“No tengo lapiz.” Linguistic acquisition and the ESL teacher

언필이없서요 (yonpil-ee obsoyo). A recent addition to my catalogue of chunks of Korean, of which I now know a range, none of which are related to each other enough to form sentences let alone serve any useful, communicative purpose. Meaning, “I don’t have a pencil,” this, like the Spanish phrase for the same dilemma in this post’s title, is the extent of my on-the-job language learning.

The situation is reciprocal. I learn phrases like, “I haven’t got a pencil,” “I’ve finished”, and bathroom,” in the language of the country I’m living in. The under-10s I encounter in those countries in turn learn the words, “TEEEEEacherrrrrr” (with bored / outraged / despairing inflection depending on the situation) “No homework pleeeeeeeaaazzzzz,” and, astonishingly, all the words to the latest Disney / One Direction song (depending on grade level). Neither I nor they seem to get much beyond this point. More


My recent guest post on ESL Hell.

ESL Hell

I’m in my second year of teaching experience. With a career change in mind and a CELTA in hand I decided to make a go of life in Latin America.

Before I even got that far, I’d had to contend with CELTA vs CertTESOL vs TEFL. Which to choose? What did they mean? Which one was the best? I did my research and realised that the CELTA and CertTESOL were roughly equally highly regarded, and certainly the only two certificates worth the twin investment of time and money. The differences between the two are minimal, or so I understand.  CELTA (Certificate in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages) is the TEFL certificate offered by the University of Cambridge. CertTESOL is accredited by Trinity College, London. Both are respected by employers worldwide. In my case, the CELTA won out based on little other than the fact that there was a…

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