TEFL Logue Review: ESL Teacher Talk

I have to admit I’m new to podcasts in general – but I think many EFL teachers are perhaps not as in touch with technology as much of the rest of the world (at least I hope I’m not alone!). The first thing that struck me about ESL Teacher Talk is just that it’s neat to be able to listen on my own to talk about EFL/ESL in the format of a radio talk show. I think there are plenty of sites for learners, but fewer just for teachers. Hosts Eric and Mark, aside from being fellow midwestern US-ers who accordingly “talk right”, have a good dynamic. They’re friendly and funny and knowledgeable, and clearly respect their audience. Giving advice can be tricky but they do it well.

Sometimes they discuss and compare their experience on different topics and sometimes they have a guest to interview or share ideas; they frequently include a “game of the week from” a listener or contributer to one of their websites.

I recently listened to a few of the podcasts on the main page, including Small Groups and Motivating the Motivationally Challenged.

There were plenty of practical tips for situations that most teachers can relate to, such as kids who don’t pay attention. Their advice depended on age: for younger kids, keep them in suspense for more of your slap-stick behavior (kicking the wall and nearly falling over) and sneak in bits and pieces of what you need to do. Don’t come with the expectation that you should spend the full time focused on English as you might with adults. For slightly older kids, the slap-stick stuff becomes less important, but still essential is engaging them with intrinsically motivating games – not games that simply aim to produce English sentences for points, but fun ones in which the use of English is a necessary tool for doing whatever they need to win.

I encourage you to check out this site and listen to a few podcats. If you’re a bit technologically challenged like, well, me, and have a problem listening at first, right click on the link to the podcast, save it, and listen once it’s saved.

Happy podcasting!