English Banana.com ESL Blog

The latest free material and news from English Banana.com


12 Years On – EnglishBanana.com Is Still Making A Difference To English Classes Around The World!

A message from EnglishBanana.com webmaster Matt Purland:

“It’s just over twelve years since I founded the English language resource website EnglishBanana.com, and since that first day online we have given away literally millions of free printable worksheets, and an estimated 2 million + free full-length course books. Twelve years is almost a lifetime in terms of internet years, but we are happy to still be here providing high-quality free resources for hard-working teachers and students everywhere. As the ‘net has changed, so we have changed to reflect the different ways our users want to interact with the site, for example, launching our mobile site last year: m.englishbanana.com, which is ideal for people using tablets or smartphones to access the free material. In all of those 12 years it would have been easy to become irrelevant, which is why we are so glad to read the kind of email that we received last week, from a teacher in Spain. A. writes:

Hello Matt,
First of all, I would like to introduce myself a bit for you to understand why I’m so grateful to your generosity.

My name is A. and I’ve been studying a career and some master degrees in order to become a teacher. Currently, due to the effects of a chronic illness I discovered I have, I’m not able to work, but I’m trying to occupy my time studying on my own from home.

As my goal is to teach Spanish as a foreign language, I also need to deeper my knowledge in English. And materials and exercises in English are good for me to improve, and also, to give me good ideas and knowledge on how to prepare my own materials in Spanish orientated to the foreign.

Some years ago, I used some of your exercises to help a 12 years old English student, with great results and a successful final mark on the exams. On that time I kept your web address noted, but didn’t give a proper attention to it. Nowadays, on my current situation, I’ve been surfing a lot in search of ideas, inspiration and a bit of help on materials. And I haven’t found something as good and generous as your altruist work.

That’s why, now that I’ve recovered your web again and used your material once again, I wanted to write to just say: Thank you! The world would be a better place if everyone took your initiative as a way of living. Including me.

My warmest greetings from Spain,

A.

“Thank you, A., for letting us know how much the site means to you. It is invaluable for us to receive this kind of feedback, because it encourages us to keep going, when so many older (ancient?!) free resource websites are closing down around us. Thank you again!”


Free Live English Class on EnglishSpeaking.Tips: Tuesday 13th January 2015 at 8pm CET!

You are welcome to join us for the start of a new online speaking course on EnglishSpeaking.Tips. It starts tomorrow at 8pm CET. Hope to see you there! For more information, please click below:

http://new.livestream.com/accounts/11662553/events/3719591/player?width=640&height=360&autoPlay=true&mute=false


3 Comments

FREE ESL Lesson Plan: Make a Group Text

This is a free lesson plan from You Are The Course Book – Lesson Plans by Matt Purland. You can download the complete book for free here. (.pdf – 6 MB) This book is in the public domain, which means that anybody can use it for commercial and non-commercial purposes.

Method:

1. Stage 2.1 First Draft – Initial Ideas:
Explain that the whole group is going to write a shared text with 8 sentences on the board, which includes an agreed number of vocabulary words and phrases. T states or elicits a text type, e.g. an informal email. A SS from one team comes up and writes their sentence at the top of the board. A student from another group comes up and writes the next, and this continues until there are 8 sentences and SS from each group have participated. As they write, all of the other SS have to copy the text into their notebooks. Other SS can call out with suggestions and corrections. T must stay out of it. T does not try to correct their work. If SS ask for help, T says, “Sorry, I can’t help you at the moment.” By the end of this stage, SS have created the first draft of the text. One SS reads it aloud.

Variation: each sentence has to begin (or end) with one of the 8 chosen words.

2. Stage 2.2 Second Draft – Corrections:
T asks: “Can you see any errors?” T elicits a few from the text. SS work in their teams and analyse the text for errors: grammar, spelling, and pronunciation. After a few minutes, T elicits the errors from the whole group, helping if SS really can’t see some of the errors, and corrects the text on the board (or a SS could do this), until the text is completely correct. SS should also correct the text in their notebooks, so that every SS has the same corrected second draft text written down.

3. Stage 2.3 Third Draft – Improvements:

T congratulates the group: “Good! The text is correct; it’s good, but can it be improved? How can we make it better?” T elicits the different ways in which it can be improved:

  • title / headline / subject line (if required)
  • higher-level vocabulary and more adjectives
  • compound or complex sentences instead of simple
  • character development, e.g. names, motivations, back-stories
  • more dramatic action
  • consequences of actions are explored
  • detail where the text is generalised

SS work in their groups to produce an improved text, which means that there are now several distinct texts in the room. T can check each group and offer advice. After about 10-15 minutes, T asks a SS from each group to read their text aloud. After each reading T asks the other groups: “What was different? How has it been improved?” T helps SS to process what they have done: how they have gone from a few vocabulary words, through a rough version of the text, then a corrected version, to an improved version – working together as a whole group to begin with, then in smaller groups.

