Beating Exam Stress

This is the most stressful time of the year for most students: you may not feel prepared for the upcoming English exams; you may feel overwhelmed and tired; you may feel pressure to succeed and become a straight-A student; you may not know how to overcome exam stress... OK, you're in the right place. Check out these tips and pieces of sound advice that can help you to deal with stress during exam time. Let's get started!⭕ TAKE a short walkFresh air can perk you up, tame stress and help you to clear your head and unwind after studying. And let's not forget that exercise always releases feel-good hormones and brightens our mood! In addition, a short walk increases your exposure to sunlight. This means that it increases your serotonin levels, too. And you do know that serotonin can create this perfect feeling of euphoria, right? So, get out and go for a walk... but remember to come back and keep studying – you must take a test, after all!⭕ TAKE a breathIf you have ever experienced a panic attack, you are familiar with the shocking feeling of shortness of breath. Well, the easiest and quickest way to calm down, relax and reduce your blood pressure is to slowly breathe in and out. Deep breathing is one of the best ways to lower stress in your body and reduce cortisol levels. And breathing exercises are easy to learn; you can get started with the Box Breathing Technique. Just google it!⭕ TAKE care of yourselfA balanced diet and good sleep patterns improve concentration and reduce stress. And while we are constantly told that junk food can influence our physical and mental health, we may not realise that sleep plays a critical role too. Avoid burning the candle at both ends and always remember that both the hours and the quality of sleep matter.⭕ TAKE the time to declutterWhen it comes to studying and preparing for exams, it's not just about what you do, but about where you do it, too. You've certainly heard that a cluttered desk is a sign of a cluttered mind. Having an organised workspace can help you to focus and feel more relaxed. So, throw away anything you don't need, use desk organisers and clean up your workspace at the end of each day! It also goes without saying that during study time you should avoid distractions and temptations. Let's make sure that you won't waste your time browsing through social media and checking your phone every 10 minutes!⭕ TAKE a breakDoing something you like or just hanging out with friends can get your mind off the exams, right? But you should also take some short breaks. Taking a break after studying for 45-60 minutes can help you to concentrate and lower levels of exam-related anxiety. You are not a robot and you can't study for hours on end – nor should you!⭕ TAKE a shower (and sing)Music can work wonders too when it comes to exam stress. You just have to create a playlist that you find relaxing and uplifting when you need a break. Bear in mind that while music preferences vary, classical music has been shown to help when we get the jitters! And did we mention that singing (even in the shower) is a natural antidepressant and can have a positive and calming effect? Aha, so you don't have to be a professional singer to sing your heart out and trigger the release of endorphins!⭕ TAKE it togetherLearning English is a journey; and sharing your thoughts, the pressure you feel and your study struggles with peers and other students can make it so much easier! When your exams are approaching, the people who are going to sit the same exam can understand you better than anyone else. Having the support of family members and friends is important too. Being with people who care about you when you struggle can create the supportive system that you need.⭕ TAKE heartWhat can lift your spirits? Positive affirmations and self-talk usually help us all to tackle this irritating feeling of butterflies in our stomach. OK, we get it; telling yourself how good you are may seem a bizarre habit. But think about it... We all have some negative thoughts. What if we thought of everything we have already studied and done successfully instead? A positive thought such as 'I have studied hard and I'll succeed!' can reduce adrenalin levels and improve your performance.⭕ TAKE your timeWhen preparing for exams, it's important to do whatever works for you. Spend as much time as you need in studying. Pick up the pace slowly and eventually you'll become more prepared to tackle tough tasks and practice tests without feeling overwhelmed. Everyone learns according to a different timeline. Just be realistic and bear in mind that you can't learn everything! It's also important that you learn how to plan ahead, avoid procrastination and use your time wisely. Make a to-do list, set strict deadlines (that you'll actually stick to) and start achieving your mini goals!⭕ TAKE it easyIt's a fact that we are all different. And this means that we relax differently. Some students like popping bubble wrap. Others unwind with aromatherapy or a head massage. Some English learners calm down when embracing the British habit of drinking lots of tea (actually, there have been studies that show tea can indeed relieve stress)! So, stop comparing yourself to others, do whatever helps you to feel better and focus on your unique needs and ways to tackle stress. Finally, find out what you should do the day before your exams to increase your chances of success!What do you do to deal with exam stress? Do you use any other techniques? If you have something to share with our community, we are all ears!...

