27 May, 2008

Top 10 Downloads

Here are our Top Ten Downloads over the past fifteen months (all in Word format):

Logistics Terms.doc
Business Idioms 1.doc
Logistics Vocabulary.doc
Presentations 1.doc
Telephoning 1.doc
Business Idioms 2.doc
Effective Bullet Points.doc
Formality vs Informality Correspondence.doc
Gerunds and Infinitives 1.doc
Meetings Phrases 1.doc

There are lots of grammar exercises in the top fifty, but clearly Business English continues to lead the pack.

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23 May, 2008

List of TELF Blogs

Technorati has a good list of blogs related to TEFL. Some are discussion-oriented, some list jobs, etc. Here is the link:


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21 May, 2008

Business English Lexis Site

This is a superb site that uses corpus technology to create lists of the most positive/negative Business English words, most frequently used words, top phrases, etc.

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17 May, 2008

This Week's Contest: Giving Feedback

For our previous contest, we asked if you felt your TEFL training was adequate and, if not, what improvements you would suggest. Many of our respondents said they'd only taken a four- or six-week training course, and that everything was therefore truncated. The answer we liked best came from Dave Y. in St. Petersburg, Russia: "I wish they had spent even a few hours on warning us about pitfalls. Things like typical visa regulations, negotiating teaching hours, dealing with embassies, negotiating to be paid in the local currency vs. the home country's, etc. Too many of us end up as lambs to the slaughter!" All good points, Dave: enjoy your five free English Toolbox credits!

For our next contest, we'd like to know if and how you give feedback and correction in your classes. Do you immediately stop the student who is speaking and model the correct grammar or pronunciation or vocabulary? Do you wait until the class is finished, and then take the student aside (or send an e-mail)? The most intriguing answer will win the sender five free English Toolbox credits, even if s/he does not currently subscribe. Send your contributions to info@englishtoolbox.com by 31 May.

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09 May, 2008

Using Sorts for Better Searches

Remember, when you use our Search engine to locate exercises, you will get more precise results if you combine several sorts using the pull-down menus. For example, if you want to locate an exercise on meetings phrases for intermediate students, you will get the best results by choosing Business English, Intermediate, Skills: Meetings, and then typing the word "phrases" into the Exercise Name field. You can also limit the File Type to a Word document or an HTML exercise, so you won't see both in the final results.

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05 May, 2008

This Week's Contest: Training Inadequacies

Last time, we asked what you consider to have been your worst mistake as an English teacher. We received lots of regrettable posting choices (mostly relating to being assigned to teach small children) but our favorite entry came from Marilyn D. in Fresno, California. Marilyn taught children in South Korea many years ago, and often had siblings in different classes. One day, she noticed that the younger sister of another student was using her older brother's workbook, which already had the answers marked in it. When she confronted the little girl, she began to cry: the family was poor, and could only afford one book. Marilyn's school donated another, blank workbook, but she was mortified. Understandably so, Marilyn: hopefully, the five English Toolbox credits you've won will take some of the sting out of that memory!

For our next contest, we'd like to know if you feel your TEFL training (whatever that was) was adequate and, if not, what improvements you would suggest. Were you taught enough about grammar and methodology? What about cultural differences and information about job hunting, living abroad, etc.? It's a broad topic, so we look forward to your diverse comments. The most compelling complaint will win the sender five free English Toolbox credits, even if s/he does not currently subscribe. Send your contributions to info@englishtoolbox.com by 15 May.

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02 May, 2008

Immigrant Children in the U.K. ...

… and the controversies around when and how they should be taught English. Notable quote:

There is no reason to suppose the ignorance of English is about the fecklessness of migrant parents; from personal experience, quite the reverse. One Bulgarian friend, intent on the best for her four-year-old, has her perfectly dressed, beautifully mannered and bright as a button. Still, she and her husband refuse to use a word of English at home because (and I find this achingly sad) they fear that should the child copy her parents' fluent but accented speech, she will be bullied for it. Better by far, they agree - even though I forcefully don't - that when she learns, she learns "properly".

See hyperlinks above for the full articles.

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