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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ESL Speaking Bingo

ESL Speaking Bingo

Skills: Speaking/listening/writing Time: 20-30 minutes Level: High-Beginner to Advanced Materials Required: Blank “Bingo” grids, or blank paper   ESL Speaking Bingo is a very fun activity that kids, teenagers as well as university students seem to love. Have a list of about 35-40 vocabulary words that you’ve been studying (on the PPT works well). If you use less, the game will be over very quickly. Give the students a pre-made Bingo Grid, or have them draw a 5×5 grid. Then the students fill in the grid randomly from the list of words on the board or PowerPoint. Then, choose someone to…

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Retell the Story 1-2-3: A Fluency Activity for ESL Students

Retell the Story 1-2-3

Skills: Speaking Time: 15-20 minutes Level: Beginner to Advanced, 8+ Materials Required: Timer   This is a fluency activity which can be done with beginners by having them introduce themselves. Higher level students can tell a story they know or recap a story that was covered in class. Give the students a bit of time to think about what they’re going to say; the lower the level of students, the more time they will need. Working in pairs, each student will tell the same story three times. The first time, they will each speak for one minute. Then, have the…

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Hot Potato: an ESL Speaking Game for Kids

Hot potato ESL speaking game for kids

Hot Potato: A really fun ESL speaking game for kids Skills: Speaking Time: 5-10 minutes Level: Beginner, up to 11 Materials: Flashcards, timer, “potato” (an object for students to pass around) This is a simple vocabulary review game, spiced up with a timer. There are plenty of phone app timers, but a kitchen timer works well. To play, start the potato, which can be a white board eraser, ball, or any lightweight, easily-seen object, moving around the class from student to student. If there is not a practical way to play in a circle, have a contingency for the last…

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Let’s Talk Life After Teaching Abroad

Life After ESL: Foreign Teachers Returning Home

Okay, I know this website is all about the ESL Speaking awesome and if you’re looking for that, well, go straight to: ESL Speaking Activities for Adults Or, ESL Speaking Activities for Kids, and don’t look back. There’s enough goodness there to keep you lesson planning for hours and your students happy for the entire year. Let’s Talk Life After Teaching Abroad However, if you’re perhaps thinking that you don’t want to be an ESL teacher abroad forever and want to return to your motherland, keep reading for the Life After ESL awesome. I’ve decided to go back to Canada…

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What am I? An ESL Speaking Warm-Up

What am I? An ESL Warm-Up Activity

Skills: Speaking/listening/reading Age: 10+ Materials Required: Tape or pins and vocabulary words on paper What am I? is a classic party game that is an excellent way for beginner students to practice asking simple questions. I often use it as an ESL speaking warm-up in the next class if in the previous one we studied about question forms. For more advanced students, you can choose much harder vocabulary words instead of simple ones like you would for beginners. A good topic for advanced students (or a party you are hosting) is famous people. Write a bunch of animals, jobs, hobbies…

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SOS: A fun Review Game for ESL Students

SOS review game for ESL students

SOS: A Review Game for ESL Students-Kids + Adults Skills: Speaking/listening Time: 10-15 minutes Level: Low Intermediate to Advanced, age 8+ Materials Required: White board and a list of questions I like to use this S-O-S game as a fun review game for ESL students to go over whatever we studied in the previous class. For example, maybe the grammar point was countable/uncountable nouns. It can get quite complicated, so it’s something I’d for sure want to review before moving on with new material. I’m sure you know the game S-O-S from when you were a kid. Draw a 6×6…

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