What Every EFL Teacher Ought to Know About Lesson Planning

What is a lesson plan?

A lesson plan is a framework for a lesson. If you imagine a lesson is like a journey, then the lesson plan is the map. It shows you where you start, where you finish and the route to take to get there. Essentially the lesson plan sets out what the teacher hopes to achieve over the course of the lesson and how he or she hopes to achieve it. Whatever the level of experience, it is important that all teachers take time to think through their lessons before they enter the classroom and write clear notes about what they will do through each lesson.

Why is lesson planning important?

One of the most important reasons to plan is that the teacher needs to identify his or her objectives for the lesson. Teachers need to know what it is they want their students to be able to do at the end of the lesson that they couldn’t do before. Here are some more reasons for lesson planning to be important:

* gives the teacher the opportunity to predict possible problems and therefore consider solutions.

* makes sure that the lesson is balanced and appropriate for class.

* gives teacher confidence.

* it is generally good practice and a sign of professionalism.

What are the principles of lesson planning?

* Objectives – considering realistic goals for the lesson, not too easy but not too difficult. You may find the following checklist useful:

  1. What do the students know already?
  2. What do the students need to know?
  3. What did you do with the students in the previous class?
  4. How well do the class work together?
  5. How motivated are the students?

* Variety – an important way of getting and keeping the students engaged and interested.

* Flexibility – expect the unexpected! Things don’t always go to plan in most lessons. Experienced teachers have the ability to cope when things go wrong. It’s useful when planning to build in some extra and alternative tasks and exercises. Also teachers need to be aware of what is happening in the classroom. Students may raise an interesting point and discussions could provide unexpected opportunities for language work and practice. In these cases it can be appropriate to branch away from the plan.

Effective lesson planning is the basis of effective teaching. A plan is a guide for the teacher as to where to go and how to get there. However – don’t let the plan dominate – be flexible in your planning so that when the opportunities arise you can go with the flow.

What are the three main elements of English lesson planning?

When thinking about planning an English lesson it is useful to keep in mind three elements: EngageStudyActivate

Engage
This means getting the students interested in the class. Engaging students is important for the learning process.

Study
Every lesson usually needs to have some kind of language focus. The study element of a lesson could be a focus on any aspect of the language, such as grammar or vocabulary and pronunciation. A study stage could also cover revision and extension of previously taught material.

 Activate
Telling students about the language is not really enough to help them learn it. For students to develop their use of English they need to have a chance to produce it. In the activate stage the students are given tasks which require them to use not only the language they are studying that day, but also other language that they have learnt.

And here’s the Five-Stage EFL Lesson Plan

If you want to plan your EFL lesson, follow the following five stages:

*First, set the instructional objectives.

These are what you expect your students will do by the end of the lesson.
Here is the instructional objective statement
By the end of the lesson; students will be able to
pronounce … correctly
write …. correctly
identify …
apply rules of certain structure
put certain words in sentences
change from active into passive
report certain sentences
compare two things or more
read a text fluently
answer some given questions
use a model composition for writing another
match words with …
distinguish elements
list …
classify …
contrast …
differentiate …

The above verbs are clear observable and measurable

*The second stage is warm-up 5 minuets
Teacher revises the previous lesson.
Teacher checks the homework.
Teacher corrects common mistakes.

*The third stage is presentation 15 minuets
In this stage the teacher presents his/her lesson through situations.
The teacher in this stage is the informant and the student tries to understand.
The teacher writes the steps of what he/she does in this stage.

*The fourth stage is practice 15 minutes
In this stage the teacher writes what the students do for example answering exercises.
The teacher in this stage works as a conductor.
The work is done by the students.

*The fifth stage is assessment 10 minutes
This is the findings of the lesson.
It is the effects of the teacher on his/her students.
It is the achievement of the students.
Teacher checks their learning according to the instructional objectives.
Here, the teacher will see whether he/she has achieved what he/she has expected or not. If he failed he/she should reteach the lesson in different technique.

