Tuesday, 16 January 2018

Fake English Certificates - Avoid Them At All Costs!

Just a heads up that TEFL scams are rife online. Most common are fake English test and TEFL certificate scams.

The other day I found this advert submitted to the forum on my Niche Laboratory website's forum:

Get registered IELTS, TOEFL, ESOL All English Language Certificates.

We Produce Real registered IELTS, TOEFL, ESOL without you sitting for an exam. We are out here to help you get your documents easy and help you save your precious years !! and time.

Certificates will be Original and registered in the data base with online verification posiblities Once your details are imputed in the system it will be in the IELTS, TOEFL, ESOL web sites/system and will appear real and legit. We have been in this job for more than 8 years and have helped a lot of people in the past.

Email: (registereddocuments01@gmail.com)
Just a heads up that fake IELTS/TOEFL and other certificates are to be avoided at all costs. This goes for degree certificates and TEFL teaching certificates (but more about these later).

IETLS and TOEFL certificates are almost always required if you apply to study overseas. The better organisations will check the authenticity of any certificates submitted by applications. I know because I used to work in the admissions department of one of the UK's leading universities. It was surprising how many applications were rejected because of forged documents.

Of course you could probably study at a lesser organisation with fake documentation. But then a certificate for whatever you study there will be largely worthless in the global marketplace.

Fake TEFL Certificates - What's the Point?

It's so easy to find faked TEFL Certificates online. I'm not sure I really see the point of them because:
  • A real 120 hour TEFL Certificate costs around $300. I think that's what I paid for my TEFL certificate from The TEFL Academy.
  • A CELTA will cost about $2000 but if you do yours somewhere there's high demand for teachers then you're pretty much assured of a job when you finish the course. When I did my CELTA in Barcelona, Spain, all of the students on the course found teaching jobs after completing the course. Well except for me - I backpacked round Europe for a bit then went to work for an insurance company in London.
  • If you're intending to teach in a country like China then you'll need to authenticate your teaching certificate. So it's essential you get a legit one in the first case.
When I applied for my first ever teaching job in China then I had to pay to get my bachelors degree, police check and TEFL teaching certificate authenticated. This cost me £350 which is a heck of a lot of money! However, I should only ever need to do this once.

My bundle of authenticated documents which were certified by the Chinese Embassy in London.


Finally remember that submitting fake documents when applying for a job is illegal in many countries. Most countries are very strict when it comes to immigration fraud, as these examples show:

Two popular TEFL destinations - Thailand and China have become increasingly strict about immigration lately. So you don't want to be made an example of.


In the case of Thailand, it's even apparently common for university teaching staff to have fake degree certificates. This is just one reason why a degree from a university in Thailand doesn't carry much weight. It's a shame because in theory it would be a good place to study for an MA TESOL. But the reality is that academic standards in Thailand are pretty darned low.

Could you sleep at night in Thailand or China knowing your TEFL Certificate or Bachelor's degree certificates were forgeries? Teaching on fake certificates could get you deported and barred from re-entering the country, or even jailed!

Don't take that risk.

Thursday, 11 January 2018

Are My ESL Students Actually Learning Anything?

While doing my CELTA at International House, one phrase from one of my tutors stuck in my mind: did your students actually learn anything?

I've made it through my first semester (around 3 months) teaching English in China. I now have just over 200 hours of teaching under my belt. So I'm still a rookie teacher. But I'm way more experienced than when I started.

During term time the schedule is relentless and there's the constant need for MORE LESSON PLANS.

Now in the break between semesters I'm doing a bit of soul searching as to how it all went.

And now I pause and wonder.

Did my students actually learn anything?

I got a lot better at teaching of course. I now know exactly what topics will get them engaged. And I know which activities will generate the most speaking.

I also did a pretty good job of recording their class scores. I know who the superstars are, and who are struggling. But most of the students lie somewhere in between.

The main problem with teaching English at a Chinese university is that your students won't actually get that much better. By the time they've arrived fresh out of High School many of them are at Upper Intermediate level. To get to Advanced level isn't generally going to be possible for any of them unless they actually go and work or study in an English speaking country, or they get jobs where they have to speak English all day. A few of my superstars might manage it, but for some reason they're all boys.

The other problem is that many of them make the same mistakes all the time. The mistakes are so deep rooted that even Chinese nationals who are themselves English Professors make exactly the same mistakes. The key one is he, she and it. Chinese people almost never master this. It all comes down to Mandarin Chinese having only a single word - ta - for all three (although the written characters are different).

