New Year, New Goals: DELTA for English Teachers

So, you have decided that you want to take your English teaching career to the next level. You’d like to make a change for the better, push yourself outside your comfort zone and focus on new professional strategies, goals and opportunities. Whoa! This is fantastic! Now, wait a moment... What should you do? Well, DELTA (Diploma in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages) could be a good choice. Let's see if it's worth your attention!🔻 DELTA: What's that?DELTA is a certificate designed for experienced English teachers. It is made up of 3 modules (which you can take in any order), it includes teaching practice and it can be taken as a face-to-face, online, blended or distance course.tip 💡 There is no time limit for taking the DELTA, so you can take the three modules at your convenience. Doing one module at a time is usually a better choice for most candidates as they can focus on it without feeling stressed-out.🔻 OK, but do I really need it?So, is DELTA a worthwhile step in your career? Well, first of all, DELTA can help you to review and update your teaching practice. What can make a lesson much more effective? How can you prepare lessons that will actively engage learners and support their development? What are your strengths and your weaknesses as an English teacher? Are you ready to put your teaching style and methods under the microscope?Moreover, DELTA prepares you for more senior teaching roles. Many English teachers see this certificate as a necessary stepping stone to better positions (think of senior teachers, examiners, academic coordinators, directors of studies and ELT materials writers).In addition, DELTA can help you to extend your expertise in a specialist area and it facilitates progression to other qualifications, such as MAs in Linguistics and Language Teaching.🔻 Hmm, is it suitable for me?Most DELTA candidates have an initial ELT qualification, for example CELTA (Certificate in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages), but you are not required to have taken any English language examinations in order to take DELTA. However, having at least a year's ELT experience is highly recommended.tip 💡 Even if you have an initial ELT qualification, you should do lots of reading in advance.🔻 Will I need guidance?Start with the handbook for candidates in order to understand how each module is assessed. Module 2 requires course attendance, but you can prepare for modules 1 and 3 independently.However, doing module 1 (assessment: written examination) and module 3 (assessment: written assignment) can be a challenge if you have no guidance and really have no idea what you should be doing. No, you don’t need to reinvent the wheel, you just need to find a mentor who already knows the road to success! A good tutor that will be by your side can offer useful advice on what Delta examiners expect from you (Yes, you should follow it to the letter!).Taking lots of past papers for module 1 and having some help for module 2 as well can really help. You should also take advantage of free online resources and practical advice from people who have already taken DELTA. tip 💡 If possible, take DELTA with some English teachers you already know. Having someone to help you organise a study session, support you and understand your struggles is more important than you think! And a bit of healthy competition will help motivate you! You could also join a Facebook group for DELTA candidates or a similar online community in order to have someone to encourage you or answer your questions whenever you need help. Well, that sense of relief when someone says 'I get it’ is amazing!🔻 There have to be some downsides, right? Well, before taking the first step, you should make sure that you don't feel exhausted. It takes a long time to complete all the modules and pulling an all-nighter on a daily basis can be really wearing. You should also consider doing the three modules separately; that’s the advice most English teachers who have taken DELTA usually give. It’s not easy to deal with a course more fainthearted teachers would stay away from. If you decide to take the plunge, the word 'organisation' should become your new favourite English word! Meeting strict deadlines, completing assignments and dealing with heavy workloads is hard (unless you have a fetish for challenges and exhausting tasks!). So, try to improve your time management skills before starting to study for DELTA.Finally, we should mention that obtaining a DELTA certification is a bit pricey. However, it's worth remembering that it will probably help you find work in more lucrative positions. 🔻 Any other tips? Most candidates usually refer to the importance of some key features of a word processing software. Well, if you take DELTA, you are certainly going to spend hours in front of a computer, so each timesaver you know can make a big difference! For example, knowing how to quickly create a table of contents, add footers and insert hyperlinks can help you save much-needed time. It will also make your documents easier to mark.And try to do as much reading as possible beforehand. Yes, you will certainly have to read some of the books again and again after you start the course; but if you’ve read them once, it’s easier to find what you’re looking for.So, taking DELTA may be hard, but it is doable. As with any course or certification, there are going to be some bumps in the road. But everything new will reignite your passion for teaching!What do you think? Leave a comment or connect with us on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. Whatever you do, may you reach new heights of success in your English teaching! Good luck!...