Lesson Planning Basics:

* Know your school – What room are you in? – This may influence what kind of activity you can do. What materials and equipment can you use in class? What is the syllabus of the course? – And so on.

* Know your students – Base your materials and activities around the needs and character of your group.

* Know your subject – If it’s a grammar point, make sure you understand how that language is used and formed – If it’s vocabulary, check pronunciation and spelling and so on.

* Have clear aims – Set realistic and appropriate for your class.

* Engage your students – Keep the students motivated, warmed up and engaged.

* Involve the students in the process – Try to give them as much time using the language as possible. Personalize language work so they can use English for describing their own lives. Elicit where possible, don’t lecture. Always assess their learning and give them effective feedback.


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Why You Should Read Aloud to Your Primary Students

Reading aloud is an important component of the primary level English lesson. The teacher usually reads aloud stories or conversations while the students listen or follow in their books. When you read aloud to your students, you help them to find pleasure and enjoyment in the new language, promote their understanding and encourage them to read independently. Here are the main five advantages of teacher reading aloud in the primary classroom.

1. Reading aloud provides a reading model:

It is essential that the students at the elementary level hear a model of correct pronunciation, stress, and intonation. You can encourage students to point to the words as you read aloud. In this way, you model the reading process and promote development of print concepts, the alphabetic principle, phonic knowledge and sight vocabulary. Reading aloud fiction is powerful as it engages students’ imaginations and attention, gives them experience with stories from other cultures, helps them to learn how various kinds of literature are organized, and motivates them to read further in the new language.

2. Reading aloud enriches students’ vocabulary:

Reading aloud in EFL class can expose students to a wider range of vocabulary. The teacher can add synonymous and antonymous for vocabulary found in their textbooks. Students’ vocabulary improves when the teacher reads folk tales from their own and other cultures, fairy tales, fables, and non-fiction material about the world around them. The illustrations in these stories help students to make guesses about unknown vocabulary. Talking about the story afterwards engages students in using this new vocabulary in a natural way.

The amount of vocabulary, language acquisition and students’ oral language proficiency in English are all developed in the classroom when the teacher reads aloud to students in rich environment surrounded by pictures, gestures and other explanatory and visual aids.

3. Reading aloud establishes the reading-writing connection:

Reading aloud can lead the learners to understand the many purposes of the printed word: to inform, to persuade, to entertain. In this way, the teacher involves students in the various functions of print. In addition, it can reinforce the visual image of the target vocabulary during the early stages of reading. When reading fiction aloud, we encourage students to enter into the meaning-making process which is the essence of reading.

4. Reading aloud improves listening comprehension:

The purpose of reading aloud in the elementary stage is to facilitate comprehension for beginning English language learners so that they may enjoy the language. Young learners enjoy listening to stories. Reading aloud attracts students’ attention. You can help your students listen and comprehend by stopping at certain places in the book to discuss a picture as it relates to the story or to review the plot. You may also focus comprehension by asking prediction questions as you go along. Don’t be afraid to read stories more than once. Students learn from and enjoy the repetition.

5. Reading aloud promotes joy during the language lesson:

When the teacher reads a story aloud, students get into a magical world. They are removed from their everyday lives to different places and different times. They are introduced to characters who are larger than life and to opportunities to experience adventure and magic. Here are more five advantages of reading aloud to your primary students especially stories.

  • Reading stories aloud helps students to cope with their own emotions and to feel that they are a part of the world
  • Reading stories aloud makes concepts vivid and clear by illustrating them rather than simply explaining
  • Reading stories aloud can help the lesson be alive for
  • Reading stories aloud will motivate students to try to understand the new
  • Reading stories aloud can enhance your students’ imagination & ability to speak well.