I did try doing a mini exercise on different forms of the verb to eat. I noticed that when speaking or writing they're often all over the place. "I like to ate at KFC" and that kind of stuff. But when I did the exercise in class there wasn't a single mistake.

I've also tried teaching them specifics. For example I did part of a lesson with some new vocabulary. But from what I observe from my students, I need to be getting them to practice what they already know, rather than trying to teach them new things. That much was apparent in the exam I set for them. I got each student to describe an object. Yes a great deal of the students were missing specific items of vocabulary. For example, what shape is a pizza? And there were plenty of grammar calamaties - such as does an Octopus have 8 legs, hands or feet? I also found unexpected problems. For example, a pair of socks proved incredibly difficult for students to describe. I didn't see that one coming.
Cute? Maybe? Delicious as far as Chinese students are concerned? Definitely. But ask your ESL students what an octopus has 8 of and you'll get hands, foot, feet, legs, arms and all kinds of answers! One of my students even said it had 6 feet and lived in the sea, which made the rest of the class write a sentence about crabs...

What I most want my students to do is to be able to talk about anything in English. Even if they don't know the precise vocabulary, I just want them to try to be understood. That is the ultimate goal of my lessons, and I hope I have given them some encouragement to just try speaking in English more.

So what else have I done for them?

I hope that I have taught them a few skills beyond learning English.

I've helped them get better at presentations.

One class I did take part in was a translation class. There aren't too many real life foreigners for the students to practice this skill with, so it was good to take part in one of these.

Group working and public speaking is also a valuable skill to practice. In so many of my job interviews in my earlier life I failed to get the job because I didn't speak enough.

I've also shown them a few things from Western culture. I see so many things in my own country that could be wildly successful in China. So who is going to be the first person to introduce China to The Big Phone Guy, or Zippy from Rainbow, or open an English Fish and Chips restaurant?

Do you think it's important that intermediate - advanced students learn new grammar or vocabulary in every lesson? Or should they just practice their speaking skills? Leave your comments below.

Wednesday, 10 January 2018

Are Chinese Students Shy? This English Teacher Thinks Not!

If you've ever considered teaching in China (or maybe elsewhere in Asia) then you'll no doubt have heard that Chinese students can be quite shy.

You may have heard stories of the teacher teaching English to the sounds of crickets or tumbleweed.

So is this really the case?

I've found that Chinese students can sometimes be reserved. But I wouldn't call them particularly shy. In everyday situations they're incredibly confident. But it largely depends on how you approach your classroom teaching. It's also important to separate out shyness of personality from shyness at talking in English in front of the class.

A situation I have found that pretty much guarantees just tumbleweed is if you're lecturing to the class and then you ask the whole class a question.

Only tumbleweed in class? It might be time to rethink your teaching techniques...

Occasionally you'll get somebody shouting out the answer, but this is very much the exception. You'll also find that this style of teaching only really engages the first couple of rows of students. You'll rarely hear answers from the back of the class, and there is a temptation to end up teaching to the first couple of rows.

No, to teach Chinese students you have got to ask them individual questions in this type of scenario.

A trick I now do most lessons is to ask each student an individual question during the course of the lesson. I also take this opportunity to take the class register. This way you get to take the register AND get some individual speaking practice out of each and every student in the class. As a bonus I also score the students' responses so that over the course of a semester I can build up a really decent record of their ability.

Chinese students also love both pairwork and groupwork. Get them working on such tasks and they'll be fairly willing to make a group presentation of their findings. The only drawback with this technique is that some group members will talk a lot more than others, so you've got to be careful. Particularly if you don't yet know all of your students by name.

I've found that the CELTA teacher training course was an excellent preparation for teaching Chinese students. The emphasis on pairwork and groupwork was exactly the style of teaching that gets ESL students talking. I was also given specific guidance on making sure I did some error checking first, to avoid a student being ridiculed too much in front of the whole class.

The only times I seen Chinese students particularly nervous was when I was on the judging panel of an English speaking competition. A couple of the freshmen girls taking part were actually physically shaking while standing on the stage and doing their individual speaking part. I've never seen my students this nervous in class.

Having said that I've found that students are more reluctant to speak if they think their English isn't that good. Actually Chinese peoples' English is nearly always better than they claim it to be. But as a general rule, Lower Intermediate students will want to talk in English a lot less than Upper Intermediate students.

