Small Talk for ESL Students: 4 Activities to Try Out

small-talk-for-ESL-students

Small Talk for ESL Students I taught in Korean universities for 10 years. Something that I’ve noticed during that time is that my students are often really, really bad at engaging in small talk, even the more advanced level students. They usually know how to put together complex sentences and the intricacies of vocabulary usage but when it comes to having a basic conversation with something they don’t know, they’re often at a bit of a loss. This makes my students sometimes very awkward, shy and uncomfortable. This results in that my students seem like they don’t know English! However,…

Continue Reading

Level Up your Teaching Game: A Resource for Busy Teachers

resources for busy English Teachers

Usually Not My Style… I’m really, really not one to use a lot of other people’s stuff in my classes. I usually just combine the best from the textbook that I’m given and then make the rest of my own materials-surveys, board games, presentation projects, or lesson plans. I usually think that making my own activity or game is way better than searching around for hours on the Internet trying to find something that I can actually use. But, the one thing that I do use in each and every single one of my university classes here in South Korea is The…

Continue Reading

Disappearing Text ESL Vocabulary Game

ESL Vocabulary Game

Disappearing Text ESL Vocabulary Game Skills: Reading/Speaking Time: 5-10 minutes Materials: Whiteboard, marker and eraser Disappearing text is a fun ESL vocabulary game that also works on English grammar. Write one (or more) sentences on the board reviewing new material from that class, or from the previous class if you’re using this as a warm-up activity. This can be done as last man standing or last group/table standing. Begin with all students standing. Have them read aloud what is written on the board. Remove one word (or phrase) at a time, and have them repeat the entire passage as it…

Continue Reading

Apples to Apples Vocabulary Game

Apples to Apples Vocabulary Game

Apples to Apples ESL Vocabulary Game Skills: Listening/speaking Time: 30+ minutes, including deck-building Level: Intermediate to Advanced, age 9+ Materials Required: Paper, pen/pencils, textbooks, and scissors Apples to Apples is a vocabulary game in which players defend their choice of card played. This version is somewhat different than the actual Apples to Apples game, in order to increase speaking time. Before playing, students need to make two decks of cards using vocabulary words. This is best done at the end of a semester or book, so that there are more words to play with. You may also want to encourage…

Continue Reading

Top 5 Games and Activities for Big ESL Classes

big-ESL-classes

Big EL Classes: They don’t have to be a Nightmare 50 students in a class? Sounds like your biggest nightmare? I’m not going to sugar-coat it for you-it is kind of a nightmare and in a language class, it’s really ridiculous. However, it’s quite a common situation in universities in Asia, particularly in Thailand,  China, Vietnam or Korea. Ideally, you’d have between 8 and 16 students. Eight is enough to do pretty much any activity, while 16 isn’t so big that you’ve unable to give any sort of individual feedback. After about 25, it’s mostly just a sea of faces.…

Continue Reading

81 Ways to Make your ESL Speaking Class Awesome

introduction

Make your ESL Speaking Class Awesome I’m sure you want your ESL speaking classes to be as awesome as possible. Everybody does! Here are my top 81 tips to help you do that. Ready for great classes in the future? Because that’s what you’re going to get if you follow these tips! Ready? Keep on reading for the ESL speaking class awesome. 1.What’s your Target Language? The first way to make your ESL speaking class awesome is to be clear about the aims of your lesson. “Practicing speaking” isn’t enough. Something more specific like, “Introduce and practice 5 feeling words,”…

Continue Reading

Top 5 ESL Warm-Up Activities

ESL-warm-up-activities

Top 5 ESL Warm-Up Activities ESL Warm-up activities are an excellent way to begin class because they ease students back into using English again. In many cases, the last time students thought about or spoke English was in your class last week! Here are five of my favourite ESL warm-up activities that I use in my own classes in a Korean university. Warm-Up Activity #1: Just a Minute Just a Minute is a very simple activity that you can use to get your students talking. Write a bunch of general categories on the board such as jobs, hobbies, dreams, movies,…