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Ten Things Make Some EFL Teachers More Effective Than Others

There are many EFL teachers around the world but not many of them are effective. Effective EFL teachers are defined as those who have a clear impact on their students. Effective EFL teachers do not only make their students love and learn English easily and quickly but their students are found always looking forward to the English lessons and transferring what they have learned inside the classroom to the outer world. You do not need to have a professional certificate to be an effective EFL teacher, but it’s a matter of loving your profession and accumulating experience that will help you do certain things that always make you an EFL effective teacher. Here are ten of these things that you should consider if you want to join EFL effective teachers.

1. Well-mentally prepared:
Effective teachers always know the course materials and the outcomes of each unit very well in advance. They usually design a curriculum map for the whole course and get an overview of the new vocabulary and structures included in each unit. Moreover, they have a well-written plan for each lesson based on “Teacher’s Guide if available. They include the main six things in their lesson plan. As a result, when they enter the classroom for teaching, they become really well-mentally prepared.

2. Setting SMART objectives:
Setting SMART objectives is one of the main six things effective teachers include in their preparation notes. S stands for specific , M for measurable, A for achievable, R for realistic and T for time-bound. They do not only set right and clear objectives but they always put these objectives in their mind while teaching and try their best to achieve them at the end of the lesson.

3. Using teaching aids:
Effective teachers know well that using teaching aids in the classroom can facilitate students’ learning and attract their attention so they never enter the classroom without one teaching aid at least. Moreover, they use different and various teaching aids to address different students’ learning styles. They use pictures, flashcards, drawings, audio files, word maps, charts, diagrams, wall sheets and any other aids that can save effort and time, and make the lesson more interesting, and encourage more language practice.

4. Managing the classroom well:
Without classroom management, teachers won’t be able to deliver the message or achieve the learning objectives. So, effective teachers always follow certain system to manage their classes. Their students usually do what they want them to do. The atmosphere in the classroom is friendly and comfortable so students always respond positively to their teachers. Even if there are some discipline problems or misbehavior, effective teachers deal with them immediately and treat the source not the symptoms of these problems. As a result, noise heard from effective teachers’ classrooms is one described as “Healthy Noise”, as students’ learning occurs all the time of the lesson.

5. Having a good command of the language:
Effective teachers speak English fluently and they use English as much as possible in the class, even if they give instructions, or even if their students don’t know the meaning of some words. They can know the meaning by many means such as miming or pointing. Moreover, effective teachers try their best to pronounce vocabulary and structures as native speakers do. They do so with the help of talking dictionaries which they always use to check the pronunciation of any item they don’t know before. A good command of the language also includes continuing professional development and being aware of the latest trends of learning and teaching EFL.

6. Using different kinds of class organization:
Effective teachers don’t depend on only one kind of class organization such as whole class, pairs, groups or individuals. They use all these kinds of class organization in the classroom. They base the use of each kind on the learning objectives,  the kind of activity, and the time dedicated to it.

7. Creating real-life situations for students to use the new language:
Learning a language means mainly using and talking it not just talking about it or its grammatical items. Effective teachers know this fact well and know also that the language is a means not an end, so they present the key language structures and expressions, and then create realistic situations in the classroom where students are encouraged to practice and use the new language learned before. Effective teachers always endeavor to improve their students’ communication skills applying communicative approach principles.

8. Increasing students’ talk time as much as possible:
It’s students who should learn not teachers, so students should always talk and express themselves saying, repeating, practicing and producing the language. Effective teachers create as many opportunities as possible for students to talk and communicate with the teacher or with their friends inside or outside the classroom.

9. Assessing students’ learning of the lesson frequently:
Classroom assessment is very important to show to what extent the learning objectives were achieved. It doesn’t matter whether it is formative or summative assessment but the most important thing is that it should continue along the course and take as various forms as possible. So, effective teachers always ask their students oral questions, assign them some exercises to do at home and check them after done, give them regular quizzes, conduct periodical written tests, ask them to cooperate in doing a project, and other more assessment techniques they usually follow. Moreover, sometimes, they design some  more creative ones to assess their students’ learning. Immediately after each kind of assessment, effective teachers give their students the suitable feedback and make them feel a sense of progress or achievement in their journey of learning.

