A Good Workout for Teachers over 40

Here’s a good workout my friend, another teacher recommended.

Men over 40 Workout

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Using Google Drive for Online Teaching

If you are planning to use Google Drive for Online teaching:

If you were going to do audio how would you do it? Have the files on Google Drive and give them the link on the LMS?

That’s how I plan on doing it.

7 Google Drive Tips you Probably aren’t using

Google Drive Tips

Geek Tips

What is G Suite anyway?

Google Classroom:

All Things Google Classroom

Making Multiple Breakout rooms for Google Meet

Google Meet Breakout Rooms

How to Make Multiple Breatkout rooms for Google Meet, another idea.

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Online Teaching-Business Result Pre-Intermediate

Are you teaching Business Result Pre-Intermediate and worried students may somehow lose their CDs or some other computer problems?

Here is the audio for 2nd edition

Business Result Pre-Intermediate Audio

There are more materials for students at Oxford Learn.

Business Result Pre-Intermediate at Oxford Learn

Here is the old version of Business Result 1st edition that is fully scanned and available for free online.

Business Result Pre-Intermediate 1 st edition

Kevin’s English Schools, the Canadian schools in Kanagawa

Kevin’s English Schools

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Zoom Tips

How to play audio for your students using Zoom.

Play audio with Zoom

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English Firsthand Series Online

If you are doing Emergency Online Teaching or Teaching Online, EF has materials available at their website.

EF Online for Students

There are additional resources available for Students at the following link:

English Firsthand Additional Materials for Students

Tips for Teaching English Firsthand or any textbook online.

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ETJ Expo!

The Tokyo ETJ English Language Teaching Expo
Saturday/Sunday February 22/23 (9:00-6:00)
Otsuma Women’s University, Tokyo
THE event for English language teachers (and future teachers)
• Presentations by authors, local teachers . . . 
on a wide range of topics for English teachers in all kinds of situations.
• Displays of teaching materials by international publishers and individual teachers.
Information such as the presentation schedule, a map with directions . . . 
will gradually be added at:
The Expo is for ALL teachers
There are presentations and displays of materials for college teachers, high school teachers, elementary school teachers, kindergarten teachers… In fact, the aim is to provide top-class presentations and material displays for every kind of teacher. 
You can attend one day, two days or part of the day
There are independent presentations arranged in time slots throughout the day. This means you can drop into the Expo for part of the day if you are busy.
Fee for attending the Expo
ETJ members: 1.000 yen
Non-members: 2,000 yen
Join ETJ
(no fee)

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Move over Question Quest

Move over Question Quest because now there’s a sequel.

Question Quest, if you’ve ever played it with your students, you will know it was great!
Now Question has a sequel: Crystal Hunters.

Crystal Hunters

Kevin’s English Schools, the Canadian Schools in Japan!


Fluent 4U

Fluent 4U

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Using Storybooks in the Classroom

Shane Training Centre

Using Storybooks In The Classroom

Using Storybooks in the Classroom


Why Use Storybooks in the Classroom?

Storybooks should be used in a young learner classes in three main ways:

1) Reading for pleasure and enjoyment: this can require a good level of English 

2) As an extra teaching resource: allows for language to be introduced and practiced

3) A combination of 1 and 2 above: using storytelling to teach and practice the language while allowing the learners to realise reading in English is fun and enjoyable


Children read books (and are read to) in Japanese for pleasure in their daily lives. Sharing English storybooks shows that English can be a pleasurable experience too. English storybooks make English real and learners can see English being used for a real and familiar purpose. 


Storybooks give learners a different, colourful and interesting experience of English. They can be used to practice vocabulary and language in context. They obviously practice listening and can be used to extend speaking, reading and writing. Theme-based work can also be used to extend the value of the storybook across the curriculum. 


Teachers can use storybooks in a variety of ways using different language, depending on the book being used and the language they want to teach/practice. 


How to Use Storybooks

In order to fully utilise the storybook it is important to consider:

1) What language should be taught?

2) What vocabulary do the learners need to know?

3) What activities can be used to extend the English and the theme of the story?


As teachers we need to consider what to do:

a) before the story

b) during the story

c) after the story


Before Reading

It may take more than one lesson for the learners to be confident with the language used. For the following activities choose either fruit/animals/colours, one set per group, alternatively the groups can change their flashcard set between activities. 


Clapping/Stamping Drill: Drill the colour cards and have the group clapping and/or stamping along with the rhythm of the words being drilled. Turn the drill into a chant, as the rhythm will help them remember the words. 


Mimes: Put the flashcards somewhere everyone can see them. Have the learners sit in front of you and mime an action related to one of the cards. Learners should shout out the word and point at the card (or retrieve it). Once a learner has correctly guessed the card have them take the teacher role. 