January 23, 2023

New Year's Activities

Are you wondering how you could celebrate the beginning of the new year with your students? That's a great opportunity to help your English learners to learn more about New Year’s festivities and traditions in in the U.K. and other English-speaking countries all over the world! So, how will your class say goodbye to the past year and hello to the new one?Student New Year's ResolutionsBrits have already started making plans and resolutions for the new year. Well, the new year is a great opportunity to make a change for the better and focus on new beginnings and goals. And it is believed that it all started with the ancient Babylonians (yes, the first New Year's Resolutions started in the ancient Babylonian Empire)! Have your students ever made any resolutions? Let's find out what they'll say! Give your English learners a few minutes to brainstorm and then ask them to talk about their resolutions. Explain that they should start with achievable goals, e.g. 'This year, I will read more books'. What is one thing they want to become better at? What about one bad habit they'd like to break?To add an element of fun, you can ask your students to jot down their resolutions on slips of paper. Collect the slips, read their resolutions aloud and have your students guess who wrote each one! So, what New Year resolutions will your students make? tip 💡 This activity is a great way to help your young students to revise or learn how to talk about their plans for the future. Have they understood the difference between 'will' and 'be going to'? Do they know that in some cases they should use the present simple or continuous? tip 💡 For older students, New Year's resolutions can be a matter for debate (and a great opportunity to sharpen their speaking skills!): Are New Year's resolutions worth making? Can you think of any reasons why we should stop making New Year's resolutions? Why are our resolutions usually rooted only in the latest health and self-improvement fads? What steps can we take to make sure we'll stick to our new goals?Highlights of the Past YearHave you ever thought that the beginning of a new year can be not only an opportunity to focus on new goals, but also a great reason to reflect on the past year? Users of social media are familiar with the 'Year in Review' concept that provides them with an overview of some of the key moments of the past year!What are your students' favourite moments and memories from the past year? Use the following questions to keep the conversation going: How would you describe this year in 3 words? What new skills did you learn? What was the best decision you made? What would you do differently if you could change the past? If you could write yourself a letter at the beginning of this year, what would you say?tip 💡 This activity is an opportunity to help your students to learn or revise how to use narrative tenses to talk about the past. You could also focus on comparative and superlative adjectives. For example, your students could talk about the happiest / best / worst / most important days of this year.Our Class CalendarShow your students a calendar template and encourage them to cooperate in order to create a unique, attention-grabbing class calendar for the new year. You could use it to jot down exam dates, special days and students' birthdays.Let your English learners get messy and crafty (all children and teenagers enjoy hands-on learning and creative activities) or take advantage of technology and encourage them to choose and use a free online template; no design skills are needed!tip 💡 Pick a spot in your classroom to hang your calendar up and create a positive learning place. A welcoming nook with a splash of colour, books, educational board games and a unique calendar can make a big difference! You can also add a large bulletin board, where your students’ projects on English culture will be pinned.New Year in English-speaking CountriesHow do people around the world celebrate the beginning of a new year? Have your students do some research and focus on teamwork to find out! Motivate and help your students with the following questions: What is Hogmanay? Where does a dark-haired stranger who crosses your threshold at midnight bring good luck? What do you know about the impressive fireworks display that takes place at the iconic Sky Tower in New Zealand? Why is Times Square the centre of the countdown to midnight in New York (U.S.A.)? What is the annual New Year's Eve watermelon drop in Indiana (U.S.A.)?tip 💡 This is a great way to help your students to work on the four Cs: Communication, Collaboration, Creativity & Critical thinking. At the end, you could ask them to reflect on their work. For example, you could ask some questions such as 'How effective was your contribution to the group work?'.What traditional ways of welcoming the New Year do you enjoy? If you have tried any other fun activities, let us know! Connect with us on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. Happy New Year!...

