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How to play Quizlet Live in Zoom

How to play Quizlet Live in Zoom

Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the past 10 years, you’ve probably heard of (and used) Quizlet. For the few who haven’t, Quizlet is an online flashcard system that allows users to create sets of terms and definitions as well as study those created by others. There are five study modes: Learn, Flashcards, Write, Spell (desktop only), and Test. There are also three game modes: Match, Gravity (desktop only), and Live. It is the last of these games that I would like to introduce in this post. More specifically, I would like to introduce a couple of alternatives that allow students to play over a video conferencing platform such as Zoom.

Before I delve into the details of how to set things up, I should first explain the basic objectives of Quizlet Live. Live is a quiz game played in teams. Each team is presented with a series of questions which they must answer correctly to advance. The first team to answer 12 consecutive questions correctly wins. Incorrect answers incur a three-second penalty and the team loses all of its points.  Read More »

5 Ideas for interactive language learning tasks in Zoom

5 Ideas for interactive language learning tasks in Zoom

Whether you’re teaching online by choice or because it’s no longer possible to meet your students face-to-face, you’ve probably been spending a lot of time thinking up ways to keep your lessons fun and interactive. While it’s true that online teaching comes with plenty of constraints, there are also opportunities for adaptation and experimentation. Some of the things you try will have disappointing results, but others will hit the mark and become staples of your lessons for months and years to come. 

The list that follows may be short right now, but I’m confident that it will continue to grow as I learn from others and continue experimenting with the new technology. Read More »

Why it may be a good idea to focus on one country when building your language teaching business

Why it may be a good idea to focus on one country when building your language teaching business

Difficult times call for bold measures…

Current world events have caused a lot of uncertainty when it comes to employment. Among the worst affected are the young, recent graduates who have never properly entered the job market. Many businesses just aren’t hiring, and the type of work traditionally used to tide young people over (part-time, service sector) has all but dried up. 

One side effect of the current circumstances is that people who have long been thinking of starting their own businesses are finally deciding to take the plunge. Language learning has been a popular choice for combating the boredom of long hours spent in lockdown, which in turn has inspired many people to flog their services as online language teachers. As many have discovered, though, finding students to sustain their enterprise presents a whole new challenge that can be difficult to overcome.  Read More »

10 ESL websites that will save you a ton of time

10 ESL websites that will save you a ton of time

Teachers are very busy people, and it’s always a struggle to find enough time to put together high-quality content for lessons. The problem is perhaps more acute for online language teachers, who often deal with learners of very different ages, needs and levels of ability. Factor in unsociable working hours and the effort of turning print resources into digital resources and you’ll understand why teachers need all the help they can get! 

That’s why I’ve decided to throw together a list of some of the websites I’ve turned to over the years. It’s a bit of a mixed bag, but I wanted to cover as many types of learners as possible, from young to old, beginner to advanced. I’ve provided a brief explanation of what to expect on each site, but my advice is dive in and take a look for yourself. Hopefully you’ll find something that makes life easier when the time comes to throw together a last minute lesson. Read More »

Why should language learners read aloud?

Why should language learners read aloud?

How often in your daily life do you read aloud? Unless you have small children, the answer is probably “not often”. For most of us, the vast majority of the oral reading we did was back in the early years of elementary school, when we were still learning to read. At that stage, it was important to read aloud in order for teachers to grasp our strengths and deficits as developing readers. With this information, they could provide the assistance needed to address the issues preventing fluent reading.

As we grow older, and the mechanics of reading are presumed to have been mastered, reading is assessed through comprehension. We read a passage, and then answer questions to demonstrate that we have read well. Assessing comprehension can alert teachers to reading problems, but it cannot shed much light on the nature of the problems. In other words, while teachers might know that their students are not reading well, with only comprehension scores to go on, they are none the wiser as to why. Read More »

Video Recording: a great way to reach out to remote learners

Video Recording: a great way to reach out to remote learners

As teachers, the COVID-19 crisis has forced a great many changes in the way we do our jobs. Not all of these have been easy or comfortable. Personally, I’ve had to transition from blended learning to being completely online. Although my classes have always featured a lot of online tasks and activities, the change has brought significant challenges. Truth be told, it’s been exhausting.

With all the effort of preparing my online lessons, it was only recently that I found the time to wonder how the learners were being affected by all of this? For students whom I’ve never met face-to-face, it’s hard to know. However, I was able to reach out to some of my former students who are still studying to ask them how they’re making out. Read More »

Voice Shadowing: What is it, and can it help you to learn a language?

Voice Shadowing: What is it, and can it help you to learn a language?

Voice shadowing is a language learning technique in which a learner listens to a recording of native speech and repeats the words aloud along with the speaker. The requirements for voice shadowing are simple. All that students need are a pair of headphones and a level-appropriate audio recording in the target language.

Choosing the Right Recording

The length, speed, and complexity of the text are all factors to consider when choosing a recording. At lower levels of proficiency, it can be difficult to find something appropriate, and it is often better (and easier) for teachers to make the recordings themselves. In years gone by, teachers supplied their learners with cassette tapes or CDs, but these days it is much easier to record and distribute audio to students online using a free service such as Record MP3 Online Read More »

Is there more to language teaching than “just talking”?

Is there more to language teaching than “just talking”?

I was recently speaking to a Korean friend of mine about how things have changed for him since COVID-19. As you can imagine, there was a long list of differences. Toward the end of it, he mentioned that his children were now getting their English lessons online. As someone intimately acquainted with online language teaching, my ears perked up. 

“How’s that going?” I asked.

“Terrible!” I probed him for details. ‘All they do is talk,” he said. “The whole time. Nothing else. No teaching.” 

I asked if it was important for his children to be able to speak English. “Of course,” he said. “Most important. But they need teaching. The talking they’re doing in the lesson is…” He trailed off. “It’s like friends.”

The expectations people have of teachers differs vastly from place to place, and there was definitely a cultural dimension to his argument, but I found myself wondering if he had a point. A lot of what goes on in online language lessons more closely resembles socializing than traditional teaching.  Read More »