Students fresh from High School will also tend to talk a lot less. So you have to be more gentle with them. A big no-no is to publically ridicule them in class, or single them out. This loss of face can be catastrophic for their confidence. As an example, I found on my first teaching day that saying something about an individual student's English name was a faux-pas. Since then I learnt never to single out students if at all possible.

Students on different majors will talk more or less to you. Students majoring in English, Business English and Languages in general will want to speak to you as much as possible. In fact my class asked me to do more speaking tasks in class and less listening.

I've had most problems with "shyness" with my class of IT freshmen. Man, these students do not like to talk! It doesn't help that they're mostly boys. Also I think a fair number of them didn't actually want to study IT. Who wants to study that subject in any country? Not that many. So the Chinese government "encourages" many students to study technical subjects even if they didn't necessarily want to study the subjects themselves.

I'll also add that not all Asian countries are the same. Thai students are known to be pretty roudy at times. In fact I once studied at a university in China that had a number of Thai students studying there. Eventually most of them got disciplined for breaking the 22:30 curfew for being back at their dormatories. They had to move out of their campus accommodation and live outside the campus itself.

So the good news is that if you approach your teaching the right way then you'll not have too many problems getting your Chinese students to speak.

If you've had problems with getting your ESL students to speak, then leave comments below. Or maybe you've found the opposite, and you can't get them to stop talking.

Dear Teaching Diary: More From My Third Week Teaching English in China

Periodically I write down my thoughts and reflections after a lesson, particularly if I think the lesson was a milestone of some sort.

I was taught on the CELTA that self-reflection is a great way to get better at teaching. It's particularly important if you teach somewhere like in a Chinese university. Generally speaking you rarely (if ever) get peer observed. So the only person who can really gauge your teaching effectiveness is you and maybe your students.

I wrote this log after one of the classes I took in the third week of teaching English in China. I taught 20 freshmen IT majors. I would say that the majority of students in this class are at Lower Intermediate level. There are a lot more boys than girls in this class. This is the reverse of the usual situation if you're teaching English at a Chinese university.


What We Did

We listened to a few homework presentations about a healthcare facility in the city in which they're studying. Then we did some of their course book about hotel bookings.

What Worked

I tried a game from a different book: 700 Classroom Activities - Instant Lessons for Busy Teachers by David Seymour and Maria Popova.

There was a bit more engagement than with my previous attempt at doing a writing + speaking game with this class.

What Didn't Work

The presentations were pretty bad so I called a halt to them after the 3rd group. I was also reluctant to let them plug USB memory sticks into my own PC as this is very risky.

The game was a little difficult. I should have graded the examples to make them a bit easier.

Not all of the students were on task. I don’t know if this was because they didn't understand the instructions, or they were thinking about something else.

This group of students don't seem to be as imaginative as the accountancy or business English students.

What to Work On

So from the game and the book's grading system I am pretty sure they are at a pre-intermediate level, which gives me a better idea of what future activities will be suitable for them.

In future I'll need to avoid scheduling presentations in rooms without their own IT equipment. Or maybe they could have plugged in the USB devices elsewhere.

This cohort of students need a lot of work to get them making good presentations. I should consider running a class about presentation skills as these are so vital in the IT industry (e.g. Agile development daily standups). The accountancy sophomore students were much better.

Doing more games is a good idea. I should pay more attention to instruction setting and maybe also write the examples on the board or put on a PowerPoint.

Postscript

Well in this lesson IT equipment issues reared their ugly head. In this particular classroom there is projector but no computer. So you have to bring your own. I realised I didn't like the idea of students putting their own USB sticks into my brand new and very expensive laptop.

But a bigger issue was that the presentations were on the whole pretty dire. I don't know what students do in High School in China but I'm pretty sure they never get much practice at giving presentations.

So from this class onwards I abandoned homework setting and presentations. It was back to basics. One of my colleagues teaches another cohort of this group and I agree with him that they need to go back to the very basics, like how to meet and greet people.

I might have ditched the coursebook for a lot of the classes for this stream of students, but I did use one book extensively throughout their semester: 700 Classroom Activities by Seymour and Popova. This is a really excellent book, particularly if you're going to be teaching ESL conversation classes in a country like China. I like that the lessons are themed by topic, so if you're teaching a lesson on a particular theme then you can often drop an activity or two from this book into your lessons.