Continue Reading

Never Have I Ever ESL Game: An Excellent Icebreaker

Never Have I Ever ESL Game

Never Have I Ever for ESL/EFL Students Skills: Speaking/listening Time: 10-20 minutes Level: Intermediate to Advanced Materials Required: Nothing Never have I ever ESL Game is taken from the classic party game that you can play in your ESL speaking classes as well. The way it works is that students think of a few things that they haven’t done but that they think others in the class have. For example, maybe someone hasn’t been to Japan or China but most of the people in the class probably have. Or, perhaps someone has never tried Indian or Vietnamese food. If you…

Continue Reading

Top 10 ESL Speaking Activities for False Beginners

top-10-ESL-speaking-activities-false-beginners

Top 10 ESL Speaking Activities for False Beginners I taught English in South Korea for almost a decade and most of that time was spent teaching false beginners. False beginners are students who’ve studied English at some point in the past but had to stop for whatever reason. Or more commonly in Korea, they’ve studied English for years, sometimes very advanced level concepts but didn’t really even grasp the basics. It was all too common amongst my students! Some students realized that they were actually at quite a basic level, and they were easy to teach because they were willing…

Continue Reading

A Relative Clause Speaking Activity which is Fabulously Fun

barrack obama

Relative Clause Speaking Activity If you’re studying about relative clauses (who, which, that), and want to lighten up the mood a bit you can use this “Who or What is it?” relative clause speaking activity. My students always love it. Relative clauses are a bit grammar heavy to teach and lessons about them are usually focused on pen and paper exercises. But, it is possible to practice relative clauses in a fun speaking activity too. Here’s How to Set Up this Relative Clause Speaking Activity Make a list of things or people and cut them up into little pieces and…

Continue Reading

Can Can’t ESL Game

can/can't-esl-activity

Can Can’t ESL Game This can can’t ESL game is great for practicing speaking, listening and writing. It’s a game for children or adults, but the content is usually covered with children more than adults. Can/Can’t is a very basic grammatical concept. Related: ESL Activities for Advanced Level Students To play this can can’t ESL game, put the students in teams of 2, 3, or 4 depending on how big your classes are. They have to pick 1 animal, and 1 thing, but must keep it a secret from the other teams My 2 examples that I give the students…

Continue Reading

Top 10 Blog Posts on ESL Speaking

Presentations for ESL Students

Top 10 Blog Posts of All-Time on ESL Speaking We’re going to take a little trip down memory lane with this blog post. I’ve looked back in time and found the 10 most popular blog posts here at ESL Speaking. Find out what other people have found most helpful! #1: Small Talk ESL Activity This small talk ESL activity is the most popular blog post here at ESL Speaking! Small talk is one of those extremely important skills for our students to learn. But for some reason, it’s also something that is rarely practicing in the ESL classroom. My goal…

Continue Reading

Vocabulary Auction: A Fun Game for ESL Students

ESL-vocabulary-auction

Vocabulary Auction: Preparation There are plenty of variations of auction games, but vocabulary has the least amount of preparation involved. It will be more fun if you have fake money, poker chips, etc. Begin by having the students list vocabulary they have been studying. Try to get at least 20 terms from them. Next, divide the class into groups of 3-4. Give each group a budget of $1000 and have them bid in increments of $50-100. (Note: if you are using money or tokens, you will need your own supply, to pay out groups who double down.) Vocabulary Auction: How…

Continue Reading

Top 10 ESL Activities for Adult Beginners

top-10-ESL-activities-adult-beginners

Top 10 ESL Activities for Adult Beginners If you’re looking for some ESL activities for adult beginners, you’ve come to the right place! I’m going to share my Top 10 ESL Activities for Adult Beginners with you. Adult beginners can be a bit tricky to teach because although they don’t have the skills to engage in things like free talking or open discussions, they of course aren’t babies and you need to use topics, games and activities that are relevant and appropriate for them. I taught in South Korean universities for 8 years and about 5 of those years were…

Continue Reading