November 21, 2022

How to Get Your Students Ready for Exams

Even for the most confident students, exams can be a stressful and nerve-wracking experience. Well, the truth is that unless your English learners are adrenaline junkies, they probably don't enjoy tests and exams! So, what can you do to help them to get ready and get top marks?👉 Task TypesFirst of all, make sure that your students are familiar with the format of each part of the exam they are about to take. OK, there will probably be some reading and listening tasks, but will they have to answer open-ended or multiple-choice questions? How many times will examinees listen to the recordings? Will they lose points for incorrect answers? The better they know what will be expected of them, the less likely they are to face any unpleasant surprises.Next step: focus on useful exam strategies and techniques. For example, have your students understood that they must always proofread their texts? Do they know how to use the skimming technique when they want to identify the main idea and key phrases and words in a text? Have they learnt how to use the scanning technique when they want to find specific information (such as a particular word, name or date) in a text? Do they know how to avoid falling for trick questions?pro tip 🗸 Train your students to carefully read the instructions. If they don't know precisely what they are asked to do, they may miss the focus of the task. And it goes without saying that misreading a question could also have catastrophic results (no matter how interesting, imaginative or inspired an answer may be)!👉 Speaking PanicYou should point out to your students that it is not a good idea to memorise speeches for a speaking test. A good examiner can always tell if an answer has been learnt and rehearsed (and this may influence the final score). However, they should learn and practise words and phrases that we all use when we discuss something. They should also show that they are able to interact spontaneously. For example, if an examiner sneezes, he/she expects that the other person will say ‘bless you’. Being kind and friendly matters too; for example, saying 'Thanks, have a good day!' at the end of the test will certainly leave a good impression. In addition, your students should be ready to answer the most common questions without any long pauses or hesitation. TV and radio presenters know that dead air can lead to terrible results; if there is dead air, viewers or listeners will just switch to another channel or station! You should also not forget to explain that sometimes it is better to force ourselves to slow down when speaking; by consciously slowing down, we give ourselves more time to think and we decrease the likelihood of using fillers (such as ‘um’ and ‘uh’) which show that we don’t know what else to say or that we are struggling to remember a word!Examinees should also be aware of their body language and the messages it conveys. For example, they shouldn't fold their arms across their chests, slouch or keep putting their hands in their pockets. Instead, they should remember to nod, smile, make eye contact, show interest and look tip 🗸 Just like official examiners, you have to know how to apply the assessment criteria to evaluate your learners' speaking skills. That's why you need to make the most of handbooks for teachers and speaking test videos. Test yourself by comparing your marks and notes with those of the official examiners. You should also share at least a speaking test video with your students; it will help them to understand what happens on the big day and make them feel more prepared and relaxed!👉 Time ManagementeDo your students know how much time they will have for each part of the exam? Have they done plenty of practice tests in timed conditions? Have they understood that they should always leave a few minutes at the end to check their answers and/or transfer them onto answer sheets? Time isn't always on your students' side when taking a test, so they have to know how to use it wisely. There’s nothing worse than failing an exam because of running out of time! You should also explain that during the stressful period before the big day (aka the day of the exam) time management also matters. No one can learn everything a few days before a test. The road to success takes time and effort; and no one can improve at lightning speed! So, motivate your English learners to learn how to avoid procrastinating and how to set an effective study and revision routine. pro tip 🗸 A hack that helps many students is answering the easy questions first and leaving lots of time at the end for the harder parts of the exam. Starting with an easy task and moving on to the next question when getting stuck is a method that makes most test takers feel confident and calm, so it may work for most of your students too!👉 Weak SpotsOK, you do know that every student is different. But how can you identify each learner's weak spots? Mock tests can help you to focus on your students' strengths and weaknesses. And reflection tasks and other follow-up activities can help your learners to concentrate on the specific areas they need to work on. Bear in mind that different learning styles and study habits may call for different strategies and schedules. Encourage your English learners to figure out what works for tip 🗸 When taking a practice test, most students are more interested in their grade than their teacher's feedback. However, you should emphasise how important it is for them to concentrate on feedback, weaknesses and errors that could have been avoided. Moreover, you should highlight the importance of things most students don't pay attention to. For example, is their handwriting easy to read? Marking tests can be a tedious job; that's why all examiners truly appreciate legible handwriting!👉 Relaxation TechniquesThe sensation of a knot in your stomach when taking an exam is... well, unavoidable! But there are some special techniques that can help your students to deal with exam stress on the big day. They just have to start practising! Explain that the easiest and quickest way to calm down, relax and reduce your blood pressure is to slowly breathe in and out. Your students can get started with the ‘box breathing technique’. Just google it! Another tip that helps many students is the power of positive self-talk during a challenging test. Negative thoughts and test anxiety go in hand in hand, so managing to think positively when being under stress can work wonders! Motivate your English learners to learn and repeat encouraging phrases such as 'I can do anything I set my mind to', 'I've prepared for this exam and I'll give it my all' or 'OK, the clock is ticking but I've been on a strict deadline before; I'll succeed'. pro tip 🗸 Motivational posters and sticky notes with encouraging words on them can help you to create a positive classroom atmosphere. How do you help your students to prepare for exams and impress all examiners? If you have any other tips and tricks, we'd love to hear about them👇!...