December 19, 2022

Self-care: The A-Z list for English Teachers

Being an English teacher can be exhausting, no matter if you are a new or an experienced educator. That's why learning how to avoid burnout is so important. After all, if you don't take of yourself, you can't take care of your students. It's like trying to drive without fuel in your car. You won't go anywhere, right? So, let's start from the very beginning. What is the first thing taught by all English teachers? The alphabet, of course. So, here's your A-Z list. Read on to find out how you can deal with stress and indulge in self-care.A is for ActsFirst of all, let's make it clear: small acts should always be at the top of your to-do list. Well, it's true that when we read the word 'self-care', we usually imagine big things such as a trip abroad. But what if we focused on simpler acts of self-care that don't require so much time, money or effort?B is for BoundariesWhen you feel stressed and overwhelmed by your schedule, the last thing you need is an extra duty or deadline. It’s true that many English teachers eventually experience burnout just because they work too hard. So, learn how to say no politely when you feel that you've been asked to do too much. Reduce your workload, set boundaries and get your priorities right.C is for ColleaguesThe people you work with on a daily basis can understand your everyday struggles and contribute to your job satisfaction. Having someone to support and encourage you is so much easier when you've built good relationships with your co-workers. If you are a private English teacher, join an online community of educators that face similar challenges and will be able to remind you that you're not alone. Well, that sense of relief when someone says 'I get it' is amazing!D is for DeclutteringDeclutter your workspace (your desk at home or your classroom). A disorganised and messy space can lead to a disorganised and messy mind. Recycle all these sheets of paper you don't need, put away those books that you use often and throw away all these things that aren't useful anymore. And put up a poster with a motivational quote. Just try it; you'll feel better, we promise!E is for ExpectationsMost teachers want to fix every little problem. We get it. But you do know that your expectations should be a little bit more reasonable, right? You can't be perfect (no one can)! And the quest for perfectionism usually leads to a sense of failure. Change your mindset and adjust your standards.F is for FlexibilityWhen teaching, some days may not go according to plan. And that's OK. Be flexible, learn how to expect the unexpected and accept that something you can't predict right now may send you completely off course. Embrace unexpected challenges as new opportunities for you and your students; in this way, you won’t just be a good English teacher but also a great role model.G is for GratitudeFeeling grateful can help! We all know that positive reinforcement is essential. But most of us tend to focus on the negative aspects of our daily lives. So, what would happen if we constantly reminded ourselves of the things we are grateful for? For example, you could jot down a list of all these things that make you proud of your teaching strategies and methods. You could also keep some positive notes from your students in a jar or folder; and take a look at those notes every time you feel underappreciated!H is for HormonesCan you boost the production of feel-good hormones? Yes, you can! Serotonin, oxytocin, dopamine and endorphins are your natural mood boosters. So, say yes to sunlight, exercise, meditation, a healthy diet, hugs and laughter... and increase the production of these much-needed hormones!I is for IndulgingTake a deliberate decision to indulge in something you like and that makes you happy from time to time. Just a bar of chocolate, a shopping spree or a massage (or whatever else won't break the bank) can be the special treat you need!J is for JournalHave you ever kept a diary? It really feels good to write down your thoughts and feelings. And journaling is just what you need if writing can de-stress you! So, the blank pages of a journal are waiting for you!K is for KickingFrom smoking and drinking too many cups of coffee to nail biting and hitting the snooze button too many times, we all have some bad habits that we should kick as soon as possible. We know; breaking unwanted habits can be difficult but being determined can ease the process.L is for LaughterAdding laughter to your day (and your ELT classroom) is great way to feel better. A fun podcast, a comedy, a laughter yoga session or just a good joke can lift your spirits instantly. So, it's true: laughter is the best (and cheapest) medicine!M is for MusicYou do know that music and singing can work wonders when it comes to stress, right? So, create a playlist that you find relaxing and uplifting... and sing your heart out! Bear in mind that while music preferences vary, classical music has been shown to help when we get the jitters.N is for NewNew teaching methods and strategies, a new certification, a new professional goal: everything that is new may reignite your passion for teaching!O is for OrganisationEnglish teachers who are very organised at work are always calmer - need we say more?P is for PlanningDon't wait until the last minute to plan your lessons. For example, if you always wait till the end of the weekend to get organised, then you won't avoid the infamous Sunday blues (and you will never look forward to Mondays!). So, have your ducks in a row; plan ahead and your efforts will be rewarded!Q is for QuietAs a credit card ad would say, quiet time is always priceless! Find at least 5-10 minutes to get some much-needed quiet whenever you feel stressed.R is for RoutineSelf-care should not be a ritual you indulge in occasionally. It must be something you do every day. It must be something that becomes part of your routine and allows you to take daily care of yourself. It must be an everyday commitment that you make.S is for StaycationTaking a trip abroad and visiting exotic, far-flung places is not always easy. But what if you said yes to a staycation? Knowing when to take a bigger break and plan a weekend staycation is also beneficial, particularly when you are under so much stress that unimportant things push you over the edge. After all, even the portmanteau word 'staycation' sounds cool, doesn’t it? So, if you just need to get away from it all for a little while, that’s your new favourite English word (and habit)!T is for TechnologyThink about all the devices you use on a daily basis. In today’s world, technology has a profound effect on numerous aspects of our lives – and this includes teaching. Embrace the different ways technology can contribute to the learning process, take advantage of the E-planet e-learning platform and use the new E-planet mobile application to easily store the detailed information you need about your students, keep records of their scores, check who is using the e-learning program and keep track of online midterm and final tests. Cool, right?U is for UnpluggingHow much are you willing to truly unplug? We've all been there; when we're feeling down, we just try to distract ourselves by scrolling through social media. But let's be honest: this habit doesn't work wonders! So, stop spending so much time on social media and say yes to something more positive, like an inspirational film, an uplifting book, a feel-good podcast or an upbeat playlist.V is for ValueIf you value your mental health, don't belittle your daily efforts and start being a little kinder to yourself!W is for WorldHow can 'World Days' help you to easily grab the attention of your students and make your lessons much more enjoyable? It's simple! Just take a look at our Seasonal Activities section and find out how we can help you with ready-to-use materials and active engagement activities for learners of different ages, levels and interests!X is for X factorAre you an English teacher who has the X factor? Well, it's easy to focus on what you do poorly. But wait a moment... Try to focus on what you do well for a change. Identify what makes you an English teacher that students like. You could even ask some of your learners or a colleague whose opinion you trust. Find those elements that make your way of teaching special. And appreciate them!Y is for YouWhat helps you to feel calm instantly when you're under stress? We are all different. And that's why we calm down in different ways. There are teachers who just squeeze a stress ball. There are others that like popping bubble wrap. And there are some teachers that doodle all over textbooks and adult colouring books. Just as your students aren't exactly alike, so your ideal self-care habits and soothing activities are unique.Z is for ZzzSleep when you need it! Yes, it's easier said than done, but when you get a good night's sleep, you do feel better able to cope with everything, right? And you won't be able to do any of these things on our list if you feel exhausted and groggy. So, deal with sleep deprivation and start waking up fresh and ready to take care of yourself! If you have anything you’d like to add to this list, leave a comment and share your inspiring ideas and tips with us!...