10. Wrapping up the lesson at the end:
It’s the question: “What have we learnt today?” with which effective teachers end their lesson every day, eliciting the main points tackled in the lesson from students. By answering this question, students will be more aware of the objectives of the lesson and assess themselves whether they achieve these objectives or not. After wrapping up the current lesson, effective teachers may give students a general idea about the next lesson to make the required link between the previous and the following learning.

These are the ten things winch – as I think – make some EFL teachers more effective than others. Let me know what you think of them, and what else you think a teacher should do to join EFL effective teachers. Don’t hesitate to comment and give me your feedback.


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Ten Tips for Effective Use of the Board in Teaching EFL

As a teacher of EFL, your board is a memory tool for things you want your students to remember. It is also a helpful tool to keep you on track with the lesson. What should your board look like? In what way can you organize it? How can you get the best use of it? In this article we are going to give you some tips to consider when using the board or while writing on it.

1. Stand right:

While writing on the board, stand sideways without hiding what you are writing and keep eye contact with your students.

2. Prepare your text:

Prepare beforehand what you are going to write on the board. You can imagine an A4 paper as your board and write on it your text in advance, and then copy this prepared text to the classroom board.  Be focused and write as quickly as you can.

3. Keep it neat:

Try your best to make your writing look neat and clear. You can walk to the back of the classroom and check how your board looks like. Your writing should be big and straight enough. If you think something is not clear enough, do rub it out and write it again.

4. Keep students’ attention:

While writing, keep your students’ attention by reading the key words and phrases aloud. You can also pause for a while and ask a student to read what you have written.

5. Give clear instructions:

Tell students exactly what you want them to copy and at which time you want them to finish copying. After you finish, stand back and let them complete copying. When time finished, say “Stop copying. You can continue copying when I finish explaining”.

6. Organize your board:

Divide the board into three sections: the left one for key vocabulary and phrases, the right one for questions or home assignment, and the center for main structures or language focus. Try to leave a space under each section for temporary items that you can rub out as you go along the lesson.

7. Make important features noticeable:

important features are the points which you want your students to distinguish and remember such as auxiliary verbs, irregular endings, pronouns, contracted forms, … etc. You can do so by underlining them, using different colored pens/chalk, circling them or even making them italic.

8. Use tables for prompting:

Build these tables with students, then use them for controlled practice that are aimed at achieving accuracy such as substitution and transformation drills.

9. Use diagrams, mind/word maps and time lines:

You can use these aids on the board to clarify time, space, quantity or to increase the stock of vocabulary.

10. Stick items on the board:

You can use the surface of the board to display all sorts of items such as posters, flashcards, pictures, … etc. and have students to come out to the board for oral work pointing to or talking about these items.

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The Eight Ways to Engage Shy Students in Speaking Tasks

Supporting and encouraging shy students within classroom can sometimes be one of the most important things that the teacher should focus on. But first, you should think about it, some students are naturally introvert and quiet. They like to be silent. So, your mission is not to turn them into extroverted students, but your aim is to increase their self-confidence and improve their speaking skill. It may take some time, but you can have positive results in the end. Just be patient an persist.

Don’t make special exceptions for “shy” students in the class as this will bring attention to them and create more anxiety for them. Here are ten suggestions you can try to encourage and support shy students in your class

1. Build a relationship with them:

Find out their likes and dislikes and then make their interests as triggers for them to speak and answer questions. Explain to them that there is no right or wrong answer to a certain question, so they should try to speak to untie their tongue and improve their speaking skill. There is no need to be shy or afraid to participate in the discussion.

2. Motivate them:

Any kind of participation from them in speaking tasks even it is just repetition must be encouraged and praised from you.