October 22, 2022

First day of school for a new English teacher

Wondering how to survive the first day of school? We've all been there! You're both excited and nervous. But trust us: you will get the hang of it! Here are some useful tips to get off on the right foot and set the tone for the whole school year.✔️ Impressing the ClassYou don't get a second chance to make a good first impression. That's why you have to arrive early. OK, this is a no-brainer, but we must say it: the early bird catches the worm (and all students' attention)! Check that everything you may need (e.g. a computer, smartboard or tablet) is there. And you've certainly spent some time mapping out what you will be teaching during the first month, but it doesn't hurt to take a quick look at your notes and detailed lesson plans again. Remember that there is no such thing as being too prepared for your first day! Now, think back to the last time you first met someone. A warm smile, eye contact and a positive attitude can work wonders, right? On the other hand, a constant fidget and other signs of nervousness and tension don't help at all. So, greet every student warmly... and take the first step to a great school year!✔️ Breaking the IceFind some good ice-breaking activities and help your students to share a few details about themselves. In this way, you'll develop some rapport and you'll have the chance to easily assess your new students' language ability. And don't forget that in every form of verbal communication there has to be some give and take. So, don't be afraid to share something fun or unusual about yourself! Your English learners will be interested in finding out who you are. Show your students that you want them to feel like they know you on a more personal level. And a pro tip: A photo with your pet(s) could earn bonus points!✔️ Building the TeamHave your young students make fun name tags and wear them. Devote some time to allow your older English learners to get to know one another. And finish your first lesson with a fun activity that will create a feeling of unity. For example, you could encourage young learners to create a unique ‘English Classroom Rules’ poster with this helpful worksheet from our Voices 4 series. You could also have your students participate in fun team games. Or say yes to a catchy classroom cheer, which is also a great way to promote a strong sense of togetherness. Well, if you've ever been a member or a supporter of a competitive team, then you know that a good cheer can inculcate a really powerful sense of team spirit! And if you manage to create a positive classroom atmosphere and let your students leave feeling excited, then they will look forward to your next lesson!✔️ Setting the RulesMake it clear from the first day of class what you won’t tolerate. Students need to know what each teacher considers acceptable behaviour. Setting the necessary rules and talking about the classroom routines at the very beginning will help you to avoid discipline problems in the future. But bear in mind that having too many rules or not sticking to them won't help in the long run!✔️ Using the Latest TechIf there is a webpage or a class social media account where your students can find info, such us useful exam dates, this is the day to tell everyone about it. Remember to explain how your students can use the E-planet e-learning platform to review all the material delivered in class and complete extra activities online. Do they know that they simply enter the PIN number on their e-learning card and in a few simple steps they are ready to go? And if your learners are young, then you know that effective communication between you and their parents will be important during the school year. Try to understand their concerns and explain how you'll inform them about their children's progress. And make sure that they know how to use the new E-planet mobile application, which provides both students and parents full access to English learners' progress and test results!✔️ Expecting the UnexpectedYour first day may not go according to plan. In fact, during most first days in life, things hardly ever go as planned or imagined! And that's OK. Well, Mike Tyson (yes, the famous American professional boxer) spoke from experience when he said that everyone has a plan until they get punched in the mouth! Accept that something you can't predict right now may send you completely off course; it’s not uncommon for a meticulously mapped out lesson to turn out differently from what you had planned. So, don't necessarily aim for perfection – just relax and go with the flow. So, you are now ready to get off to a good start; we hope you enjoy your first day of school! Take a deep breath and let your passion for teaching shine through!...

