The 4 C’s: 21st century skills in the English language classroom

You know the four C’s, right? Communication. Collaboration. Creativity. Critical thinking. These are the four ‘super skills’ that 21st century skills students can’t do without. But how are you supposed to teach English and the 4 C’s at the same time? Communication Communication is all about sharing: ideas, opinions, and thoughts. It includes the abilities to articulate ideas effectively when speaking or writing. Since every language is an essential means of communication and the main objective of teaching a foreign language is to enable the learner to communicate in it, ESL classes have long been regarded as one of the best environments for enhancing students' communication skills. Your How-to Tips Technology can help. For example, online communication (such as online groups for class discussions) encourage students to communicate. This is helpful since online discussions can give shy students a way to express themselves without the added pressure of speaking in front of an entire class. Collaboration Are your students able to work effectively with diverse and different teams, show flexibility and be willing to accomplish common goals? Collaboration can help students become more engaged in the classroom and more curious about the topic that is taught. Your How-to Tips Motivate your students to work together with their peers, and incorporate teamwork and multiple projects in your lessons. You can also create a collaborative environment by changing your English classroom design. Creativity Creativity is the practice of thinking outside the box. It is not only about creating something original from scratch, but also about taking something that already exists and creating something totally new from it. So, since we all know that children and teens are highly curious and happy to explore everything, it can be easy to reinforce that skill! Your How-to Tips When you ask your students to complete a sentence in as many ways as possible or come up with creative solutions for a given problem, you do boost their creativity skills! Even simple speaking and writing activities promote creativity because both demand rearranging and reusing already known language elements in a new way. Critical thinking Actually, this is not a new concept! Originally acknowledged by Socrates about 2,500 years ago, critical thinking helps young and old students to learn to ask questions, become engaged in the world around them, and help others think critically, too. Your How-to Tips Use thought-provoking questions (such as ‘Why do you think…?’ and ‘Do you agree that…?’). Create learning experiences, such as mock debates. In what ways are you already integrating the 4 C’s into your curriculum? If you liked this, you might also enjoy the article 5+1 Ways to Become a Better English Teacher....

April 24, 2021

Remembering New Vocabulary: The Science of Memory

A bad memory is one of the top excuses most people give for not learning another language. However, it is undeniable that lots of English learners with average memories manage to learn thousands of new words in a school year. But how do they do that? Well, improving your memory is easier than it sounds! All it takes is trying out new techniques or making some adjustments in your lifestyle. Here are some of the best tips and tricks to help boost your memory… Chunk it Chunking is a mnemonic device that can make large amounts of information more memorable. The good news? You are probably used to it! When you learn or you say a phone number, chances are you chunk the numbers. For example, you say something like ‘630 – 250 – 6300’ rather than ‘6302506300’. So, by grouping information into smaller sets, you help your brain to remember it much more easily. To put this into practice, you could group new words by topic. It’s really hard and challenging to learn and recall 30 new words, but what if you tried to memorise 10 new words about hobbies, 10 about technology and 10 about holidays? Write it down You're more likely to remember a word that you write by hand than something that you type. So, put away your laptop or tablet, and say ‘yes’ to handwriting! Connect it What would you do if you had to learn some new words describing people and objects? Well, can you imagine a screaming baby next to a shattered glass? If yes, the words ‘screaming’ and ‘shattered’ will probably become fixed in your memory much more easily. So, just remember: visualisation is a key skill when it comes to memory Sing it You may know that it's a lot easier to remember a catchy song than it is to remember a long string of words; that’s why advertisers often use jingles to make their messages stick in your head! And You probably learnt the alphabet through the ABC song. So, why not follow the same ‘music trick’ again when learning new vocabulary? Sleep on It According to recent research, sleep is the easiest way to boost your memory! If you are sleep-deprived, the brain's neurons become over-connected with so much activity that new memories just can't be saved. So, getting a good night's sleep always helps. Extra tip: Bear in mind that naps count too. Taking a nap of about 45-60 minutes immediately after learning something new could boost your memory five-fold! Digest it We don't mean to sound like your mother or doctor, but saturated and trans fats are linked to poorer memory. So, say ‘yes’ to a healthy diet and lots of vegetables and fruit… and feed your brain! Revise it When retrieving a memory, our brains always ‘revisit’ the nerve pathways created when the memory was formed. So, repeatedly recalling information helps strengthen those connections, which is why techniques like reviewing our notes or using flashcards help us retain information. Extra tip: There are many apps that could help you revise information through flashcards, but the act of creating your own cards is a much more powerful learning experience. In any case, don’t forget that learning vocabulary is more complex than memorising a bunch of words. Turning a language into nothing more than a list of words makes learning boring. And if you focus too much on flashcards, you may end up recognising lots of words without knowing how to use them in real life. Which brings us to our last point… Use it The more you use new words, the faster you will remember them. You could build some sentences in your mind or try throwing the words into a conversation when opportunity arises. In any case, you should always be ready to bring your new words out of books and apps and into real-life contexts! Our final tip: If you want to take English language learning to the next level, try not to translate new vocabulary into your mother tongue. Instead, use synonyms and other words to explain and describe it in English! How do you study, learn and remember new vocabulary in English? Let us know in the comments below!...