Robot Drill: Draw a robot on the board with a dial on his chest. The dial could be a round piece of paper with an arrow drawn on it attached to a magnet. To change the setting turn the dial. The dial is a speed control with 3 settings, slow, normal and fast (or quiet, normal and loud). Demonstrate the functions of the dial by pointing to the different numbers and saying the words at the displayed speed/loudness. When learners understand the dial have them take the teacher role. 


Storytelling Chant: Chants will engage the learners, give them extra language to practice and enjoy the routine. Use the following chant sung to the tune of ‘London Bridge is falling down’.

‘Ssh be quiet, please sit down

Please sit down, please sit down

Ssh be quiet, please sit down

Listen, listen, listen.’


During the Story

Young learners need a reason to listen and look – we need to create that. Elicit some ideas this can be done: Facial expressions, gestures, sound effects, changes in pitch/tone, pausing etc. We need to build interest in the story itself and keep it interactive and fun. This could be the anticipation of the teacher making a funny face or a silly voice, being able to shout “hahaha” as a character runs away, or a doing a gesture/movement or finding a prop. 


Read the story and demonstrate the following activities.

 Phrase Repetition: Start reading the book. Use hand gestures and alter the speed and tone of your voice to encourage learners to copy you so that they repeat the phrases.


 Monocular: Hand out a sheet of scrap paper and have learners roll it up to make a monocular – use a piece of tape to hold it in place. Place the fruit flashcards around the room/on the table. Start reading the story and as you read the question, “What have you found?” learners hold up their monocular. When you read what the character has found/eaten learners look through their monocular at the correct picture and repeat the language.


After the Story

There are all kinds of activities that may be related to the story book to extend the learners’ understanding. Some are directly related to English and others may be cross-curricular. These can be chants, craft, using characters to practice other target language e.g. prepositions, phonics etc. 


Getting learners in the right frame of mind for reading a story is just as important as teacher preparation, especially the first time you use English story time. Strive to make storytelling time special and something the children will look forward to. 


Move away from the usual classroom layout. Have learners closer to you so they can see you and the text. Make a special story telling corner, with the children in a cosy huddle around. 


Play a particular piece of music/chant to indicate it is story time and get the children in the mood. Or put on a storytelling hat for a similar effect.


Have a regular set time for storytelling. Learners eagerly anticipate the excitement in store as the allotted time approaches. 


Voice, Sound & Movement

These are important when reading stories. They are amusing and enjoyable for the listener but more importantly they help learners understand the story. 



 Pronunciation – watch out for problem sounds/think about word and sentence stress
 Intonation – vary it for questions, statements and lists
 Rhythm – read neither too slowly or too quickly, with appropriate pauses
 Variation – vary the pace and loudness of your voice. Use various voices for different characters 



Use sound effects – paper cups struck on the table for footsteps, or have learners stamp their feet etc.


Use sound effects at key moments (perhaps when something silly happens) or use a squeaky toy.



Involve the audience. Give them a prop to mimic a character doing the same in the story. Or a gesture they use when something happens in the story.


Teacher Preparation

Here are a few ideas to make you into a storybook reading and telling expert.

 Read through the story aloud to yourself to familiarise yourself with it. 
 Practice the look up and say technique. Don’t read with your nose in the book.
 Watch yourself in the mirror as you tell your story! Probably 50% or more of communication comes through body and facial movement. 
 Gather any props, flashcards or pictures to help tell your story. These will all help children understand. 


What stories have you used in class?


Sophia McMillan Oct 2019



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Adult Children of Alcoholics Tokyo


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Authentic Materials

Shane Training Centre

Authentic Materials

Using Authentic Materials


Authentic material is any material in English that was not created for use in the English language classroom. It includes not just newspaper or magazine articles but also songs, TV shows, movies, podcasts, leaflets, menus etc. The wonderful thing about using authentic materials is that it is everywhere, which makes it easy to find and simple for learners to use on their own, encouraging autonomy and accountability.


Using authentic materials can be very engaging, imaginative and motivating for learners they should reflect a situation learners may face themselves in an English-speaking environment. This helps them transition into a world where English is the norm. They are exposed to real English, allowing them to see they can perform tasks with real materials. It also generates genuine responses from learners and encourage learner talk time. 


Examples of authentic materials include: maps and brochures of an area; menus; leaflets (delivery pizza, take away menus, etc.); newspaper inserts; instore adverts; yellow pages and phone directories; flyers; tickets; bus and train maps and timetables; hotel registration forms; any application forms (e.g. ask at a local shop); post office information; museum information; local television and radio listings; tourist information; radio station; recipe pages etc.


Authentic materials are easily obtained, portable and useful. The best thing though is authentic materials are (generally) free! Learners are very motivated and interested in finding out about overseas countries so any authentic materials are bound to create a stir. They also provide a good resource for practicing language occurring in the classroom text. Be on the lookout as well for resources your younger learners would like too or things you can use to stimulate a young learner class.


How do I use authentic materials?

