Small Talk for ESL Students

small-talk-for-ESL-students

Small Talk for ESL Students I’ve been teaching in Korean universities for the past eight 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 them very awkward, shy and uncomfortable and they’re unable to show off their often very decent English skills.…

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Puzzle Finder ESL Ice Breaker Activity

Puzzle Pieces ESL Ice Breaker

Puzzle Finder Skills: Speaking/listening Materials Required: puzzle pieces (from an actual puzzle or a cut and laminated image) The objects of this ESL ice breaker activity are both teamwork (to create the puzzle) and a review of common vocabulary, such as colours, shapes, and common objects. Before class, you should either prepare a puzzle with enough pieces for each student to have one or two, or print an image which you cut into the correct number of pieces and laminate. The former is easier, but the latter gives you much more flexibility and you can cut the pieces as large…

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Cosmo Quiz ESL Icebreaker Activity

ESL Icebreaker Activity

Cosmo Quiz Skills: Speaking/listening/reading Materials Required: a Cosmo quiz or Cosmo-type quiz If you are a guy, you may not be familiar with the quiz in each month’s edition of Cosmopolitan magazine. These generally predict something about your relationship style, finances, etc. In other words, they are quiz-style horoscopes. They are pretty fun to do as a group, because they are not meant to be taken seriously, but can tell you a little something about the quiz-taker. Prep could not be easier. Simply find a few old issues of Cosmo and copy the quizzes. Some of them are a bit…

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Dialogue Substitution

ESL vocabulary activity

Dialogue Substitution Skills: Reading/Listening/Speaking Time: 10-15 minutes Materials: PowerPoint or handouts of photocopied textbook dialogue with parts removed. Lower-level text books contain many dialogues but their effectiveness is reduced when students don’t have to listen to their partner in order to successfully complete their role. An easy solution to this is to use dialogue substitution which provide the dialogues with key elements missing. Students then have to listen in order to respond appropriately. Dialogues are an excellent way for students to see how new vocabulary is used in real-life situations. You may want or need to scaffold this activity by…

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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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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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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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81 Ways to Make your ESL Speaking Class Awesome

introduction

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!   1.What’s your Target Language? Be clear about the aims of your lesson. “Practicing speaking” isn’t enough. Something more specific like, “Introduce and practice 5 feeling words,” or “Practice using the simple past in conversation” is much better.   2.Change Speaking Partners Often– It’s boring to talk to the same person all the time!…

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ESL Warm Up Questions- Student Generated!

ESL warm-up

ESL warm up questions…take the burden off yourself to always be coming up with new and interesting questions and instead get your students to do the hard work. Take a rest, teachers. Only 1 Question ESL Warm-Up Skills: Listening/speaking Materials Required: Pen, paper Students have to think of one single question about a certain topic. For example, if you’re studying about holidays, they could use any of the following: “What’s your least favorite holiday?” “What did you do last _____?” “What do you think about Valentine’s Day?” There are many possibilities but I usually make a couple rules that it…

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Free ESL Speaking Books Giveaway!

Want some free stuff?

Like Free Stuff? I’m holding a contest where you can have a chance to win one of three Ebooks of mine that I’m giving away for free. The contest is only open for a week and the winners get their choice of: ESL Speaking Books ESL Speaking Activities for Kids ESL Speaking Activities for Adults All About Money The Wealthy English Teacher: Teach, Travel, and Secure your Financial Future South Korea Stuff: How to Get a University Job in South Korea How to Thrive in South Korea: 97 Tips from Expats Tell Your Friends = More Chances to Win! The…

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ESL Speaking Activities for Adults

esl speaking activities adults

My new book about ESL speaking activities for adults is up on Amazon: 39 No-Prep/Low-Prep ESL Speaking Activities: For Teenagers and Adults. The electronic version is only $2.99 or you can get it for free if you’re in the Kindle Unlimited program. You can get the Ebook version with any Mac, PC, tablet or smartphone-just download the Kindle App. It’s way easier than you think it is and even the non-techie can do it! And in other news, I started a new website related you might be interested in if you teach at the university level. My Life! Teaching in…

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Speaking Classes Don’t Always Need to be Fun

clown

When you’re new to teaching, there is the temptation to always be a constant entertainer and make your speaking classes always fun. I call these people edutainers. However, edutainer mode is hard to keep up, week after week, month after month, and year after year. While it’s good to have a laugh and a joke once in a while, learning English is not easy so it is okay to have more serious kinds of speaking activities that do not involve a game of some sort. For example, partner conversation activities or surveys are extremely valuable because that means that every…

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Do You Like to _____? ESL Speaking Activity

esl-speaking

Skills: Speaking/listening Time: 15 minutes Level: Intermediate] Materials Required: Strips of paper (or students can make their own) Give each student five strips of paper. On each piece of paper they write something interesting about themselves. Then, collect them, mix them up and distribute them back to your students (three per student). At this point, everyone stands up and goes around the class asking questions to try to find the owner for each paper that they have. If someone is done early, you can give them another paper from the reserve pile that you have. For example, “Do you go…

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