March 24, 2021

Advantages of Online English Learning

As many students have discovered this year, mostly due to the Covid-19 pandemic, learning English online is very different from studying in a physical classroom. More and more teachers, students and parents are now inevitably asking the question, ‘Can learning English online lead to a successful journey towards the acquisition of a new language?’ Well, as more and more innovations are unveiled, technology plays a key role in enabling students to overcome most learning barriers of the past and embrace new ways of learning a foreign language... So, come on, let’s shed some light on this topic, and resolve any doubts you may have! Improved Concentration &Self-paced Learning Classroom can be great fun, but can also be full of distractions…Online courses seem to improve concentration, which, as all teachers know, is a major problem in ELT classrooms! Rather than being constantly instructed what to do and getting distracted by other students, you can select what activities to engage in and for how long – and this may really help you stay focused and motivated. What’s more, online courses give you full control over your learning experience. You just study and learn at your own pace, and you can always move ahead or backtrack to review the provided material. That’s how you customize the learning experience to meet your own needs. Instead of being held back by the speed of a traditional classroom or pushed ahead at a speed that’s beyond your abilities, you are allowed to master English without confusion or unnecessary difficulties. Great Flexibility &Ultimate Comfort Online modules are always there when you’re ready to learn — anytime, day or night. This allows you to adapt English learning to the rhythm of your life instead of having to be the one who adapts to the schedules of others. And let’s not forget that studying at home means that you’re immersed in a comfortable environment. That sounds great, right? It’s also a great opportunity to start creating that ideal study space you’ve always dreamed of! New Skills &Full Engagement Online learning is based on new technologies, digital tools and innovative resources. You just use all of them to complete an English course, but have you thought that – at the same time – you get familiar with technology and skills, which will certainly be useful at some point in your professional life too? For example, by completing English courses online, you’re demonstrating that you can understand how time management works, set priorities, and be self-motivated, which are among the top 10 employability skills employers want to see! And let’s not forget that all E-planet online courses and programs take advantage of the latest computer software. This means that the provided material often contains games, well-crafted videos, real-life dialogues and talks by native speakers, and other interactive components, designed to fully engage each student and boost his or her confidence! These are just some of the benefits of online learning. Would you like to try it? Waiting to see you soon in the E-planet online community! You may be just a click away from becoming the English speaker you’ve always dreamed of! After all, education is about enjoying new experiences – even in the most chaotic of times…Whatever your level of English is, we are here to help with online programs and hi-tech ‘teachers’ which you can carry in your pocket! And if you’ve been left itching for more, something tells us that you’ll love this post too: COVID-19 & LEARNING ENGLISH – 7 fun things to do while stuck indoors!...

