high-converting copies in popular tones & languages in just a few seconds. Just pick a use case, enter some context, and boom…your copy is ready.” Source Ryter.

Lesson Plans.

Writing lesson plans eventually becomes a chore. After your 3rd or 4th year, let alone 15, lesson plans can become a certain type of hell that only teachers understand. How can you say the same thing but differently after your 6th thousand lesson plan?

This is where Chat GPT comes in handy. Simply enter a topic or subject matter, and the chatbot will produce a list of related terms, ideas, and illustrations that you can use in your lesson plans. or perhaps even write your lesson plans for you. This is one I feel no qualms about using at all.

Personal Development.

Another use of Chat GPT I have no qualms about using is personal development. You can type into Chat GPT areas you believe would help you become a better teacher and see what ideas it comes up with.

To assist in enhancing teaching abilities, it may offer pertinent articles, videos, and other resources once you have typed in certain topics that are areas of interest..

Moral and Ethical Implications of Using Chat GPT.

As a teacher, the major ethical worry I have is the potential misuse by the students. Rather than just using it to improve grammar or check vocabulary the students may get the AI to write the whole essay. And if there is any problem with the training or input of the AI that will reflect in the final written paper.

Or in AI speak, the output of Chat GPT depends on the input is a key ethical issue. The output will be tainted if there are any issues with the input. For instance, if there is prejudice surrounding the input based on race, sexual orientation, or age, that will show in the final draft.

Results from this may be unjust and misleading, especially for underprivileged groups. In order to counteract prejudice and guarantee fair and accurate results, it is essential to have a broad and representative dataset in the first place.

Final Thoughts.

It’s crucial to keep in mind that ChatGPT is a bot, therefore you shouldn’t rely on it blindly. While depending on the chatbot’s recommendations, it’s crucial to exercise caution and apply your own discretion.

I suggest taking the chatbot’s responses as a model or guideline for all the things I listed above, then personalizing them for your needs and target audience by including your own thoughts and quirks. By doing this, you may avoid sounding robotic or generic and instead produce material that is more engaging and authentic.

Ultimately, using ChatGPT as a resource can be a great way to learn and get inspired, but it’s vital to keep in mind that the content will only be genuinely yours if you utilize your own imagination and judgment.

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.

 

 

 

 

Teaching in Vietnam with a Colostomy Bag.

Funny but Freaky.

About 11 years ago I had a bowel cancer problem and ended up with a colostomy bag.

And I want to tell you a funny story that happened to me when I went back to teaching in a Vietnamese primary school.

A Big Stomach.

It all started with me being “blocked-up”. I couldn’t pass anything in the “nether regions”. And I just thought, “ah well, living in Vietnam I am accustomed to this happening”. But after 5 days I started getting a bit worried. Day 7 and my stomach had swelled up like a balloon. It was rock hard and no amount of water or laxatives would get things moving.

My wife eventually got me to go to hospital and after an x-ray or several the doctors told me I had cancer of the bowel. They also told me they needed to operate immediately. To say I was “freaked out” is to put it mildly. The same day they operated on me and after a 12-hour operation I woke up. More stories about this part later, and yes we get to the truly disgusting and funny parts soon.

Back to Teaching English.

After 2 to 3 months off recovering the wallet told me I had to get back to work. All good except I had a colostomy bag that I had to carry around for another month while my “insides” were recovering.

At this stage I was working in a primary school teaching English to kids from 6 to 12 years of age in Ho Chi Minh City. Young kids and a teacher with a colostomy bag, no problems right? It was an accident waiting to happen and it ended in a veritable “shite storm”.

Same Same, but Different.

I had been back teaching and things had been going well. Just another day teaching truly great kids. I had no mishaps and I always had a spare set of clothes “just in case”. And little did I know it, but on this day I was definitely going to need them (and then some).

All the teachers knew I was wearing a colostomy bag and so did the children. An announcement at one assembly by the Principal saying “Mr Stephen had a “Tui Colostomy” and please do not bump into him or hug him. This announcement was made at the start of my return to work and “today” as I found out, it would be forgotten.

My morning classes of the day had gone well and it was a beautiful hot day. It ended up being lucky that it was a hot day as I was going to need that fast drying time. I was walking down the outside balcony on the way to the staff room for a coffee.

No Coffee Today.

There would be no coffee that morning for me. I was walking and talking with my T.A. (teachers assistant) when a young student of about 6 years old rushed up to me and gave me big hug. Vietnamese kids are really nice and this was a good student from one of my classes. However, you can imagine a 6-year-old kid and a colostomy bag come in around the same height and I knew the “proverbial” was about to hit the fan.

I looked down and was surprised that everything looked ok. I should have known better. One whiff and I knew we had a leak, the ship was going down. I excused myself to the TA and grabbed my bag and took off to the nearest bathroom. Luckily for me, these toilets had a shower, I didn’t know it yet, but I was going to need them.

A Veritable Shite Storm.

I got to the bathroom intact and started to strip down. By the time I got into the cubicle, I knew it was going to be bad because the smell had ramped up to level 9. I got to the bag and as soon as I touched it the bloody thing exploded. You might think these things can’t explode, and I never thought before then they could either. But I was dealing with a shite bomb and when I say it exploded, it went everywhere.

The bag had been full and when it went “off” it hit the roof, covered the walls, and splashed all over the floor. It could not have been worse. Luckily there was no one else in the toilets. Or if there were they must have quickly left because of the stench. It was like “Dantes inferno”, fecal matter was dripping from the ceiling and the walls looked like they had been smeared with old rotten cabbage and I can’t even describe the floor.

Thank god my spare clothes were in a plastic bag.

It Could Only Get Worse.

