Monday, July 26, 2010

North Korea's "First" Fast-Food Restaurant Opens

The Chosun Ilbo reports this, but I think they might possibly mean first "western" fast food restaurant.  Some Koreans might argue that all fast food is "western" because it is unhealthy and no tradition Korean food is unhealthy for you... right...  I also thought I read this exact same story over a year ago.  Not sure what that was then.
North Korea's first fast-food restaurant selling hamburgers and waffles has opened in the center of Pyongyang. Although there are hamburger joints in North Korea, this is the first full-fledged franchise-style fast-food restaurant there.
The Choson Sinbo, a Pyongyang mouthpiece in Japan, last Saturday reported the fast-food restaurant opened at the Kumsong Intersection in Pyongyang early last month and plans to open a branch in downtown Pyongyang in the near future.
According to the newspaper, the restaurant has an "affiliation with a Singaporean company specializing in waffle joints." The Singaporean company supplies only the facilities, while the local operation hires staff and supplies raw materials.
"Before the restaurant opened, staff were trained on cooking and service techniques by a staffer dispatched from the Singaporean company, but it developed food with new flavors after repeated tasting and sampling," the newspaper wrote.
The menu lists chiefly hamburger and waffles plus various carbonated drinks and Kumgang draft beer.
Food prices were fixed "at an affordable level," it said. A hamburger and bun is 190 North Korean won and a mug of Kumgang draft beer 76 won. The average monthly pay of ordinary North Korean workers is reportedly about 3,000 won. The price of each hamburger is similar to that of 100 g of rice (about 200 won) in North Korea and much cheaper than a piece of illegally imported South Korean choco pie (500 won).

The photo is from the Choson Sinbo, a North Korean sponsored newspaper put out in Japan.

How the heck do the average North Korean workers get their hands on black market South Korean choco pies?  That is hilarious.  More power to the North for finally getting a franchise fast food joint.  Hopefully Dear Leader Kim will mellow out just a bit and cut the people of that poor country some slack and allow more places like this to open.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Guide to Japanese Bowing

Okay, I admit that I thought this was real up until about halfway into the video when I read the lines for the bows when "you lose a secret message" and "you violate the ninja code by falling in love".

The "caught red handed in an orgy of evil" bow was good...

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Cheonan Conspiracies Continue (and with good reason)

Said best by CNN:
The United States is going all out this week to show support for its key Asian ally, South Korea, in the wake of one of its war ships being sunk, as President Barack Obama dispatched the secretaries of State and Defense to the Korean peninsula.
The U.S. delegation of Defense Secretary Robert Gates and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton will hold a first-ever meeting with their South Korean counterparts in Seoul to discuss numerous diplomatic and military issues concerning North Korea. While the high-level meeting has long been planned in accordance with the 60th anniversary of the start of the Korean conflict, both countries are using the opportunity to send a message to North Korea during heightened tensions between Seoul and Pyongyang.
However, questions still loom and many South Koreans still have questions and are demanding answers about the sinking of the Cheonan.  The LA Times just published an article best summarizing most of the points of concern that are fueling the conspiracy theories.  Here are the highlights of the article...
Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton calls the evidence "overwhelming" that the Cheonan, a South Korean warship that sank in March, was hit by a North Korean torpedo. Vice President Joe Biden has cited the South Korean-led panel investigating the sinking as a model of transparency.
But challenges to the official version of events are coming from an unlikely place: within South Korea.
Armed with dossiers of their own scientific studies and bolstered by conspiracy theories, critics dispute the findings announced May 20 by South Korean President Lee Myung-bak, which pointed a finger at Pyongyang.
They also question why Lee made the announcement nearly two months after the ship's sinking, on the very day campaigning opened for fiercely contested local elections. Many accuse the conservative leader of using the deaths of 46 sailors to stir up anti-communist sentiment and sway the vote.
President Lee could simply be a massive tool and is guilty of trying to politicize a national tragedy.  However, the timing of both the incident itself and when the findings were realized does make it look orchestrated to effect an election cycle.  This would make it either intentional or a fantastic coincidence.
The critics, mostly but not all from the opposition, say it is unlikely that the impoverished North Korean regime could have pulled off a perfectly executed hit against a superior military power, sneaking a submarine into the area and slipping away without detection. They also wonder whether the evidence of a torpedo attack was misinterpreted, or even fabricated.
Of course the South Koreans have anti-submarine detection systems in place.  The fact that they all failed seems to be something that does not alarm or concern anyone who believes the Cheonan was legitimately attacked.  I do not think the general public should be believing that sneak attacks from submarines are impossible to thwart.  If every South Korean boat out there is always as vulnerable to a North Korean submarine as the Cheonan was, then South Korea and the United States are woefully unprepared against an enemy that is continuously suffering from massive famines within its own borders.
"I couldn't find the slightest sign of an explosion," said Shin Sang-chul, a former shipbuilding executive-turned-investigative journalist. "The sailors drowned to death. Their bodies were clean. We didn't even find dead fish in the sea."
Shin, who was appointed to the joint investigative panel by the opposition Democratic Party, inspected the damaged ship with other experts April 30. He was removed from the panel shortly afterward, he says, because he had voiced a contrary opinion: that the Cheonan hit ground in the shallow water off the Korean peninsula and then damaged its hull trying to get off a reef.
"It was the equivalent of a simple traffic accident at sea," Shin said.
The Defense Ministry said in a statement that Shin was removed because of "limited expertise, a lack of objectivity and scientific logic," and that he was "intentionally creating public mistrust" in the investigation.
Even if there is no conspiracy and it was overwhelmingly obvious that North Korea was responsible, kicking people off the investigation panel (who were appointed by the opposition party no less) who disagree with the majority opinion is quite reprehensible.  How can you claim legitimacy in the findings of a report when all minority opinions are expelled and vehemently discredited.  Shin Sang-chul's credentials were good enough to get him on the panel in the first place, why would the Defense Ministry just decide he was not enough of an authority to contribute his opinion only after they heard it and it was contrary to what they wanted it to be.  

