How to teach real English using TED talks by Lewis Lansford

For my whole career as a teacher, I’ve heard language learners talk about how they want to learn the ‘real’ language – not just stuff in books. And it makes sense. You want to learn language you can really use – maybe the language as it’s spoken in New York, London or Sydney.

Ask English teachers what ‘real’ English is, and you’ll get a variety of answers:

  • grammatically correct English
  • British English
  • any English that’s used for real communication
  • and others

In fact, all of the above are correct, in my view.

I’d say that anyone who’s actually using the language is speaking real English, including lower-level learners in your classrooms who are struggling – and succeeding – in sharing their own thoughts and ideas and answers to the questions you ask them.

Let’s take a look at what we know about how English is used in the world:

  • At least 25% of the world’s population speaks English
  • L2 (second language) speakers outnumber L1 (first language) English speakers by at least four to one
  • A majority of English language conversations in the world are between L2 speakers – that means they don’t include anyone who is an L1 (first language) English speaker

What we see is that an overwhelming majority of the English used in the world today is L2 English. So, what’s real English? It’s grammatically correct English, it’s British English, it’s English used for real communication, and it’s also:

  • Chinese English
  • German English
  • Mexican English
  • and the English spoken in every other country

A few thoughts about accent

This brings us to another question. What kind of accent do you expect your learners to have in English?

  • British?
  • American?
  • Some other nationality?
  • A comprehensible accent?

Everyone has some kind of accent in English – even people who speak English as their first language. And there are hundreds of different L1 English accents that vary from Scottish to South African, from standard American to British ‘received pronunciation,’ and from Texas to Jamaica and beyond. And we also know that very few people learning any language as an L2 achieve a perfect ‘native-like’ accent. So is it a reasonable – or even desirable – goal to ‘speak like a native’?

I’m not so sure it is. Your ‘foreign’ accent in English:

  • will never go away, most likely
  • says something about where you come from
  • can in some cases actually make you easier to understand than some L1 English speakers

To discuss this issue with your students using TED talks, I prepared a free worksheet Learn real English with TED talks, which you can download below:

How to use the Learn real English with TED Talks worksheet

Use this worksheet in intermediate-level classrooms and above, to support learners watching TED Talks and get them thinking – and talking – about real English and accent. It’s designed to work with a variety of talks.

The talks that it will work best with are ones where the speaker has a noticeable L2 accent. You can choose talks that you like from TED.com. Here are two to get you started, all freely available:

Diébédo Francis Kéré: How to build with clay … and community
May El Khalil – Making peace is a marathon 

If possible, you could take the ‘flipped classroom’ approach and ask your students to watch the talks at home, before class, and come prepared to discuss them. But if that’s not possible, you can watch the talks together in class.


Good luck, and enjoy teaching with TED Talks!

Lewis got his start teaching English in Barcelona in 1989. After getting an MA in TESOL, he taught at a US university and then a manufacturing company in Japan. In 1995, he took an editorial job with a major publisher in Hong Kong, and in 1997 became a freelance editor, project manager and writer. He has worked on books, videos, tests, audio materials, worksheets, apps and online materials for learners of all ages across the world. He has a strong interest in ESP – the language of getting things done – and has developed and written materials for aviation, oil and gas, and engineering. Lewis is especially interested in understanding the implications for materials development of research in English as a lingua franca. His most recent work includes National Geographic Learning’s Perspectives, an upper secondary course featuring TED Talks, and Keynote, a multi-award-winning adult course also featuring TED Talks. He lives in York, UK. For more information, see lewislansford.com

Do you have an accent? – a lesson plan

Have you ever had people comment on your accent?

Sometimes, these comments can be very positive: oh, you have such a lovely accent.

But sometimes, they can also be rather negative.

And the truth is that we all have certain subconscious biases towards and against certain accents. We think of some as posh, while others might be uncouth. Some are funny, others sexy. Some sound highly educated, while others do not.

This issue is certainly not limited to ‘non-native speaker’ accents, but as a ‘non-native speaker’ myself, and a language learner myself, I can tell you that it can sometimes be difficult to come to grips with your accent.

Should I hide it?

Should I be proud of it?

Why do people judge me by it and not listen to what I have to say?