September 22, 2022

Getting your students back on track after summer vacation

No matter how many tips and tricks you're aware of, the back-to-school season always seems stressful, right? Well, transitions can be tough for all students. Even if the students are excited, chances are they are also sluggish, nervous or unruly. That's why you need these last-minute suggestions for reinspiring English learners and getting them back in the groove after summer holidays. Keep reading and by the time September rolls around, you'll be ready to get your students back on track and keep them enthusiastic about learning English!➡️ Make it positiveThe back-to-school season can be a real bummer for some students! But creating a welcoming classroom and a positive atmosphere spurs creativity and helps us all to feel more motivated to learn. So, what can you do?First of all, rethink your classroom design and choose a seating arrangement that will encourage your students to learn. For example, you could create a horseshoe-shaped formation or flexible clusters. Seating plans can make or break even the best of classes! And remember that although you're all getting back into a routine, you can always try something new to shake things up. Even the smallest of changes can make a big difference in a classroom environment. For example, adding a splash of colour in a classroom or creating a reading and educational board games nook can make a classroom much more interesting. So, before another school year starts, follow our advice and find out how you can create a happy place for all learners!In addition, a positive classroom atmosphere can be easily achieved if your students start building a close rapport with one another. So, make it much easier for them. Don't ask them to write the classic essay on how they spent their summer holidays. Instead, encourage your young English learners to write a short bio or have a discussion about their hobbies and find 2 or more classmates they have something in common with. For older learners, a class debate is a great idea that can always get everyone talking. And if you provide private English language lessons, establish a close rapport with your students by sharing some fun or unusual facts about yourself!A catchy classroom cheer is also a great way to create a positive classroom atmosphere and promote a strong sense of togetherness. Well, if you've ever been a member or a supporter of a competitive team, then you know that a good cheer can inculcate a really powerful sense of team spirit!➡️ Take it slowIf you want to get your students comfortable with using English again, take baby steps. Your learners can't be in holiday mode one day and then totally back in business! That's why you shouldn't dive into hard and challenging projects straightaway. Pick up the pace slowly and let your students become more prepared to tackle tough exercises without feeling overwhelmed. For example, why not have your young learners work together on a project on their summer experiences and unforgettable moments?The first homework assignment should also be an interesting one. Nothing hurts motivation more than the thought of a boring, lengthy essay! And bear in mind that focusing on group work rather than individual assignments can make any homework better since students have an opportunity to interact with each other and get excited about being back at a language school.➡️ Make it funA few unexpected activities that are full of good vibes can spark your students' interest in learning again! So, why not try a quiz or brain teasers? For example, most youngsters would love to take a quiz to decide which artist needs to come and give your language school a total makeover! And have you ever thought that you could use Instagram to take English teaching to the next level? Cool, right? People often say that a picture is worth a thousand words. Well, maybe a picture on Instagram can also help your young students to learn a thousand words! Create a fun educational account and start sharing smart learning tips and tricks, grammar rules, useful vocabulary and fun idioms! A great idea for older students is a class social media account – an account created by both you and your students. In this way, your English learners will also learn how to use social media responsibly! You could also use crossword puzzles, educational board games for children or adventurous games for teenagers and adults to add a little bit of unexpected fun and an element of competition! And don't forget to put some things that your students will look forward to on the calendar.Last but not least, bear in mind that a project or activity with real-world applications is always a good idea, as students are excited to learn something they can easily put into practice.➡️ Put it in orderEncourage your English learners to get organised. Provide your young students with a simple checklist/to-do list or a small planner as a reminder of anything important, e.g. test dates and deadlines for homework assignments. And don't forget that colours, post-it notes and stickers may have more power than you think! For teenagers and adults that use smartphones, there are many apps that can become great tools with useful to-do lists and reminders.In addition, you should motivate all your English learners to learn how to avoid procrastinating (admit it, we've all been there; most students seem to be predisposed to procrastination!). Explain that planning ahead, creating a routine and setting rules (e.g. always start studying for a test 10 days in advance) can help them stress less. Teaching time management strategies also helps a lot. And being familiar with a few relaxation techniques that can reduce stress when your students get the jitters may work wonders!If you are trying to come up with more ideas for inspiring and motivating your students, take a look at these proven and winning strategies for motivating English learners.So, the big day is nearly here. Are you ready for the new school year? If you have anything you’d like to add to this list, share your thoughts, ideas and tips in the comments below. And if you're looking for more smart tips and useful advice for the new school year, stay tuned for more #backtoschool smart tips and useful ideas!...