What if he had agreed with the findings that a North Korean torpedo sank the ship?  Would they still have apologized to him and kicked him off the panel for having "limited expertise"?  Of course not.  This incident alone discredits all the efforts of the entire panel and it was handled atrociously.  It gives the entire process the feeling of artificial due process and puppet panel experts.
Two South Korean-born U.S. academics have joined the chorus of skepticism, holding a news conference this month in Tokyo to voice their suspicions about the "smoking gun:" a piece of torpedo propeller with a handwritten mark in blue ink reading "No. 1" in Korean.
"You could put that mark on an iPhone and claim it was manufactured in North Korea," scoffed one of the academics, Seunghun Lee, a professor of physics at the University of Virginia.
Lee called the discovery of the propeller fragment five days before the government's news conference suspicious. The salvaged part had more corrosion than would have been expected after just 50 days in the water, yet the blue writing was surprisingly clear, he said.
"The government is lying when they said this was found underwater. I think this is something that was pulled out of a warehouse of old materials to show to the press," Lee said.
Another point concerning timing, but the marking itself is just very strange and raises many questions.  I found a picture of it from here.

Many questions are raised just by glancing at this "conclusive evidence".  Why is it that the fact that "no 1" written on the side of it implicates North Korea at all?  Anyone could have wrote that, including the Chinese, the Russians, the South Koreans, or the United States.  Additionally the entire marking is pristine.  This torpedo fragment survived an enormous blast, scorching high temperatures, and weeks underwater... yet the magic marker ink casually wrote in the side of it went untouched... not likely.

The LA Times article did not mention this, but when the Defense Ministry showed this "smoking gun" and held a press conference, the team presenting displayed the wrong torpedo diagram during their presentation.  The diagram that was supposed to be presented was of a CHT-02D torpedo (the one presented as the the torpedo that sank the Cheonan).  The thirty foot long poster display that was shown during the presentation was a model PT-97W... pretty sloppy work and the official explanation was just a "mix-up by a staff member while preparing for the presentation."
South Korean politicians say they've been left in the dark about the investigation.
"We asked for very basic information: interviews with surviving sailors, communication records, the reason the ship was out there," said Choi Moon-soon, an assemblyman with the Democratic Party.
The legislature also has not been allowed to see the full report by the investigative committee, only a five-page synopsis.
"I don't know why they haven't released the report. They are trying to cover up small inconsistencies, and that has cost them credibility," said Kim Chul-woo, a former Defense Ministry official who is now an analyst with the Korea Institute for Defense Analyses, a government think tank.
Indeed... why bother commissioning experts to a panel to file a report if it is to never be released?  That seems very odd to say the least.  Only allowing for a five-page synopsis to be released means that it was edited down and summarized.  Who edited it down?  Who had the ultimate authority to release the final five pages of information that was supposed to convince the world of North Korea's guilt?  

Once again, this whole process screamed of pre-determined bias in favor of North Korean guilt.  Which leads to a central argument in any conspiracy... if they are actually guilty, why is the South Korean government being so secretive about the whole process?  What other minority opinions or inconsistencies exist in the final report and why are they being kept from the public if North Korea is so obviously guilty?
A military oversight body, the Board of Inspection and Audit, has accused senior naval officers of lying and concealing information.
"Military officers deliberately left out or distorted key information in their report to senior officials and the public because they wanted to avoid being held to account for being unprepared," an official of the inspection board was quoted as telling the South Korean newspaper Chosun Ilbo.
The Cheonan, a 1,200-ton corvette, sank the night of March 26 about 12 miles off North Korea. The first report issued by Yonhap, the official South Korean news agency, said the ship had been struck by a torpedo, but soon afterward the story changed to say the ship sank after being grounded on a reef.
The military repeated that version for days. The audit board found that sailors on a nearby vessel, the Sokcho, who fired off 35 shots with a 76-millimeter cannon around the time of the sinking, were instructed to say they'd been shooting at a flock of birds, even though at first they had said they'd seen a suspected submarine on radar.
On April 2, as Defense Minister Kim Tae-young was testifying before the National Assembly, a cameraman shooting over his right shoulder managed to capture an image of a handwritten note from the president's office instructing him not to talk about North Korean submarines.
Such inconsistencies and reversals have fueled the suspicions of government critics. U.S. officials, however, say the panel's conclusion is irrefutable.
I remember the first couple days after the sinking there was a lot of confusion in the media and no coherent message or explanation from the government.  It appears that the military wanted to blame it on a torpedo attack right away, but the government held them back.  Perhaps if they waited to attribute blame once they provided proof (like the magic marker serial number?), then the world would be more likely to accept it?  The hours and days after the attack fuels conspiracies because the government and the military gave conflicting stories.

It also seems obvious that career military officers would lie about the events of that day to protect their reputations.  Nobody wants to be blamed for this or to have been accused of being negligent or unprepared.  However, if people have been falsifying information and giving misleading testimony, has the government bothered to sort it out and correct the testimony, even if it contradicts the official story of North Korea's guilt?  Also doubtful...

This whole incident might go no farther than the ship hit a reef and sank, and they want to blame an enemy so that the soldiers who died did so protecting their country, not due to a navigational error.
Pyongyang, meanwhile, denies involvement in the sinking and calls the accusation against it a fabrication.
South Koreans themselves appear to be confused: Polls show that more than 20% of the public doesn't believe North Korea sank the Cheonan.
Wi Sung-lac, South Korea's top envoy for North Korean affairs, says the criticism from within has made it difficult to get China and Russia on board to punish Pyongyang for the attack.
"They say, 'But even in your own country, many people don't believe the result,' " Wi said.
That is a whopping one-in-five South Koreans not believing that North Korea is responsible.  If the government thinks those numbers will decrease on their own and they can continue to stonewall these conspiracy theories, they are mistaken.  

If you want to hear some REALLY out there conspiracy theories, Russian Today Television seems to think that the Cheonan was sank by the United States to change public opinion in Japan to keep a military base on Okinawa.  Wow, that is a good one...

Friday, July 23, 2010

Who Do Koreans Want To Go On A Trip With?

The Korean Times is not impressing me with their mastery of the English language.  But to be fair, I feel like this survey conducted is a tad absurd to begin with.  No less humorous though.