Bearing this in mind, I think it’s vital to bring this issue to students’ attention. In particular, because having a foreign accent might be a problem for some learners. Something some might be uneasy about, or maybe even slightly ashamed of. Some might want to get rid of it all together.

But I personally think that accents are great. They make English the beautifully varied lingua franca that it is.

And, there is absolutely no evidence that having a standard ‘native speaker’ accent will make you any easier to understand in international contexts.

So I thought I’d prepare a short lesson plan based on a video that Andy Barbiero shared with me on FB today (thanks, Andy!).

Lead-in:

Discuss these questions with the person next to you:

  • How do you feel about your accent in English?
  • Do people ever notice it or comment on it? If so, how?
  • To what extent do YOU judge people by their accents?
  • What stereotypes do you have about certain accents?

Watching 1 (00 – 00:41):

Watch the first part of the video:

  • What is your reaction to what the speaker says? Why?
  • Have you ever had similar situations? What happened?

Accentism:

In the next part of the video, the speaker will talk about accentism:

  • What do you think it might be?
  • How might it be related to the other -isms, such as sexism or racism?

Watching 2 (00:41 – 1:30):

Watch the video to check. Then discuss:

  • To what extent is accentism a form of discrimination?
  • How does it compare to the other forms of discrimination (e.g. ageism, sexism, racism)?
  • Can (and should) something be done in order to protect people from this prejudice? Why (not)?

Hiding your accent:

The speaker will now talk about his friend Nas, who is from the Middle East, and who has worked very hard to hide his accent. Discuss:

  • Have you ever tried hiding your accent? Why (not)? Do you know anyone who has?
  • Why might some people want to completely get rid of their accent?

Watching 3 (1:30 – 2:25):

  • What is your reaction to the video?
  • Do you agree that people shouldn’t spend time trying to reduce their accent? Why (not)?

Why not hide your accent:

The speaker will now give their reasons why you shouldn’t hide your accent:

  • Make a list of possible reasons with the person next to you
  • He will also make an analogy between accents and music taste. What do you think might he say about it?

Watching 4 (2:25 – end):

Check your answers from above.

Discussion and reflection:

Having watched the video, discuss with the person next to you:

  • What are your thoughts about accentism? To what extent is it a real prejudice? Should measures be taken to stop it? How?
  • How do you now feel about your own accent? Would you like to get rid of it? Why (not)?
  • How can you avoid judging other English users by their accents?

Follow-up:

Spend the next few days listening to different accents. Note down:

  • Which accent was it?
  • What was your initial reaction to the accent?
  • How could you avoid stereotyping that person by their accent?

Share your ideas with your classmates in the next class.


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5 Principles You Should Follow to Teach Listening for English as a Lingua Franca Use

It’s no secret that English has become the global lingua franca.

We all know that English has become the global lingua franca used primarily for communication between ‘non-native speakers’.

The problem is, though, that many course books:

  • still focus a lot on a very narrow range of ‘native speaker’ accents
  • if recordings of ‘non-native speakers’ are present, they’re typically recorded by actors.

This obviously misrepresents the diversity of the English language.

It also might not adequately prepare our students for understanding the wide array of accents they’ll hear when they leave our classes.

So bearing this in mind and the sheer variety of Englishes that our students are likely to encounter when they leave our classrooms, teaching listening skills becomes vital.

But how do we go about it?

How do we reflect this linguistic variety in our listening classes?

How can we help students understand different accents?

How can we use a wider range of ‘non-native’ voices in our listening materials?

In this video I want to tackle this challenge head on and share with you my 5 principles for teaching listening for English as a Lingua Franca use.

To learn more about teaching English as a Lingua Franca, check out my on-line courses on TEFL Equity Academy and start your FREE trial today.

If you’d like to hear more about the courses and get an exclusive discount when they open for enrolment, just pop your email below:

 

5 Top Tips to Get Hired in Prague as a Non-Native Speaker Teacher

Looking for jobs as a ‘non-native speaker’ teacher can be pretty depressing. I’m sure you’ve seen all these job ads for ‘native speakers’ only.

But, despite this widespread preference for ‘native speakers’, some ‘non-native’ teachers have become incredibly successful. They have managed to overcome the initial bias against them and to succeed.

What have they done differently?

What can we learn from their success?

How can you apply their tactics to give your own career a boost and get hired as a ‘non-native speaker’ teacher?

