Free Talking for ESL Students: Why I Hate It

Free-Talking for ESL Students

I recently attended the Kotesol International conference 2015 in Seoul and want to talk about a presentation that I attended by Tina Zaman called, “English Conversation Workshops for Fluency.” The gist of it is that she begins her classes by having students talk with their partner about a single open-ended question for 15 minutes. She made no mention of whether or not this question is related to anything else that her class is studying, or whether it’s stand-alone. I tried asking her, but she wasn’t open to answering questions it seemed. A few people questioned how it was possible that…

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How to Teach Speaking

how to teach speaking

You want to know how to teach speaking? You’ve come to the right place if you want a basic overview of a few of the principles you need to remember when teaching speaking. Here are 5 things to keep in mind: Repetition is Key Be sure to provide plenty of opportunities for your student to practice. Start out with controlled practice, and then move to freer speaking sessions where students can experiment with using the language. Then, follow-up with review in subsequent classes. Another thing to think about is teaching language in “chunks.” If students can get to the point…

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Top 10 ESL Games

Top 10 ESL Games

You need some ESL teaching awesome in your life, right? Fun, engaging classes filled with happy students? Painless lesson planning that gets done in no time? Of course you do! Jackie is here to help you with these top 10 ESL games to try out in your own classes. Password: This is a fun ESL activity that gets your students practicing an important skill-using alternatives to describe a vocabulary word if it’s not available to them because they forgot it. It’s an often overlooked skill that is important for our students to use if they want to speak English fluently.…

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Fortunately/Unfortunately Speaking and Listening Activity

Speaking and listening activity

Skills: Speaking/listening Age: 9+ Materials Required: None You may have done this speaking and listening activity at school yourself. Start of by telling students some good news (something that “happened to you”) followed by some bad news. For example, “Unfortunately, my car wouldn’t start this morning. Fortunately, my neighbor gave me a ride to school. Unfortunately, she drove through a red light. Fortunately. . .” Students will then generate similar language using fortunately/unfortunately or luckily/unluckily. Procedure: 1. Divide students into small groups of 3-5. 2. Give them a scenario (something that “happened to you”), alternating between good and bad news.…

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Top 5 ESL Conversation Activities for Adults

ESL conversation activities

If you want to make your English conversation class as interesting, engaging and fun as possible for the students, you’ll need these top 5 ESL conversation activities for adults. They’re guaranteed to get your students speaking English in the most painless way possible! The Small Talk Game–Small talk in an important, but often overlooked skill. Get students practicing it while having fun with this game. The Cocktail Party-This is another small talk conversation activity for adults that gets student mingling and mixing, just like you would at a cocktail party. Give them confidence that they can venture out into the…

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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…

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How to Teach Listening to ESL Students

How to teach listening

How and Why to Teach Listening to ESL Students Listening is an extremely important skill if students want to speak fluently in English. No matter how well you speak, if you don’t understand what your conversation partner said, your answer will be a little awkward at best, or totally random at worst. In order to help our students, we need to include some practice with listening into our English classes. Here’s some basic advice on how to teach listening to ESL students, including a lesson plan template and some ESL listening activities. ESL Listening Lesson Plan Template 1. Set the…

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Top 5 ESL Activities for Beginners

English speaking activities for beginners

Fun activities and games should be an essential part of teaching ESL for beginners. It creates an interest in learning English which in turn would motivate an individual to learn with interest – irrespective of whether it is a young adult or a child. Games can make your classes even more awesome and keep your students hooked and interested in learning more. Of course, it’s not easy to teach total beginners especially if you don’t share a common language. But, it really is possible and there are a few activities you can use that will work well. As an ESL teacher,…

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Dictogloss: An ESL Listening and Speaking Activity

Dictogloss ESL Listening and Speaking Activity

Skills: Speaking/listening Age: 8+ Materials Required: A short story Dictogloss is a simple activity for more advanced level students that helps them practice their listening and memory skills, as well as substituting vocabulary words if the original word is no longer accessible to them. Find a short, interesting story or make up one yourself. I’ve used various things from children’s stories to a story about something I did on the weekend. Nearly anything can work. Tell the story 1-3 times, depending on the student level and of course you can also vary your speaking speed to make this activity easier…

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Would You Rather? An ESL Warm-Up Activity

Start your Class Off in Style Would You Rather? is a fun ESL warm-up activity. You can buy ready-made decks, but they aren’t ESL specific. I use self-made cards, but you can just make a list of questions or you can do this without materials, if you can think of choices on the spot quickly. For example, “Would you rather have eyes like a fly’s, or eyes like a spider’s?” Students must choose one and explain why. If you class is small, you can do this as a single group, but I prefer to work in small groups of 3-4,…

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Top 5 ESL Activities for Adults

ESL speaking activities

ESL Activities for Adults If you’re looking for some ESL activities for adults, you’ve come to the right place! I’ve been teaching in South Korean universities for the past 10 years and have spent a lot of time honing my ESL-game in order to make my classes as engaging, interactive and interesting as possible. Here are my top 5 ESL activities that will help you along that same path! Click the title of each activity for more specific details about what each one is and how to set it up in your class. Retell the Story 1-2-3–This is an extremely…

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My Top 5 ESL Activities for Kids

ESL Activities for Kids

If you’re looking for some great ESL activities for children, you’ve come to the right place! I have 5 of my favourite ones that are guaranteed to get your kids engaged, excited and energetic about learning English in your class.   Show and Tell-It’s an excellent activity for kids because they get to talk about something that’s important to them and show a bit of their personalities. You can do it during one entire class period, or space it out over the semester and use it as a bit of a warm-up activity with 1 or 2 students going each…

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Picture Prompt: An ESL Warm-Up For Kids and Adults

Picture prompt ESL warm-up

An ESL Warm-Up Activity Picture prompt is a great ESL warm-up for kids as well as adults that can be used for all levels from beginner to advanced. Show students an image and have them generate questions or speculate about the picture.   For lower level students, this can be purely descriptive: Q: What do you see?   A: I see a house, a car, and some people. Q: What color is the car?   A: It is blue. For high beginner/low intermediate students, have an image which can generate questions such as: What is happening in this picture? How does that…

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How to Make your ESL Classes Awesome

Make your ESL Classes Awesome

I’m sure everyone reading this wants to make their ESL classes as awesome as possible. Any teacher would and even those who are abroad for just one or two years still want to have great classes and help their students learn English. But teaching isn’t an easy thing to do and it’s often the case that foreign English teachers walk into the classroom at their first job with absolutely no training whatsoever. Help is here! If you want to make your ESL classes as awesome as possible, keep reading for my top 10 tips. How to Teach English-Jeremy Harmer Read…

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