General Advice

Thai Students

Teaching English is one of the biggest and most important industries in the world. TEFL teachers help shape communities, help us to have an increasingly globalized world and help build the leaders of the future throughout the globe. Yet despite this, we know relatively little about who these people are!

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By Neil Root
Neil Root is a writer and London based English Language teacher with 10 years experience.

The Phone Interview versus Reality

By Christos Vittoratos (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons

You get the job abroad over the phone usually. Very few language institutions will travel to the UK to interview you (except perhaps Middle Eastern universities who recruit in bulk and the JET programme), and even fewer will pay for you to fly over to attend an interview. One, two or three phone interviews and you’ve got an offer. You’re excited, perhaps it’s a country or city you’ve always wanted to live in, or the employment package seems good. Well done, but keep your expectations realistic.

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Ao Nang beach Thailand

By kallerna (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons

Travelling away from the UK to teach English abroad is hugely exciting, with a myriad of new professional, travel and cultural experiences to be enjoyed. There are of course, the inevitable practical arrangements to be made before you jet off, including getting any inoculations that you may need, packing your suitcase – and also – arranging suitable travel insurance for your time away from the UK.

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By Neil Root
Neil Root is a writer and London based English Language teacher with 10 years experience.

Humour is International: Breaking Down Cultural Barriers

By anuarsalleh [CC-BY-SA-2.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons

As in life, the greatest tool when teaching abroad you have to overcome difficult situations is humour, whether in the classroom or in your free time in that country. There will be times – every teacher working in another country has experienced them – when you feel a little alienated. Laughing and making others laugh can break down barriers and help you integrate quickly. Being able to laugh at yourself is a great advantage.

Taking yourself too seriously as a person in another country, when you don’t have your family, friends and usual social network at hand, only makes your integration into the new culture more difficult. You need to take your teaching and administrative school duties seriously obviously, but you can do it with a smile. Try to remember that you are the visitor and at a social disadvantage – I can remember several instances when humour got me out of situations I didn’t feel comfortable in. In class, I had a hostile student who made cutting comments about western culture, and instead of getting defensive (my first mental reaction), I said, ‘But we gave you Mr Bean!’ The rest of the class laughed, one or two said ‘Mr Bean!’ The difficult student didn’t laugh, but he was then the odd one out, not me. He never troubled me again.

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Karina's students

Is it late at night and you feel at your wits’ end? Are you tired of coming up with new ideas for all your lessons?  Here are a few tips to find ways of providing your students with useful activities that will cater for their needs and interests; and best of all, they do not need over planning. Sometimes, online resources can make it extremely easy for teachers to plan a lesson, but it`s always a good idea to keep in mind that our internet connection may not work. Read on and you`ll find a few ideas on how to plan easily, making the most of online resources and students’ preferences, and how to get going even if the computer deserts us.

If you work within the frame of an institution where syllabi have to be followed and deadlines have to be met, then you will find fun ways to fit all the required content in your lessons skipping boring activities from textbooks in this guide.

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Hong Kong Taxi

By Liuchoi (Own work) [GFDL ( or CC-BY-SA-3.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons

Every person who has travelled a bit has a taxi story to share. Over the past 30 years or so that I’ve been travelling, I can safely say that I’ve heard a taxi story from every continent. I’ve heard some shockers in Vietnam where I live and work nowadays, but equally, I’ve had my own less than desirable experiences in more developed parts of the world including Australia where I come from – and North America.

Some taxi-tales are a good news story – the birth of a baby in the back seat and alike – but most are about the kind of situations that travellers dread. We’ve all heard stories (or experienced them first-hand) about getting ripped off, taken to the wrong location, ‘lead foot’ taxi drivers, arguments about tips, traffic accidents and much, much worse.