August 10, 2022

30 July - International Day of Friendship

Yes, at E-planet we'll be celebrating International Friendship Day on 30 July! So, how can you celebrate with your students? Here's how to get started!Friendship Stories & ArtMost likely your young students are familiar with the story of Mowgli, the clever boy who grows up in the jungle with Baloo the bear and Bagheera the panther... Well, that's a classic story of friendship that could be a great starting point for a simple speaking or writing activity.Take a look at the following questions and get inspired: Who is Mowgli's best friend? What are the qualities of a good friend? Can you write a list of all the words or phrases that you associate with friendship? Do you believe that people who have lasting friendships are happier than others? Your last question should be: Which artist could be your best friend? Listen to what your students have to say and then ask them to take an awesome quiz and find out what the fun Tate Kids site suggests! You could also encourage your English learners to create an arty bracelet to give to a friend! Just click here: Making a friendship bracelet.For older learners of English, just download this amazing worksheet from our Voices B1 student’s book and let them not only sharpen their reading and vocabulary skills but also understand why having a supportive circle of friends can make a big difference in their lives!Friendship Posters International Friendship Day is a great opportunity to promote teamwork, help young learners to form friendships and create a positive culture in your ELT classroom. How can you do that? Well, first of all, you can divide your students into small groups and ask them to make some posters celebrating friendship. Use popular quotes to prompt class discussion (e.g. What's your favourite friendship quote? Why?) and then ask your students to choose a quote, get inspired and create their poster! For young students, start with quotes they are most likely familiar with. For example, 'A day without a friend is like a pot without a single drop of honey left inside' is a phrase by Winnie the Pooh that many children know and understand. For older learners, famous English poets, novelists and playwrights can offer the needed inspiration. The well-known phrase 'Words are easy, like the wind; faithful friends are hard to find' by William Shakespeare is a good starting point. 💡 In general, you should always bear in mind that activities which require pair/group work help your learners to form bonds with each other and learn how to behave respectfully. Even if you provide private English language lessons, motivate your students to work on projects and activities with friends.The Secret Message ProjectWhen you were a child, did you ever want to send a friend a super awesome secret message? Hmm, let's see if you can write in invisible ink with your English learners! Explain to your students that they just have to squeeze some lemon juice into a bowl and stir in a few drops of water. Then they dip a cotton bud into the mix, write their message on a piece of paper and give it to a friend. And ta-da! When he or she holds it close to a light bulb, the message will appear as if by magic! 💡 That's an engaging STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics) activity that can easily foster curiosity and love for PBL (Project-based Learning). So, through friendship we can generate passion for a better world. Let’s help all English learners to appreciate this special day! How are you planning to celebrate this year's International Friendship Day with your E-planet students? #happyfriendshipdayDownload the worksheet here.

July 30, 2022

Summertime: Keep Your Kids Learning English!