December 16, 2022

Beating Exam Stress

This is the most stressful time of the year for most students: you may not feel prepared for the upcoming English exams; you may feel overwhelmed and tired; you may feel pressure to succeed and become a straight-A student; you may not know how to overcome exam stress... OK, you're in the right place. Check out these tips and pieces of sound advice that can help you to deal with stress during exam time. Let's get started!⭕ TAKE a short walkFresh air can perk you up, tame stress and help you to clear your head and unwind after studying. And let's not forget that exercise always releases feel-good hormones and brightens our mood! In addition, a short walk increases your exposure to sunlight. This means that it increases your serotonin levels, too. And you do know that serotonin can create this perfect feeling of euphoria, right? So, get out and go for a walk... but remember to come back and keep studying – you must take a test, after all!⭕ TAKE a breathIf you have ever experienced a panic attack, you are familiar with the shocking feeling of shortness of breath. Well, the easiest and quickest way to calm down, relax and reduce your blood pressure is to slowly breathe in and out. Deep breathing is one of the best ways to lower stress in your body and reduce cortisol levels. And breathing exercises are easy to learn; you can get started with the Box Breathing Technique. Just google it!⭕ TAKE care of yourselfA balanced diet and good sleep patterns improve concentration and reduce stress. And while we are constantly told that junk food can influence our physical and mental health, we may not realise that sleep plays a critical role too. Avoid burning the candle at both ends and always remember that both the hours and the quality of sleep matter.⭕ TAKE the time to declutterWhen it comes to studying and preparing for exams, it's not just about what you do, but about where you do it, too. You've certainly heard that a cluttered desk is a sign of a cluttered mind. Having an organised workspace can help you to focus and feel more relaxed. So, throw away anything you don't need, use desk organisers and clean up your workspace at the end of each day! It also goes without saying that during study time you should avoid distractions and temptations. Let's make sure that you won't waste your time browsing through social media and checking your phone every 10 minutes!⭕ TAKE a breakDoing something you like or just hanging out with friends can get your mind off the exams, right? But you should also take some short breaks. Taking a break after studying for 45-60 minutes can help you to concentrate and lower levels of exam-related anxiety. You are not a robot and you can't study for hours on end – nor should you!⭕ TAKE a shower (and sing)Music can work wonders too when it comes to exam stress. You just have to create a playlist that you find relaxing and uplifting when you need a break. Bear in mind that while music preferences vary, classical music has been shown to help when we get the jitters! And did we mention that singing (even in the shower) is a natural antidepressant and can have a positive and calming effect? Aha, so you don't have to be a professional singer to sing your heart out and trigger the release of endorphins!⭕ TAKE it togetherLearning English is a journey; and sharing your thoughts, the pressure you feel and your study struggles with peers and other students can make it so much easier! When your exams are approaching, the people who are going to sit the same exam can understand you better than anyone else. Having the support of family members and friends is important too. Being with people who care about you when you struggle can create the supportive system that you need.⭕ TAKE heartWhat can lift your spirits? Positive affirmations and self-talk usually help us all to tackle this irritating feeling of butterflies in our stomach. OK, we get it; telling yourself how good you are may seem a bizarre habit. But think about it... We all have some negative thoughts. What if we thought of everything we have already studied and done successfully instead? A positive thought such as 'I have studied hard and I'll succeed!' can reduce adrenalin levels and improve your performance.⭕ TAKE your timeWhen preparing for exams, it's important to do whatever works for you. Spend as much time as you need in studying. Pick up the pace slowly and eventually you'll become more prepared to tackle tough tasks and practice tests without feeling overwhelmed. Everyone learns according to a different timeline. Just be realistic and bear in mind that you can't learn everything! It's also important that you learn how to plan ahead, avoid procrastination and use your time wisely. Make a to-do list, set strict deadlines (that you'll actually stick to) and start achieving your mini goals!⭕ TAKE it easyIt's a fact that we are all different. And this means that we relax differently. Some students like popping bubble wrap. Others unwind with aromatherapy or a head massage. Some English learners calm down when embracing the British habit of drinking lots of tea (actually, there have been studies that show tea can indeed relieve stress)! So, stop comparing yourself to others, do whatever helps you to feel better and focus on your unique needs and ways to tackle stress. Finally, find out what you should do the day before your exams to increase your chances of success!What do you do to deal with exam stress? Do you use any other techniques? If you have something to share with our community, we are all ears!...