3. Create comfortable and supportive learning environment:

All students including shy ones will not speak and participate in class tasks unless they feel comfortable and not threatened.

4. Use collaborative learning:

Using pair and group work can encourage students to take small steps in speaking. When the shy student become a member of a group, he/she feels less threatened and less anxious. In groups, students exchange opinions freely without fear because they are not exposed directly to the whole class-environment which can lead to silence and reluctance to participate.

5. Use role-playing:

Use social interactions, situations or stories that may occur in real life and encourage shy students to participate in role playing them. Introduce how to play each role and teach the class some social openers for greeting others.

6. Involve parents and past teachers:

talk with them about what works and didn’t work with shy students. Ask parents about how their children feel at home and how they support and encourage them to speak up more.

7. Provide confidence:

All the time tell students that it doesn’t matter if they make mistakes while speaking as it’s normal to happen. The only most important thing is to talk in public in front of the whole class. Add, be confident and try again and again, and you will not feel embarrassed for sure.

8. Let them do easy tasks:

Ask them to repeat after you or after a brilliant student. Tailor as easy tasks as possible to them to give them the push they need.

Always observe their behavior and take notes of their reactions for situations particularly uncomfortable ones to change the setting for their favor.

Do you have any more suggestions. Let us know by leaving a comment. 

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Simple Guide to Writing a Basic Essay – Part 2

According to Simple Guide to Writing a Basic Essay – Part 1, when deciding to write an essay we should consider three important things: subject, target reader(s) and purpose. Also, we recognized the main four types of essays and we became aware of the three components of every essay which are the introduction, the body and the conclusion. We have tackled only the introduction in part 1. Here are some information about the other two components.

2. The body of an essay:

The body of an essay is the part between the introduction and the conclusion. It contains as much as information about the subject of the essay. It contains one paragraph at least but you can write more paragraphs depending on the subject and the amount of information you have about it. The body should give examples, evidence and more details.

Each paragraph in the body should include the following sentences:

  • Topic sentence: to tell the reader what the paragraph is going to be about.
  • Detail sentence: to tell the reader more about the subject. Each paragraph can have many detail sentences which should include examples and evidence.
  • Concluding sentence: to wrap up what have been already said in the paragraph and to prepare the readers for the next paragraph.

3. The end of an essay – The conclusion:

Just as every essay has a clear beginning, it should have a clear ending, too. It is the last paragraph which is known as the conclusion and which makes sound finish to the essay.

The concluding paragraph typically has two parts:

1. The summary statement: which restates the thesis sentence in a fresh way to reinforce the main idea of the essay.

It is very important to start your concluding paragraph with a summary statement because it helps the reader to recall the ideas you have expressed in the essay.

To write a good summary statement, you should look again at the thesis sentence and try to rephrase it without repeating the key words and phrases in the thesis sentence because you don’t want your summary statement to sound repetitive and boring. Using the thesaurus is a good way to find more interesting words with the same meaning.

Here is an example of a thesis sentence and a summary statement in an essay on “Toyota Corolla”

Thesis sentence: Many people prefer buying “Toyota Corolla” because of its competitive price, fuel economy, and high resale value.

Summary statement: reasonable price, low miles per gallon, and the attractive resale value make the popularity of “Toyota Corolla” in today’s market.

2. The clincher: which is the final thought that should create a good and lasting impression on the reader. It is also referred as the “closer” as it is your last opportunity to connect with the reader. To make a good clincher, you should return to the technique you used when writing the “hook” in the introduction. Here is a list of clinchers:

  • Finish the story you told at the beginning.
  • Ask a controversial question.
  • Use another quotation related to the opener one.
  • Make a prediction or recommendation based on the facts you presented.

Revise your essay:

Revision makes you consider which ideas to add or delete and which words or phrases to change to make your essay sound better. You should make sure that every word, sentence and paragraph makes sense to the reader. Here are three areas you should examine to improve the content and style of your essay:

  1. Clarity: is the essay clearly and logically written.
  2. Unity: do all the paragraphs relate to the central idea of the essay.
  3. Coherence: do the ideas flow smoothly.