If you bring one book with you to China, then make sure it's this one:




This particular cohort of students have been a lot tougher to teach than the other classes. Their English is far worse. They don't put much effort into class. Absence from class was four times the average of my sophomore Business English classes. They did actually do very well in the final exam. But throughout the semester it was clear they were just coasting.

In fact this class are such a challenge that another teacher colleague of mine, let's call him Chad, refuses to teach this class altogether. He has been here longer than I have and he now cherry picks the students he wants to teach. Ultimately this means smaller class sizes of students who speak better English.

All well and good but you're not going to develop as a teacher if you don't challenge yourself.

I have developed a pretty good rapport with this group of students. As I used to work in IT, I feel their pain at learning programming languages. Now we joke about it in practically every class. If you've studied or worked in a particular field then this can be very useful when it comes to teaching students who are studying a particular discipline.

I guess one problem with this class is that most of the students seem really lacking in motivation. I don't know too much about the way kids in China choose their university or course. But my understanding is that they choose the school and what they want to study. But then it's down to the school to assign the students to individual courses. Sometimes they'll end up studying something completely different. Can you imagine a Western teenager applying to study for a BA in Acting and end up having to do a four year BSc Computer Science course?

The thing with IT is that there is just so much demand for graduates and so few kids want to study it that in this field there are going to be a larger than average of number of students who were pushed onto the course because all the other courses were full.

I have asked my students why they chose to study IT and in many cases they said their parents told them to study it. They do also know it's a good thing to go into from the money perspective.

Most of them have really struggled with the maths and programming courses this year, so maybe realisation is setting in that IT is not the land of milk and honey that they thought it might be.

Well I hope they stick with it because I had a pretty good 20 years working in IT. I made enough cash to quit the 9-5 at the age of 45 and make a long term thing of teaching English overseas. I bought an apartment and it's now mortgage free. I have enough investments that I can save my entire teaching salary. I started my own software business. I worked for some household names. I met some household names. I travelled all over Europe on business. And I had some memorable life experiences along the way.

Tuesday, 9 January 2018

Dear Teaching Diary: My Third Week Teaching English in China

Periodically I write down my thoughts and reflections after a lesson, particularly if I think the lesson was a milestone of some sort.

I was taught on the CELTA that self-reflection is a great way to get better at teaching. It's particularly important if you teach somewhere like in a Chinese university. Generally speaking you rarely (if ever) get peer observed. So the only person who can really gauge your teaching effectiveness is you and maybe your students.

I wrote this log after one of the classes I took in the third week of teaching English in China. I taught 47 sophomore Accountancy majors. I would say that the majority of students in this class are Upper Intermediate. They're generally a little better at English than my Business English majors. And they need to be! These students need to pass tough ACCA exams that are set in English. If they want to make megabucks as international finance accountants working in Shanghai, then their English needs to be excellent.


What We Did

We mostly listened to presentations gave as homework the previous week. Students had to form groups and write a presentation about a famous person who they admired.

What Worked

The presentations were very well researched and were much better than my freshmens class's efforts. I was impressed that a couple of the groups chose less well known Chinese personalities. One was a rice scientist, the other made a range of hot sauces. The video the group showed with the person eating various food with hot sauce on it was very well received by the audience.

At one point the room's computer died. I made a good recovery of showing new material while I repaired it.

What Didn't Work

There are so many students that reviewing all the presentations too most of the lesson. As a result there wasn’t much chance to see new material. The other classmates got bored and weren't really engaged.

The new material about Made in China didn't work that well. The Experiencing English coursebook really is uninspiring in its choice of topics. And the listening tasks in the book are far too difficult for the students.

What to Work On

Two major issues came up in this class:
  1. There is far too much noise from the class when students are giving presentations. In part this is due to the students' lack of presence. Only one student had really good presence while presenting, and he was excellent.
  2. There is too much reading PowerPoint slides aloud!

I should try and get the audience more involved. Maybe I should solicit questions from the audience and score these rather than those doing the presentation.

I should figure out how to get students to do an unscripted presentation.

Postscript

Well I did eventually ditch the coursebook, and went my own way with lesson plans I made up or found online.0

I do still get students to make group presentations. However, I try to get the audience more involved. I will definitely ramp this up next semester.