South Korean nine-member group “Girls’ Generation” has been selected as “the most wanted celebrity with” at summer resort in a survey conducted for 12,050 male and female adults by state-run KBS music channel FM2.
The first runner-up was comedian Yoo Jae-suk, 38; followed by actor Lee Seung-ki, 23; singer and actor Rain, 28; soccer star Park Ji-sung, 29; and comedian Kim Je-dong, 36. 
By gender, men in general have chosen ‘Girls’ Generation’ No. one for vacation and women has selected Lee Seung-gi.
In terms of age group, those in their 20s and 30s have selected ‘Girls’ Generation,’ those in their 40s Lee Seung-ki and those in their 50s or older like lee Myung-bak, cinger Rain and football star Park Ji-sung most.
When asked what kind of music they like to listen during their vacation, Cho Yong-pil’s “Leaving for Vacation” and Sweden’s pop group ABBA’s “Dancing Queen” placed top in local and foreign popular song, respectively.
Not sure why but I got the biggest chuckle out of Koreans over the age of fifty wanting most President Lee Myung-bak and Singer Rain.  Kudos to the copy editing team that missed the spelling error of "cinger."  I feel like if they just had spell check they would have caught that one.

I am also unsure why ABBA is making such a big come back in Korea.  Koreans love Dancing Queen for some reason (is it not totally random?).  I found a sweet vid of Girls' Generation singing Dancing Queen.  Check it out...

Koreans Only Care About Money Apparently

I found this interesting article in the Chosun Ilbo titled "Koreans Most Materialistic People in the World".
More than two-thirds of Koreans consider money the most important sign of success, according to a Reuters/Ipsos poll released Tuesday. Korea and China topped the poll of 24,000 people in 23 countries on the question at 69 percent.

They were followed by India (67 percent) and Japan (63 percent).

But respondents in Western countries regard money as a less important indicator of success. A mere 27 percent of Canadians thought money spells success, followed by Swedes (28 percent), Dutch (29 percent), and French (32 percent).

Even in the U.S., only 33 percent of Americans agreed that money means success, and 67 percent disagreed. The worldwide average is 43 percent.

The young are more materialistic, with 48 percent of the under-35s seeing money as the hallmark of success, compared with 35 percent of those aged 55 and older.

Eighty-four percent of Koreans, Japanese and Chinese said money is more important than it used to be.
It is very interesting that all the countries that stress money as an indicator of success are in the East (China, Japan, Korea, and India).  This seemingly explains their rise in economic power over the last twenty years and transfer of GDP and growth from the West to the East.  Or maybe the causal relationship is the other way around.  Perhaps the West no longer values money because they are in decline and losing it.  They have to look elsewhere for happiness and prosperity in their future.

I realize there is a difference between materialistic and superficial... but they often have a strong correlation.  So enjoy this youtube tutorial I found of how to give yourself KPOP hair.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

USS George Washington Has Arrived

There have been numerous articles for the last couple months now in anticipation for the upcoming United States / South Korean war games exercises.  The significance is in the arrival of the USS George Washington Aircraft Carrier.

Article Source
The U.S. nuclear-powered aircraft carrier George Washington will steam into Busan Port on Wednesday in time for the "two plus two" meeting of the foreign and defense ministers of South Korea and the U.S.

On board a military aircraft bound for Seoul with U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates, Defense Department spokesman Geoff Morrell on Monday said the carrier will lie at anchor at Busan Port from Wednesday to Sunday. Three more American warships, including the destroyer McCampbell, will also visit Busan and Jinhae ports during the same period, he said.

It will be the first time since October 2008 that the 97,000-ton aircraft carrier visits Busan Port. It will host a reception and a number of guided tours for local residents, and some 300 crewmembers will visit a home for orphans and do volunteer work like repairing nearby school facilities.

Morrell said the George Washington's visit is a clear symbol of the strength of the alliance. The carrier will take part in drills over the months to come, he added.

The presense of the aircraft carrier is significant because it brings with it enough firepower and military force to actually conduct a war.  If the United States were to bring down the North Korean regime, they would need an aircraft carrier close by to fly planes and refuel.  Additionally, with the arrival of the aircraft carrier, all of its support ships arrive as well.  How many is uncertain, but it probably includes numerous submarines, destroyers, cruisers, frigates.  All told, there might be as many as thirty US Navy ships arriving to the waters of South Korea.  Between the planes in the skies and the guns on these ships, any nation on Earth could be destroyed several hundred times over.

The commitment of such a large amount of man and firepower is a threat that both the Chinese and North Koreans recognize.  Let us hope they can take a warning and just keep a cool head about further military incidents like the Cheonan in the future.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Taco Bell Arrives in Korea

If you head over to Chris in South Korea, he took some fun pictures of the recently opened and ONLY Taco Bell in South Korea.  Older expats are claiming this is not the first opened and there were others that pulled out due to slow buisness in the 1990s.  However, I think the number of North American waygooks in their twenties looking for cheap Mexican food has at least quadrupled since then.

The EV Boyz actually wrote a song last year demanding a Taco Bell in Korea.  Looks like they got what they wanted.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Korean Office Workers Average 4.1 Days Off in Summer

The Chosun Ilbo recently conducted a pretty large poll and released a series of articles showing their findings.  The one I thought most interesting was that this summer...

Employees with mid-sized to large firms will take an average of 4.1 days of summer vacation this year, each spending W448,000 on average, according to a poll of 363 businesses employing 100 or more by the Korea Employers Federation (US$1=W1,209).

The summer vacations for large companies average 4.7 days and those for medium-sized firms 3.9 days, down 0.3 and 0.2 days from last year.

Some 65.9 percent of businesses offer paid vacations, up 2.3 points from last year. Vacation spending is up from last year's W36,000. Big corporations are to dole out on average W584,000 in vacation pay per worker, and medium-sized companies W409,000.

Some 94.2 percent of companies planned to give their staff a few days off. Smaller firms with 95.1 percent were slightly ahead of big firms' 91.5 percent. A KEF official said this is because some big businesses, having adopted the 40-hour- week, have instead abolished special summer vacations or replaced them with some other kind of leave.
I do not know how Koreans can do it.  I go to my corner grovery store (Mountain Mart) and the same woman is there seven days a week, fourteen hours a day, every day that I have observed so far.  That is not how anyone should live.  No point to living if you never get to enjoy yourself and pursue your own interests.  There might be a connection here with South Korea's astronomical suicide rate...
This reminds me of an Al Jazeera clip I watched a few months back.  It is almost comical when you hear stuff like "employees must be told how to take a vaction."

