How to Help Your Class Review for a Big Test

Midterm examinations are upon us here in the United States. My classes have their midterms this week. Since the exams are cumulative, we’ve been reviewing everything that we’ve studied so far this semester.

I have a different method of review for each class – my grammar class’s review looks nothing like the review we do in my speaking class – but I always try to consider a few key principles.

Continue reading

How to Kill Creativity in the Classroom

Have you ever found yourself thinking these thoughts?

I wish my students would take fewer risks.

My students should really stop coming up with new ideas.

I need to structure my classes to reduce creativity.

If you have, then you’re on your way to becoming a good teacher. Every teacher should try to find ways to kill creativity in the classroom before it becomes a problem.

Continue reading

In defense of pop quizzes + an example

“Surprise! Today we have a pop quiz.”

The word “pop” is usually associated with things that make us happy – bubbles, soda, popcorn, Michael Jackson.

But when it’s put before “quiz”, “pop” suddenly turns sinister.

Pop quizzes get a bad rap from students, and even some teachers say they would never use them. The idea of being surprised by an assessment is unsavory if not downright scary. But if they’re used in the right way, pop quizzes can be very useful for both the student and the teacher.

There are definitely right ways and wrong ways to use pop quizzes. Let’s look at some of the bad ways to use pop quizzes first.

Continue reading

How to Teach ESL Presentations

Giving presentations is a useful skill for ESL students to master, especially if they’re going to be attending an English-speaking university or giving presentations in English professionally.

However, teaching presentations can get messy. There’s the issue of choosing topics and structure for the presentation, and then dealing with how to grade them. Also, depending on your class, keeping the non-presenting students busy (or at least respectful) while a presentation is going on is a challenge. For these annoying reasons, some ESL teachers relegate presentations to a minor role, or do away with them altogether.

But you shouldn’t – giving presentations is such a good thing for students to practice and perform. Here are some tips so you can teach them how to do it successfully.

Continue reading