January 28, 2021

8 Tips to Improve Your Writing Skills

What did you write today? Did you send any emails? Maybe you wrote a note to a classmate or a colleague. Or you completed a written assignment, an essay or a report. And, did you just leave a message on a friend’s Facebook wall? Well, even if you are not taking exams, there’s just no getting away from writing! That’s why learning to write in English is just as important as learning to speak. But how do you practise writing? We are here to help! 1. Reading Matters It may sound obvious, but this is a great place to start. Regular reading is a stepping stone to better writing. The best writers are also keen readers, and reading on a regular basis is an easy way to start developing your writing skills. Simply read for pleasure and you’ll pick things up subconsciously. Always choose texts that interest you; learning should never be boring! You can read about whatever topics you like. Just make sure you read a lot. Expose yourself to a variety of styles, voices and forms of writing. Luckily, you can easily find lots of graded readers and books of various genres created specifically for learners of foreign languages. 2. Learning New Vocabulary It goes without saying that to write with more confidence and fluency, you need to expand your vocabulary. You may understand the meaning of lots of words in English. However, if you want to be able to express yourself clearly, you have to be able to use these words correctly. That’s why word lists do not help; use example sentences, focus on prepositions, keep your eyes open for phrases, idioms and collocations. For example, learning the word ‘depend’ is easy, but knowing that ‘you depend on something’ is much more useful! 3. Mastering Spelling Some words can be really tricky and confusing! ‘Bare’ and ‘bear’ sound the same. But do you want to be naked or a large animal? A ‘desert’ is a hot and dry place like the Sahara, but add a letter (and some whipped cream!) and you have a ‘dessert’, something sweet to eat! There are a lot of words in English that look or sound alike but have very different meanings. Learn the notorious commonly confused words! And keep a list of words you commonly confuse. And always use a pen and paper; no computer means no autocorrect. So, you need to think about how to correctly spell words rather than relying on technology and smart devices to do it for you! 4. Playing Devil’s Advocate Imagine that you have to write an opinion essay. Or a ‘for & against’ essay. What side would you support if you talked to a friend? Write about the topic from the opposite or a different point of view! This is what we call ‘playing devil’s advocate’; you express an opinion which you may not agree with. And that’s a great way to learn how to express opinions in English. Did we also mention that you’ll probably practise words and phrases which you don’t normally use, since you’re writing from a different perspective? Well, that’s a win-win situation! 5. Remembering the Grammar Rules Without good knowledge of grammar, you simply can’t clearly express your thoughts. Make sure to practise your grammar skills from time to time! 6. Making an Outline Using outlines or diagrams and lists of essential ideas or plot points can give you a precious map to follow as you write. And this can save you time by keeping you focused as you write, so you don’t deviate from the topic. And if you are taking exams, bear in mind that a well-structured essay for an examiner is like adding maple syrup to pancakes – that extra, necessary finishing touch! 7. Using Transitions & Linking Words To help make your writing flow, you have to use transition and linking words or phrases. These can help you show the relationship between ideas, connect paragraphs and introduce a summary or a conclusion. 8. Just… Doing It! Get a pencil and paper or sit in front of your computer. The first step to help you improve your writing is to just write and keep on writing. Remember, practice makes perfect! You could also keep a diary in English. It doesn’t matter what you write, just that you’re making a habit of writing every day. Keep in mind that you can’t learn how to write overnight. Writing is actually pretty similar to working out. The first few times you do it, you struggle to even finish! And when improving your writing skills seems hard, don’t be disappointed… Ernest Hemingway, one of the most influential writers of the 20th century, confided to F. Scott Fitzgerald that he wrote one page of masterpiece to ninety-one pages of nonsense! Have you got any other suggestions? Have you ever practised your writing in English? Tell us what’s helped you in the comments section below; we’d love to know what you think! Did you find these tips helpful? Don’t keep this article to yourself. Tell your friends; give it a quick share on your favourite social media!...