To find out, I interviewed Karin Krummenacher, who has been a teacher and a teacher trainer and who is currently doing her MA in TESOL in the UK. In this 5 minute extract from the interview, Karin shares her top 5 tips to get hired as a ‘non-native speaker’ teacher.

If you’d like to watch the entire interview, and other interviews like this one with successful ‘non-native speaker’ teachers from around the world, take a look at my course “How to Become a Highly Employable and Successful ‘Non-Native Speaker’ Teacher”.

And if you’d like to get more FREE tips on how to get hired as a ‘non-native speaker’ teacher, download the FREE guide “6 Fool-Proof Tips to Boost Your Professional Profile and Get Hired as a Non-Native Speaker Teacher”.

Click on the button below to get it via FB Messenger:

Or via email:

 

Why as a Non-Native Speaker Teacher You Should Take a Proficiency Test to Dispel Recruiter’s Worries and Get Hired

When you ask recruiters why they might be reluctant to hire a ‘non-native speaker’ teacher, one of the first answers you’ll get (apart from the market demand from students) is their worry about the candidate’s proficiency:

  • Will their English be good enough?
  • Will they have a foreign accent? (not that there’s anything wrong with having one, mind you)
  • Will they be able to teach all levels, including proficiency?

That’s why I think it is vital that as a ‘non-native speaker’ you get a proficiency test. This will:

  • prove your level of proficiency
  • dispel some of the recruiter’s immediate worries about your English
  • increase your chances of getting hired.

And in this video I talk about how to choose the right proficiency test for yourself and how you can use it to boost your job opportunities as a ‘non-native speaker’ teacher.

If you want more tips like these that will boost your chances of getting hired as a ‘non-native speaker’, download my FREE guide “6 Fool-Proof Tips to Boost Your Professional Profile and Get Hired as a Non-Native Speaker Teacher”.

Click on the button below to get it via FB Messenger:

Or via email:

 

Learn How to Teach English as a Lingua Franca Following These Seven Principles

As an English teacher, you might have heard a lot about English as a Lingua Franca (ELF) from a theoretical perspective.

But you might be wondering:

  • Is it even possible to teach ELF?
  • How would I go about it?
  • How would it differ from teaching EFL or ESL?

That’s why in this video, I’m going to give you 7 easy-to-follow practical principles for teaching ELF that you can apply right away in your classes.

This will help you make the switch from EFL to ELF easily and give you a ton of practical ideas.

Ready?

To learn more about teaching English as a Lingua Franca, check out my on-line courses on TEFL Equity Academy and start your FREE trial today.

If you’d like to hear more about the courses and get an exclusive discount when they open for enrolment, just pop your email below:

 

Get Hired as a ‘Non-Native Speaker’: Your three unique strengths

We hear so much about why ‘native speakers’ are supposedly better teachers that it’s easy to start losing confidence as a ‘non-native speaker’ teacher…

It’s easy to forget that as a ‘non-native speaker’ you can also be a great teacher.

That you’ve got your unique strengths.

And that you can use these to start getting the jobs you deserve to be getting (despite the widespread preference for ‘native speaker’ teachers).

That’s why in this video, I’m going to show you 3 UNIQUE strengths you’ve got as a ‘non-native speaker’ teacher and how you can showcase these to the prospective recruiter.

This will help you boost your confidence and increase your chances of getting hired.

So if you’re a ‘non-native speaker’ teacher who is looking to boost their employability, watch the video now:

 

If you want to download the FREE guide “6 Fool-Proof Tips to Boost Your Professional Profile and Get Hired as a Non-Native Speaker Teacher”, click on the button below to get it via FB Messenger:

Or via email:

Get Hired as a ‘Non-Native Speaker’: 5 top tips to a cracking LinkedIn profile

Trying to get hired as a ‘non-native speaker’ teacher can be a rather grim affair…

Half of job ads out there are for ‘native speakers’ only.

The other half gives you a polite ‘No’, or never replies.

As a ‘non-native speaker’ teacher myself, I know how frustrating this might feel. I’ve been there.

But it really doesn’t have to be like this.

You can start getting the jobs you deserve, despite the ‘native speaker’ bias.

And to help you do just that, I’m putting together short, actionable video tips that are guaranteed to boost your employability.