One thing that is still very rare in any of my classes are students who have good presence. Only one student is of TED Talk standard when it comes to giving presentations. This is an incredibly valuable business skill to possess. In my own IT career I spent 20 years at the bottom rung of the ladder partly because I lacked the communication skills required to climb that ladder.

The hot sauce video was indeed really good and I've found that food is always a good topic to show in class. I rounded off the semester with a Christmas lesson. About the best task in that lesson was this Powerpoint slide:




I stopped setting homework for this cohort of students. I found out they had 32 hours of classes a week - 8 hours a week more than my IT students. They don't need any more homework! As my classes are very much bolt-ons to their essential topics of accounting and finance I decided to stop setting homework assignments. A bigger reason was that I found homework wasn't generally all that good for getting them to do the thing that's most essential for them - unscripted speaking.

By the end of this semester I was giving them unscripted tasks to do in class. The result was that they got more speaking practice, and had more time out of class to study on their own.

One other observation - accountancy is a great career to go into! With hindsight I'd wished I'd studied either accountancy or law at university. Instead I floated into IT which pays quite well but changes very fast and is far more age discriminatory than either law or accountancy.

Dear Teaching Diary: More From My Second Week Teaching English in China!

Periodically I write down my thoughts and reflections after a lesson, particularly if I think the lesson was a milestone of some sort.

I was taught on the CELTA that self-reflection is a great way to get better at teaching. It's particularly important if you teach somewhere like in a Chinese university. Generally speaking you rarely (if ever) get peer observed. So the only person who can really gauge your teaching effectiveness is you and maybe your students.

I wrote this log after one of the classes I took in the second week of teaching English in China. I taught 35 sophomore Business English majors. I would say that the majority of students in this class are lower Upper Intermediate (if that is a thing). Like most Asian English learners, their spoken English lags their reading and writing.

This class doesn't have a textbook. At first I was worried about this, but as the semester progressed I used the other classes' textbooks less and less each week.


What We Did

A lesson about technology.

We saw 3 groups of students do a presentation from last week.

We watched a video about old British phoneboxes. Then we saw that the phoneboxes were scrapped because everybody has mobile phones now. We saw some uses for old phoneboxes.

We wrote a list of things mobile phones do that used to be done by standalone machines (e.g. alarm clock).

We ordered smartphone features in order of importance.

We listened to a recording about technology that will become obsolete.

We watched some Dom Joly Trigger Happy TV sketches about a guy with a loud Nokia mobile phone. I set a homework task to get the students to make a new sketch based on the ones I showed them.

What Worked

I successfully took the class register.

The funny videos were very popular.

Showing interesting photos and asking for comments worked quite well.

The feature ranking game worked very well. For future reference it should be possible to line up 14 students at the front of the class.

The presentations from last week were a good inclusion. The students really need to work on their presentation skills though.

What Didn't Work

The listening exercise was a bit boring.

What to Work On

I need to be a bit more precise in homework setting. The students didn’t know whether to write dialogue or make a movie. In hindsight they should be able to film a movie to show in class.

Student presentation skills need A LOT of work! I should do more of these activities.

I should have chosen better material for the listening task.

I should try and use the room PC where possible, especially if students are using USB memory sticks!

Postscript

I teach 4 cohorts of the Business English major. This cohort is by far the most lively. It might be something to do with the fact that this is the only class I teach in the afternoon straight after lunch.

I've come to like lively students because it's so much easier to get them talking! In such a class I can spend less time getting them to actually talk, and my main task is to make sure they keep talking in English and not Mandarin Chinese.

The getting students to stand up and rank things in order was straight out of CELTA boot camp. The tasks are pretty easy to set up and generate a lot of unscripted dialogue. It was a little more difficult with 35 students in the class. However I worked out that I could get 14 students lined up in the front of the class.

In this lesson I finally realised that if I set homework and the students bring work into the classroom, they might want to plug their USB devices into my own personal computer. That really scared me, so I switched to using the classroom computer for showing student work. Unfortunately the classroom computers have seen better days and we have the occasional unplanned reboot, but at least I keep my own computer free from viruses and dodgy USB sticks.

It isn't always easy using the classroom computers though. Every one is different. Most have all kinds of malware on them that pops up windows and special offers (especially annoying if you're showing a video at the time). Sometimes the computers are set up for Chinese language input, and it's not always obvious how to change it. In one classroom I teach in the computer doesn't actually have English input - the choices are Chinese or German!

