07 – Why your ESL lesson bombed – Tom Randolph

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MOT 7 - sad teacher

In this episode we hear from TESOL methodology trainer Tom Randolph about some of the reasons ESL / EFL lessons don’t succeed, and how to avoid it happening. I chip in with my own experience as a teacher trainer based on the classes I have monitored that didn’t go well.

There’re plenty of solid tips and even activity ideas in this conversation, so there’s something for everyone, regardless of experience.

I’d love to hear your ideas too. Don’t be shy!




2 thoughts on “07 – Why your ESL lesson bombed – Tom Randolph

    eilyantares said:
    June 8, 2015 at 1:12 am

    Great conversation, particularly applicable to Business English where ‘planning backwards’ is the only way to go with short contracts focussed on acquisition of very specific skills. Hope it’s OK that I linked to a FB IATEFL BESIG conversation on metalanguage
    Some hesitations about how far you can go with ‘pretend to be a police officer’ roleplays, but as you said, if teacher gets to know students real context well enough, you can come up with authentic and relevant scenarios. Constant back and forth co-creation of content, and negotiating what to do next and why.
    Must be much harder with students who haven’t entered workplace yet and perhaps don’t have same ability to assess their needs.


      Masters of TESOL podcast responded:
      June 8, 2015 at 9:25 pm

      Thank for your comment! I think the “police officer” idea was just something Tom threw out there on the spur of the moment for a contextualised activity. This could be changed to “finding a wallet on the street” for similar results.

      As for the co-creation aspect, we work in South Korea and it’s hard with students of (almost) all backgrounds because English is taught purely through grammar translation here, so anything communicative takes a lot more setting up than in other countries. As Tom said, the encultured idea of the power that the teacher has takes a lot of work to weaken. For example, after 16 weeks of a semester, there a still a significant number of students who call me “teacher” rather than my name, despite saying “call me Andy” in the first lesson. The idea of giving a wrong answer being bad means that there’s a lot of silence in class before we establish trust and a classroom culture.

      I’ll check out the metalanguage link. Thanks for that, and I appreciate you adding your comment on this. It’s nice to hear from listeners so I know I’m not just shouting into a void!


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