In the first video, I’m going to share with you my 5 Top Tips to a Cracking LinkedIn Profile.

So if you’re a ‘non-native speaker’ teacher who is looking to boost their employability, watch the video now:

If you want to download the FREE guide “6 Fool-Proof Tips to Boost Your Professional Profile and Get Hired as a Non-Native Speaker Teacher”, click on the button below to get it via FB Messenger:

Or via email:

How to Become a Highly Employable and Successful ‘Non-Native Speaker’ Teacher in the Next THREE weeks

As a ‘non-native speaker’ have you ever…

…felt like all the ELT (English Language Teaching) jobs out there are for ‘native speakers’ only?

…spent hours polishing your CV and sending rock-solid applications just to be turned down yet again because they only hire ‘native speakers’?

…been on the verge of giving up on your dreams of finally getting the ELT job you deserve, because you’re constantly told that we won’t hire ‘non-native speakers’?

If your answer is yes to any of the above, I’ve got very good news for you.

It doesn’t have to be like this.

TEFL Equity Advocates and Academy has been working very hard to raise awareness of the discrimination and persuade recruiters to adopt equal opportunities policy. And we’ll continue to do so in the future 🙂

But meanwhile, there’s actually a lot that YOU can do to improve your chances of landing your next ELT job despite the discrimination.

Curious?

Watch this video to find out how you can completely turn your career around become a highly employable and successful ‘non-native speaker’ teacher.

So if you’d like to learn the exact steps that will boost your chances of landing your next ELT job in just THREE weeks (even if you’ve been turned down before), check out my course “How to become a highly employable and successful ‘non-native speaker’ teacher”.

Currently the course is available for exclusive early access, which means that I’m looking for a small, selected group of highly motivated and committed ‘non-native speaker’ teachers who would like to turn their careers around and learn a proven step-by-step method that is guaranteed to get you the jobs YOU deserve.

The exclusive early access is only available until Sunday 22nd July, when the enrolment for this course will close. And I’m not sure when it will open again. And when it does, the price will jump by at least $100.

So click here to secure your LIFETIME access.

What are you going to learn in the course?

Module 1: Understanding Native Speakerism

In this module you will learn where the prejudices, biases and the discrimination against ‘non-native speaker’ teachers stems from so you can tackle native speakerism more effectively.

You will also understand the specific beliefs and practices that help spread and maintain native speakerism, so that you are able to target them and increase your chances of employment. Finally, we will outline a step-by-step roadmap that will allow you to become a highly employable and successful ‘non-native speaker’ teacher.

Module 2: Busting the ‘Native Speaker’ Myth

You will understand why ‘native speakers’ are NOT better English teachers and boost your confidence.

You will bust some of the most typical reasons given by recruiters to justify hiring ‘native speakers’ only, so that you can effectively respond to them and increase your chances of being hired.

Module 3: Understanding and Utilising Your Strengths as a ‘Non-Native Speaker’ Teacher

In this module you will gain an understanding of the unique strengths you as a ‘non-native speaker’ have, so that you can highlight these to recruiters and boost your professional profile.

You will gain confidence by knowing how you can utilise your strengths in the recruitment process.

This module will also help you craft a winner’s mindset that will significantly increase your employability.

Module 4: Creating an Irresistible Professional Profile

You will understand which qualifications are necessary to impress the recruiter and stand out from the crowd.

You will learn how to highlight and showacase your language proficiency and which proficiency test you should take.

In this module you will also learn how to harness the power of social media and find the right niche to market your unique strengths and abilities.

Module 5: The Application Alchemy

This module will give you the exact strategies you need to drastically improve your success rate in the application process.

You will walk away with an irresistible CV and cover letter which are bound to catch the employer’s eye and get you an invitation to the interview.

You will also learn how to avoid the dodgy language schools and focus on those which offer equal opportunities, so you can save time and easily triple positive responses to your applications.

And finally, you will discover two secret but incredibly simple tricks that will ensure that your CV and application letter are read with attention.

Module 6: Crashing it at the Interview

Having been accepted for the interview, you will now learn the exact strategies that will easily boost your chances of being hired.

You will also understand and know how to avoid the most typical mistakes that ‘non-native speaker’ teachers make at the interview, so you can ensure a positive response from the recruiter.