December 23, 2020

3 + 1 Mistakes Language Learners Make

Wondering if you’re making mistakes that block your progress? We’ve got you covered! It is a widely accepted notion that learning a new foreign language is never a piece of cake – but it's a lot harder if you fall into these four common traps. Let’s check out how to avoid them! Using a Single Method Many language learners fail to diversify the methods they use. That’s why they end up getting bored and stuck with the same textbook for months. And we all know that nothing kills the desire to learn more than boredom. So… let’s shake things up! What to do: Make sure that you use different and various methods. Learning a language is a holistic process. Put as much variety as you can into it. Approaching English from various angles helps you make the process enjoyable! After all, each student has a different schedule, learning style and pace. This is why we, at E-planet Educational Services, are firm believers in blended education. Setting Unrealistic Goals Unrealistic expectations demotivate the learning process. A lot of people give up because they drain themselves way too quickly… Imagine you’re climbing a mountain; it’s huge and it’s cold, and you’re really tired and disoriented. How can you motivate yourself to keep going? You stop, you take a breath and you set smaller goals along the way to help you keep moving. What to do: Focus on the big picture – but choose a realistic pace and dedicate yourself to your mini, short-term, achievable goals. Unless you are studying for a specific exam, burying your head in books and getting stressed will actually slow down your progress. Realise that learning a language is a marathon and not a sprint! Avoiding listening So many learners never make an effort to listen to anything. But the key to communication is understanding what people are saying in the target language! If you neglect this, then you are on the road to failure. What to do: Try to learn as children do when they start speaking their mother tongue; insert the foreign language into your daily life. Even in the early stages of your learning journey, don’t hesitate to get exposed to the foreign language as much as you can. Attend events that offer a lot of listening opportunities; for example, you can enjoy a play in English. Watch TV shows and movies without reading the subtitles.Take advantage of podcasts on your way to work, when travelling or at home. Being Scared Not wanting to make mistakes… is the biggest mistake that you may make! For example, many students are too afraid of mispronouncing words in a way that may embarrass them or make them sound silly. You should always bear in mind that language learning involves a lot of uncertainty; at least, until native-like fluency is achieved! What to do: You create a barrier when you are constantly afraid of making mistakes. Do not succumb to your fears. Believe in yourself. Trust us, everybody has the ability to learn a foreign language; you learned your mother tongue, didn’t you? Embrace your mistakes and stay positive. Once you actually dare to speak another lingo, you can quickly overcome your fears. The words may start to seem like they magically put themselves into sentences. After all, the only way to become fluent in a language is to practise it! Have you made any of the mistakes listed in our article? Do you think there are any other mistakes that language learners should be aware of? Let us know in the comments below! If you liked this, you might also like to read 5 TIPS TO STUDY MORE EFFECTIVELY. And don’t forget to share this article on Facebook or your other favourite social media; we can all learn from others’ mistakes!...

November 26, 2020

Top Translation Tips& Tricks for EFL Learners

Most languages may be many years old, but International Translation Day (30th September) is a newcomer in the calendar of world events. Originally set up in 1953, this annual celebration reminds us that foreign language learning and translation can make our world a better place! But do you know how to not get lost in translation? Are there any tips and tricks to help you during your English language learning journey? Words vs Meaning Translation is an effective way of testing comprehension. With the help of a good dictionary, you may be able to read and translate – and even write – complex texts in English. However, you should always bear in mind that literal, word-for-word translation often simply doesn’t work. For example, in English you could say that you ‘sit’ an exam, but could you do that in your mother tongue? And if somebody asked you to explain what the set phrase ‘you’re welcome’ means, you wouldn’t provide a literal translation – you would just say that this is the usual reply to ‘thank you’. So, before you start translating a text, make sure you have read it through a couple of times. Don’t focus on every single word and phrase. Instead, try to explain its general meaning. Then you can focus on specific parts that you don’t fully understand, or that you find difficult to translate. Tools & Tech A good bilingual dictionary is an essential tool. Even if you feel you know the correct translation of a word, it always helps to look it up and consider all the given options. As you get more advanced, an English-English dictionary could be also helpful with more detailed definitions and example sentences. In any case, you needn’t be limited to only a print dictionary – look for its web counterparts, aka online versions, which will enable you to select the word you are looking for by just typing a few letters! Traps & Mishaps A good English teacher’s goal should always be to guide you towards increasingly thinking in English and drop the crutch of translation. But we all know that this is one of the hardest things to achieve.After all, translation is a real-life skill, and the reality is that all of us often translate from a language into another in our heads, whether we engage in formal translation exercises or not. Just think about it: How many times have you been asked to translate something like the dishes of a menu or a sign on a road from or into somebody’s native language during your holidays or a business trip? So, when speaking and translating at the same time, pay extra attention and do not fall into the trap of prepositions! Always bear in mind that most prepositions generally depend on another word; yes, depend ‘on’ – chances are you wouldn’t use this preposition in your mother tongue! You should also remember that there are hundreds of differences between British and American English. For example, if you ask for ‘chips’ in New York, you’ll soon find a plate of what people call ‘crisps’ in England! Finally, be aware of idioms, fixed phrases and slang words! If you enjoyed this article, spread the word; give this article a quick share on your favourite social media site! And don’t forget to take a look at our Facebook page where we share more about exciting ways to understand, learn and teach English!...

