Number one for English language teachers

David Carver

At the time of writing this diary, David was a recently CELTA-qualified teacher working in a small friendly language school in London, teaching a three-hour advanced class four times a week and a three-hour conversation class on Friday.

Related articles

  • Advanced teaching for beginners

    Author: David Carver Type: Reference material

    Advanced students can communicate effectively already, and they possess a chillingly detailed knowledge of vocabulary and grammar. All the comforting International House methods of drilling, pre-teaching vocabulary, meaning, form and pronunciation just doesn’t work at advanced level, unless you actively want to be seen to be insulting the students’ intelligence.

  • Weapons of mass destruction

    Author: David Carver Type: Reference material

    So I start the lesson with a warm up multiple choice exercise, giving the students a test and then following up by going through it with them, picking up on any interesting bits as we go. Generally it seems to work, though I feel that I am not teaching so much as filling in the gaps in their knowledge. I end up pointing out one of two things, either that the correct answer is the result of a common collocation (A barrier is raised, not lifted, pushed or forced up) – score one point ...

  • My favourite girlfriend

    Author: David Carver Type: Reference material

    Friday saw me going head to head with the boss and furiously threatening to quit.

  • Maria

    Author: David Carver Type: Reference material

    If ever the phrase “Ice maiden” was invented for any student, it was for Maria. If she was any more aloof you’d have to contact her through NASA. The girl has been impossible to read – and I mean blank-wall-ten-feet-thick impossible to read – in all the time I have been teaching her, which by now is over three months. I don’t think she dislikes the lessons or is bored or unhappy – logically if she was, she certainly wouldn’t be continuing to pay for them. The problem is, I just cannot ...

  • Piotrek

    Author: David Carver Type: Reference material

    Piotrek is Polish, and is extremely committed to passing the exam. Unfortunately he is committed to passing the Toefl exam. He is so committed that he has bought himself books of tests and wants, for the next two weeks, to work exactly on this and nothing else. Yes, I am teaching an exam class. It’s just the wrong exam.

  • Tatiana

    Author: David Carver Type: Reference material

    Tatiana used to teach Beginners English in Brazil, and has a level that is well above advanced. She is pushy, demanding and just as focused as Piotrek, if not more so. About twice a lesson she responds to something I have said with a little surprised “Hm!” as if to say she didn’t know that, how on earth could that be? She seems to have absolutely no concept that other students have needs as well as her, and because she is the most advanced student she feels she has a right to dominate ...

  • Rapport, rapport

    Author: David Carver Type: Reference material

    Rapport is crucial to me. It is the first thing I need in order to start teaching effectively. Students’ receptiveness and interest increases dramatically when they feel comfortable with both the teacher and each other. Their concentration increases. They start to pay attention to the other students. They are happier to bounce off each other, throw out suggestions and ideas, make mistakes and be corrected without feeling uncomfortable or foolish. They crack jokes and ...

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