Tips:

  • T must let SS do all the work. Guide, don’t lead. Let them make mistakes on the board in Stage 2.1. Encourage SS to peer correct. All mistakes will be corrected in Stage 2.2.
  • Before you begin, make sure you have a few board pens that work!
  • The text that the SS write on the board should be legible and of a reasonable size. If it is too small, other SS will not be able to read it; if it is too big, there may not be enough room for all 8 sentences.
  • SS could write up their own final draft of the third draft text for homework.


FREE ESL Lesson Plan: Mode 1 Vocabulary Session

This is a free lesson plan from You Are The Course Book – Lesson Plans by Matt Purland.  You can download the complete book for free here. (.pdf – 6 MB) This book is in the public domain, which means that anybody can use it for commercial and non-commercial purposes.

Mode 1 Vocabulary Session

Method:

1. T asks each group to write down 8 interesting and random words or phrases. They must be content words, not function words. They could be completely random, or begin with the same letter (elicited from a SS), or from a particular topic, e.g. Music. SS work together – one list per group. SS can use dictionaries. One SS from each group reads out their words and T selects the most interesting and random words to write on the board – 8 in total. T does not allow boring words, e.g. table, chair, book… SS write down the whole list.

2. T checks that everybody knows all the words and leads a pronunciation drill with the words. SS have to listen and repeat each word after T.

3. T asks SS to work as a team and write down the type of each word, e.g. noun, verb, adjective, etc. When each group is ready T asks for a SS to come to the board and write the word types on the board next to the vocabulary words. T elicits whether they are correct or not. If not, T elicits the correct answer and the SS writes it.

4. Repeat 3, except with number of syllables in each word.

5. Repeat 3, except with the stressed syllable in each word, which is underlined.

6. Repeat 3, except with the stressed vowel sound in each word. SS writes it with Clear Alphabet, if possible. If not, T elicits it from SS who use the Clear Alphabet chart (p.107). SS could also write each word in Clear Alphabet.

7. Repeat 3, except with whether the stressed vowel sound is short, long, or diphthong. T models the stressed vowel sounds and SS repeat.

8. Repeat 3, except with schwa sounds circled. By the end of the session, your board might resemble something like this (with words from the topic of Music:)

Vocabulary Lesson Plan - Image 1

…and so on.

Tip:

  • Try not to spend too long doing the vocabulary session. Remember to put together a lesson that provides a balanced ‘meal’ – where different skills are practised and different student needs are met. For example, while one SS might be happy to work with vocabulary for the whole lesson, another SS might prefer free practice activities, and so on.


All learning resources on EnglishBanana.com are now in the public domain! :)

Let’s compare two English Banana.com worksheets:

This is Worksheet A:

EnglishBanana.com Public Domain

EnglishBanana.com Public Domain

…and this is Worksheet B:

public-domain-3

EnglishBanana.com Public Domain

Did you notice the difference? Yes, they are the same worksheet, from the Big Grammar Book. But there is a crucial difference. The first one belongs to the past and the second to now and the future. The removal of the tiny copyright symbol makes a big difference to what you can now do with English Banana.com resources – all 4,000+ pages of them!

 

 


School in the Philippines uses English Banana’s Big Grammar Book for their free English Proficiency course

English Proficiency course at Cavite Southern Emerald Academy, Inc. - 2014

English Proficiency course at Cavite Southern Emerald Academy, Inc. – 2014

Meiji Geneta from Cavite Southern Emerald Academy in the Philippines emailed us recently to ask whether they could use English Banana material to run a free English course. We said yes – of course! – because all English Banana material is covered by our free licence to run courses – and all our free books are in the public domain.

Meiji wrote:

“I am from the Philippines and I have come across the English Banana website and I was very very amazed by the numerous worksheets that were made for students and teachers who are very much interested to widen their learning when it comes to the English Language. We have a school here in the Philippines and the name of the school is Cavite Southern Emerald Academy, Inc. It is a non-stock, non-profit school and we cater students in the Preschool and Elementary Department.

“Our school shares the same vision as you do because we also love to share the love for the English language. The Philippines is not a First English Country and being able to use your resources will be able help us teach the our students the english language better and in an organized manner. I believe that the resources you have put in your website are indeed very very helpful and will definitely help our students learn the very best the English Language can offer.

