The Expert ESL Speaking Activity for Intermediate-Advanced Students

I love to teach speaking and conversation to intermediate and advanced level students. There are so many interesting, engaging activities for higher-level students that you can do with them. The Expert is an ESL speaking activity that I use as an icebreaker on the first day of class. For what I do beyond the first day, check out: 5 Lesson Plans for Advanced ESL/EFL Students.  ESL Speaking Activity: The Expert Here’s how you set up “The Expert.” Have the students write down 5 things that they are an expert in. I do my own list first by way of example.…

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120-90-60 ESL Speaking Fluency Activity

fluent speaking

All of our students want to speak more fluently in English! It can be difficult to help your students with this though because most of the activities you’ll find in textbooks focus more on accuracy. Teachers are more comfortable fixing accuracy mistakes as well. After all, it’s easier to pick out wrong grammar or vocabulary choices than telling a student to just “talk faster!” Here’s one ESL speaking fluency activity that you can try out in your classes. It’ll help get your students speaking more quickly, but with a bit of the familiar. They’ll be speaking more quickly, using a…

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ESL Speaking Lesson Plan

ESL Speaking Lesson Plan I have to confess that I didn’t really know how to plan an ESL lesson that well until I took the CELTA. I kind of knew the steps that should be in there, but I was pretty fuzzy on how they all fit together. Sometimes even experienced teachers who’ve been using textbooks for much of their career can not really have a framework for how things should be done. By “framework,” I mean a system, on paper or inside your head from which you hang all the little pieces and parts and activities. In case you’re…

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Side Gigs for Teachers


Side Gigs: The New Job Security Are you ready to change your life by starting some side gigs? Then you’ll need to check out this book, “Side Gigs for Teachers: Ways to Actually Make Money.” You will learn how to make money in your spare time with practical, simple ideas. The good news is that just about anybody, especially teachers can do them. An additional income stream that you control, apart from your day job is the new job security. Don’t live in fear anymore about losing your teaching job. Or, about getting laid off. There is most definitely a…

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ESL Speaking Tip: Expressing an Opinion


ESL Speaking Tip: How to Express your Opinion Another very common question type of speaking exam question is expressing an opinion. For example, part six of the TOEIC speaking test shows a question on the screen. You then have 15 seconds to prepare, and 60 seconds to answer the question. When you speak, you are evaluated on: pronunciation, intonation and stress, grammar, vocabulary, relevance of content, and completeness of content. You can use these four simple steps to do well on these kinds of speaking exam questions. 4 Simple Steps to Express your Opinion Step 1. State your preference (Directly…

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English Speaking Tip: Keep the Conversation Going

English speaking

English Speaking Tip: Learn How to Keep the Conversation Going I’m sure you’ve had this experience before. You’re at a party, at school, or at a family event. You’re talking to someone and then you start to have nothing to talk about. It can be a bad feeling, and I know that it most definitely makes me nervous. I’m sure it’s the same for you. Here are some English speaking tips to help you keep the conversation going. Learn how to be an excellent conversational partner and avoid that awkward silence! Are you ready for some conversation awesome? Let’s go!…

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Study Tips to Learn English Faster: Become Fluent Quickly and Easily


Study Tips to Learn English Faster What would it mean to your career or studies to be able to speak and write more easily and fluently in English? How about understanding more of what you read and hear? The 200+ tips and habits in  are designed to help you improve your English quickly and easily, and help you become fluent. About the Authors Jackie Bolen and Jennifer Booker Smith have nearly thirty years experience teaching English to students in South Korea and from around the world. In this book, they have organized the advice they have given students to help them…

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Make your Life Easier: ESL Lesson Plans

ESL lesson plans

All About ESL Lesson Planning If you’re looking for help with your ESL lesson plans, you’ve come to the right place. I know that many teachers first go abroad to teach English without any sort of training in teaching English. Employers, especially if you work at a private language institute are often no help. They often say things like, “You speak English! Just go teach.” Teachers are often left to their own devices when it comes to lesson planning. However, this doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t do it. The good news is that planning a decent ESL lesson really isn’t…

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Small Talk for ESL Students: 4 Activities to Try Out


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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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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Role Plays for ESL Students


Role Plays for ESL Students Skills: Writing/speaking Time Required: 15-40 minutes Level: Beginner to Advanced Materials Required: Nothing Role Plays are one of my favourite ESL activities for lower-level students. They allow beginners to feel like they’re “having a conversation,” but there’s some structure so they don’t feel overwhelmed. Here’s how it works-give the students a conversation starter to get them going. For example, if you’re talking about feelings in class that day, you can use: A. Hey _____, how are you doing? B. I’m great, how are you? A. I’m _____ (sad, embarrassed, angry, bored, etc.). ***Anything besides, “I’m…

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Task Based Language Learning

Task Based Language Teaching

Task Based Language Learning:The New Way Task based language learning is kind of all the rage these days as part of the overall communicative approach. This focuses on having students being competent communicators as opposed to some of the older models like grammar translation or the audio-lingual method. If you’re not familiar with task based language learning, here is a brief introduction to it. Task based language learning can be an excellent choice for large classes. A class of 20+ students makes it impossible for students to get enough speaking time if it’s a teacher-centred classroom. Why I Love Task…

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The Cocktail Party: A Small Talk ESL Speaking Activity

The Cocktail Party-ESL Small Talk Activity

My Favorite Small Talk ESL Speaking Activity Small talk is a necessary skill, but this can be a difficult skill for non-native speakers to master. This is especially true for those from countries where such conversation is not common. You can use this small talk ESL activity to help your students practice small talk. The best part about it is that it replicates real life. A party is a very normal place to meet people for the first time and engage in small talk. What this Small Talk ESL Speaking Activity is all About Explain to the students that they…

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ESL Classroom Management Tips and Tricks

ESL classroom management

ESL Classroom Management Tips and Tricks I remember back to when I first started teaching in a hagwon (private language institute) in Korea and how much of a struggle it was. The root of the problem was that I was totally and completely clueless about classroom management and the kids totally knew it. They walked all over me and I basically had no control, for at least the first six months. Even though I did eventually establish some order in my ESL classroom, it wasn’t as happy or as productive of place as it could have been. Over the years, I’ve…

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