Monday, May 30, 2016

Introducing Reduction of Relative Clauses (with Freaks and Geeks)

Teaching grammar can get taxing. One week of classes that most instructors fear in our school is when we have to introduce reduction of relative clauses. The materials provided by our school are sometimes too rule-based and deductive, so I have come up with an alternative version to introduce reduction in relative clauses.

Image taken from Google Images

Monday, May 23, 2016

Materials Adaptation (Language Leader Intermediate Unit 8 Lesson 4)

In our school, where students learn English in a two-semester intensive program before they start their academic studies, we use Language Leader as our main textbook. We use the same book every year, which I think is the case in most schools, and it kind of gets dull after some time. That's why, a colleague of mine and I adapted this lesson to make it more relevant to the learners' lives and (hopefully) more interesting. We didn't need to use the book itself (believe me when I say not using the textbook does make a lot of difference sometimes) although we extracted the listening part from it.

It is a speaking lesson with a focus on discussing possibilities and options as well as problem solving. It starts with the following extract from the Lakeside College prospectus, and asks learners to talk about which facilities would interest them and what sort of things students at university often complain about.

Friday, May 20, 2016

Verb + -ing or verb + infinitive (Speaking practice)

As you know, after certain verbs we use the -ing form, and after other verbs we use the infinitive. Sometimes we can use either form and there is no change in meaning. Occasionally we can use either form and there is a change in meaning.

If you'd like to learn more about the rule for whether we use the -ing form or the infinitive after a certain verb, take a look at this document on the British Council website.  For verbs there are used with either with a change in meaning, you might want to refer to a comprehensive grammar book.

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Speaking practice with future tenses

I used this activity to give my students practice with future tenses (will, be going to and the present continuous) with pre-intermediate students. I printed the cards on this worksheet and cut them out. I paired up the students and gave each person half of this set of cards. Then, I asked the students to randomly pick a card from their own set of cards, and answer the question without telling their partner what the question is.  Their partner's job is to try to guess the question based on the answer. It might be a good idea to warn the students not to repeat the words in the question since it might give away the answer too easily. When s/he guesses the question correctly, they change roles and repeat the same procedure.

Monday, May 9, 2016

Reduction of adverb clauses to modifying phrases

Even the title of this post looks scary to most people. Reduction of adverb clauses is a difficult concept for most learners of English. Until they internalize the concept, they look for a source to turn to whenever they feel perplexed. And who can blame them? Some of you might argue that they do not even need to learn these, but in most schools like ours, where learners are tested on every single grammar point there is in the English language, whether it be as simple as the verb "to be" or as complex as this one, they need to be able to at least recognize these structures.

If you're looking at this post blankly trying to understand what I'm talking about, here's an example of how the conjunction "after" can be reduced:

Friday, May 6, 2016

Teaching the past perfect (a lesson plan)

I used a little story I made up to introduce the past perfect. I asked the students to take a piece of paper and try to write down everything I said. I told them I would tell the story only twice and they had to take notes of everything that happened in the story.

I used the following story about one of my students, Arda, who tended to be late for the first period.
When Arda woke up this morning, it was 8.30. He immediately got out of bed and ran to class, but it was too late. By the time he came to school, the teacher had already started teaching. It was 8.46.

Sunday, May 1, 2016

Do's and Don'ts of Fulbright Interviews

I decided to write this post after attending a webinar on effective interviewing techniques and tips by the Turkish Fulbright Commission. They answered most of my questions, so I wanted to share this with you and keep it for myself for future reference. :)

What do the committee members generally look at?

Most committee members look at your: 

Oral communication skills
Knowledge in your area of expertise
Extracurricular activities
Willingness to be accepted to the program