November 21, 2022

How to Get Your Students Ready for Exams

Even for the most confident students, exams can be a stressful and nerve-wracking experience. Well, the truth is that unless your English learners are adrenaline junkies, they probably don't enjoy tests and exams! So, what can you do to help them to get ready and get top marks?👉 Task TypesFirst of all, make sure that your students are familiar with the format of each part of the exam they are about to take. OK, there will probably be some reading and listening tasks, but will they have to answer open-ended or multiple-choice questions? How many times will examinees listen to the recordings? Will they lose points for incorrect answers? The better they know what will be expected of them, the less likely they are to face any unpleasant surprises.Next step: focus on useful exam strategies and techniques. For example, have your students understood that they must always proofread their texts? Do they know how to use the skimming technique when they want to identify the main idea and key phrases and words in a text? Have they learnt how to use the scanning technique when they want to find specific information (such as a particular word, name or date) in a text? Do they know how to avoid falling for trick questions?pro tip 🗸 Train your students to carefully read the instructions. If they don't know precisely what they are asked to do, they may miss the focus of the task. And it goes without saying that misreading a question could also have catastrophic results (no matter how interesting, imaginative or inspired an answer may be)!👉 Speaking PanicYou should point out to your students that it is not a good idea to memorise speeches for a speaking test. A good examiner can always tell if an answer has been learnt and rehearsed (and this may influence the final score). However, they should learn and practise words and phrases that we all use when we discuss something. They should also show that they are able to interact spontaneously. For example, if an examiner sneezes, he/she expects that the other person will say ‘bless you’. Being kind and friendly matters too; for example, saying 'Thanks, have a good day!' at the end of the test will certainly leave a good impression. In addition, your students should be ready to answer the most common questions without any long pauses or hesitation. TV and radio presenters know that dead air can lead to terrible results; if there is dead air, viewers or listeners will just switch to another channel or station! You should also not forget to explain that sometimes it is better to force ourselves to slow down when speaking; by consciously slowing down, we give ourselves more time to think and we decrease the likelihood of using fillers (such as ‘um’ and ‘uh’) which show that we don’t know what else to say or that we are struggling to remember a word!Examinees should also be aware of their body language and the messages it conveys. For example, they shouldn't fold their arms across their chests, slouch or keep putting their hands in their pockets. Instead, they should remember to nod, smile, make eye contact, show interest and look confident.pro tip 🗸 Just like official examiners, you have to know how to apply the assessment criteria to evaluate your learners' speaking skills. That's why you need to make the most of handbooks for teachers and speaking test videos. Test yourself by comparing your marks and notes with those of the official examiners. You should also share at least a speaking test video with your students; it will help them to understand what happens on the big day and make them feel more prepared and relaxed!👉 Time ManagementeDo your students know how much time they will have for each part of the exam? Have they done plenty of practice tests in timed conditions? Have they understood that they should always leave a few minutes at the end to check their answers and/or transfer them onto answer sheets? Time isn't always on your students' side when taking a test, so they have to know how to use it wisely. There’s nothing worse than failing an exam because of running out of time! You should also explain that during the stressful period before the big day (aka the day of the exam) time management also matters. No one can learn everything a few days before a test. The road to success takes time and effort; and no one can improve at lightning speed! So, motivate your English learners to learn how to avoid procrastinating and how to set an effective study and revision routine. pro tip 🗸 A hack that helps many students is answering the easy questions first and leaving lots of time at the end for the harder parts of the exam. Starting with an easy task and moving on to the next question when getting stuck is a method that makes most test takers feel confident and calm, so it may work for most of your students too!👉 Weak SpotsOK, you do know that every student is different. But how can you identify each learner's weak spots? Mock tests can help you to focus on your students' strengths and weaknesses. And reflection tasks and other follow-up activities can help your learners to concentrate on the specific areas they need to work on. Bear in mind that different learning styles and study habits may call for different strategies and schedules. Encourage your English learners to figure out what works for them.pro tip 🗸 When taking a practice test, most students are more interested in their grade than their teacher's feedback. However, you should emphasise how important it is for them to concentrate on feedback, weaknesses and errors that could have been avoided. Moreover, you should highlight the importance of things most students don't pay attention to. For example, is their handwriting easy to read? Marking tests can be a tedious job; that's why all examiners truly appreciate legible handwriting!👉 Relaxation TechniquesThe sensation of a knot in your stomach when taking an exam is... well, unavoidable! But there are some special techniques that can help your students to deal with exam stress on the big day. They just have to start practising! Explain that the easiest and quickest way to calm down, relax and reduce your blood pressure is to slowly breathe in and out. Your students can get started with the ‘box breathing technique’. Just google it! Another tip that helps many students is the power of positive self-talk during a challenging test. Negative thoughts and test anxiety go in hand in hand, so managing to think positively when being under stress can work wonders! Motivate your English learners to learn and repeat encouraging phrases such as 'I can do anything I set my mind to', 'I've prepared for this exam and I'll give it my all' or 'OK, the clock is ticking but I've been on a strict deadline before; I'll succeed'. pro tip 🗸 Motivational posters and sticky notes with encouraging words on them can help you to create a positive classroom atmosphere. How do you help your students to prepare for exams and impress all examiners? If you have any other tips and tricks, we'd love to hear about them👇!...