Friday, July 16, 2010

Al Jazeera Spotlights Web Addiction in Korea

Al Jazeera English's program 101 East did a special on South Korea's increasingly higher growing levels of internet addiction.  Here's their promo blurb about the episode:
South Korea is one of the world's most wired countries. Up to 90 per cent of homes have high speed broadband internet access and 24-hour internet cafes are found on almost every street corner.

But this ready access to the web has come at a price, with the government classifying two million South Koreans as "internet addicts".

Much of this obsession is with online gaming, a problem that has long been treated as a teenage affliction.

But recent trends reveal a more worrying problem - growing numbers of adults are falling into online gaming obsessions and the consequences are severe, sometimes at the cost of lives.

Users have dropped dead from exhaustion after playing online games for days on end.

Earlier this year a young couple was sentenced when their baby died from malnutrition after the parents spent nightly 12-hour sessions on the net living in an online world.

The government is spending millions to educate the public about the dangers of internet addiction and to fund counseling centres for the web obsessed but the problem appears to be growing.

This week on 101 East, we look at the impact of internet addiction as more and more South Koreans get caught in the web.
The episode captures perfectly well the current situation in the country.

Internet addiction is real.  I was once an addict to online gaming back in 1999-2000 to an online World War II strategy game.  I was in high school at the time and it became my life.  I only existed in the real world so I could make it through the day and play online every afternoon and sometimes all night.  I lost all my friends and I was near failing out of school.  My father had to have an intervention and I was forced to give up playing any kind of video games at home for the rest of high school.

That was ten years ago, I cannot imagine how more appealing now are the better graphics, faster internet speeds, and more addicting games like World of War Craft.  This is a growing epidemic in developed countries (especially amongst teenage boys) and it needs to be recognized and treated like any other compulsive or chemical addiction.


Thursday, July 15, 2010

Hitler has to Desk Warm

***UPDATE***  If you liked this video, check out my latest parody of Hitler being replaced by an English teaching robot.

Something that native English teachers complain about in South Korea is desk warming.  For public schools there are usually 6-8 weeks vacation in winter and 4-6 weeks vacation in summer for the children.  There are always summer and winter camps, but they do not go the entire time vacation periods.

Usually during this period Korean teachers are allowed to "work from home" or are supposed to enroll in a class or in some other way improve themselves.  They do not have to come to school and sit at their desk for eight hours when there are no students to teach.  Increasingly, however, native English teachers are being forced to come and do nothing during the recess periods.

There are many reasons for it that I understand.  Mostly because there is no uniform policy between all the schools.  Native teachers themselves complain about other native teachers who may be getting more unofficial time off then they are.  Offices of Education are annoyed with people whining about this so they just restrict everyone to their minimum days of vacation to be "fair".

Another reason is because they think we are helpless children and if we wander off to Japan or Southeast Asia for a couple weeks we will either get arrested or decide to never come back to Korea.

Either way, this video is a reflection of our frustration and it is meant to be in good humor.  I like my job and I love South Korea.  But sometimes things can be frustrating here.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Useful TEFL / TESOL Links for ESL Teachers

I completed an online TEFL course last winter to increase myself a contract renewal level.  I enrolled in the i-to-i online course because it was the one that my recruitment company recommended to all their recruits.

I enjoyed it, and learned a few good things.  I would recommend it for other people, but because it is an entirely online course with no in class instruction, few places outside of Korea will recognize it if I wish to teach elsewhere abroad.  A lot of these online TEFL's are meant to be cheap and fast and Korea has such a demand for teachers that they are not too selective at the moment with which certifications people obtain.

At the end of each section there was a list of "useful links."  I compiled all the links from the entire course and here they are.  It is an impressive list and I have barely scratched the surface looking at them all.

Click read more to see the list of links...

1. Student Motivation, Teacher Roles and TEFL Methods Resources

English as a global language

  • The world's top languages
    A list of the languages spoken the most worldwide and the countries where English is spoken as an official language.
The learner

  • Needs of students I
    General observations about needs analysis with some excellent links within the text.
  • Needs of students II
    A look at some alternative ways to analyse students’ needs in addition to the traditional questionnaire.
  • Classifications of learners and learner styles
    Don’t panic, you don’t have to remember them all! What matters is to recognize that learners are all different and should be treated as individuals. You can even come up with your own classification if you like!
The teacher

  • The roles of a teacher
    Essay by Sara Erickson, MA English, Northern Illinois University in which she reflects on the roles a teacher plays, based on her personal experience.
TEFL methods

2. Classroom Management and Student Levels Resources
The key areas of classroom management

  • Student and classroom management
    Classroom management, management of student conduct, effective praise guidelines, and a few things to know about ESOL thrown in for good measure.
How to give instructions

  • General guidelines
    Sue Swift, a teacher with 30 years of experience, shows how you can make sure that your instructions are as clear and comprehensible as possible.

How to use the board

Seating arrangement

How to manage student behaviour

  • From behavioural observation to conflict resolution
    The printables and articles here will help you manage classroom discipline. Read veteran teacher's tips and advice on establishing rules and incorporating effective behaviour techniques in your classroom. You'll find advice for handling disruptive behaviour and environmental interventions for minimizing its effect on other students.

  • Students responsibility and self-management
    How to make our students take responsibility for managing their own behaviour? Whose Classroom is it? Building Student Responsibility and Self Management in Our Classrooms (an article by Judith A Gray, Ph.D.) provides some answers.

Student levels

3. An Introduction to English Grammar Resources

English glossary of grammar terms
A comprehensive glossary of language terms. In addition to grammar terms per se, includes terminology related to language styles, pronunciation and vocabulary.

Grammar reference pages
A collection of reference pages with explanations, examples, charts, quizzes and other grammar-related resources.

