Tropical English Teacher Blog

Sharing our insights


Here you will find a wide range of articles written by our very own CfBT teachers; from personal stories about travel, expat life and culture to professional practice and academic research.

Academic Research

Staff Satisfaction – A Literature Review

Staff satisfaction has been defined as the feelings a job evokes in an individual which are directly linked to feelings of achievement and provision of needs (Stephen, Timothy and Sanghi, as quoted by Rehman et al. 2016, 3). Webster's Dictionary provides that morale relates to a state of mind reflecting confidence and motivation towards activities (Willis and Varner 2010). For the purposes of this article, the terms satisfaction, morale and motivation shall be used interchangeably.

Academic Research

Genre and Move Analysis in English Language Teaching

Writing is a formidable task for language learners (Hyland, 2008). It requires knowledge of the topic, the audience and of language conventions (Applebee, 1982). Moreover, to write successfully, students need awareness of the formal patterns that shape texts. However, while students receive instruction in grammatical, lexical and syntactic features of writing, the organisational aspects are often neglected. 

Academic Research

Integrating Constructivist Practices into the EFL Classroom

This article seeks to argue that the didactic model of teaching, so widely used in second language teaching, has a number of pitfalls that can be detrimental to student learning and student achievement. It puts forth the notion that constructivist teaching methods, as outlined in the article, provide the most effective way to keep students engaged in their learning while providing the 21st century skills they will require to navigate this constantly changing world. 

Professional Development

Delta Module 3

I completed the Delta Module 3 in December 2019 after doing module 1 earlier in the year.  It is quite different from module 1 in that you are assessed on a 4500-word essay, called an Extended Assignment (EA), involving the creation of a 20-hour lesson plan with the essay explaining the rationale behind it.  It sounded easy but I found that once again my life was overtaken by writing and rewriting as I tried to fit all I wanted to say into a very rigidly-adhered to word limit.

Professional Practice

Ronaldo and Writing: How to improve student writing

When Cristiano Ronaldo joined Manchester United from the Portuguese club Sporting Lisbon as a 17-year-old in 2003, his raw talent was already the talk of the footballing world. Rio Ferdinand reports that Ronaldo's first few training sessions were embarrassing.

Professional Practice

The Show Must go On

Not many places throw up opportunities like Brunei, and to be part of a team asked to produce a 9-episode series of educational TV shows is something that hasn’t come up before!

Professional Practice

Creating a Reading Culture

This article discusses early morning multi-level reading programs aiming at creating a reading culture in local schools in Brunei and ways of tracking reading skills and developing vocabulary study. It also has a look at Lexile validity problems and assessment for learning of reading within a Malay cultural environment.

Travel, Culture, Expat Life

Speedboat days

In my early days in Brunei, I often spent the evenings wandering the boardwalks beside the Brunei River, the water glistening in the gathering twilight and the rippling waves from the wake of a water taxi rolling gently towards the jetty. Across the wide expanse of water, the lights in the moonlight flickered and I would gaze at the many wooden houses of Kampong Ayer, standing on stilts in the distance and the long wooden schools straddled across the river with their multiple legs. Little did I know that I would soon be transported into this watery world!

Travel, Culture, Expat Life

When you find yourself at a bridge...walk across!

The idea of taking a boat to school, quite honestly, scared me. I was very worried but decided to embrace this new adventure as the managers went out of their way to reassure me, answer my questions and share their own water village experiences. Luckily for me, the day before I visited my new school I got the happy news that the school info sheet was not updated as yet and so I didn’t need to take a boat - there was a brand new bridge that crossed over the breadth of the Brunei river and landed right at the doorstep of my school. Oh, what glorious news! Now that the part I was most concerned about was out of the way, I was very excited to begin this new chapter and start at my new school.

Travel, Culture, Expat Life

Reflections on Teaching: From Surviving to Thriving

My teaching journey began in the humble classrooms of my home town of Durban in South Africa, where I graduated and returned to teach with colleagues who were once my teachers. I spent 26 years teaching English at a range of secondary schools, 10 of these years as Head of Department Languages. South Africa is a melting pot of different people and cultures. The classroom is like no classroom you'll find in any other school anywhere in the world. Perhaps I am a little biased, but as a result of extenuating circumstances, most of which are not particularly pleasant, children are still most appreciative of teachers. In these years, I mastered the technique of teaching English to first and second-language multi-racial learners, developing an innate understanding and appreciation for cultural diversity.

Frequently Asked Questions

Explore our FAQ page to learn more about teaching in Brunei

Q&A's with CfBT Teachers

It’s not easy to just pack up and move to Brunei, especially when there’s little information about the country online. These Q&A interviews and videos may be useful to hear first-hand stories from the perspectives of teachers currently living in Brunei.

ELT Video Interviews

Tropical English Teacher Blog

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