I very quickly grabbed my stuff and moved into the shower and washed me, my bag, and my first outfit. I also always carried spare colostomy bags, tape, etc, and for everything squared away. Twenty minutes and I started feeling I had pulled it off and could flee the scene of the crime unscathed and uncaught.

In hindsight, I should have just stuffed everything into my bag and run. However, I thought I would drape my clothes in the sun for 10 minutes and partially dry them off. Bad move.

The Cleaning Lady

I knew I had made a mistake as soon as I saw the cleaning lady head into the toilets. It was impossible to clean my cubicle and it was still in the same state as when I left it when the cleaning lady headed in. OMG.

She had seen me draping my clothes on the balcony and you didn’t need to be a rocket scientist to figure out what had happened. I had never seen a Vietnamese person turn white before today. She came out after about 3 seconds and just looked at me, shook her head and fled. I believe she never came back and I guess she had some burning questions that would never be answered. Or at least not by me as I fled the scene of the crime too and luckily had finished teaching for the day.

Life as Usual

I did go back to the school the next day and nothing was ever said to me about it. It is times like this you have to admire the politeness of the Vietnamese people. But I did get the odd funny look and none of the Vietnamese teachers sat next to me for a couple of weeks. Just in case I guess.

When you come to Vietnam to work you will acquire your own “funny” life stories, however, I truly hope this never happens to you.

Stephen


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Living in Vietnam.

Enjoying the Vietnamese Lifestyle.

What I want to write about today is a bit different from what I normally write about. But, it is one of the most important topics if you want to work or live in Vietnam for an extended period of time.

This article is not so much about what you can find in Vietnam or even what you should bring. But, it is about what you should leave at home.

Ethnocentrism and the Uneasy Traveller

According to the Oxford Dictionary “Ethnocentrism” is the ” evaluation of other cultures according to the preconceptions originating in the standards and customs of our own culture”

Before heading into the topic of a foreign teacher being fired (And what sparked this article) and the debate as to whether he should have been fired or not, I want to cover more on “moral codes” and what makes up “ethnocentricism”

Moral Codes and Cultural Differences.

Moral codes are a set of rules that show how a person should treat others and behave within society. They are learned through interactions with others in society by picking up behavioral standards within your cultural area.

Our moral codes are heavily dependent upon our culture. All these codes may cover aspects of our lives from how we act, how we dress, and how we treat others.

There are some moral codes that are regularly found throughout the world. These would be “though shall not kill” or “treat others as we would like to be treated”

However, each culture has its own idea as to what is right or wrong. These other aspects of moral codes are a direct reflection of the ethical thinking of that area.

Cultural Insensitivity in the Workplace.

I have been living and working in Vietnam for 16 years and I have seen a truckload of cultural insensitivity from both foreigners and Vietnamese. However, the thing to remember is that Vietnam is run by and for the Vietnamese and if we can understand that our life will be much easier.

I have often seen new foreign English teachers come to Vietnam with preconceived ideas telling the Vietnamese teachers how English should be taught. While some of the topics raised by the new teacher may be valid, they should take their time to find out how things are done. Losing “face” is still quite a big thing in Vietnam.

I remember talking to someone very high up in Sacom bank and we were discussing how banks (Being a capitalist entity) survived and thrived in Vietnam and how they dealt with the Government. The gentleman I was talking to gave me an example of how an idea that the bank has is introduced to the government.

First off the idea is planted within the government, at a lower “rank”, and allowed to percolate up to the top. Then a meeting between the bank and the government is organized during which the bank praises the government for its forward-thinking idea.

I’m not saying this is how teaching is, but it gives you some idea about the different approaches that need to be taken.

The Firing of a Foreign Teacher.

There was an incident very recently involving a foreign teacher, a security guard, students, and a Vietnamese teacher.

If it wasn’t so serious it would sound like the start of a bad joke. To start at the end, a foreign teacher was fired after a “scuffle” with a 65 year old security guard. The security guard was checking the names of students who were allowed to leave after the 4th lesson of the day.

At the school above, the 11th graders were allowed to leave as long as their names were on the guards’ list. The guard also checked the name tags of the students who were eligible to leave.

One of the 11th graders was wearing a jacket so the security guard could not see her name. When the security guard asked her to remove her jacket she refused and the guard started yelling at her. This is when the foreign teacher stepped in and pushed the guard over.

The “scuffle” then broke out after the guard was pushed over. Because of the violent acts carried out by both the teacher and guard the school board got together to discuss what should happen next.

The foreign teacher was allowed to continue teaching while the decision was being made about what was to be done with all parties. The head of the English department then asked the foreign teacher to refrain from posting anything on social media.

This seemingly didn’t go down well with the teacher who then started kicking the “teachers’ room” door and yelling at the head of the English Department. He was obviously fired at this stage. But to add one more piece of ludicrousness, the teacher then went onto social media and tried to get the students to defame the school. Trying to incite the students to rebellion.

Who does this guy think he is? he obviously has no regard for any other foreign teachers in Vietnam. Surprisingly there were some who supported this teacher. I did not see the whole story and did not get to talk to anyone firsthand about this, but I think just pushing the 65-year-old over would be grounds enough for dismissal alone. What do you think?

Final Thoughts.

If and when you come to Vietnam, please leave your preconceived ideas at home. We are guests in this lovely country and yes there are things that are different and they may not sit easily with us. However, if you can adapt to this culture (and there is not that much you need to adapt) you will have the time of your life.

Also, remember there are other foreigners and teachers who live here and we get “tarred by the same brush” if we do anything wrong. Vietnam is a very tolerant country, however, it doesn’t take much to influence the Vietnamese that we are insensitive to others feelings.

Thank you.

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.