Proof read your essay:

Whereas revision focuses on improving the content of the essay. Proof reading deals with recognizing and correcting errors. These errors can relate to capitalization, punctuation, spelling and grammar.

Last-minute tips:

  • If you have time, set your essay aside for a while and then come back to it later. You will notice ways to make your essay better, and you will see more errors to correct.
  • Read the essay aloud to yourself. Often you will hear errors that you may not catch while reading silently.
  • Have a friend to read your essay and give you his/her feedback about errors, confusing parts and suggestions for improvement.
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Two Solutions to Challenges Teachers Face in Large Classes

Large classes are a reality in many countries and they bring many challenges to teachers. In this article, I discuss two important solutions to these challenges but let’s start with setting the challenges first.

The main challenges of teaching a large class?

  • It’s difficult to keep good discipline or manage the class.
  • You have mixed-abilities children.
  • You can’t easily give each child the care and attention they need.
  • You may not have enough teaching aids and learning materials.

How can we overcome these challenges?

Let’s discuss the following two solutions:

1. Set clear basic rules from the first beginning of the school year.

These rules should establish a code of behavior that learners understand, such as:

  • Each group should work quietly.
  • They may talk, but not loudly.
  • Children who have finished the lesson tasks can read the lesson silently.
  • If you want to talk with the teacher, put your hand up on the desk.
  • Reduce your voice when you see this sign (specify one).

Discuss with your class this code of conduct. The children can also sum up the rules in simple sentences and write them on a poster. Put this poster in a visible place. Beside to these rules, you can appoint responsible leaders who can help you maintain discipline and remind their friends with the rules and encourage them all the time to commit to them.

2. Use group work:

In a large class, group work can help children to learn from each other without getting bored listening to teacher talk. Even if they made some noise, it will be a healthy noise which means that learning occurs.

How to organize the groups:

A teacher can try different strategies to do so such as:

1. Mixed-ability groups: The more able learners in the group can help the others to master the work so that the teacher needs not teach some parts.

2. Same-ability groups: The teacher can group the faster learners together to do the work on their own and they can be given extra activities if they finished the work. On the other side, the teacher can give extra help to individual learners in the slower groups.

3. Using a group of leaders/monitors: the teacher can make a group of faster, more able learners and appoint them as leaders or monitors asking them to help slower learners. They can also give out and take in work for the groups and explain what each group should do exactly.

In all strategies the teacher needs to move around the classroom to see what progress learners are making and what problems they are facing. The teacher should give advice, encouragement and extra individual help where it is needed.

One more important advantage of group work is helping the teacher to manage with few teaching aids or not enough learning materials. Instead of making a teaching aid for each child to work with, the teacher can design only five or six of it and let each group have it to work with or the teacher can make different five teaching aids and the groups can exchange them, so by the end of the lesson all the groups will have done some work with each teaching aid.

With or without group work, in large classes the teacher should make the best use of the board by writing the important things on it in large size before the lesson.

The advantages of a large class:

Although most teachers consider a large class is a disadvantage, but there are some advantages of teaching a large class. You should make use of them.

  • Many children in the large class can share many different ideas and interesting life experiences. This motivates the children to discuss and learn from each other.
  • The large class divided into groups enables you to apply project-based learning approach.

During project work, children can learn to share responsibility and help each other. This also brings variety and speeds up the work. When you plan a group project, let students know that each group member will have their own special task that is connected to the others. Children should also know well that there is a deadline for the project. That means they will agree to do their own task and finish it by a certain date.

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Simple Guide to Writing a Basic Essay – Part 1

Although there are many topics and purposes for writing an essay, your essay will have the same format and the basic structure. This article will guide you to the things you should consider and the necessary steps that you should follow to write a simple basic essay.