“We will be conducting a two week English Proficiency Class this May 19 to May 30, 2014. This will be offered to the students for free and they will be using the  1st Grammar Book of English Banana.com [Big Grammar Book]. We would like to inform the students and the parents that all resources used in this class came from English Banana.com and we would like to recognize you for this.

“Thank you so much sir for sharing with us the resources of English Banana.com to help teach children about the English Language. I am looking forward to have more English classes with our students soon and use English Banana’s resources.”

Their course was a resounding success (see pics below) and we were delighted that they chose English Banana’s Big Grammar Book for their course material. After all, why pay for expensive course books and ELT material when English Banana material is free to use?

English Proficiency course at Cavite Southern Emerald Academy, Inc. - 2014

English Proficiency course at Cavite Southern Emerald Academy, Inc. – 2014

English Proficiency course at Cavite Southern Emerald Academy, Inc. - 2014

English Proficiency course at Cavite Southern Emerald Academy, Inc. – 2014

 

 


This is a recording from a free live teacher training session on YouTube last night: Teaching Spelling and Sounds to ESL Students

You are welcome to join me for my next free live lesson on YouTube!

Click here to find out more: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ECj82eoY_ZU


FREE Online English Class with Nadia – You Are The Course Book Demo!

This Saturday 25th January at 6pm CET Nadia is teaching a free online English class using You Are the Course Book Method. All learners are welcome!

She writes:

“This is a demo class on You Are the Course Book Method, developed by Matt Purland, England. Teacher Nadia from Russia will give a mock class using Matt’s method. This a speaking class for English learners, so everybody please get your mics ready.”

To find out more and to sign up for this class please visit the link below:

http://www.wiziq.com/online-class/1605141-you-are-the-coursebook-method-by-matt-purland_nadia-s-demo-class


Free Teacher Training Course – Final Class Tonight!

Our current free teacher training course is coming to an end tonight. The final class will be at 9.15pm CET on WizIQ.com. Please click below for full details. Hope you can make it!

http://www.wiziq.com/course/36615-free-teacher-training-course-for-english-teachers


Next Class in our Free Teacher Training Course for English Teachers

Dr. Muhammad Schmidt, IFTS, Nairobi, Kenya

Dr. Muhammad Schmidt, IFTS, Nairobi, Kenya

You are welcome to join us for the next class in our ongoing free teacher training course, which will be presented by Dr. Muhammad Schmidt of IFTS, Kenya.He will be speaking on the subject of: You Are The Course Book Method within the larger framework of communicative ESL Teaching.

This class will take place on Wednesday, January 15, 2014 at 8:00 p.m. CET on Skype. If you would like to participate, please contact Dr. Schmidt via Skype. His Skype ID is: turnoi

The class will last for around one hour and there is a free handout which you can download here.

You can join our free teacher training course here. There are already 126 course learners. We would be delighted if you wanted to get involved!


You can now buy hard copies of 4 English Banana.com books!

We are really pleased to announce that we are now selling hard copies of 4 fabulous English Banana.com books:

Big Grammar Book, Big Activity Book, Big Resource Book, and Talk a Lot Elementary Book 1

Click here for full details!


We’re giving away 20 FREE hard-copy books: Big Grammar Book & Talk a Lot Elementary Book 1!

Free Hard-Copy English Banana Books!

Free Hard-Copy English Banana Books!

PLEASE NOTE: THIS OFFER HAS NOW ENDED. THANKS TO EVERYBODY WHO EMAILED US!

We’ve got 20 FREE English Banana.com books to give away – with FREE postage and package – courtesy of the good people at English Banana Trust! Glyn Purland, who is Chair of English Banana Trust, writes:

“To mark the end of the 10th year online of English Banana.com, the English Banana Trust is offering a number of the two most popular English Banana books, one per person, free of charge including postage and package. We hope that this will help you in your teaching and learning of the English language.”

There are 10 free copies of Big Grammar Book and 10 free copies of Talk a Lot Elementary Book 1. These books are real, not digital – you can flick through them! You can put them in your bag or on your bookshelf at home! You can photocopy them!

All you have to do to get your FREE book is to send us a message with:

* Your full name

* Your mailing address

* WHICH book you would prefer to receive

* A few words to say WHY you would like to receive a free English Banana.com book

This offer is open to teachers and students of English, and is available on a first come, first served basis – one free book per person. If you are not lucky enough to receive a free hard-copy book, please remember that you can still download both books (and many more!) free from English Banana.com.


