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,…

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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.…

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Top 5 ESL Speaking Activities for University Students

ESL speaking activities for university students

ESL Speaking Activities for University Students I’ve been teaching in South Korean universities for the past nine years or so, which means I have plenty of ESL speaking activities for university students up my sleeve. Students here are totally burnt out from high-school studying hell, so by the time they get to university, they often aren’t that motivated to study English. This is especially the case if you teach mandatory freshman English classes. However, by using some of these ESL speaking activities, you’ll be able to make your classes awesome and your students happy, participating and enjoying using English as…

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5 Tips for Engaging Apathetic Students

Engaging Apathetic Students

A reader question from Katrina about how to get her low level middle school students to participate in class when the last thing they want to do is speak English. This is a tough one and I’d appreciate some feedback from the readers (I’ll leave the comments open). But, here are 5 tips for engaging apathetic students that I hope will be helpful. Choose Activities Carefully The best ones are those where it’s almost easier to speak English than it is their first language. Some examples of good ones are ESL board games and surveys for ESL students. The survey…

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6 ESL Survey Ideas your Students Will Love

ESL survey

ESL Surveys: Love Them! You’ve probably made your way here because you’re searching for ESL survey ideas. We’ll get to that, but first I’ll tell you why I love ESL surveys so much. I’m convinced that every ESL teacher should be using them every single month in all their classes. Surveys are one of my favourite ESL activities. If you ask my students, they’ll probably tell you the same thing. I use them at least once a month in all my classes, for a huge variety of topics. They can also be used for just about any level, with the…

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ESL Survey Activity

Esl survey

ESL Survey Activity-The perfect way to get your students out of their seats and speaking in English. Skills: Speaking/Listening/Writing/Reading Time Required: 15-30 Minutes Level: Beginner-Advanced Materials: a Survey Handout Give the students a sheet of paper with some questions and they need to find one of their classmates who fits each slot. For example: “Do you travel sometimes?” or, “Are you a university student?” Then, if their partner answers yes, they write down their name and ask them one more question to elicit an extra piece of information. You can review the 5 “W” + “H” questions if necessary before…

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