September 30, 2020

8 Summer Learning Ideas For Young English Learners

The school bell may have stopped ringing, but summer is still a great time for all kinds of exciting learning opportunities. If you are wondering how you can help your little ones during their summer break to learn and practise English without the structured educational activities, then turn off your TV, ditch iPads and smartphones, and add these clever ideas, that combine fun and learning, to your cool arsenal! 1- The Daily Journal Project When you were a child or teenager, did you keep a diary hidden in a drawer or under your mattress? Didn’t it feel great to be able to write about everything? Well, you may have stopped using a diary once you reached adulthood, but you can always engage young learners in writing a daily journal in English about their experiences, thoughts, and feelings! It’s a great way to help them improve their writing skills, and to lower their stress and anxiety levels. 2- The English-speaking World Summer Camp Let your little ones choose an English-speaking country and focus on crafts, games, art projects, songs and recipes or snacks that are associated with it. 3- The Summer Scrapbook Project Photos, postcards and tickets; these can all be used to create a great summer scrapbook. Have your young students record their summer experiences, help them keep their reading and writing skills sharp, and get ready for a lot of messy fun! *extra tip: You can also help your little ones make an English collage with anything they like! 4- The Summery Home Cinema It may seem obvious, but sometimes students have to be reminded of the importance of watching films in English. So provide your little ones with an entertaining and enjoyable way to get used to an English-speaking environment. Just let them choose a good film or even better, a film they love, bring in some popcorn, and allow them to have a whale of a time! *extra tip: Subtitles in English can always be helpful. 5- The Reading Challenge There are some great books and fantasy novels that can keep young children and teenagers entertained all summer long. For example, the Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling and The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe by C. S. Lewis are some of our students’ favourite ones! *extra tip: Create a reading nook at home and keep it vibrant with lots of vivid colours and patterns. Having an intimate space with defined borders is an idea all kids love! You can also suggest audio books as an alternative to print, especially if your children have to deal with any learning disabilities that make reading a struggle for them. 6- The Music Factor Summer, sunshine, and songs really seem to go hand in hand! Memorable lyrics and rhythmic language motivate all young students. So, why not indirectly expose your little ones to authentic and easily accessible examples of spoken English? Even as background sounds, listening to songs in English can really help not only young children, but also teenagers. *extra tip: Songs and 3D cartoons are ideal even for preschool children and very young students. That’s why we have accompanied our Voices books for the Pre-junior and Junior levels with exciting extra music videos. And you can find some of them online and free for all! 7- The Board Games Magic Get the English version of Taboo, Scrabble, Pictionary, or any other board game that your children love, and let the fun begin! Educational board games are also exciting, especially for preschool children. *extra tip: Apart from board games, you can also create your own games! For example, why not have a ‘Word Jar’, which is a jar filled with pieces of paper that have different words on each? Another idea is to draw a word every day with your child and then challenge each other to use that word in your English conversations throughout the day. 8- The Online Learning Era Since there are innumerable free online resources for just about every type of learner, take advantage of the digital age and help your little students to brush up on their vocabulary. Even popular online games can help; but if they are not exactly what you're looking for, a simple search for educational apps will certainly provide more options. *extra tip: There are also many interactive educational websites that you and your children can explore together. National Geographic Kids and NASA Kids Club are two great examples. Summer learning loss is a real phenomenon for students, and it’s even more prevalent with students who are learning English as a second language. But with a little help, your little students can turn the summer months into a fun and unforgettable learning experience. Your children don’t have to always sit at desks in front of white boards to be successful language learners! If you found these ideas helpful, give this post a quick share on your favourite social media site. And feel free to leave your ideas and recommendations in the comments section!...

