ESLHIPHOP Guest Post

Three Ways to Use Hip Hop in Your Next English Lesson

ESLHIPHOP Guest Post

I love featuring teachers who are doing their own thing online, giving others an opportunity to share their story and and their ideas, inspiring us all as we strive to succeed.

Today I bring you Stephen Mayeux from ESLhiphop. I’ve known Steve for around a year now, and in that time we have connected on a monthly basis to share what we are working on and to help each other to grow and reach our respective goals.

Stephen is the perfect example of someone who knows the important of choosing a specific niche; he has built his teaching around this niche, using his enthusiasm, creativity, and love of what he is doing to help English learners improve.

It brings me great pleasure to introduce you all to Stephen. He has three very creative teaching ideas that all involve an online tool called Rap Stats. Take it away Stephen!

Three ELT Activities Using Rap Stats

Yo! I’m Stephen “Big Nasty” Mayeux, and I am in the house, or rather, on the homepage to spit some knowledge! Jack and I are very good friends, and he has been a supporter of ESLhiphop from the very beginning. Since I started that blog a year ago, there have been other exciting developments in hip-hop education which have legitimized the genre more and more for instructional purposes.

In 2013, GZA from the Wu-Tang Clan teamed up with a professor from Columbia University’s Teachers College to create Science Genius, an initiative to promote science education by having New York City students write science-themed rap songs. And earlier this year, data scientist Matt Daniels analyzed rap lyrics and classic literature and discovered that several contemporary hip-hop artists have better vocabulary than Shakespeare or Herman Melville’s Moby Dick.

Now there’s another innovation in hip-hop education (ooh, I rhymed!) from the makers of Rap Genius, an online community that annotates rap songs. Rap Stats is an online tool that plots the frequency of words appearing in hip-hop lyrics from 1998 to present, and it’s also free to use and very addicting to language nerds! Simply enter one or more words and phrases in the search box, and Rap Stats will generate a color-coded line graph.

In this post, I am going to share three ideas for using Rap Stats to practice English. If you’re in a brick-and-mortar school, your classroom will need to have Internet access in order to use any of these activities. Other than that, everything that I am going to suggest requires very little preparation.

#1 — IELTS Writing Classes

In the Academic module of the IELTS, test takers must analyze and interpret a graph, diagram, or process and describe it in about 300 words. There are dozens of test-preparation books and even more free websites with sample writing prompts, but why not spice it up and make writing more fun? ETS (Education Testing Services) probably has no plans to include Rap Stats in the newest version of their exam, but your students can still have very useful writing practice by responding to frequency analysis reports. You could use the sample graph below in order to practice the language needed to:

  • make implications
  • describe positive and negative correlations
  • highlight trends over a period of time
  • predict future usage

 

Rap Stats Teaching English

#2 — Dictogloss <> Illustrate <> Check

This activity is similar to the one above, but the procedures have simply been reversed. (Secret ELT Trick: If you ever run out of ideas, just think of everything you’ve tried before and do it backwards!) Instead of producing text after seeing a graph, students will produce a graph after listening to and writing about the data. This is how I would set up and run the activity:

  1. Create a Rap Stats graph ahead of time and describe it to your students. You can either write a short paragraph before your lesson or just describe it on the fly. Whatever you decide to do, don’t let your students see the graph yet.
  2. As in a typical dictogloss activity, students must listen without taking any notes and then reconstruct your description in a short paragraph. Students can work either individually or in small groups.
  3. Students then produce graphs based on their own writing or from another group.
  4. Display the graph that was described in step 1 and have students compare their work to the original.

#3 — Discovering Recent and Outdated Slang

A few months ago, Business Insider ran a story on my blog, and one commenter wondered if listening to hip-hop would only introduce obscure and outdated slang words and idioms making English learners sound unusual. It’s a legitimate point to bring up, and it’s the basis behind this next activity aimed at helping students acquire recent slang words and avoid using ones that have died out.

