Blog Category: The ICAL TEFL Blog

New Regulations for Thailand

Using Thai security concerns as an excuse, the Teachers' Council of Thailand (TCT) has announced (on 5th August 2014) that they will be setting up a database of foreign teachers in Thailand. Meanwhile The National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO) has voiced concerns...

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Irish ELT Schools in Turmoil

The Irish ELT business is in turmoil following the closure of a number of English language schools after allegations of visa fraud. Hundreds of students were affected by the fraud and the Irish government is stepping in to try and regulate the market. Ruairi Quinn,...

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Hearing Phantom Free – app review

"Do you wanna be a hero with magic power?" The blurb tells you that this is the first Android game which uses your voice to control the action. Actually, to be precise, it says this is the first game which uses your voice to "control, navigate the action. Hope it's...

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More ESOL Testing Scams in the UK

Back in February, the British Government suspended all TOEIC testing in the UK after it was revealed the exam was being scammed. Well it's back again. An investigation by the British Daily Mail newspaper has revealed how people who do not speak English can buy a...

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English Grammar – app review

Quite simply, English Grammar by Emantra Technologies is not worth downloading and installing on your tablet or smartphone. In fact, it appears to be little more than a sparse, poorly written grammar guide put into an app full of incredibly annoying and intrusive...

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Learn English 6000 Words – app review

The backbone of learning a language is learning vocabulary and this android app aims to simplify that. As it says on the tin, it helps learners get to grips with 6,000 English words so theoretically if you spend hours upon hours upon hours trawling through the whole...

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Morocco Universities move to English

Morocco is set to change its university system, making English the main foreign language taught there. Currently universities in the country concentrate on French, but the Moroccan Minister for Higher Education announced late last week that in future universities will...

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Summer Jobs for TEFL/TESOL Teachers

How do you fancy teaching English in the sunshine? A few weeks over in Italy or Mexico or somewhere else nice and hot, teaching in the morning then changing into your swimwear to grade homework while you lie on the beach? Sorry to burst your bubble, but the idyll of a...

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Bad Reporting of the Day: All Commas will Die!

A professor of comparative English at Columbia university said that commas should be abolished. He said we should get rid of them and no one would care. He says we should kill them. Destroy them. Take each one and murder it in cold blood. And the reaction? Pages of...

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TOEIC Suspended in the UK after Scam

The UK government has suspended all TOEIC testing in the UK after a TV investigation showed how the system was riddled with fraud with fake sitters taking the test on behalf of English language students. The investigation by Panorama (a respected BBC investigative...

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Apostrophes Return to Cambridge

Earlier in the year we reported on how Cambridge city council in the UK had decided not to use apostrophes in street signs and how examiners for Cambridge Assessment (the ones who do all the TEFL exams) had supported this idea. It was, of course, ridiculous of them to...

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Teaching English in the Balkans

TEFL/TESOL in the Balkans The Balkans is a generic term for an area in south east Europe with a rapidly growing demand for English teachers. The reason is historical. Many of the states here were occupied for many centuries and it's only in the past 20 years or so...

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ICAL People

This page is all about the people who work at ICAL. To get in touch with anyone here, please see our contact page. ICAL Staff Jenny Scott - Jenny has worked for ICAL for the past few years and deals mainly with our online presence. She handles our social media and...

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Missing Apostrophes Don’t Worry Cambridge Examiners

Like other cities in the UK, Cambridge City Council are not going to bother with apostrophes in street names anymore. In the future, then, you might well see "Brookes Drive" and "Paxmans Close" instead of the grammatically correct, "Brooke's Drive" and "Paxman's...

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India pushing English Books

"India may dream in Hindi, sleep in Hindi, but it aspires to read in English." So says Aditi Maheshwari, Director Vani Publications. And this leads to the Indian Publishing industry (currently worth about $1.6 billion) looking to publish more titles in English. At...

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English Lessons lead to the Olympics

Who knows where English classes can lead? For Sweden's Margaretha Sigfridsson it has led to the Olympics. Her English teacher at school was passionate about curling and so he organized a one off English class which took place on the ice rink. The students were so...

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Grammer

Please... whatever else you do... spell GRAMMAR with an A at the end and not an E. GRAMM A R - yes GRAMM E R - no According to Google, a search for 'grammer' brings up over 4 million hits. However, things seem to be getting better. Looking at Google n-grams we can see...

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US Education Department Fails Language Learners

"US students who speak a language other than English at home and are still learning English have received scant support from the federal Department of Education under Secretary Arne Duncan." So says a report published by the University of Colorado a few days ago. The...

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The Lifespan of Words in English

Did you know that even words have a life span? This ranges from 1,000 years to 20,000 years. A word like "throw" is expected to have a lifespan of about 1,000 years, while words like "I" and "who" are likely to reach the 20,000 year mark. Until recently the life span...

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Vietnam Desperate to find Decent English Teachers

A number of schools in Ho Chi Min City (HCM, the largest city in Vietnam) are struggling to find English teachers. Originally the HCM City municipal Department of Education and Training tried to recruit 100 English teachers from the Philippines to teach at Primary and...

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Student for a Day

What an excellent idea this is! I came across this blog article the other day on how several teachers in Vermont, USA, spent the day as students in their school. As it says on the tin, they simply went into school as students instead of teachers and spent the day...

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Lexical Distance

Lexical Difference shows how languages are related in terms of vocabulary. As a simple example, the English word bread is very similar to the German‏‎ word, Brot and both of them derive from the same root. However the Italian‏‎ for bread is pane which is very...

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Jakarta to Keep English Lessons

Elementary schools in Jakarta, Indonesia will be offering English as an extracurricular activity only while elementary schools elsewhere in Indonesia will not have English on the curriculum at all. The announcement, made late last year (December 2013) means that...

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Intonation in Practice – intonation activity

Intonation in Practice is a simple exercise which you can do with almost any class to help them understand what intonation‏‎ is and how it works in English. It's easily adaptable to all learner levels‏ and abilities. Explain that in English you have to give stress (or...

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Norwegian vs English

This article looks at different aspects of Norwegian compared to English for TEFL teachers with Norwegian students. It's often said that Norwegian is closely related to English and if you know one language it is easy to pick up the other.  However, there are...

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Teaching Proverbs in TEFL

Proverbs are simple sayings which are used to show common sense and popular wisdom. They are regarded generally as informal rather than formal language. Thus they're mostly used in common everyday spoken language. There are hundreds and hundreds of proverbs in...

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Teach and Travel as an English Teacher Abroad

Do you want to travel the world? Experience what other cultures have to offer? Visit the greatest sights on Earth? Well English teachers working abroad get to do that. As a teacher you can work right across the world and experience some incredible places and cultures....

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Why MOOCs Fail

A recent article in the New York Times has highlighted a number of disturbing statistics that shake the current craze for those free online educational courses known as MOOCs. Basically put, an appalling number of students are dropping out. MOOCs are being abandoned...

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Teaching English in Kyrgyzstan

TEFL/TESOL in Kyrgyzstan Kyrgyzstan is a landlocked country in Central Asia. It was under Soviet control for almost 80 years until it became independent in 1991. During Soviet control the language of choice was Russian (along with native Kyrgyz) and today it is still...

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