Free EFL/ESL Lessons for Busy Teachers at EFL Sensei

EFL Sensei.com

EFL Sensei.com

Check out this great resource site for EFL teachers: EFL Sensei. There you will find free printable lesson plans, speaking activities, board games, conversation cards, grammar activities, and more!

Why not try this exciting jigsaw speaking activity for starters? Bourbon Street: http://www.eflsensei.com/Bourbon-Street/?path=52


Looking for Specialised Targeted English Instruction?

Try Dr. Ray’s English Clinic!

Dr Ray's English Clinic

Dr Ray’s English Clinic

More about this service:

“Our study philosophy at Dr .Ray’s English clinic caters specifically to the student who is busy, and focused on RESULTS.

“We deliver targeted instruction aimed directly at what you need, and never waste your time on exercises or instruction designed to use up time for which you pay.

“STRAIGHT TO THE POINT – NO WASTED TIME – DIRECTED SELF-STUDY FOLLOWS EVERY LESSON.”

Why not find out more today, either via Facebook or through the dedicated website?

http://drraysenglishclinic.com

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Drraysenglish/498216636920718


You Can Still Join Our Free Teacher Training Course!

Free Teacher Training on WizIQ!

We got off to a great start this week, with 47 learners now enrolled! There is still time for you to join this free teacher training course. It is suitable for any English teacher or trainee teacher who would like to learn how to teach without the *boring* course book!

You can find out more and enrol for free below:

http://www.wiziq.com/course/36615-free-teacher-training-course-for-english-teachers

The next class will take place on Monday 11th November at 8.15pm CET.


New FREE Online Course for English Teachers – Starting Next Monday!

Free Teacher Training Course - Now Enrolling!

From next Monday 4th November 2013 Matt Purland will be running a free on-going teacher training course for teachers of English and ESL. Enrolment is now open so you can sign up from today! You can get all of the details here:

http://www.wiziq.com/course/36615-free-teacher-training-course-for-english-teachers

Title: Free Teacher Training Course for English Teachers

Goal: Learn how to teach English without a course book

Live classes: Mondays at 8.15pm CET & Thursdays at 10am CET

Main Benefits:

* FREE live classes twice a week

* Learn with an experienced English teacher and teacher trainer

* Professional development certificate when you attend 10 live classes

* Learn techniques that will help your students be more productive

* FREE access to recordings and group material (pdf, ppt, doc)

This is a course for English teachers; if you are studying to become a teacher, you are also welcome. This course is for teachers who want to learn and discuss ways of teaching English without formal material, e.g. a course book or handouts.

This course is on-going. You don’t need to attend every class – attend when you can; if you attend 10 live classes you will receive a FREE professional development certificate.

This course is based on You Are The Course Book Method. You can find out more about it and download the FREE material here: http://englishbanana.com/resources/free-books/teacher-training/

Hope to see you there!


100+ English Language Teachers Attended My Seminar at Language Show Live 2013

It was fantastic to be greeted by over a hundred English language teachers at my seminar at Language Show Live last weekend! They attended my seminar at Olympia, London, on how to teach English without a course book, and it was great to see so many people who were interested in trying something new in the classroom – rather than just the usual gap-fills, multiple-choice questions, and reading comprehensions provided by the usual uninspiring ELT course books.

Waiting to do my seminar at Language Show Live 2013. A Penguin Classic, a bottle of still water, and a quiet corner away from it all...!

Waiting to do my seminar at Language Show Live 2013. A Penguin Classic, a bottle of still water, and a quiet corner away from it all…!

You can download the PowerPoint presentation that we discussed here.

In the video below I’m discussing Slide 18 and complaining about how with the course book, the writer of the course book gets to be creative, while students are reduced to completing cloze activities or reading in silence. With YATCB Method students get to experience the buzz of creativity; they are able to have ideas and work on them with their partner or group.

Language Show Live 2013 (1)

Language Show Live 2013 (1)

At the end of the seminar there were many questions from the audience. We discussed using this method within a syllabus and with ILPs; assessment, and how to persuade Directors of Studies to let you deviate from doing the book. This seemed to be the most common problem for the teachers I encountered there. They said that they would like to be more free in what they do in class, but don’t have time to let their students be creative after completing the set course book pages – which they “have to” do. Frustrating! It was great to chat to so many of you face to face after the event. I felt encouraged that there are many teachers who, like me, desire a more creative and productive approach to teaching English. One delegate, Joanna Dudzinska, asked me for the origin of the name “English Banana” and then promptly presented me with a pair of fresh bananas that I could take home! Thanks, Joanna. You can see pictures and read her side of the story in her blog here. She commented:

“The highlight of today was The Language Show at Olympia in Kensington. It was the third and last day of the annual event related to languages: teaching, learning, interpreting, translating and also travelling!

