Plus of course, in the name of teaching discipline techniques, we all started out as angel students and gradually became more and more the “bad kids at the back!” Amazingly though, no one cried! Plus whenever I asked “Easy or Challenge?” everyone wanted the challenge!
We blasted through loads of the curriculum, both the 5 Minute and, by request, the 30 minute phonics, and a ton of great questions, feedback and teaching techniques.
The school here will be introducing a new Genki English course alongside their current Cambridge Young Learners course and they also take Genki English out into rural country schools, which is fantastic.
P.S. The winner of the comment competition last month was ….. Elvira! If you’d like a chance to win a Genki English CD or CD Download of your choice, get commenting on the blog now, the more you comment, the more chance you have to win!
Later on we’ll go through super efficient ways of doing things, but for today I just want you to get started.
So… and this is really simple.
Just head over to iTunes and pick out 2, 3 (or more) audio books about the language you are learning.
Do check out the samples they have first and pick ones that you feel you could put up with listening to for a few hours.
Ninja Tip: As with anything in life you could spend hours searching online for cheap or free materials, but you’d just end up wasting so much time – the one thing we can never get back! So make the investment in a few real audio courses, it will pay for itself many times over, and I’ll show you how to get the money below! (Plus of course you are setting a fantastic example to your students because you of course want them to keep paying for your lessons too! )
Out of all the audio courses out there my best, by far, of all of them is Michel Thomas. His courses are seriously the best in the world. They don’t have them for all languages, sadly, but they do for many. Go for the 8 CD, 9 hour, course rather than the introduction 2 hour course (otherwise you’ll have to rebuy that again when you get the 8 CD one later!)
My brother did the French version and after a couple of hours could say things like “What do you think of political and economic situation in France at the moment.” Yep, it’s that good!
Check out his amazing method in this (hour long) video:
Other recommendations …. Earworms is a fun series I quite like, with music behind the talking which really makes getting through the whole thing a lot easier.
If Earworms doesn’t have your language then “Rhythms Easy …. “ courses (e.g. search for “Rhythms Easy Thai”) is cheap and interesting. They have the same idea as Earworms but with slightly, errr, “different” music. I haven’t quite decided if they are so cheesy that they are super kitsch cool. Or just plain cheesy. Also they do have some big mistakes so just be careful (e.g. telling the time in the Thai version)
Pimsleur is also great if they have it for your language. It does go pretty slow and I found it hard work getting through it each day in Spanish, but it gives you a wonderful foundation and some amazing ways of teaching e.g. starting complex words from the end, not the beginning. The price is higher than the others, but consider it an investment, how much do you charge for 16 hours of lessons?
Living Language also have some fantastic series for learning vocab and is well worth picking up in addition to one of the other courses. ( I used them for learning Japanese and Italian vocab.)
Ninja Tip: Always check the title of the course. I once spent $30 on an 8 hour “Learn how to study hindi” course. And yes, it taught you how to study Hindi. Not a word on how to speak it though!)
Of course you’re going to be investing money here, you have to do that in any business.
And you want to know how to get the money?
Drinks! Yep, drinks.
I always tell this to my business students, the best way to get the money to start a business or learn a language, is to give up your favourite tipple. Whether it’s coffee, cola or beer, give it up for 2 weeks and use the money to buy a language course. It’s infinitely better for you!
In business courses I would also suggest to sell your TV, but we’re going to need that later when learning from cheesy TV shows!
Anyway, so now you’ve got your courses, listen to them today. Skip the latest TV show tonight and listen to your new teachers. And … speak the things out loud. (We’ll come on to how to get supportive people around you in a bit!)
In this day and age you don’t have to live in a country to learn that country’s language (compared with goal setting and working “smart,” the country you actually do the learning in doesn’t make much difference) but if you are lucky enough to be in the country, use the fact and get people to correct your accent right from the beginning.
It’s also amazing how many of the new words you’ll hear around you right away. Quite frightenly so, sometimes it seems like the whole world has been listening to your tapes and suddenly started using those phrases! But it’s just like when you want to buy a red car, suddenly every car you see is red.
So cut out the coffees, head over to iTunes and let’s put the first toe in the water.
Next we’ll show you how to swim a mile in only a hundred meters,
P.S. Ninja Teaching Tip: Do you assign listening material to your students as homework? It’s amazing how much time commuting, waiting, relaxing that we can use by having an iphone chocked up with useful listening materials. Can’t find any good ones to recommend? Record your own – they’ll love having their own teacher with them all the time! Or of course Genki English always goes down a treat!
For reading and phonics we also use the Burt Reading test.
Or for less formal classes a lot of teachers use the new Workbooks that have “I can …” boxes that either the kids, parents or the teacher can check.
Personally I like the parents to check them, it keeps them up to date on what your are doing at school.
Ninja Tip 2: Although younger kids will always want to win and continue to the next round, if you happen to be teaching zombified students in junior high school do it the other way round, where they only get to sit down if they win (i.e. say what the teacher does, not what they say) but must stay stood up if they just repeat what the teacher says!
I must admit I’ve never used flashcards for the Genki Disco Warm Up (i.e. Stand up, sit down, hands up, hands down etc. ) but Mido has got a great flashcard review game coming up soon where they might come in useful!
Here is Mido’s latest game to review whatever you are studying this week!
1. Split a pack of playing cards into the four suits, spades, clubs, hearts & diamonds.
2. Put a basket at the front of the class.
3. Put the kids in four groups, name each one after each suit.
4. Give each kid in each group 2 or 3 cards from their suit.
(Ninja Tip: For large classes use 2 or even 3 packs of cards)
4. Ask the kids the question you are studying today e.g. just ask ”When is your birthday?” for a straight question theme, or point to a flashcard and get the kids to say the phrase/question e.g. May I borrow your …..? for the other themes.
5. The fastest kid to answer gets to try and throw one of their cards into the basket.
6. Repeat from step 4 until everyone’s cards have gone.
7. Total up how many of each suit are in the basket to find the winner!
Ninja Tip: Because we know the “bad” kids sit at the back, try giving the “good” kids a reward by making everyone throw their card sat down in their seat!
The really good thing about this game is that everyone has a go, so although the genki kids will answer first, the shy kids will all get to have a turn too. Plus the kids who are maybe weaker at English get a chance to win with the randomness of flying cards!
And remember “The Agreement” everyone always supports everyone else, win or lose!