All kids are looking forward to a well-earned break, new adventures and no homework, but summer is a great time for learning. Well, young students don't have to sit at desks to be successful language learners! This two-month break from the ELT classroom can be a great opportunity to help them to keep an active mind and make the English learning experience feel fun and magical. So, here are 7 smart ways to keep your children learning all summer long!1. Writing & Expressing OneselfJournals, diaries and scrapbooks are fun keepsakes and great tools that help us to develop our writing skills! So, encourage your kiddos to write about their thoughts, feeling and things they enjoy in the summertime such as family trips. Well, it doesn't matter what they focus on, just that they're making a habit of writing every day! Tip ✏️ Writing about our emotions can lower our stress and anxiety levels. That's why motivating your little ones to record their summer experiences is a great wat to help them to learn how to easily decrease their stress levels and have a sense of well-being. 2. Reading Something Every DayMake sure that your kids have something to read during the summer. When it comes to preventing summer learning loss and keeping English learning on track, reading is one of the easiest and most effective ways!Let your children explore the book genres and topics they're most interested in. Graphic novels, comics and graded readers are great opinions. Kids who are hooked on reading know that if you like book series (like The Chronicles of Narnia, Harry Potter or Diary of a Whimpy Kid), you will want to know all you can about the adventures of your favourite characters...and you'll become a bookwork! You can also get your youngsters the English version of the books they love.Creating a reading spot at home and keeping it vibrant with lots of colours and patterns can also motivate your kiddos to read every day. And have you noticed that it's always easier to get started reading when screens aren't around us? When going to the beach, to a park or for a ride, make sure that your children carry a book. Also, bear in mind that an e-reader or a tablet is an excellent portable alternative; if our little ones do carry screens around, let's put them to good use! Tip📚 If you don't know what the English level of your child is, trust the reading experts who always know how to find the perfect book. Just follow their advice and the Five-finger Rule: Let your child choose a book, open it to any page and ask him/her to read it. Count the number of words you kiddo doesn't understand at all and hold up a finger for each word. 0-1 words: too easy. 5+ words: too challenging.3. Embracing a New CultureThis is one of our favourite summer challenges of our students and their parents. Embrace together the amazing cultures of English-speaking countries! You can choose the country you'll focus on each time and your children have to get creative with crafts, games, art projects, books, films and songs that are associated with it.Tip 🇬🇧 Many children love helping in the kitchen. And all cuisines can offer excellent insights into history and culture. So, why not turn dinnertime into an English lesson by trying a new British, American or Australian dish? While you cook, have your kids read the recipe and the necessary ingredients. What a delicious way to keep learning!4. Creating a Gratitude JarYou'll just need an old-fashioned glass jar (an old cookie jar or a big jam jar should do the job) with a ribbon that your kiddos will tie around the rim. They could also use stickers, glitter or other materials to decorate it; whatver will make them smile when they look at it! Every day, your kiddos should write down in English something they're thankful for (a good feeling, a new experience, something that made them smile) on little pieces of paper and then place them in a jar.Tip 🫙 When your children have a down day, a note from their gratitude jar will remind them that life can be full of special moments!5. Getting the Ball RollingIt may be stating the obvious, but sometimes we have to be reminded that watching cartoon films and kid-friendly series in English (with or without English subtitles) is useful! After all, there is no doubt that this is a classic and time-tested way to quickly improve language learning. Young children can easily identify with animated characters and often enjoy imitating them (did someone say Frozen and Paw Patrol?). And most teenagers are screen-obsessed, so there's nothing better than a series they love and some popcorn for a great weekend!📺Tip: A familiar plot can help. And our cartoon films, Let's Have Fun with Ozzy & Let's Play with Ozzy, are always here for our young students around the world with tons of action and fun!6. Calling the TimeMotivate your children to start their summer days with English upbeat music (trust us, it won't be a hard sell!). They may not be able to understand everything, but song can help them to improve their listening skills and master the English language. So, why not indirectly expose your little ones to authentic and easily accessible examples of spoken English? Listening to memorable lyrics and rhythmic language is a great way to learn pronunciation patterns and get used to various accents, idiomatic phrases and colloquialisms with no pressure. Tip Music can become very handy during summer dives or when you're stuck in traffic with your kiddos. So, set the mood with some popular English songs and make your next road trip or rush-hour drive a memorable one!7. Playing & LearningCrosswords, board games, brain teasers and puzzles can help your kiddos to expand their vocabulary. Get the English version of Taboo, Scrabble or any other popular board game and let the fun begin! And 3D puzzles of the most famous buildings or Instagrammed landmarks of English-speaking countries are always great in case you're running our of ways to keep your little ones entertained. For example. your kiddos can build their own model of the world's most famous clock, aka Big Ben! That's a great opportunity to have them discover why it was built and who created this horological masterpiece. And you'll have something new to display at home! Tip You can also find many free online games and apps, which are both entertaining and useful when learning a foreign language, not to mention the numerous online quizzes you can use to help your little learners practise their English! For example, you can motivate them to find out which arty sea creature they are or where in the world they could be lost. That's it! You are ready to help your children to make the most of the lazy days to come! Just one last tip: Help your children to understand that studying and learning English can be an ideal vehicle for communication all over the world. Your kiddos will soon be able to reap the rewards!And did we mention that though our tips are aimed at helping children, they are just as useful for adults?How are you going to keep your kids learning this summer? Join the conversation below and let us know!...