October 22, 2022

First day of school for a new English teacher

Wondering how to survive the first day of school? We've all been there! You're both excited and nervous. But trust us: you will get the hang of it! Here are some useful tips to get off on the right foot and set the tone for the whole school year.✔️ Impressing the ClassYou don't get a second chance to make a good first impression. That's why you have to arrive early. OK, this is a no-brainer, but we must say it: the early bird catches the worm (and all students' attention)! Check that everything you may need (e.g. a computer, smartboard or tablet) is there. And you've certainly spent some time mapping out what you will be teaching during the first month, but it doesn't hurt to take a quick look at your notes and detailed lesson plans again. Remember that there is no such thing as being too prepared for your first day! Now, think back to the last time you first met someone. A warm smile, eye contact and a positive attitude can work wonders, right? On the other hand, a constant fidget and other signs of nervousness and tension don't help at all. So, greet every student warmly... and take the first step to a great school year!✔️ Breaking the IceFind some good ice-breaking activities and help your students to share a few details about themselves. In this way, you'll develop some rapport and you'll have the chance to easily assess your new students' language ability. And don't forget that in every form of verbal communication there has to be some give and take. So, don't be afraid to share something fun or unusual about yourself! Your English learners will be interested in finding out who you are. Show your students that you want them to feel like they know you on a more personal level. And a pro tip: A photo with your pet(s) could earn bonus points!✔️ Building the TeamHave your young students make fun name tags and wear them. Devote some time to allow your older English learners to get to know one another. And finish your first lesson with a fun activity that will create a feeling of unity. For example, you could encourage young learners to create a unique ‘English Classroom Rules’ poster with this helpful worksheet from our Voices 4 series. You could also have your students participate in fun team games. Or say yes to a catchy classroom cheer, which is also a great way to promote a strong sense of togetherness. Well, if you've ever been a member or a supporter of a competitive team, then you know that a good cheer can inculcate a really powerful sense of team spirit! And if you manage to create a positive classroom atmosphere and let your students leave feeling excited, then they will look forward to your next lesson!✔️ Setting the RulesMake it clear from the first day of class what you won’t tolerate. Students need to know what each teacher considers acceptable behaviour. Setting the necessary rules and talking about the classroom routines at the very beginning will help you to avoid discipline problems in the future. But bear in mind that having too many rules or not sticking to them won't help in the long run!✔️ Using the Latest TechIf there is a webpage or a class social media account where your students can find info, such us useful exam dates, this is the day to tell everyone about it. Remember to explain how your students can use the E-planet e-learning platform to review all the material delivered in class and complete extra activities online. Do they know that they simply enter the PIN number on their e-learning card and in a few simple steps they are ready to go? And if your learners are young, then you know that effective communication between you and their parents will be important during the school year. Try to understand their concerns and explain how you'll inform them about their children's progress. And make sure that they know how to use the new E-planet mobile application, which provides both students and parents full access to English learners' progress and test results!✔️ Expecting the UnexpectedYour first day may not go according to plan. In fact, during most first days in life, things hardly ever go as planned or imagined! And that's OK. Well, Mike Tyson (yes, the famous American professional boxer) spoke from experience when he said that everyone has a plan until they get punched in the mouth! Accept that something you can't predict right now may send you completely off course; it’s not uncommon for a meticulously mapped out lesson to turn out differently from what you had planned. So, don't necessarily aim for perfection – just relax and go with the flow. So, you are now ready to get off to a good start; we hope you enjoy your first day of school! Take a deep breath and let your passion for teaching shine through!...

September 22, 2022

Getting your students back on track after summer vacation

No matter how many tips and tricks you're aware of, the back-to-school season always seems stressful, right? Well, transitions can be tough for all students. Even if the students are excited, chances are they are also sluggish, nervous or unruly. That's why you need these last-minute suggestions for reinspiring English learners and getting them back in the groove after summer holidays. Keep reading and by the time September rolls around, you'll be ready to get your students back on track and keep them enthusiastic about learning English!➡️ Make it positiveThe back-to-school season can be a real bummer for some students! But creating a welcoming classroom and a positive atmosphere spurs creativity and helps us all to feel more motivated to learn. So, what can you do?First of all, rethink your classroom design and choose a seating arrangement that will encourage your students to learn. For example, you could create a horseshoe-shaped formation or flexible clusters. Seating plans can make or break even the best of classes! And remember that although you're all getting back into a routine, you can always try something new to shake things up. Even the smallest of changes can make a big difference in a classroom environment. For example, adding a splash of colour in a classroom or creating a reading and educational board games nook can make a classroom much more interesting. So, before another school year starts, follow our advice and find out how you can create a happy place for all learners!In addition, a positive classroom atmosphere can be easily achieved if your students start building a close rapport with one another. So, make it much easier for them. Don't ask them to write the classic essay on how they spent their summer holidays. Instead, encourage your young English learners to write a short bio or have a discussion about their hobbies and find 2 or more classmates they have something in common with. For older learners, a class debate is a great idea that can always get everyone talking. And if you provide private English language lessons, establish a close rapport with your students by sharing some fun or unusual facts about yourself!A catchy classroom cheer is also a great way to create a positive classroom atmosphere and promote a strong sense of togetherness. Well, if you've ever been a member or a supporter of a competitive team, then you know that a good cheer can inculcate a really powerful sense of team spirit!➡️ Take it slowIf you want to get your students comfortable with using English again, take baby steps. Your learners can't be in holiday mode one day and then totally back in business! That's why you shouldn't dive into hard and challenging projects straightaway. Pick up the pace slowly and let your students become more prepared to tackle tough exercises without feeling overwhelmed. For example, why not have your young learners work together on a project on their summer experiences and unforgettable moments?The first homework assignment should also be an interesting one. Nothing hurts motivation more than the thought of a boring, lengthy essay! And bear in mind that focusing on group work rather than individual assignments can make any homework better since students have an opportunity to interact with each other and get excited about being back at a language school.➡️ Make it funA few unexpected activities that are full of good vibes can spark your students' interest in learning again! So, why not try a quiz or brain teasers? For example, most youngsters would love to take a quiz to decide which artist needs to come and give your language school a total makeover! And have you ever thought that you could use Instagram to take English teaching to the next level? Cool, right? People often say that a picture is worth a thousand words. Well, maybe a picture on Instagram can also help your young students to learn a thousand words! Create a fun educational account and start sharing smart learning tips and tricks, grammar rules, useful vocabulary and fun idioms! A great idea for older students is a class social media account – an account created by both you and your students. In this way, your English learners will also learn how to use social media responsibly! You could also use crossword puzzles, educational board games for children or adventurous games for teenagers and adults to add a little bit of unexpected fun and an element of competition! And don't forget to put some things that your students will look forward to on the calendar.Last but not least, bear in mind that a project or activity with real-world applications is always a good idea, as students are excited to learn something they can easily put into practice.➡️ Put it in orderEncourage your English learners to get organised. Provide your young students with a simple checklist/to-do list or a small planner as a reminder of anything important, e.g. test dates and deadlines for homework assignments. And don't forget that colours, post-it notes and stickers may have more power than you think! For teenagers and adults that use smartphones, there are many apps that can become great tools with useful to-do lists and reminders.In addition, you should motivate all your English learners to learn how to avoid procrastinating (admit it, we've all been there; most students seem to be predisposed to procrastination!). Explain that planning ahead, creating a routine and setting rules (e.g. always start studying for a test 10 days in advance) can help them stress less. Teaching time management strategies also helps a lot. And being familiar with a few relaxation techniques that can reduce stress when your students get the jitters may work wonders!If you are trying to come up with more ideas for inspiring and motivating your students, take a look at these proven and winning strategies for motivating English learners.So, the big day is nearly here. Are you ready for the new school year? If you have anything you’d like to add to this list, share your thoughts, ideas and tips in the comments below. And if you're looking for more smart tips and useful advice for the new school year, stay tuned for more #backtoschool smart tips and useful ideas!...