English parts of speech
Exercises testing your knowledge of parts of speech: nouns, adjectives, verbs, etc. Note that determiners are not regarded as a separate part of speech here and are included with adjectives.

English Nouns
More about English nouns and noun types.

The English tense system
The main facts you need to know about the English tenses. (Note that future with ‘going to’ is not included on the tense list, however most grammarians agree that it is a tense and it is to be treated as such in this TEFL course.)

Verb tense tutorial
Click each tense name to open up a detailed explanation of the tense with timelines and examples. The collection of exercises comparing tenses is intended for learners of English but it would be helpful for you as a teacher to go through them and consider the challenges students face as they attempt to distinguish between different tenses.

English conditionals

Conditional forms explained and examples provided.

Active and passive voice
The two voices explained and a short quiz.

Irregular verbs
A complete list of irregular verbs in the English language.

4. How to Teach Grammar Resources

Evaluating students’ grammatical knowledge

Assessing grammar
This Powerpoint presentation highlights the key principles of evaluating students’ grammar proficiency and includes some excellent techniques and exercises.

Grammar assessment test
This comprehensive online Grammar Assessment consists of four forms of one hundred questions each. Get your students to complete the forms to check their level and identify problem areas. If you are a non-native speaker you can test your own grammar!

Ways of teaching grammatical structures

Teaching grammar: Study materials
Handouts, textbook recommendations, lesson plans, activities, learning strategies for teaching grammar to each level.

TEFL FAQs: Teaching Grammar
This question and answer session contains some excellent tips for presenting grammatical structures.

70 characteristics of a good grammar presentation

70 may sound a lot but most of them are just common sense! Use this as a checklist to make sure your grammar presentations are effective.

Dave’s ESL Café Idea cookbook
A great menu of activities for teaching grammar.

Checking understanding of grammatical structures

Is this a concept check question?
Why are concept questions a useful technique?

Ways of checking understanding
The meaning of concept check questions and how to construct them. You will find some examples of useful concept questions here.

Focus on tenses

Top 10 Teaching Tenses Do’s and Dont’s
A teacher gives some excellent advice.

Teaching ESL verb tenses to adults
How to teach the form and function of English tenses? For ideas on teaching a specific tense, click the corresponding link in the tense chart at the bottom of the page.

Tense revision cards
Print these cards out, cut them up and use them as you practise tenses with your students.

Teaching tenses forum
Teachers from around the world share their ideas on how to teach English tenses.

Timeline and timeline activities
What are timelines and how can they be exploited in the classroom?

5. How to Teach Vocabulary Resources

The characteristics of a word

What is vocabulary?
A definition of vocabulary and an overview of different types of vocabulary.

Teaching new words

Teaching vocabulary
The article by Linda Diamond and Linda Gutlohn explores some key strategies and techniques of teaching vocabulary including a section on ways of teaching idioms.

Vocabulary-based Video Lessons
All your English vocabulary building exercises in one place in the form of ESL videos.

English vocabulary reference sheets

These cover a wide range of vocabulary - from basic required vocabulary such as the top 1000 words to advanced vocabulary topics such as core business English vocabulary sheets. A helpful resource for your lessons.

Vocabulary teaching FAQs
How should teachers incorporate vocabulary teaching into their classes? Dr Rob Waring answers some commonly asked questions, such as which words to teach and whether it is important to teach words in context.

10 techniques for teaching new vocabulary
More about miming, drawing and other techniques of teaching new words.

Ideas for vocabulary lessons

Dave’s ESL Café vocabulary cookbook

A wide range of vocabulary activities contributed by teachers from around the world.

Classroom activities for teaching vocabulary
An additional resource for a great number of games and activities.

6. How to Teach Pronunciation Resources

The aims of teaching pronunciation and some key terms

Sounds of English
An essential resource to explore for someone who is going to teach English pronunciation, with features ranging from printable pronunciation cards and tips for lesson activities to links to websites with authentic listening material and pronunciation resources, such as an accents archive. (Note that not all links in the handouts section are related to pronunciation).

The online phonetic typewriter
You can use this free tool to type phonemic symbols to be inserted in a word processor. You can also use it to produce the code needed to insert phonemic symbols in a web page.

Phonemic chart with sound
Click on each phonetic symbol and hear it pronounced. Use this resource with your students to help them learn the sounds and symbols.

Pronunciation lesson plans
Some excellent ideas and resources for teaching pronunciation to learners of all levels, including tongue twisters, teaching stress and practising the phonetic script.

Teaching pronunciation: a handbook for teachers and trainers
A comprehensive guide to teaching pronunciation, written by a team of Australian teachers.

Ideas on teaching
Articles from experienced teachers and ELT professionals on a wide range of subjects related to teaching pronunciation.

Teaching phonemes (sounds)

10 tried and true steps to teaching vowels and consonants
Read the teacher’s advice and click the link at the bottom for a video illustration.

Teaching tips and definitions
Some ideas for teaching phonemes and definitions of key terms.

Songs for teaching sounds
Fun songs that teach the vowel sounds, plus links to other pronunciation-teaching songs.

Teaching stress

Adding "Stress" to your students' oral proficiency
An illustration of how changing the logical stress in a sentence can change its meaning and how to practise it with students in a role-play activity.

Intonation and stress - key to understanding and being understood
An explanation of why English is considered a stress-timed language and how to demonstrate it to your students. Plus, some helpful links on pronunciation under the article.

Teaching intonation

Teaching English intonation to EFL/ESL students
An article analysing various stress and intonation patterns with plenty of examples. Do not be confused by the author’s choice of basic intonation patters, which is not identical to the set of patterns in this course. Every researcher or teacher has their own view on which patterns are essential to teach, and different approaches are valid.

7. Mistake Correction and Feedback Resources

Classifying mistakes

What is a mistake?
The definitions of a mistake, an error and other related words.

Error analysis and EFL classroom teaching
In this article, the author analyzes the difference between errors and mistakes, the significance of errors/mistakes, their causes and correction.

Methods of correction

Teaching Tips
Why mistakes are good. How to make error correction painless and productive.

What, when and how to correct
The author examines theories behind effective use of correction in the classroom. The article includes extracts from Jeremy Harmer’s famous book A Practical Guide to English Language Teaching.

