Blog for Teachers

Getting the most bang for your buck

This entry was originally posted to AzarGrammar.com.   “Bang for the buck” is an English idiom that means the return you get for spending a fixed amount of money, time, or effort on something. It is similar in meaning to…

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Who’s the expert?

This entry was originally posted to http://azargrammar.com/teacherTalk/blog/. At every ELT conference, there are plenary speakers. At major conferences, these are often “big” names who are well known in the field. The reason for their fame is normally either that they…

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What’s the best way to learn Japanese?

Photo by John Spiri of Global Stories Press At the 2014 JALT National Conference, I gave a talk entitled “What’s the best way to learn Japanese?” The slot was quite late on Saturday afternoon, and it was labeled “commercial,” so…

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Hunters & Gatherers

I’m guessing that most of you are familiar with the idea of a “hunter-gatherer” society. According to Wikipedia, this is a society in which “most or all food is obtained from wild plants and animals.” One feature of this kind…

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Don’t sweat the small stuff

I often ask students whether they have any problem understanding “small” English words like “a,” “the,” “it,” “at,” and “in.” They invariably reply that they do. Luckily, I have some great advice for them:

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How to Write Numbers

Last weekend, I was working on a book that contained a lot of numbers. I frequently found myself unsure as to whether to write numerals (e.g., “50”) or whether to spell the numbers out (e.g., “fifty”).

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Sowing the Seeds of Grammar

This article was originally posted on the “Teacher Talk” blog at azargrammar.com. People often ask me how long it took me to learn Japanese, and I normally tell them that it took me about six months. When they look surprised,…

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The "New Car" Phenomenon

This article was originally published on the “Teacher Talk” blog at azargrammar.com. When I was about ten years old, my father announced one day that we were getting a new car. Now, there is very little in the world more…

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How to Give a Good Presentation

This is a video of a presentation that I gave to Japanese learners of English at a conference on self-access learning held at Nanzan University on February 2, 2013. The aim was to teach some simple guidelines that I hoped…

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What Is "Conversation" and How Can You Teach It?

Every English teacher who comes to Japan will, at some point, find themselves having to teach a “conversation” class. To many, the word “conversation” simply means “chatting,” but for those who are serious about doing a professional job, the reality…

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Teaching Students How to "Take" a Lesson

Here is a video of the presentation I gave at the 2012 JALT Hokkaido Conference at Hokkai Gakuen University in Sapporo. Apologies for the occasional focus problems. I have posted a video of the slideshow below the main video. The…

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How Not to Give a Presentation

Thank you to everyone who attended my presentation at the JALT National Conference in Hamamatsu last Saturday. Even though it was labelled as a commercial presentation, I think there were around thirty people there, so it seems that a lot…

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What's in a Name?

In a previous post on my blog for azargrammar.com, I suggested that any teacher who wishes to be popular with their students will need to make a serious effort to learn and remember their names. Of course, I’m sure there…

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The SHAPAL Method

This article was originally published on the Teacher Talk blog at azargrammar.com. Language learners all over the world will no doubt be pleased to hear that I have finally discovered the definitive technique for learning a foreign or second language.…

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The CALL Guy

Many years ago, when I was just starting out my career as a part-time university teacher, I was given some advice by an older colleague who was already well established in the profession. He told me that I needed to…

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The Coefficient of Group Cohesion

Let me begin with a confession: the “Coefficient of Group Cohesion” (CGC) is a pseudo-scientific term that I came up with in order to make a very simple concept sound more academic. However, I make no apologies for this. After…

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