  1. Create a list of slang words and idioms before the lesson begins. Have students decide which words are still used today and which ones are outdated and irrelevant.
  2. Have students group the words in a number of different categories. For example, you might have students group the words by part of speech.
  3. Students use Rap Stats themselves and run analysis reports on the list. In small groups, students examine the data together and determine which words and phrases are still used today.
  4. Review the words as a whole class, and then follow up with a speaking or listening activity.

Your Turn

I hope this blog post was helpful and interesting. Try it out with your students and let me know how it goes in the comments below. If you use Rap Stats in other ways, then I would love to hear about it. Connect with me on Facebook and Twitter, and tell me all about it!

This guest blog article was written by Stephen Mayeux, the founder of ESLhiphop.com. He teaches private English classes on Skype. He’s also a worldwide ambassador of peace, love, and hip-hop for Gallery Languages.

Peace, love, and hip-hop

Big Nasty Steve

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Mau Buchler of Tripppin Drops In to Give Advice on Teaching Online

We love to feature people who are making a mark in the online world, and today I have another guest vlog from Mau Buchler. Mau recently launched his unique English learning platform Tripppin. To give you a taste of what this is like, take a look at the introductory video:

Speaking with Mau, I know how much work and passion he has put into this unique project. The platform is truly incredible and it’s fantastic to see something like this come to fruition.

So, I asked Mau if he could share his experiences of teaching online with everyone here at Teaching ESL Online.

In the following video you will learn about:

– Mau’s English teaching history.
– The similarities and differences of online teaching.
– The skills you need to teach online (the basics).
– Different approaches to English teaching (accents).
– The easiest way to get online students.
– Working your connections (go back to your ex-students).
– The advantages of online for students.
– General advice for pricing and converting new clients.
– How to use Tripppin to find students.
– How to approach students.

The Video

I love Mau’s approach to finding students. You should always work your connections and keep a record of the contact details of your current and ex-students. There are many great ways to do this, and I’ll go more into this technique in a later post.

I hope you enjoyed the video and got inspired about moving your teaching online.

More About Mau

Mau has been traveling since he was two, teaching since he was 17, and working with e-learning since 2004.

He hosted a radio show in Australia for three years on Eastside FM, has worked as a translator, and owned a bar in Brazil. He’s also done a Ted Talk.

Check out his work on Tripppin – a space for students and teachers to come together and learn in an interactive and fun environment.

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Online Learning and Group Lessons (Guest Vlog by Jason R Levine)

Today we welcome our second guest poster to the blog: Jason R Levine.

Jason and I have been collaborating on a few things recently, and I really wanted him to share his knowledge of online teaching here at TeachingESLOnline. So, below you’ll find a video that he kindly put together that gives some great advice for us online teachers.

A lot of you may already know about Jase (Fluency MC), especially if you connect with other teachers on social media. He is probably the most prolific poster I know, and his ESL raps and songs have had millions of views on Youtube. He has recently become an ambassador for Wiz IQ where he trains English language teachers.

In the video he talks about his transition to online teaching, why it is important to make real connections, the future of online learning and teaching, and much more.

More specifically, you’ll learn about:

– What he first thought about teaching online and why he now loves it.
– Why we should pay attention to how people are learning in social media spaces and how to take this to the next level.
– His first MOOC and what he learned from it.
– How to get started teaching online and the mind frame needed.
– Why it’s important to make real relationships and be open to people’s needs and interests.
– The difference between one-on-one and group lessons.
– The future of online language learning.

The Video

As I’m currently looking to build on what I already do by offering more than just one-to-one lessons, I took a lot from this.

One thing that really stands out for me is the point Jase made about building real relationships and learning from your students (see my last post on connections about my thoughts on this).

I see my current students as the ones that are dictating what is going to be included in my future courses. This is because as I learn more about those in my niche, I can better shape my courses to meet their needs.

I would love to know your thoughts on what Jason discusses, so whatever you have on your mind, leave us a comment below.

More About Jason

Jason R Levine (Jase, for short) has fifteen years of experience in ELT as a teacher, teacher trainer, and materials writer. He is the creator of ColloLearn, an approach to English language learning based on the songs he writes and performs as Fluency MC.

Online, Jase maintains the ColloLearn YouTube channel and the Fluency MC Facebook page.

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