August 10, 2022

30 July - International Day of Friendship

Yes, at E-planet we'll be celebrating International Friendship Day on 30 July! So, how can you celebrate with your students? Here's how to get started!Friendship Stories & ArtMost likely your young students are familiar with the story of Mowgli, the clever boy who grows up in the jungle with Baloo the bear and Bagheera the panther... Well, that's a classic story of friendship that could be a great starting point for a simple speaking or writing activity.Take a look at the following questions and get inspired: Who is Mowgli's best friend? What are the qualities of a good friend? Can you write a list of all the words or phrases that you associate with friendship? Do you believe that people who have lasting friendships are happier than others? Your last question should be: Which artist could be your best friend? Listen to what your students have to say and then ask them to take an awesome quiz and find out what the fun Tate Kids site suggests! You could also encourage your English learners to create an arty bracelet to give to a friend! Just click here: Making a friendship bracelet.For older learners of English, just download this amazing worksheet from our Voices B1 student’s book and let them not only sharpen their reading and vocabulary skills but also understand why having a supportive circle of friends can make a big difference in their lives!Friendship Posters International Friendship Day is a great opportunity to promote teamwork, help young learners to form friendships and create a positive culture in your ELT classroom. How can you do that? Well, first of all, you can divide your students into small groups and ask them to make some posters celebrating friendship. Use popular quotes to prompt class discussion (e.g. What's your favourite friendship quote? Why?) and then ask your students to choose a quote, get inspired and create their poster! For young students, start with quotes they are most likely familiar with. For example, 'A day without a friend is like a pot without a single drop of honey left inside' is a phrase by Winnie the Pooh that many children know and understand. For older learners, famous English poets, novelists and playwrights can offer the needed inspiration. The well-known phrase 'Words are easy, like the wind; faithful friends are hard to find' by William Shakespeare is a good starting point. 💡 In general, you should always bear in mind that activities which require pair/group work help your learners to form bonds with each other and learn how to behave respectfully. Even if you provide private English language lessons, motivate your students to work on projects and activities with friends.The Secret Message ProjectWhen you were a child, did you ever want to send a friend a super awesome secret message? Hmm, let's see if you can write in invisible ink with your English learners! Explain to your students that they just have to squeeze some lemon juice into a bowl and stir in a few drops of water. Then they dip a cotton bud into the mix, write their message on a piece of paper and give it to a friend. And ta-da! When he or she holds it close to a light bulb, the message will appear as if by magic! 💡 That's an engaging STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics) activity that can easily foster curiosity and love for PBL (Project-based Learning). So, through friendship we can generate passion for a better world. Let’s help all English learners to appreciate this special day! How are you planning to celebrate this year's International Friendship Day with your E-planet students? #happyfriendshipdayDownload the worksheet here. www.eplaneteducation.com...

July 30, 2022

Summertime: Keep Your Kids Learning English!