July 22, 2022

Teaching Business English: Myths & Facts

Do you feel intimidated at the prospect of teaching Business English? Do you know in what ways teaching General English is different from teaching English for Specific Purposes (ESP)? Are you familiar with the most suitable approaches and the latest trends in Business English teaching? Sometimes it can be difficult to disentangle myths from facts. But identifying and debunking the unrealistic expectations and myths that are associated with teaching Business English can help us to meet our students’ needs. That's why E-planet is here to help! Are you ready? Even some long-held beliefs may be called into question. So, let’s get down to business! Myth #1: You have to be a business expert Fact: A usual misconception about Business English is that the teacher has to be a business expert. But that’s not true. Your students are already professionals in their fields. They don’t need any business advice. They need someone who can help them improve their English and understand how they can use their skills in a business context – and that’s where you come in! You are the expert in the field of foreign language teaching who can help them climb the career ladder, achieve their ambitions and become better professionals in their field of expertise. Myth #2: Teaching Business English is dull Fact: Teaching Business English does not have to be deadly boring! Do you find listening to people about their chosen fields dull? Teaching Business English is interesting for you because you gain new knowledge about different fields of expertise. In addition, the fact that you are not a business expert makes it easy for you to ask several questions and help your students to easily practise their speaking skills! Moreover, as a Business English teacher, you have the chance to interact with students at different stages of development and from all walks of life. And Business English is certainly interesting for your students because they know that they need to improve their skills. That's why you don’t have to grab their attention; they are already interested in what you teach! Myth #3: You don’t teach Business English to low-level learners Fact: Even pre-intermediate and intermediate learners of English need to know how to prepare a well-written CV that will maximize their chances of getting hired, how to make a brief presentation, what they should include in a written invitation to a meeting, in what ways they should answer a business phone call... Low-level learners also need to increase their confidence, learn how to use English in day-to-day work activities and become able to communicate effectively in the international workplace. When teaching Business English to low-level learners, focus on role plays, conversations and a variety of realistic situations that are similar to the students' real-life work circumstances. Understanding job profiles and having good overall communication skills can also be a huge advantage in today's business world. There are many great Business books and endless online resources that can help you to get your low-level Business English students ready for working life! Myth #4: You have to focus on endless vocabulary lists Fact: While it might be tempting to give your students endless vocabulary lists to memorise, that’s not what they need. What they do need is to learn new vocabulary in realistic contexts (for example, a job interview, dealing with a supplier or a customer, emails, business trip reports, etc.). Bear in mind that many students can’t understand the difference between formal and informal English. They may not be familiar with the standard conventions when writing a business text and they don't know how they can make their messages more effective. Even intermediate and upper-intermediate learners of English need help in order to gain a better understanding of the English language in the field of business. Myth #5: You don't have to teach grammar Fact: Business English is more than jargon. And grammar is as useful as a business suit and a briefcase or a laptop bag!Although your students may have memorised lots of grammar rules, they need to understand them. For example, your students should know how to use the passive voice in order to shift the focus from the person doing an action to the action itself. They should also be familiar with the conditionals if they want to negotiate successfully. Myth #6: Higher-level learners don't need Business English lessons Fact: Once your Business English students reach a B2-C1 level of English, they know that they can perform well in an international work environment, and that’s why they may not be as motivated as you would expect. In addition, they may be bored and tired after a long day at work. So, what they need is motivation and a teacher who can help them understand that Business English lessons open up new career opportunities and offer a competitive advantage that is essential to survival in the international job market. Knowing General English does not mean that they can talk about business trends, handle business negotiations or understand the strategies and key language they need for writing on social media platforms. Convince them that success in business is about confidence. And help them to become inspired to go the extra mile.So, there you have it. The thought of teaching Business English should not be a daunting prospect. Follow our advice and tips and you’ll get the hang of it after your first lesson!For some practical classroom ideas, check out these 5+1 ways to become a better English teacher. And if you want to find more useful tips for teaching English, inspirational guidance and free resources, check out our Resources for English Teachers....