I would always recommend if you go to teach in China that you bring your own laptop with you. A 15" screen size or higher will also allow you to just about get away with showing Powerpoint presentations should the classroom computer or overhead projector fail altogether.

It's also a good idea to find one with decent speakers that can be used for listening tasks in case of other IT equipment failure. Or you can just use a bluetooth portable speaker. Don't bring one with you as they're really cheap in China and sold in many stores.

Finally this lesson was the one in that I set them homework of making a video. This one became a bit of a classic, and the resulting homeworks were excellent. If you ever teach millennials, then you might be amazed at how good they are at shooting videos. They also enjoy this kind of task tremendously. Watching the end results was also a lot of fun. I came away with the impression that Chinese students aren't boring drones at all - in fact they have terrifically active imaginations.

Dear Teaching Diary: My Second Week Teaching English in China!

Periodically I write down my thoughts and reflections after a lesson, particularly if I think the lesson was a milestone of some sort.

I was taught on the CELTA that self-reflection is a great way to get better at teaching. It's particularly important if you teach somewhere like in a Chinese university. Generally speaking you rarely (if ever) get peer observed. So the only person who can really gauge your teaching effectiveness is you and maybe your students.

I wrote this log after one of the classes I took in the second week of teaching English in China. I taught 36 sophomore Business English majors. I would say that the majority of students in this class are lower Upper Intermediate (if that is a thing). Like most Asian English learners, their spoken English lags their reading and writing.

This class doesn't have a textbook. At first I was worried about this, but as the semester progressed I used the other classes' textbooks less and less each week.


What We Did

In the first half of the lesson the students showed their presentations from the previous class. I got them to make a comedy sketch based on a UK TV show I showed them in the previous class.

In the second half we did some listening to clips about education.

What Worked

The presentations from last week were on the whole very good. About half the groups made very imaginative presentations. The students really enjoyed this task.

At last I have got the students speaking. Some of the students are very good indeed.

The students who made videos made an excellent job. However I should probably specify that presentations are made in class unless the class is specifically about making a video.

The listening tasks were on the whole OK. They did prefer the listening tasks where younger people were speaking.

What Didn't Work

I think 3 students missed doing the group presentation. It's hard to manage so many groups, especially as I don't have a printer to print class lists.

The attempt to set them an in class group speaking task was a disaster. I need to rethink this.
Timekeeping was an issue in this class and I overran when I was worried about underrunning.

What to Work On

I should ask the presenting students some questions at the end in order to get them practicing unscripted dialogue.

I need to read Teaching Listening by JJ Wilson in order to make the listening tasks more worthwhile.

When playing videos for listening I should always set some sort of task. Otherwise the students get bored, unless the video is particularly interesting.

Postscript

Teaching Listening by JJ Wilson is still on my reading list. I soon realised that my absolute priority was to learn more about how to teach speaking more effectively.

I no longer set homework. Partly because I feel a little guilty about how much other homework the students get. The students in this class also come from less wealthy homes and many have part-time jobs. A bigger reason is that I've found homework isn't particularly effective at helping them improve their English speaking. If you give the students a group speaking presentation to prepare, then they will only end up writing down huge chunks of dialogue. That's not really what I want them to be doing. I want them to talk completely unscripted. And for that it's better just to set classwork assignments where they have minimal time to prepare.

To manage the large groups I teach, I now use two computers in class: the classroom one and my own. I use the classroom computer to show videos and Powerpoints using the overhead projector. I also use it for listening tasks. I use my own computer to keep track of students using the class register Excel spreadsheet. In most classes I try to write down some scores for the students' classwork. This also avoids having to set too much homework, or have too much reliance on end of semester exams.

For listening tasks I have found out they tend to prefer listening to people their own age. So I always bear this in mind when I'm looking for warmers.

If groups are presenting then I've gotten into the habit of getting the audience to ask the presenting group questions. This keeps the audience on their toes. I can also log scores of their English ability. Of course it also minimises teacher talk during the lesson. I'm purely there to direct the speaking. On the downside I've found the questions they ask aren't always that good, and a lot of students ask the same question. I'll definitely improve on this during the next semester.

As for task setting during video watching - I don't always do this. Particularly if they're just used as warmers. But I have made sure that I select videos that are particularly interesting to them. I've found the Ellen chat show clips on YouTube to be exactly the type of video I need to use as warmers. I use them a lot.

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