“A friend had told me about the presentation for EFL teachers. It had an interesting title: YOU ARE YOUR OWN COURSEBOOK. I agree with Matt, the speaker. Coursebooks are boring and they do not allow free thinking often suppressing  creativity. I could elaborate more on that particular topic, but there is no time… However, I shall definitely be going back to Matt’s website…”

Language Show Live 2013 (2)

Language Show Live 2013 (2)

 
Language Show Live 2013 (3)

Language Show Live 2013 (3)

My heartfelt thanks go to Claire Shilling and the wonderful team who organised Language Show Live 2013, as well as the army of people who ensured that the event ran so well. I really enjoyed taking part – thanks for having me!

If you would like me to speak about You Are The Course Book Method at your organisation, or run a training session, please do get in touch!


News from More People Using English Banana Free Material

We often get emails from teachers and other individuals who want to use our free material either commercially or on a wider scale than just printing out a few worksheets. You don’t need to contact us to take advantage of our free licences, but if you do it is always lovely to hear from you! It’s great to know that you are able to use our free material. Here is some recent news from people who are using this material for various purposes. If you feel inspired to use English Banana material after reading this news, please go ahead! 🙂

 

Using the material as content for another publication:

Antananarivo, Madagascar

“I am an English teacher in Madagascar and I’m planning to write a book because of the lack of teaching materials in my country.”

Sapporo Gakuin University, Ebetsu, Hokkaido, Japan

“Thank you very much for offering the free license to your materials. A group of teachers here at Sapporo Gakuin University are making our own textbook for our students and will offer it free like your materials, including free Moodle quizzes and activities. Your model is an inspiration. We may also use some of your materials in it, so thank you again.”

 

Using the material to teach others for free, or as paid courses:

London, UK

“Firstly I’d like to thank you for the amazing material which is really helping  me on planning my lessons.

“I live in London, I’m Brazilian and I run a free English course on Mondays and Fridays 3 hours course each day, on a Brazilian Catholic Church to help people from my country it the basics so they can start communicating and finding a job. Thank you very much!”

Banten, Indonesia

“Finally I have a courage to open English course and use your EB materials. Actually not my own place, but [a local] kindergarten school.

“I ask her permit to allow me open an English course as beginning for a primary kids. I ask her permit again to use my own name ORANGE & BANANA. Orange represent me and Banana represent your EB. I thought it will be easy to set up my own materials, but still your EB materials really really help out. Wishing for your big support to encourage me start this new experience and still freaking me out. Hehehehe.”

Stepping Stone English – Bangkok, Thailand

“I am a native English man working in Thailand for a language school. I see the language schools as over priced compared to the local economic market as they are aimed are the high society of Thailand leaving the poorer public behind. Asean is coming in 2015 and I feel I want to help the less fortunate. If they don’t have the opportunity to learn English now then I’m afraid when Asean starts they are going to be in a devastating state. I think your material is wonderful and it is perfect for the students I am aiming to help. I would like a Certificate of Authorisation to progress my plans to help the community.

“I greatly appreciate the efforts you are doing and I would greatly appreciate your support in getting my project up and running. I’m starting out on a small scale due to funding. But with your material and support I can see great things for the future and hopefully for the public of Thailand. Thank you very much for your efforts in helping the world of education.”

Hoi An, Quang Nam Province, Vietnam

“I am not teaching at a school as such, but rather in my home to students and local people in my community as I live in rural Vietnam so I don’t have a school name. As I stated I will use your resources to teach local children, and some adults, they are just very average poor working people, some in this country can afford paid education, most can’t. It’s these people that I will target and try to assist them to improve their lives through the English language.”

KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa

“I live in rural KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa.  I run Bridges of Hope for Children and currently care for 12 children.  I run a Preschool from home and am busy registering an Independent School.  There is a desperate need for English classes for people from our neighbouring Township.  I’m hoping to be able to generate an income from these classes.”

Slovakia

“My main idea is to develop an English language course, based entirely on your materials; however, selecting them and compiling them together, which would entirely target speaking and general understanding.”

 

Using the material as content for an app or website:

Saudi Arabia

“I want to use your resources. Hi and thanks for this site. Now I’m doing programming Android app (free, without ads) for learning English language. Can I use your resources in my app?” [We replied: yes, of course you can!]

New York, USA

“Hey, you have a great website! I am working on making a website for people who want to learn another language. I was looking for free resources for my website and I found you! This will really help me a lot – thanks. I’ll be sure to add your website on mine. Thank you!”