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Oh, I just don't know where to begin

It's been at least a year now since I got swept into the TEFL/TESL Twitterverse, and also since I started this modest website that is used to an even more modest extent by my students.

Writing a teaching blog is a logical step in this progression. In fact, it's probably the step that logically should have preceded my involvement in tweetville and setting up a teaching website. But things didn't happen that way, and as I often tell my students, it's never too late.

Although I'm no stranger to blogging, plunging into the educational blog world is somehow especially daunting.

Teaching can't be compared to a quaint photo of Aveyron, or what I cooked for Easter in 2007. It's my life's work, I care about it deeply, and well, of course I want to come off as someone with at least half a brain.

But then again, I'm no shimmering star in the TEFL firmament, so I know that I'm not going to come up with anything earth-shaking in this first post...or perhaps in any post in the near future. So we're looking at long-term thinking here.

And where to begin?

Thankfully, I got a nice suggestion from -- of course -- a Twitter contact. After I got rather awkwardly involved in a dogme debate on her blog The Island Weekly, Anne Hodgson encouraged me to start this blog simply: "How about just a list of issues you want to deal with?"

So, here we go.


  • Why do I feel that liking grammar needs to be my guilty little secret? One of my co-teachers and I admitted to each other last week that we had both adored learning French grammar in college, but we almost felt like we needed to make some sort of pact that this wouldn't interfere with our English classes.
  • In the EFL blogosphere and Twitterverse, where are all of the French teachers of English, or anyone teaching English in France for that matter?  Oh yes, besides her of course. Is it really normal that I have so many more online teacher contacts based in Turkey than in France?
  • How can we make teaching business English lively and relevant to college/university students who aren't in the business world yet? I actually have some ideas about this since it is pretty much the only type of teaching I'm involved with, but I do think it's an interesting question.
  • How can I balance my teaching beliefs with the fact that all of my students have to take a national exam or a standardized test? I'll probably have a few things to write about on this one too, including examining another of my guilty little secrets...
  • How can I better integrate strategies to deal with multi-level classes?  ALL of my classes are multi-level, and when I say multi-, I mean multi-! In a class of 16 students, it's not unusual for me to have a range from low A2 to bilingual. I'm sure I've figured out a number of strategies already, as the majority of my students do make progress, but I'd like to better qualify what these strategies are and pick up new ones.
  • Pick up? Of course, how can I get my students to use phrasal verbs more? My students seem to have an uncanny ability to get by without them, but I may be their enabler...

Tout a un début...




Reader Comments (1)

Hey Betty,

I think you've made the first and most important step in blogging - the decision on what to write about.

Many bloggers (across the 'sphere, not just in education) begin because they would like to be a part of it but they don't actually know why or what they will contribute. I include myself in that pile by the way, when I began, but it's only once you have followers that you can regularly write! Sometimes I think I was very much blessed by not being on Twitter back then and had some time to evolve as a writer/blogger and learning my mistakes in relative private!

However my thoughts on your selection of topics is that the grammar one sounds like an excellent source of passion. And passion is an engine full of its own steam - in my case I've been writing about dogme and tech for over than 2 years and I've still have heaps to say so I'd go with this in particular - grammar - why do you love it so much? And given that you do love it you will probably be able to inspire others and share tips on teaching it effectively!

Looking forward to your posts,

October 24, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterKarenne Sylvester

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