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by Stuart Allen @Stu_RAYEnglish
Ray English TEFL Recruitment, China

FIVE mistakes TEFL teachers first make on the job

By D. Sharon Pruitt from Hill Air Force Base, Utah, USA [CC-BY-2.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons

Five small things which will help you in the first weeks

It is both a little daunting and very exciting making the transition from being a CELTA or CertTESOL graduate to actually flying out to a new country to start a new life as a TEFL teacher. As a new teacher, one can often feel a little bit of apprehension and pressure going into the job. You might be asking yourself ‘what if I mess up my class?’, ‘what if the students don’t grasp what I’m trying to say?’, ‘yikes…what if the students don’t like my classes??’

Well, first of all, those fears are natural and we have all asked ourselves the same questions at some point. The more lessons you teach, then you will begin to become more familiar and at ease with your own teaching style and so will your students. However, if you follow these five pointers, then your progression from a new teacher, to an experienced member of the academic team will come much more smoothly.

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Powerful Tips For Teaching Young ESL Learners

Anyone who has taught children knows that it can be both a joy and a burden at the same time. Young learners are at an important stage of mental development where learning tends to come naturally and easily. However, they can also be rowdy and uninterested in learning anything. When adults sign up for English lessons, it’s usually because they have a strong incentive to do so, either for personal or professional reasons. Children, though, might have no interest in being in your classroom at all. Try as you might, there’s simply nothing even the best teacher can do to get children to learn if they steadfastly refuse to.

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In this blog post I will try to explain why teachers (for the specific case of my research: EFL teachers) need to develop their skills in using technology in a pedagogically sound way. I will start with providing information on the technological changes that we have experienced in the last few decades and how it has affected education systems. I will then describe the technology pedagogy and content knowledge (TPACK) theory and why teachers – in my opinion – should aim to develop their TPACK knowledge. I will conclude my blog by inviting fellow EFL teachers to participate in the “EFL- TPACK” survey that has been developed for EFL teachers.

About 2400 years ago Democritus stated, “The only thing that doesn’t change is change itself”. This statement emphasises the general principle of life, which is “change”. We live in a world in which everything is changing constantly.  For example, although its use was restricted to the British Isles in the sixteenth century, English is now (in the twenty-first century) commonly described as a lingua franca and used all over the world. Similar to the status of English, technology has recently become an indispensable part of our lives. From banking to health, all sectors including education have been affected by technology and the change it has brought. In educational settings, the change started with creating adequate technology infrastructure in learning environments and governments are still working on providing technology (i.e. computers) in every classroom.

Providing classrooms with technology, however, would not be enough in order to create an effective teaching environment. The consumers of technology – in the case of education that would be teachers and students – would need certain skills to be able to make use of these new tools in the teaching/ learning process. In fact, teachers would need to gain not only the basic skills to use the newly introduced technology but also the knowledge about how to use them for teaching more effectively (Harasim, 2012; Hubbard & Levy, 2006). Technology should not be just an add-on to teachers’ current practices because a successful integration requires not only basic skills but also a change in the pedagogy practised by teachers.

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Top 5 TEFL Island Destinations!

By Flickr user: tboothhk [CC-BY-2.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons

If you live in the UK you might be wondering whether you should even bother bringing out your summer wardrobe, locating your flip-flops or wiping the dust off your sunglasses… it doesn’t look like summer is happening this year!

Hands up if you fancy moving to a tropical island to teach English instead? Read on for i-to-i’s top 5 island TEFL destinations!

Bali, Indonesia

Home to some of the most envious beaches on the planet, Bali is high up on many a beach lover’s travel-musts, how do you fancy teaching there?

Given the country’s popularity it’s no surprise that the competition for teaching positions in Bali is fierce. Most employers will ask for at least a year’s teaching experience alongside both a degree and a recognised TEFL certificate – but don’t let this put you off! Where tourism leads, English language schools tend to follow…

Plus, the cost of living in Indonesia is cheap, so while the pay-packet might not seem terribly appealing, your TEFL wage will allow you to live pretty comfortably! Hello platefuls of Nasi Goreng!

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