You will finish this module being confident and completely prepared for the next interview by learning what the most typical questions are and how you can answer them effectively.

Module 7: Succeeding Beyond the Interview

This module will show you what you need to do to become a highly successful ‘non-native speaker’ teacher’.

You will learn how to promote equality and discuss native speakerism in your classroom, so that you can be confident that students appreciate you as a teacher.

You will understand how you can use your strengths as a ‘non-native speaker’ in the classroom in order to achieve better learning outcomes and receive more positive feedback from your students and the employer.

So if you want to start getting the jobs that you deserve within the next three weeks, sign up on the course before the enrolment closes this Sunday July 22nd.

See you there! 🙂

English as a Lingua Franca Week – don’t miss the FREE webinars and the raffle

This week Brazil’s English Language Teachers (BrELT) group is organising English as a Lingua Franca (ELF) week. Starting today, there will be two FREE (yay!) webinars a day.

You can learn more about the event by clicking here.

I’m giving a talk on Thursday at 5pm Brasilia time (UTC -3) or 9pm GMT and 10pm CEST entitled How to Create Materials and Lesson Plans for Teaching English as a Lingua Franca. 

I’m also doing a raffle giving away over $800 worth of online courses from TEFL Equity Academy which will help you tackle the ‘native speaker’ bias and promote equality by writing materials for teaching English as a Lingua Franca. The winners will be announced at the end of the webinar.

To register for the webinar and to take part in the raffle, click on the button below:

You can also sign up via email:

What can you win?

The Ultimate Guide to Teaching English as a Lingua Franca (valued at $129)

Learn how to quickly create effective and engaging materials and lesson plans to teach English as a Lingua Franca.

You will get an easy, step-by-step guide that will allow you to save time and prepare engaging and relevant lesson plans which will motivate your students.

How to Teach Pronunciation: Interviews with Experts (valued at $129)

Learn how to write materials and lesson plans for teaching pronunciation from the most prominent researchers such as John Levis or David Deterding, as well as acclaimed teacher trainers and materials writers such as Nicola Meldrum or Mark Hancock.

These interviews are a goldmine of practical teaching ideas and insightful research findings that will help you rethink and reflect on how you write materials to teach pronunciation, and take your skills to a new level.

Teaching English as a Lingua Franca: Interviews with Experts (valued at $129)

Learn how to write materials for English as a Lingua Franca from the most prominent experts on English as a Lingua Franca such as Paola Vettorel, Martin Dewey or Nicos Sifakis.

These interviews are will equip you with all the tools you need to take your materials writing skills to the next level.

English Teacher’s Advanced Guide to Pronunciation Teaching (valued at $139)

Boost your confidence and follow a research-based, step-by-step approach that will allow you to successfully teach your next pronunciation class.

This course will give you the necessary knowledge and practical ideas that will help you save time when preparing your classes, teach more engaging pronunciation lessons and gain the confidence to overcome the ‘native speaker’ bias.

FREE Bonus #1 – Lifetime Updates (priceless)

Every year, following the feedback from course participants, as well as the latest developments in ELF research and teaching practice; I update the course, refreshing the content and adding new material.

That way as a course participant you will always get the latest content and new teaching ideas that will help you teach ELF more effectively.

Get these updates FOREVER for FREE now and you won’t have to pay a penny again, even if the course fee goes up!

FREE Bonus #2 – Full Offline Access to ALL courses (valued at $200)

No Internet? No problem 🙂

Enjoy the course offline – take it with you for a walk, view it in a park on your mobile, watch the lectures in a cafe while drinking a delightful cup of coffee.

…Download all the videos and watch them even when you’re offline

…Save the reading materials and read when it suits YOU best!

FREE Bonus #3 – Lifetime access (priceless)

Being and English teacher myself, I completely understand how busy your schedule can get. Offsite classes, correcting essays, marking exams, split shifts… I’ve been there!

That’s why I want you to be able to enjoy the course for as long as you want. Lifetime access gives you the flexibility to start and finish the course whenever it suits YOU best!

FREE Bonus #4 – Training Recording and Slides (valued at $78)

Come back to the recording of this training in the future so you can revisit all the points covered and take action.

Download the slides, so you can reuse the activities in your own materials and lesson plans, so you save time and are ready to teach your next class.

Sounds good?

Enter the Raffle Now to Win