July 26, 2020

Online Learning: 5+1 ways to make the most of it

Let’s admit it: as time goes on, we are all noticing that it is nearly impossible to do any kind of learning without the implementation of technology. That’s why at E-planet we are strong advocates of blended education, (or ‘hybrid learning’ as it has also come to be known), a method of education that allows students of all ages to combine the traditional classroom setting with self-paced online sessions. But the COVID-19 pandemic has just reminded us of how difficult it may be to keep the doors of learning open for all. Having shifted our daily routines and shut down schools for either weeks or months, the coronavirus pandemic made even more English learners embrace e-learning and m-learning. So, with this sudden shift away from the classroom, you may find online learning a little disorientating since you are used to the physical presence of a teacher. Or you may be wondering how you can be a successful online learner. We get it; the transition to online learning can be challenging, so here are our top tips to get the hang of it much more easily! Create a Study Space It is tempting to grab your laptop and start working on your next essay or exercise from the comfort of your bed. However, balancing a laptop on your knees is not the best way to study! Bear in mind that the ideal learning space is quiet, has a comfortable chair and desk, sufficient lighting, and good airflow. However, do not forget that you can keep working on your English language skills everywhere – even when riding a bus! For example, you can download the English Courses app (available to all Android and iOS users through the Google Play Store and the App Store) to watch educational videos, revise vocabulary and grammar, get access to a phonemic chart, listen to the most common English sounds, and even record your voice and receive a score for your pronunciation! Gather Your Tech & Info You obviously need high-speed Internet access. But do you also need to create an account with a username and password to connect to a platform? Are assignments uploaded to a cloud service? Is video conferencing software required? In any case, make sure you have the required account details or access information in advance, download any app(s) you may need and test that your speakers, headphones, camera, and microphone work properly. Organise your learning time One of the biggest benefits of online learning is flexibility, but too much freedom can pose new challenges. That’s why you should manage your time wisely. Do not forget that learners with good time management skills tend to make progress much more easily. So, figure out a routine that works for you and follow it diligently. Make sure to create a schedule and stick to it so you can finish everything on time. It is also important to remember to take breaks, stand up and move around. Minimise distractions From social media to Netflix, you may be faced with many distractions that can easily derail your progress. It’s important to know how to lessen these distractions and set aside time to concentrate. Keep your TV turned off and have your mobile phone set to silent mode. You do not want to lose focus every time a text message or notification pops up! Some background music may help you relax and concentrate, but it should not be too loud. Connect Take extra steps so you don’t feel isolated. Do not forget that help and support are always only a quick message or click away! Course providers and teachers are always there for you, so don’t hesitate to ask for help. If you don’t approach them when you are facing a difficulty, they may presume everything is alright. And don’t forget teamwork! Just because you are not physically together in a classroom with other English learners, do not think that you can’t work together on a project, or just support each other. 6. Take Advantage of the Digital World Online learning always helps students to become more independent and self-reliant. You can move at your own pace and fully understand what is being taught before moving on to the next class. You can also push your learning to the next level. For example, check if there any additional resources on the website, the YouTube channel, or the Facebook page of your language school. Do your research! Online learning comes with its own unique challenges, but it can certainly help you become a great English learner. After all, education is about enjoying new experiences – even in the most chaotic of times!...

