This month our featured country in the job section is Italy – whiling away the winter months with a bowl of pasta and a hearty red to ward off the chills sounds good to me. Many ESL teachers work here in New York, but I’ve always thought it would be great to move to Italy for a year or so and parlare Italiano. There’s also another fun teaching tip for future use, some information on the TESOL Certificate trainers and more. As always, please feel free to contact me at any time if you have any questions or comments. I hope you enjoy this window to the world of TESOL.

Me cold in Antarctica, 2000.

James Stakenburg
Head of Teacher Training - Rennert
World Learning SIT TESOL Teacher Trainer
212-867 8700


Discounted post-certificate teaching seminars available at Rennert

Rennert offers a range of one-day teaching seminars that are open to all ESOL teachers in the New York area. Alumni of the SIT TESOL certificate course and Rennert teachers get a discounted of rate of $60 (regular price $75) for all of these professional seminars.

“Fabulous! A lot of things were cleared up for me and it was explained very well.”
“Very informative and useful – can absolutely utilize information learned.”
“This seminar was incredibly helpful in regards to improving methods of teaching grammar.”
“It was great and very helpful.”

All one-day seminars are 6 hours plus a one-hour lunch break

9:00am – 4:00pm
Cost $75 each $60 for SIT Alumni
To book, email me at or call (212) 867 8700

Grammar for ESL Teachers 1
How often have you felt anxious about teaching grammar?
Review Adverbs of Frequency
Is your present perfect? Do you wonder about your past, present and future?
A comprehensive overview of the verb tense system
“Good teachers don’t teach. Good teachers organize learning.”
Discover how to teach grammar inductively
Want to bet you know your grammar?
Grammar Auction

Grammar for ESL Teachers 2
Is your grammar knowledge still being tested?
• What is and how to use Passive voice
If you had to teach conditionals, what examples would you use?
Review the Conditionals
Could modals be more confusing, or might clarity come?
A comprehensive look at Modals
So you have to teach a grammar point. Where do you start? How do you create a lesson from it?
Grammar Lesson Planning
“The question is not so much ‘How can I teach?’ as it is ‘How can I help these students learn?"
More inductive methodology

Teaching Pronunciation
Pronunciation isn’t just sounds. What are the other aspects involved?
All aspects of pronunciation comprehensively covered
What’s the /aI pi: eI/?
Review the International Phonemic Alphabet
Do you wear you best vest or stop at the right light?
Practice with Minimal pairs
Do you wonder how to put this all together and teach pronunciation to your students?
Learn how to teach pronunciation

How to Teach Vocabulary & Oral Production (Speaking) activities
“Without grammar, little can be conveyed. Without vocabulary, nothing can be conveyed.” Wilkins
When to teach vocabulary
Different methods for teaching vocabulary inductively
Have you ever set a task and the students sit there in silence?
In your head you’re screaming “SPEAK! PLEASE!!!”

Different activities for all levels to get students speaking

How to Teach Listening & Using Songs in the Classroom
What’s that? Stuck for ideas on teaching listening?
How to plan for a Listening lesson
Steps for teaching Listening
Lots of Listening tasks and activities for all levels in a communicative class
Do you enjoying listening to music? How about your students?
Discover lots of activities for songs you can use in the classroom

Using Drama/Theater & Audio-Visuals in the Classroom
To use drama or not to use drama in your ESL class? That is the question.
Why it’s important
Lots of activities you can use
We’re surrounded by media. So let’s bring the ‘real world’ into our classroom.
Learn how to use different AV materials e.g. documentaries, movies, commercials

How to Teach Reading & Writing
Do your students find Writing boring? Reading a chore?
Steps for teaching & Lesson Plans
Do your Reading and Writing classes fill the room with silence?
Discover and experience a variety of different activities you can use in your General English classes


Each month SIT TESOL Alumni who did the course at Rennert receive a monthly newsletter with details of upcoming professional development seminars and workshops, as well as job tips and teaching tips. We are also currently developing a comprehensive job referral site for our website that will be password accessed by TESOL Certificate alumni. In this month’s Alumni Newsletter’s job section we head to Europe to eat pasta, ride a vespa and live la dolce vita.

Olive Groves in Italy, 2006

This month we head to Europe to eat pasta, ride a vesper and live la dolce vita
The scoop on
ITALY (word-of-mouth advice from someone who’s been there):

“Working in Italy can be difficult for Americans because it’s an EU country, however many language schools do have Americans teaching at them. For many schools you will need a work permit, although generally schools will not sponsor you. You can stay for three months without a visa. Major cities for language study include Rome, Milan, Florence, Perugia (where there is the University for Foreign Languages). The busy times of year are November when college starts; January when there are university exams; and at end of spring semester in late May/ early June. Definitely though right after summer time is the best time to look for work.

There is an opportunity if you have proper documentation and you’re legal to work you can apply at the Department of Education for public school teaching – they need mother tongue lecturers – the have a list – you can apply for that every 2 years – go to the local Dept of Education in each province.

The teaching day: Generally there are private tutorials during the day and then classes in the evenings from around 5:00pm to 9:00pm. There are also some early morning classes starting about 8:00am. A lot of schools also send teachers out to companies and other locations in order to teach. It is not necessary to speak Italian – usually schools are run by Americans or British.

You won’t save money especially if you live in a city like Rome or Milan – you’re probably making 10 or 12 euros per hour. But you will enjoy Italian life.

Finding accommodation can be tough especially in a city like Rome, just like in New York City, but you generally don’t need Italian to rent a place. In Rome there is a classifieds newspaper called Porta Portese that is very helpful.”

Jigsaw Reading

(This is a great way to introduce speaking into a Reading lesson.)

1. Divide participants into small groups.

2. You can have one story or article divided into 2-4 sections, or have 2-4 separate articles or stories with a similar theme.

3. Divide the articles/stories or parts (segment) between the groups.

4. Each group answers comprehension questions about their segment OR takes notes on their segment OR completes a table about their segment. This works particularly well if the articles have similar points so the tables or questions can be identical for all groups/ segments, but this isn’t essential.

5. The group members then check their answers or notes together and work together to clarify any lack of understanding.

6. The students are regrouped so that the new groups contain one member each who read different articles.

7. The groups now share verbally with the other group members the information that they read. The other group members use this information to complete the questions or tables about the articles they didn’t read.

8. Reconvene as a whole group to discuss findings and clarify any questions.

Group work, December 2008