A well-balanced use of error correction
What are the possible signs that you are correcting too many students’ errors and what are the possible signs that you aren’t correcting enough student errors?

Suggestions for effective error correction and language improvement
When and how to correct: the author reflects on his experience of teaching one-to-one.

15 error correction games
Exciting student-centred activities that will help your students get rid of many errors.

Correcting written work
The second half of the article concentrates on how to correct student writing.

TEFL Q-A: Marking homework

Some helpful advice on how to correct written homework.

Correction slots: in principle and practice
How to keep an ongoing record of students' mistakes and use your notes to improve their language skills in delayed correction.

Assessment and feedback EFL

Teaching Advice: Grading
How should you grade assignments in a fair and equitable way?

Dynamic assessment as a teaching tool
Erica Garb, PhD, explores three kinds of assessment – summative, formative and dynamic. She focuses on dynamic assessment, which is a merger between testing and learning.

8. How to Teach Speaking and Writing Resources

Teaching writing

Teaching Writing: Study materials
Writing topics, links, textbooks, ideas and lesson plans for different levels of ESL/EFL learners.

Writing lesson plans for English learners at all levels
More writing lesson plans for you here.

Writing strategies and tasks
A brief look at two writing strategies - free writing and revised writing, how to correct writing, and types of writing tasks.

How to be an effective EFL writing teacher
This essay discusses how to motivate our students to do writing tasks and make them confident writers, what kinds of assignments to give them, and how to give instructions and feedback.

Teaching Speaking

Teaching Speaking: Study materials
Ideas, lesson plans, handouts, textbook recommendations, fun, and games for teaching English speaking and conversation in ESL/EFL classes. A vast resource!

Conversation lesson plans for English learners at all levels
If the previous site wasn’t enough, here’s another great selection of speaking lesson plans and activities for your attention.

Activities to promote speaking in a second language
An exhaustive list of speaking activity types and some helpful suggestions for teachers.

TEFL Q and A: Teaching Speaking Skills
Some helpful Q&A on how to motivate your students to speak in class including how to conduct a ranking activity.

Discussions and debatesl
Debate and discussion activities for your classes, plus vocabulary and language for discussions/debates.

Using role-plays in class
Reasons why role-plays are helpful and some advice for using and managing role-plays.

Ideas for role-plays

A wide range of role-play scenarios and drama games for the EFL/ESL class.

Using poems to develop productive skills
Most of the tried and tested activities used regularly by language teachers can be adapted easily to bring poetry into the classroom. This article focusses on speaking and writing activities based on poetry, as well as some pronunciation activities.

9. How to Teach Listening and Reading Resources
Listening and reading: receptive skills

TEFL Q & A: Teaching listening skills
TEFL Q & A: Teaching reading skills
Some important principles and helpful techniques you need to know to teach the receptive skills effectively.

Why don’t they understand?
Teaching Listening: Top Down or Bottom Up?
Two excellent articles by Sue Swift. Why do students find listening comprehension so difficult, even when the language is apparently within their grasp? What are the top-down and bottom-up approaches to teaching listening?

What Do We Test When We Test Reading Comprehension?
This short but informative essay describes the three levels of student comprehension of a text that teachers need to test – literal, interpretive and critical.

Planning a receptive skills lesson

How to plan a listening lesson
In this article Sue Swift gives advice for effective planning of a listening skills lesson.

Ideas for listening lessons

Teaching Listening: Study materials
An excellent resource with plenty of ideas, activities, recommendations and soundtracks for teaching listening to students of all levels.

English listening quizzes
Lots of listening tests and quizzes for your students with soundtracks.

Songs to help you teach
A fantastic collection of song handouts that you can use in your lessons – grouped by language point and topic. A variety of activities based on each song.

Dictation as a language learning device
This paper introduces dictation as a valuable language learning device and suggests ways for using it in an effective and interesting manner.

Ideas for reading lessons

Teaching Reading: Study materials
Strategies, exercises, ideas, quizzes and links for teaching reading to students of all levels.

Developing reading activities
How to select appropriate reading activities for your lessons.

A Fun Reading Quiz Game
A creative way to motivate students to read and sustain their interest in reading through a student-centred activity in the form or a quiz.

Tips, quizzes and worksheets for developing your students’ skimming and scanning skills. Play ‘Who killed Angela Spelling’, a scanning skills game.

10. Lesson Planning Resources

The importance of lesson planning

Lesson planning for the EFL and ESL classroom
Why are lesson plans necessary and what are the generally agreed components of a lesson plan? After reading this article, click each of the four links beginning with ‘Lesson Plan Format’ in the ‘Expanded Concepts’ section for more information.

Lesson plans: tips for new teachers
What are the benefits and limitations of lesson plans? A teacher shares her experience.

Lesson planning advice
A few more tips to consider that will help you to teach with confidence.

Lesson planning from the heart
Duncan Ford, Director of Teacher Training at OxfordTEFL in Barcelona, Spain, suggests an alternative (flexible) approach to lesson planning.

A course syllabus

Intermediate course syllabus
See an example of a course syllabus for the intermediate level.

Syllabus design and templates
This site contains tips on how to put together a general syllabus for EFL/ESL study. Examples are provided through a comprehensive collection of detailed syllabuses for books in Pearson/Longman's New Parade series. Here you will also find downloadable templates that can be used or adapted to cater to a variety of timeframes.

Principles of effective planning

The lesson plan builder
This free membership site provides a customer friendly template to develop lessons for adult educators, provides sample lessons as models, stores lessons for future use and allows sharing with a group or publicly. Signing up is quick and easy.

Top lesson plans
A variety of excellent lesson plans contributed by teachers from around the world.

ESL/EFL lesson plans
A searchable database of lesson plans for all levels of learner.

BBC news archives for teachers
Download lesson plans based on BBC news articles.

11. Games and Activities Resources

Why games can be helpful

Games in the ESL and EFL class
What are games? What are their advantages? How to decide which game to use and when? This article provides the answers.

Teaching children with games
Some guidelines for using games to teach young learners. The author gives reasons why grammar is best taught with games and tips for using grammar games in class successfully.