June 27, 2020

Teaching English: The Error Correction Guide

One of the best things you can do as an English teacher is to help language acquisition through targeted and effective feedback. Correcting learners' errors is an important part of the teaching process as it tells you about the progress of your students and what remains to be learnt. However, knowing when and what to correct is one of the most challenging and complex areas of teaching. Of course, almost any mistake or error needs to be addressed at some point during a learner’s language development. However both over-correction and poor correction can be demotivational for your students, so achieving the right balance is important. Okay, so how much correction should be made? What are the best techniques you should use? Yes, this is a difficult and daunting task, but read on for some suggestions and advice! New Mistakes Learning English is like learning to ride a bike; you will fall off your bicycle many times, but you will get the hang of it after a while. ‘Trial and error’ is the name of the game! So, help your students to understand that errors are a natural part of the learning process when it comes to foreign languages. If they make new mistakes, it’s okay – this is a sign that they are learning! A Positive Attitude You need to keep your students enthusiastic. That’s why positive reinforcement is essential. When correcting a student avoid using negative remarks such as “No, wrong!”. Prefer more constructive comments such as “Good try!”. All learners intuitively appreciate teachers who create a joyful, supportive and non-threatening atmosphere in the classroom. Self-Correction Self-correction is when learners correct themselves instead of a teacher doing it. Sometimes, a mistake is simply a slip and your students are aware of the correct thing to say. So, make sure that you always give them enough time to self-correct. For example, you can repeat the wrong word or raise your eyebrows – your students will know that they’ve just made a mistake! You can also use exaggerated facial expressions or hand signals to help your students recognise different types of errors. Pointing behind you is a classic way to show that your students should have used a past tense! Another good method is to use visual reminders. Many teachers have a big S on a wall (e.g. an S-shaped funny snake or an S-shaped object that students have made) and simply point to it when their students forget to use or say the final -s in the simple present (third person singular) tense. Peer Correction Peer correction often helps to create a positive classroom atmosphere, as your students realise that you are not the only source of correction, and that they can also learn a lot from their classmates. This correction method ensures that all students are paying attention, since you might ask them to help at any time. For example, if you saw a group of children playing a game, you wouldn’t jump into the middle and stop the game just to tell some players that they didn’t know how to play according to the rules, right? You would just provide some general guidelines and then you let them collaborate and have fun. So the same thing in your English classroom! Tell Me More When it comes to speaking activities, should students be corrected immediately or later? Well, the answer to that question depends on a lot of factors. But in general, the best moment to correct any verbal errors is at the end of a speaking activity. That’s because if you are constantly stopping to make corrections, the flow of the class will be interrupted, and students may become reluctant to participate in speaking activities in the future. Even your confident and more relaxed students will lose some fluency if they are always trying to concentrate too much on accuracy. A good tip that helps is to make the correction process impersonal. For example, instead of saying “You said”, you could say “I heard” or just simply write the error(s) on the board. * Insider tip: Bear in mind, though, that on-the-spot correction is a better idea when focusing on accuracy. And remember that using humour can always help when preferring the on-the-spot correction technique. Laughing and having fun can make linguistic risks and disasters an acceptable part of the English classroom culture! Write More Let’s face it, writing activities don’t usually scream ‘fun and games’!, but there are some techniques you can use to get your students to identify and correct their own errors or mistakes of their classmates. For example, you can organise some Error Correction Races: have your students race to find as many errors as quickly as possible in an essay or some paragraphs that they have written. Bear in mind that they might need some clues such as being told how many errors there are to be found. Recasting Imagine that one of your students says something like “I go to the cinema yesterday”, and you reply by saying “Ah, you went to the cinema yesterday” or something like that. That’s recasting – you repeat what a student has just said but in correct English. * Insider tip: Keep in mind that this method works better with teenagers and adults. Younger children may not pick up on this more subtle form of error correction. If you have any other great tips or error correction techniques, please do share it with us. We’d really love to hear from you all! And if you are wondering how you can become the enthusiastic, inspirational and successful educator you’ve always wanted to be, we’ve got you covered. Read our article 5+1 WAYS TO BECOME A BETTER ENGLISH TEACHER to find out what it takes to become a great teacher!...

May 12, 2020