Authentic materials can be used to stimulate discussion, role-plays and activities about culture in the lesson. Primarily they can be used to practice all four skills in the classroom. A good tip is to laminate materials you may want to use more than once as these suffer from lesson wear and tear. Also choose materials that are colourful and attractive as well as having clearly laid out information. A dull and confusing leaflet is not going to be as stimulating for your class. Ensure learners have enough information to use the materials effectively.



Recipes are a great stimulus for discussing food and culture as well as being a good resource for information sharing and giving instructions.


Use the materials to encourage role-plays or discussion in the classroom. An authentic menu or listings page can be used to stimulate a role-play that involves decision-making, stating preferences and other language functions.


Timetables can be used for stating obligation (I have to get the 10.30 train) and the present simple (The Brighton train leaves at...) Even using a page of services from the local yellow pages can launch a role-play involving a telephone conversation.


For example: Restaurant menus:

Menus can introduce learners to some of the common dishes in English-speaking countries so they will be able to order with confidence. Many restaurants have online menus.


Menus can be used to…

Go through the menu and have learners guess what the meals are, or what they would order. You could use different menus for each course. Learners could use the menu in a role-play, one is the server and one is the customer. Learners use the menu to calculate the cost of orders and how the bill would be split between consumers. They could be asked to work out tips, to mirror being in a real restaurant. 


These activities focus on different skills and so can be sued in a variety of ways to develop/practice different skills/language points. 



Set comprehension tasks; have learners compare information and choose the best/worse…; learners decide where they will go; what they will do on a day out; choose best trips for different people; compare information with their country; continue the story; what happened before or after; alternative endings.


For example: Information Gaps

Make 2 copies of the text and remove different information from each one. Learners in pairs ask questions to complete the relevant information. This can also be done as a listening activity. It can even be extended into pronunciation practice/focus. 



Radio programmes are a wonderful source of natural English as well as providing interest in the authenticity of materials however native English speakers do speak very fast and can often confuse learners. News items or weather reports can be used to good effect. 


Radio adverts can be a great source of authentic English as well as being very entertaining. They are usually easy to understand because the key message is often very clear. The activities mentioned above in “Reading” can also be used here, also learners can be asked to predict what the advert is for; best/worst etc and be extended by having them write their own adverts.


For example: Songs

Listening to English songs is a very enjoyable way to boost listening, pronunciation skills as well as confidence. Have learners discuss their favourite/least favourite artists/music; leaners predict how the song starts and then listen (or watch) and see if they are right; or give them some lyrics with some mistakes and they listen and correct; listen to the song for phrases, vocabulary and expressions that would be useful. Some songs tell a story, some convey strong emotions and these can be used to help learners establish a connection with the language. A quiz could be created 



Leaflets can be used as stimulus for learners (in pairs/groups)to write their own about the local area or even produce a brochure on a local attraction or even a shared hobby.


Application forms are very useful for any learners who may be going abroad at any point and may actually be faced with a form in English to complete. 


Job advertisements or items for sale in local newspapers would involve both reading and writing. For example: take a few local ads and cut them up, learners engage in jigsaw reading and then write a response to one of the adverts. Recipes can similarly provide a clear model of organizing a text as well as providing lots of incidental language for quantities, measurements and verbs (stir, whisk etc.)


How do you use authentic materials in your classes? What are the best materials? 


Sophia McMillan Nov 2019



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Shane Training Centre


Shane Training Centre has been providing English language teaching and training for almost 40 years. Shane Training Centre is the only Trinity accredited training centre in Japan and is dedicated to promoting and fostering teacher training and development.


Our goal is to provide focused training to ensure teachers are the best they can be and for continued professional development. 


More confident teachers lead to more teacher satisfaction, thus giving the best learning experience to the learners. 


What can we offer?

We offer the Trinity Cert TESOL course as a 6 month part-time or 4 week full-time course and the TCL Diploma TESOL as a blended learning course. 


Both are internationally recognised EFL teaching qualifications and fully moderated by Trinity College London (http://www.trinitycollege.co.uk/) and open doors to careers, promotions and greater job satisfaction.


1. The Trinity Cert TESOL (level 5 on the UK National Qualification Framework) is an initial teacher training qualification, perfect for teachers with limited formal training and/or those looking to develop and refine their skills. 

For full details please see the Trinity College website.


2. The Trinity Diploma TESOL (Level 7 on the UK National Qualification Framework) is a post graduate designed for experienced teachers looking to improve and develop their skills and understanding of English language teaching and learning. It is very useful for career development. 

For full details please see the Trinity College website.


We also offer bespoke training courses specifically designed for specific teachers, institutions and learners.


We are currently recruiting for our 2020 courses and still have some places available both on the CertTESOL and Diploma Courses starting in January. 


If you are would like more details, an application pack, or a chance to meet and discuss the courses and your options etcplease feel free to contact me at any time.


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