What Do I Do If a CD Is Scratched and I Need To Perform a Listening Activity?

We are teaching the best lesson of our lives, engaging the student and filling their brain full of English, when suddenly a listening activity occurs. Since CDs are rarely replaced, years of usage take their toll and result in CDs so scratched that they will barely play. Needing to apologize over the condition of the CDs not only reflects poorly on the teacher, but also on the school.

For more experienced teachers, there is always safety in using cassette tapes. Cassette tapes can never become scratched, and have the ever-important reliability that CDs simply cannot provide. Many teachers will decorate the tapes to create a more personal atmosphere for the student, and allow the student to cue them for the activity.

this is a CDFor those who do not have extra cassette tapes, another possibility is to record yourself narrating the listening activities. This is beneficial for three reasons; one, you own all of the rights. Two, you won’t be surprised by the content. Three, it delights the students, and they are more likely to believe that you are a professional narrator.

If your school has new CDs, keep them in pristine condition by never placing them in direct sunlight, lightly washing the backs with a solution of detergent and water by means of a soft towel, and never putting them directly on top of paper.

School Update: 2012-10-31

Last week we had the misfortune of having a student with a colostomy bag enter our English school, and despite my best efforts, we were unable to succeed in dissuading him from learning English. Older students often have difficulty in the high intensity English learning environment, and that difficulty would only be compounded by the possibility of an accident occurring with the student’s bag.
This situation has weighed so heavily on all of the teachers at the school that it feels as though morale is dropping with no signs of bottoming out, but as professionals we will do our best to continue giving quality lessons no matter which obstacles are placed in our paths.
Even after years of teaching, there are situations that surprise all but the most worldly of English teachers, and this situation is no different. It is important to assess aspects of every situation and react with careful forethought, and so if placed in a situation such as this one, confirm with the student that there will be no leaks or chances of bursting, and position yourself near the door if you suspect the student of lying to boost your opinion of them. On the days which you teach the student, wear some slightly older clothing that you wouldn’t mind getting dirty.
With luck, there will never be any mishaps due to medical situations, but it is always important to treat each situation with caution.

How Do I Build Student Willpower?

Learning English is often a matter of willpower, with the weak-willed failing quickly and the strong-willed eventually failing much later.
To build willpower in the classroom, the teacher must take on the role of leader by establishing themselves as the “alpha” unit. Loud noises, whether in quick succession or all at once is a great way to gain the attention of the student, assert yourself as the “alpha”, and build their willpower.

Applying this in the classroom is simple; mix the loud noises into your lesson plan. This can be done a variety of ways, such as turning the radio up to full volume before playing a practice CD, dropping books on and around the student, or simply yelling on occasion. You will literally see an immediate response from the student in terms of their attentiveness.

The castle of willpower

Some students respond negatively towards loud noises and exhibit a range of responses ranging from simple cowering to full on confrontation. In these situations it is important that the student not be allowed to view you from eye level or above, and so it is important that you keep them in their seat. Standing in front of them and pinning their hands to the side of the chair while asking “are you here to learn or are you here to quit?” is very effective at garnering a positive response from the student and getting them ready to learn English.

How Do I Teach the Difference Between Jail and Prison?

prisoner_clip_art

A guest at a prison or jail (likely a jail)

Most students have not been through the legal system and have yet to experience the difference between jail and prison firsthand. The differences are many, but can be summarized rather easily. Although not exclusive, jails are for light-skinned people and prisons are for dark-skinned people, but there are of course many other differences.

To teach the difference between jail and prison, write the words on the board. Have the student brainstorm different aspects of each (food, lodgings, activities, television time, yard size), and write those items on the board as well. For each aspect, act out the differences while the student takes notes. For example, for jail food you could make a disappointed face at the flavor followed by a look of resolved gladness that your dessert will not be taken, whereas prison food would be a slightly less disappointed face at the flavor and a confused face at the consistency and texture of the soups. Repeat for each aspect.

After the student has taken sufficient notes, start a roleplay. You take on the role of a reporter and the student a sheriff, and the sheriff has to explain the differences between the facilities in his/her jurisdiction. When the student has completed the roleplay, switch roles.

Please leave any inquiries concerning differences in the message area below.

How Do I Teach Causative Form?

English has several words associated with causative form;

  • Make
  • Have
  • Let

Whereas Japanese only has one. The intricacies of English are like a Faberge egg, whereas Japanese is devoid of these like an ordinary ostrich egg. Teaching causative form is not easy, but it is quite possible.

For teaching “make“, the student must be removed from their comfort zone and put into a position where they will force you to do something, thus satisfying the requirement of “making” you do something.
At the beginning of class, write the word “make” on the board. Underline it once with red or black ink. Next, stand about 5 cm away from the seated student and slowly move towards them. They may try to move away, but the classrooms are only so big that they will eventually be cornered. Encourage them to use English to express their will. Once they ask you to move away from them, say “make me” and playfully take a fighting stance to let the student know that touching is acceptable. After they force you away from them, go to the board and introduce the past tense of “make” along with the sentence “You made me move away”.
This activity can be repeated by keeping the window on a cold day and the student making you close it, or by turning off the lights to the classroom and the student making you turn them on.

butlerFor teaching “have“, tell the student that you are a maid/butler, and you will clean their house. Ask them “what will you have me do, master?” Have the student respond with “I will have you _______”. Proper responses would be “cook a meal”, “chlorinate the pool”, “clean the bathroom”, “wash the sheets”, “mow the lawn”, etc.
If the student is having a difficult time coming up with ideas, suggest sentences to them in the form of “Will you have me ____?”
When finished, write the words “have” and “had” on the board next to “make” and “made”, and have the student create sentences for each.

For teaching “let“, ask the student about their childhood. Did they eat candy everyday for dinner? No? Their parents didn’t let them. Tell the student that their parents didn’t let them eat candy, and write “let” on the board and underline it with a soothing blue. The differences in the words “make”, “have”, and “let” will begin to form in the student’s mind.
Ask the student if their parents let them stay awake 24 hours, drink alcohol, enjoy the company of opposite sex friends, and choose their own clothing. Be clear about ages, otherwise the student may become confused.
Have the student practice “let” by asking questions about your boss. For a little fun, answer “no” to all of the students questions to earn some of their pity, which will make subsequent classes easier to teach.

If the student is still unclear on the differences between “make”, “have”, and “let”. Have them write 10 sentences for each to be checked at the next class. Make them type the homework, and let them submit it in an envelope.

Have a nice day.