There are three important things you should consider when you decide to write an essay: subject, target reader(s) and purpose.

1. Subject:

Most of the times, the subject of the essay will be given to you. If it’s not, you should write about what you know.

2. Target reader(s):

Many times, your target reader will be your teacher but other times your target readers will be your peers, parents, employers, newspaper editors or the community.

Your target readers determine what to write in your essay and how to write it. So before you start writing, you should consider the following:

  • The interests and perspectives of your readers.
  • Selecting the topic that is relevant to your readers if it is not given to you.
  • Using language and examples that are appropriate to your readers.

3. Purpose:

Considering the purpose means you determine why you are writing the essay and what type of essay you are writing. Each type has certain uses and styles. Here are the main four types of essays:

1. Narrative essays: Telling a story.

In this essay, you tell a story about a real-life experience and involve the readers by making the story as vivid as possible.

2. Descriptive essays: Painting a picture.

In this essay, you describe a person, place, object, …etc. and communicate a deeper meaning through the description using colorful words and sensory details.

3. Expository essays: Writing only facts.

In this essay, you present a balanced analysis of the topic. You explain or define a topic using facts, statistics and examples. This kind of essay includes the comparison and contrast essay, the cause and effect essay, and the “how to” or process essay.

4. Persuasive essays: Convincing me.

In this essay, you try your best to convince the reader to accept your point of view or recommendation. Here, you should use logic, examples, expert opinion and sound reasoning. You should also present all sides of the argument and communicate clearly why a certain point of view is correct.

Structure of the essay:

Every essay has three components: a beginning, middle and an end. The beginning is the first paragraph which is called the introduction. The middle is called the body of the essay. It often consists of three or two paragraphs. At the end of the essay there is a final paragraph which is the conclusion of the essay.

1. The introduction:

The first paragraph of the essay or the introduction has two main purposes: to attract the reader’s attention and make him/her want to read more, and to prepare the reader for the direction that the essay is going to take. The introduction usually has two main parts:

1. The dramatic opener or the hook:

It pulls the reader to the essay. It grabs his/her attention. It is often a short sentence that frames your essays. Here are some examples of some hooks:

  • (Question) What is more valuable than gold? (an essay on friendship).
  •  (Imperative) Look into the heavens and count the stars if you can. (an essay on outer space).

2. The thesis statement or topic sentence:

It states the main idea of the essay. It is one or two sentences at the end of the introduction that tells the reader what your essay is about. Here is an example of a thesis statement about friendship: Having good friends is great as they make life enjoyable.

Here is an example of the whole first paragraph of an essay on “friendship”.

What is more valuable than gold? “A good friend” is my answer. Having good friends is great as they make life valuable and enjoyable.

To Be Continued …

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Six Back-to-School Ideas for the First EFL Class.

Back to school. Finally! In Egypt. The first day of school is a special day for students and teachers. It is a day full of emotions. Teachers get anxious about how to start their first lesson and students feel nervous about how their teachers are like. I agree that first impression counts, so it’s necessary for each teacher to plan for a successful first lesson that will set a good tone for the rest of the lessons of the course along the school year. Here are some useful back-to-school ideas for the first EFL class.

1. Get to know your students and let them get to know you:

First, introduce yourself to your students telling them what subject you are going to teach. Give them some detailed information about yourself such as your likes and dislikes, your hobbies, your favorite football team, … etc. and then get to know your students asking them questions to find out a little more about them.

2. Do some activities to break the ice with your students: 

Plan for some warm-up activities to create a friendly and comfortable atmosphere in the classroom. Make it fun and always encourage students to communicate (in English if possible) with you and others comfortably. Remember, some students may feel shy on the first day; it’s probably the first time they’re meeting you and their classmates. A good way to help students overcome their shyness and lighten up the mood is to use icebreakers.