Examples of games

Free ESL games and quiz corner
An excellent resource for interactive games, ESL activities and games for the classroom, online quizzes and hundreds of printable quiz questions in graded sets. Excerpts from articles and books on using games in language learning plus links to many other ESL game and activity resources online.

Games and activities: A to Z
A great selection of game ideas for kids, arranged alphabetically.

100 games and activities
100 grammar and conversation games and activities written by professional TEFL writers and grouped by learner level.

Six games for the EFL/ESL classroom
A few popular games for developing a variety of language skills.

The best end-of-term revision games
Interesting ideas for revision games including some board games.

Online crossword puzzle maker
Design your own crossword puzzle. Type in topical vocabulary, and a revision activity for your students will be ready in seconds.

12. Cultural Awareness in the Classroom Resources

A theory of culture

What is culture?
A definition of culture and why culture is like an iceberg.

Geert Hofstede’s website
Detailed information about Hofstede’s research and five Cultural Dimensions with Hofstede scores for more than 50 countries.

How to avoid making cultural mistakes

Intercultural competence
A definition or intercultural (cross-cultural) competence and some typical examples of cultural differences.

15 important cultural differences in the classroom
A list of some major cultural differences that can come up in class.

A list of faux pas
A teacher tells about the faux pas he made while working in Japan.

Essential culture guide
This excellent site contains a wealth of cultural information on almost 50 countries. Intended for business travellers, this can also be an invaluable resource for EFL teachers going abroad. It will give you an insight into local behaviour, dress code, levels of formality, and other characteristics of a culture. With links to other useful websites for each country.

Language, culture, customs and etiquette

This is another vast resource with cultural information on about 90 countries. Together with the previous site, it should give you a comprehensive view of your cultures of interest.

Cross cultural quizzes

Test your knowledge of different cultures, customs and etiquettes with a few cross-cultural quizzes.

Understanding another culture

Practical techniques for teaching culture in the EFL classroom

Tips and techniques for teaching culture of English-speaking countries.

Role play in teaching culture
A step-by-step guide to making up a successful role play and preparing learners for intercultural communication.

13. Finding Work Resources
Applying for a teaching position
Resume and CV resources for job seekers
A collection of the best resume writing resources on the Web – for all types of job-seekers in all job-search situations.
Adapting your CV to apply for a TEFL job
No matter how excellent your original CV is, it may end up in the Director of Studies’ wastepaper basket if it is irrelevant to the TEFL job you are applying for. Find out how it can be rewritten to impress the DOS.
CV writing tips
Top 10 tips for writing a successful CV/resume.
Writing a TEFL cover letter
Some do’s and don’ts of writing a successful letter of application to accompany your CV.
A winning cover letter
How to organize your cover letter paragraph by paragraph.
TEFL interviews. What to expect
Some questions you are likely to be asked in your interview for a TEFL job, with suggested answers.
What are TEFL job interviews like?
Why TEFL interviews aren’t like interviews for any other type of job.
Job interview questions and answers
Many examples of questions asked by interviewers with suggestions for how to answer them in the best possible way. Click ‘Job interview tips’ at the top of the page for other job interview links.
Your questions to the interviewer
The ten most important questions to ask your future employer and the reasons why they are important.
TEFL career portal
The world’s most popular source of international English language teaching jobs. Post your resume online and view international jobs in real time. There are more than 15,000 registered employers, who post vacancies on a daily basis.
Teaching destinations
Teach English overseas: A stepping stone to international careers
Author of the bible on working abroad, The Big Guide to Living and Working Overseas Jean-Marc Hachey lists many of the major motivations for teaching English abroad.
What to expect, how to prepare
Myths and realities of teaching English abroad.
Bad English language schools can happen to good teachers
Why it is important to consider you teaching job offer carefully. Includes links to other related articles, school blacklists and ratings.
Teaching English in Western Europe
An overview of job prospects for teaching English in Western Europe, with links to articles on teaching in selected countries and cities.
Teaching English in Central and Eastern Europe
An overview of job prospects for teaching English in Central and Eastern Europe, with links to articles on teaching in selected countries and cities.
Teaching English in Asia
An overview of job prospects for teaching English in Asia, with links to articles on teaching in selected countries and cities.
Teaching English in Latin America
An overview of job prospects for teaching English in Latin America, with links to articles on teaching in selected countries and cities.

Teaching English in the Middle East and Eastern Mediterranean
An overview of job prospects for teaching English in the Middle East and Eastern Mediterranean. There are no links to specific countries from the webpage, but the existing links are as follows:

Teaching English in Africa
The practical information you need to get work in Africa.
BBC country profiles
Full profiles provide an instant guide to history, politics and economic background of all the world’s countries and territories, and background on key institutions. They also include audio and video clips from BBC archives.

***Teaching English One-to-One Resources

Adapting lessons to individual needs

The content and methodology of one-to-one teaching
How does the course content and methodology that you use in a one-to-one course differ from that of a group course? Should it differ at all? How to organise pairwork in one-to-one classes? Where can you get your materials?

Teaching one-to-one: teacher forum
Teachers from different countries who teach one-to-one tell about their experience and give advice.

Teaching private students
On benefits and legal aspects of teaching privately.

Learning styles
More about the learning styles and activities suitable for each type of learner.

Dealing with potential problems

One-to-one: Methodology
A set of tips on the methodology of one-to-one teaching. Advantages and disadvantages of one-to-one teaching for teachers and students and how to minimise the disadvantages. You will also find some activities for teaching one-to-one classes here.

What makes one-to-one classes different
More about the advantages and disadvantages of one-to-one classes and the approaches to take to overcome the disadvantages.

Teaching VIPs
The challenges of teaching VIPs privately and some solutions from an experienced teacher.

How much control to give one-to-one TEFL students?

A teacher explains why it was difficult to carry out her lesson plans with one of her private students and recommends what to do when a student wants the lesson to go his or her way.

Lesson activities

Private teaching
Ideas for one-to-one classes contributed by teachers from around the world.

One-to-one lessons
A set of lessons and lesson formats for teaching one-to-one classes.

Teaching children one-to-one
Tips and activities that will make your one-to-one classes with kids memorable and fun.