May 23, 2022

Celebrating English Language Day

You do know that English Language Day is celebrated on 23 April, right? But why? Well, this day has been chosen because it is thought to be Shakespeare’s birthday and the anniversary of his death.If you are wondering how to celebrate this special day with your students, E-planet is here to help! Take a break from your usual routine and dedicate a fun lesson to the English language!Our EFL Classroom English Language Day is a great opportunity to create a positive learning environment. Just help your young students to create a unique and eye-catching ‘English Classroom Rules’ poster with this helpful worksheet: Our English Classroom Rules! In this way, your English learners can familiarise themselves with the rules and practise their reading and writing skills. Can you think of a better way to decorate your EFL classroom? British English (What else?) Do your students realise that there are many varieties of English? For example, Londoners live in flats and New Yorkers live in apartments. A sidewalk in the U.S.A. is a pavement in the U.K. British people have biscuits with their cup of tea or coffee, but Americans eat cookies. Americans go to centers (not centres) and theaters (not theatres). Encourage your students to understand and embrace the differences between British and American English (you could also add Australian English to the mix!). Our blog post British and American English: We speak the same language, right? is here to help you! Another great idea is to focus on the entertaining side of learning English with fun and mind-blowing facts about the language we all love. For example, most English learners are impressed when they learn that Monday gets its name from an old Anglo-Saxon word which means ‘the moon’s day’ and that in Ancient Britain, girls who were born on Mondays were given the name Mona as this was the Old English word for moon. And all young learners have fun when they try to pronounce ‘pneumonoultramicroscopicsilicovolcanoconiosis’, the longest word in English! Let our blog post 10+1 Facts About the English Language… that will make you say ‘Wow’! inspire you!Discovering Shakespeare's World How much do your students know about the most famous playwright? Do they understand the impact that the Bard – as Shakespeare is often referred to – had on modern-day English? Ask your students to make a list of words and phrases that Shakespeare invented and are still used today. Have your younger learners create a poster about Shakespeare’s life or his most popular plays.You can also take a look at the Teach Shakespeare site and search for resources that will help you to teach Shakespeare by play, theme, language or character.Happy English Language Day! How are you going to celebrate this day? Leave a comment and share your inspiring ideas with us!...

April 19, 2022

5 Winning Strategies for Motivating English Learners

Motivation is one of the most important factors in language learning. And just like any other skill, it can be developed. That’s why having some super engaging activities, ideas and strategies in your back pocket is always a good idea. If you are trying to come up with ideas for inspiring and motivating your English learners, here are some proven strategies!🔖 Gaining knowledge by experienceHave you ever noticed the buzz of excitement when children in a science class do experiments and projects? Well, all students enjoy hands-on learning and creative activities!When we hear the word ‘experiments’, our minds go immediately to subjects like physics and chemistry. And when we think of the word ‘creativity’, we usually imagine art and music classes. But hands-on, creative learning activities can be brought easily into all EFL classrooms. Just motivate your students to create something new: an essay, a story or a poem, a stimulating piece of art or an attention-grabbing construction project!🔖 Embracing pop culture Imagine that you want to help your students practise the past simple tense. Will they be more interested in a boring gap-filling exercise or in that outrageous outfit their favourite actor chose to wear yesterday? Will they eagerly focus on a poem or on the lyrics of a popular song?Bringing pop culture into the equation will help you to keep your students engaged and willing to learn. When keeping English learners focused on what you’re teaching seems like a herculean task, grab their attention with pop culture elements that will help you to build a bridge between what is taught in your classroom and what happens in life.🔖 Using digital toolsAll children, teenagers and adults can easily view English learning as a necessary step in order to access the digital world. In other words, they are motivated to learn English because they want to use technology. So, pull out the big guns: smartboards, computers and smartphones! Making use of technology and combining text, image and audio can always make a lesson much more interesting. And online activities are great allies when teaching English. For example, a WebQuest can motivate all learners (whether they are 8 or 28 years old!). You cannot expect your students to be motivated if they only do endless grammar and vocabulary exercises. Technology can be much more empowering! 🔖 Taking advantage of the competitive spiritNo matter how old we are, we all love competitions and games that help us to beat our peers! That’s why including an element of competition will motivate your students.Fun educational board games, quizzes, crossword puzzles and other fun activities transform learning into play and help your students to revise what has already been learnt and practise their skills in an effortless and motivating way. 🔖 Creating a friendly environmentAvoid overcorrecting and undermining students’ confidence. Bear in mind that praise can work wonders in your classroom. That’s why you should celebrate all the small achievements of your students. Positive reinforcement is essential!Creating a high-quality classroom environment can also spur creativity and help students to feel more motivated to engage in the learning process. Rethink your classroom design, create a horseshoe-shaped formation or flexible clusters and add a splash of colour and motivational posters with success quotes. Even the smallest of changes can make a big difference in a classroom environment!And don’t forget to share your enthusiasm! As Steve Jobs once said: ‘The only way to do great work is to love what you do.’ Think back… When you were a child, how did you feel about a boring lesson and a demotivated teacher? If you get excited about your lesson, your passion will motivate your students. It’s as simple as that!...

March 30, 2022