3. Go through the textbook with them:

Talk about what they are going to learn, and the specific skills covered in each unit. Tell them what they will be able do at the end of the course and how it is very interesting. Focus on the fun they will feel if they engage in the lessons.

4. Set the tone for all future classes:

Your first lesson is the perfect time to set your rules and expectations. Go over what you want out of your students, but also tell them what you plan to do for them if they stick to the rules. You can write the rules onto a piece of poster board to be shown clearly for all students every day.

6. Talk about possible disruptive behaviors and their consequences (For Adults):

You can mention some classic examples of disruptive behaviors such as:

  • Insults or put downs,
  • Bullying,
  • No respect for other students and their personal belongings,
  • No respect for the teacher,
  • Unwillingness to participate in the activities,
  • Not following the rules agreed upon beforehand,
  • Cheating,
  • Not completing tasks, assignments, homework,
  • Untidiness and littering, …etc.

And then, talk about what happens if a student do one of the previous behaviors. It is recommended that you tell them a system of punishments and rewards as well. You may choose to give them a warning first; the second time, they lose a privilege, like going outside to play; the third time, a call is made to his or her parents.

5. Get an idea of your students’ skill levels.

Plan activities that test the four basic English skills: listening, speaking, writing and reading. You can make a short quiz to know brilliant students and low achievers.

6. Let your students have a way to reach you.

Tell your students that you are in the school to help them and they can come to you for any problem they encounter in the course. Be precise and tell them exactly where and when they can come to meet you in the school. You can also give them your WhatsApp number to connect with you at any time.

Have a Great First Lesson!
Having a great first lesson sets a great tone for future lessons and makes students look forward to your classes. All you need is a good attitude and a few activities prepared beforehand. Treat your first lesson as a meet-and-greet rather than a classroom lecture and be sure to have fun! Start your first class in a fun way. That’s ALL.

P.S.
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How to Support Your EFL Teachers at the Start of the Year

As an EFL supervisor, you should pay a visit to your EFL teachers at the first week of the new school year. First, you should check their preparation notes and then ask them to gather so as to be able to hold a meeting with them. During the meeting, talk positively with them about the importance of language and the honor of being a language teacher. Then, discuss with them how to be effective teacher of English by telling them the following:

1. Control your teaching:

As a teacher, you should try your best to make your teaching effective. You won’t be able to do so except if you:

  • Know the course materials very well by reading them in advance.
  • Know the outcomes of each unit and stick them at the front of your preparation notes to adjust your teaching accordingly.
  • Always prepare your lessons very well. Your lesson preparation should include mainly: Objectives – Warm-up activity – Presentation steps – Practice steps – Assessment Procedures and homework assignment – Self-evaluation Notes.
  • Have information about your students, e.g. their names, level of learning, weakness & strength points, … etc. and make use of this information when preparing your lessons.

2. Improve your teaching:

After controlling it, you should go a step forward to improve your teaching to facilitate your students’ learning. You can do that by:

  • Learning & applying new teaching methods, techniques and activities.
  • Adjusting your teaching according to your students’ learning levels and needs.
  • Reflecting on your success and difficulties in the classroom.
  • Discussing teaching experiences with your colleagues.
  • Assessing your students’ progress giving them effective feedback.
  • Correcting your students’ written work as soon as possible underlining their mistakes and then dealing with common mistakes on the board.
  • Designing and using simple teaching aids in the classroom to facilitate learning and attract your students’ attention.
  • Organizing your students during the class in different and various ways: whole-class, individual students, pair work and group work, and doing so depending on the learning activity itself and the time assigned to it.

3. Give students enough time for language practice:

English is a language and it is learned mainly by practice. To enhance language practice in the classroom, you should:

  • Create real-life situations and encourage students to use language in them as they have learned.
  • Give students the chance to hear and use authentic English.
  • Use audio and visual teaching aids to foster students’ talk in English fluently.
  • Ask students to put any new word they learn in a sentence of their own.
  • Ask students to utilize new structures in realistic situations.
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