All kids are looking forward to a well-earned break, new adventures and no homework, but summer is a great time for learning. Well, young students don't have to sit at desks to be successful language learners! This two-month break from the ELT classroom can be a great opportunity to help them to keep an active mind and make the English learning experience feel fun and magical. So, here are 7 smart ways to keep your children learning all summer long!1. Writing & Expressing OneselfJournals, diaries and scrapbooks are fun keepsakes and great tools that help us to develop our writing skills! So, encourage your kiddos to write about their thoughts, feeling and things they enjoy in the summertime such as family trips. Well, it doesn't matter what they focus on, just that they're making a habit of writing every day! Tip ✏️ Writing about our emotions can lower our stress and anxiety levels. That's why motivating your little ones to record their summer experiences is a great wat to help them to learn how to easily decrease their stress levels and have a sense of well-being. 2. Reading Something Every DayMake sure that your kids have something to read during the summer. When it comes to preventing summer learning loss and keeping English learning on track, reading is one of the easiest and most effective ways!Let your children explore the book genres and topics they're most interested in. Graphic novels, comics and graded readers are great opinions. Kids who are hooked on reading know that if you like book series (like The Chronicles of Narnia, Harry Potter or Diary of a Whimpy Kid), you will want to know all you can about the adventures of your favourite characters...and you'll become a bookwork! You can also get your youngsters the English version of the books they love.Creating a reading spot at home and keeping it vibrant with lots of colours and patterns can also motivate your kiddos to read every day. And have you noticed that it's always easier to get started reading when screens aren't around us? When going to the beach, to a park or for a ride, make sure that your children carry a book. Also, bear in mind that an e-reader or a tablet is an excellent portable alternative; if our little ones do carry screens around, let's put them to good use! Tip📚 If you don't know what the English level of your child is, trust the reading experts who always know how to find the perfect book. Just follow their advice and the Five-finger Rule: Let your child choose a book, open it to any page and ask him/her to read it. Count the number of words you kiddo doesn't understand at all and hold up a finger for each word. 0-1 words: too easy. 5+ words: too challenging.3. Embracing a New CultureThis is one of our favourite summer challenges of our students and their parents. Embrace together the amazing cultures of English-speaking countries! You can choose the country you'll focus on each time and your children have to get creative with crafts, games, art projects, books, films and songs that are associated with it.Tip 🇬🇧 Many children love helping in the kitchen. And all cuisines can offer excellent insights into history and culture. So, why not turn dinnertime into an English lesson by trying a new British, American or Australian dish? While you cook, have your kids read the recipe and the necessary ingredients. What a delicious way to keep learning!4. Creating a Gratitude JarYou'll just need an old-fashioned glass jar (an old cookie jar or a big jam jar should do the job) with a ribbon that your kiddos will tie around the rim. They could also use stickers, glitter or other materials to decorate it; whatver will make them smile when they look at it! Every day, your kiddos should write down in English something they're thankful for (a good feeling, a new experience, something that made them smile) on little pieces of paper and then place them in a jar.Tip 🫙 When your children have a down day, a note from their gratitude jar will remind them that life can be full of special moments!5. Getting the Ball RollingIt may be stating the obvious, but sometimes we have to be reminded that watching cartoon films and kid-friendly series in English (with or without English subtitles) is useful! After all, there is no doubt that this is a classic and time-tested way to quickly improve language learning. Young children can easily identify with animated characters and often enjoy imitating them (did someone say Frozen and Paw Patrol?). And most teenagers are screen-obsessed, so there's nothing better than a series they love and some popcorn for a great weekend!📺Tip: A familiar plot can help. And our cartoon films, Let's Have Fun with Ozzy & Let's Play with Ozzy, are always here for our young students around the world with tons of action and fun!6. Calling the TimeMotivate your children to start their summer days with English upbeat music (trust us, it won't be a hard sell!). They may not be able to understand everything, but song can help them to improve their listening skills and master the English language. So, why not indirectly expose your little ones to authentic and easily accessible examples of spoken English? Listening to memorable lyrics and rhythmic language is a great way to learn pronunciation patterns and get used to various accents, idiomatic phrases and colloquialisms with no pressure. Tip Music can become very handy during summer dives or when you're stuck in traffic with your kiddos. So, set the mood with some popular English songs and make your next road trip or rush-hour drive a memorable one!7. Playing & LearningCrosswords, board games, brain teasers and puzzles can help your kiddos to expand their vocabulary. Get the English version of Taboo, Scrabble or any other popular board game and let the fun begin! And 3D puzzles of the most famous buildings or Instagrammed landmarks of English-speaking countries are always great in case you're running our of ways to keep your little ones entertained. For example. your kiddos can build their own model of the world's most famous clock, aka Big Ben! That's a great opportunity to have them discover why it was built and who created this horological masterpiece. And you'll have something new to display at home! Tip You can also find many free online games and apps, which are both entertaining and useful when learning a foreign language, not to mention the numerous online quizzes you can use to help your little learners practise their English! For example, you can motivate them to find out which arty sea creature they are or where in the world they could be lost. That's it! You are ready to help your children to make the most of the lazy days to come! Just one last tip: Help your children to understand that studying and learning English can be an ideal vehicle for communication all over the world. Your kiddos will soon be able to reap the rewards!And did we mention that though our tips are aimed at helping children, they are just as useful for adults?How are you going to keep your kids learning this summer? Join the conversation below and let us know!...

July 22, 2022