***Teaching English to Young Learners Resources

Some things to consider when teaching children

Children’s development
Three articles focusing on how 4-12 year-old children learn at different stages of their development and what kinds of classroom activities best address their cognitive, motor, language and social development.

The Questioning Approach to teaching kids

An overview of the Questioning Approach – a humanistic approach to teaching English to kids – and its comparison with other approaches.

Teaching a child one to one

How to plan a fun and rewarding one-to-one class with a young learner.

Teaching phonics to young learners

Strategies for teaching phonics
Some useful and fun activities for teaching phonics to kids.

How to teach sounds and reading
How to teach children phonics and their relation to alphabet letters. How to teach basic reading skills. Intended for teachers and parents of native-speaking children, many of the ideas here can also be adapted to your ESL/EFL classes.

Teaching language units to young learners

Beginning to teach vocabulary
Four articles on how to present and practise new vocabulary with young learners.

Teaching skills to young learners

Beginning to teach reading and writing
Four articles on how to introduce letters and words and what reading/writing games you can play with your young students.

Storytelling and drama
How to incorporate story-based lessons and drama activities into your lessons with young learners.

Discipline in the classroom

How to deal with discipline issues in an EFL classroom
Tips and techniques for for dealing with misbehaving children. Find three more links in the Expanded Concepts section for excellent advice, information, and help with discipline issues in the classroom.

No learning without fun, no fun without learning

An excellent website with free printable worksheets, video lessons, games and other resources for kids.

ESL lesson material for children
A wide variety of worksheets, flash cards, video materials, exercises, quizzes, games and ideas for teaching children.

Teaching kids: idea cookbook
Lots of games and activities contributed by teachers from around the world.

Games in children’s classes

More games for children plus a few articles on how to use games in class.

Using games in teaching young learners
How to choose a suitable game for a class of young learners, some teaching hints and suggestions, and a game idea.

***Teaching Large Classes Resources

Preparing to teach a large class

Teaching large classes: Idea thinktank
Advantages and challenges of teaching large classes, strategies for managing a large class and activities to use.

Tips for large classes
Lots of tips for meeting the challenges of teaching a large class and making the experience enjoyable and memorable for you and your students.

Staying in control of a large class

How to grab students’ attention and other tips for managing a large class of students.

Teaching large classes of small children
Advice for teaching English to large classes of small children in situations where classroom resources are limited, with several example lesson sequences.

The Teaching Large Classes project
The Teaching Large Classes project was funded by the Australian Universities Teaching Committee. Check out the Resources, Guidelines, Case Studies and Bulletin Board sections of this site for a variety of information, suggestions and links that may be useful to the large class coordinator or teacher. The site is not, however, designed for EFL teachers and contains theory and examples of teaching other subjects to large classes.

Learner levels

Classroom management: teaching mixed-ability classes

Advice and suggestions for teaching English to multilevel classes.

Collaboration and grouping students

A group forming activity for EFL/ESL students

This short information gap activity helps to increase discipline, energy and cohesion within a classroom before important group tasks. It is particularly helpful for large classes.

Group formation
Tips on group formation contributed by teachers from around the world.

Team English for large classes
The practical aspects of dividing students into groups or teams.

Teaching multi-level classes
How to determine students’ needs, choose strategies and select materials. Includes a few ideas for collaborative activities in a large multi-level class.

Student engagement and motivation

Ideas for large classes and different ways to approach content

Listen to an American teacher describe his experience of teaching large classes in China. How does he get his students to speak English?

Assessment and feedback

Assessing large classes

Methods and principles of assessment and providing feedback to large classes.

Examples of activities for a large class

Tips and suggestions for teaching large classes
Some tips and activities for classes of up to 150 students.

15 activities for large pre-school classes
How to adapt 15 most popular pre-school English games and activities in smaller classes so that they become the most popular activities in large kindergarten classes too.

Activities for large classes: teacher forum
Participants of this forum suggest activities for a large class which they have found useful in their teaching.

***Teaching with Limited Resources

The challenges and rewards of teaching with limited resources

The Station Approach
What the Station Approach is and how it can be used to compensate for inadequate resources, keep students motivated and eliminate behaviour problems.

Working with minimal resources – a teacher’s experience

Karen Waterston, a teacher trainer who has recently returned from Mongolia, tells about her experience of teaching in a limited-to-no-resources classroom and how she managed to compensate for the scarcity of resources.

Using realia

Realia – the objects we use
A definition of realia, the reasons to use it in class and a selection of activities involving realia.

Using creative thinking to find new uses for realia
Some creative ways to use simple everyday objects to teach language points and make your classes memorable and exciting.

Drawing upon experience and imagination

Conversation questions for the ESL/EFL classroom

Thousands of questions you can ask your students to find out their opinions on a variety of topics, generate discussion and draw on their life experience without using any additional resources. The topics are listed alphabetically.

Activities and lesson planning

Teaching with minimal resources
A treasure trove of games, activities and lesson sequences for teaching with minimal or no resources.

Teaching teenagers with limited resources
Lots of ideas for activities in the classroom that can be done with very limited classroom and school resources – particularly suitable for teenagers.

***Grammar Resources

English glossary of grammar terms
A comprehensive glossary of language terms. In addition to grammar terms per se, includes terminology related to language styles, pronunciation and vocabulary.

Grammar reference pages
A collection of reference pages with explanations, examples, charts, quizzes and other grammar-related resources.

English parts of speech
Exercises testing your knowledge of parts of speech: nouns, adjectives, verbs, etc. Note that determiners are not regarded as a separate part of speech here and are included with adjectives.

English Nouns
More about English nouns and noun types.

The English tense system
The main facts you need to know about the English tenses. (Note that future with ‘going to’ is not included on the tense list, however most grammarians agree that it is a tense and it is to be treated as such in this TEFL course.)

Verb tense tutorial
Click each tense name to open up a detailed explanation of the tense with timelines and examples. The collection of exercises comparing tenses is intended for learners of English but it would be helpful for you as a teacher to go through them and consider the challenges students face as they attempt to distinguish between different tenses.

English conditionals

Conditional forms explained and examples provided.

Active and passive voice
The two voices explained and a short quiz.

Irregular verbs
A complete list of irregular verbs in the English language.
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