How to Teach English Conversation | Teaching English Speaking

English-conversation

How to Teach English Conversation Many foreign ESL teachers abroad, especially in places like South Korea, teach predominantly English conversation classes. Some teachers (and students too!) have the perception that teaching English conversation involves just “talking” to the students. Free-talking does have a role in helping students learn English. However, it shouldn’t be the only thing we do in our English conversation classes. Teaching English Conversation: More than just Free-Talking There is far more to English conversation than just free-talking. In my first year of teaching, I was given a “free-talking” class with middle school students. My boss told me to…

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5 Lesson Plans for Advanced ESL Conversation Classes

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An advanced ESL conversation class can be a bit tricky to teach because it’s sometimes hard to see any improvement in your students. But, I’ve found that it can be really useful if you use authentic material and challenge your students that way instead of just relying on ESL textbooks, which are often too easy and often quite boring. Here are five lesson plans that I’ve used in my own advanced level English conversation classes: Lesson Plans for Students in any Country Technology and Sleep This is a good one for the cellphone zombies in your class. Wake them up…

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Picture Prompt | ESL Warm-Up For Kids and Adults

Picture prompt ESL warm-up

ESL Warm-Up Activity: Picture Prompt Picture prompt is a great ESL warm-up for kids as well as adults. It can be used for all levels from beginner to advanced. Show students an image and have them generate questions or speculate about the picture. Example for Lower-Level Students 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 colour is the car?    A: It is blue. Example for Intermediate Level Students For high beginner/low intermediate students, have an image which can generate questions…

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Tell your Story | ESL Speaking Activity to Practice Reported Speech

reported-speech-esl-speaking-activity

You can often find a unit on reported speech in most intermediate level English textbooks. But, it’s not that easy to design some ESL activities to practice this. Check out one of my favourite: “Tell a Story.” It’s fun, engaging, and creates some great opportunities for students to practice this important skill. Reported Speech ESL Speaking Activity Skills: Writing/reading/speaking/listening Time: 15-30 minutes Level: Intermediate to Advanced Materials Required: Nothing Have students write something interesting. Some examples are: most embarrassing moment, scariest thing you’ve ever done, your dream for the future, etc. Base it on whatever you are studying in class.…

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Do You Like to _____? | ESL Speaking Activity

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Do you like to ___? ESL Speaking Activity Skills: Speaking/listening Time: 15 minutes Level: Beginner-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…

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Just a Minute Game | ESL Speaking Activity

just a minute

The Just A Minute Game is a fun “Toastmasters” kind of ESL speaking activity. I like it because it gets students working on speaking fluently, without worrying too much about accuracy. To start, write up a bunch of topics on the board such as animals, family, jobs, hobbies, schedule, societal problems, TV, etc. The topics of course depend on the age and level of students. Just a Minute: Student #1 The first student throws a scrunched up paper ball at the board. The topic closest to where the paper hits must talk for an entire minute about it. The challenge…

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Problem/Advice Reported Speech Activity

reported speech

You’ll often find reported speech in some of the higher level ESL/EFL textbooks, but it’s not easy to design an interesting, engaging activity to use with it. Check out what I do related to giving advice. Problem/Advice Reported Speech Activity If you have high level students, an excellent activity that you can use for reported speech is problem and advice. They just naturally fit well together. Show the students a problem that you found online or made up. Here’s mine about a high-school student dating a college guy. Note the reported speech examples that are underlined. I wrote it myself…

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Daily Schedule: ESL Speaking Activity

daily schedule

Daily Schedule ESL Speaking Activity Skills: Speaking/listening/writing Time: 10-20 minutes Level: Beginner to Low-intermediate Materials Required: Nothing Activity Description for Daily Routine: It seems that in most beginner ESL speaking or 4-skills textbooks there is a unit on daily schedules, such as, “What time do you get up?” or, “What do you do in the afternoon?” A fun activity that you can do is to have students interview their partner. You can pre-select questions for lower level classes or let the students choose their own questions for higher levels. Make sure you specify a minimum number of questions if you…

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ESL Speaking Activity for Adults: Something in Common

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ESL Speaking Activity for Adults: Find Something in Common If your students are not shy, this ESL speaking activity for adults is an excellent way for everyone to get to know each other. Here’s how you do it: The students stand up with a piece of paper and pencil in their hand. They have to talk to everyone in the class to try to find something in common (they are both from Seoul, or they both know how to play the piano). Once they find this thing in common, they write it down along with the person’s name. They keep…

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Introduction Survey ESL Speaking Activity | ESL Surveys

introduction

ESL Speaking Activity for the First Day of Class This is an excellent ESL Speaking Activity to do on the first or second day of class as a way for students to get to know each other. Here are a few of the reasons why I like to do an introduction survey with my ESL/EFL students: It breaks the ice between students if they don’t already know each other It sets the tone for the rest of the semester (students have to get up, out of their seats and talking in English to everybody) This ESL survey is a non-threatening…

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Vocabulary Review Game for Kids and Adults | ESL Vocabulary Game

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Flip Chart ESL Vocabulary Review Game Skills: Speaking/listening Time: 20 minutes Level: Beginner to Advanced Materials Required: Flip-chart or flashcards This is a fun way to review some vocabulary words. It can work for any level of student, but it’s ideal for beginners to intermediate when the vocab words are quite simple. I’ve used this activity for small classes of 10, or big classes of 20. It works equally well for all, but the ideal number of people on a team is around 5-6. More than that and not everyone is able to participate. The “captain” sits in a chair…

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ESL Speaking Warm up Activity | Famous People at a Party

Michael Jackson

An ESL Warm-Up: Famous People at a Party Skills: Speaking/listening Time: 5-15 minutes Level: Intermediate to Advanced Materials Required: Nothing This is an excellent ESL speaking warm up activity for higher levels. Put the students in small groups of 3-4 people. Have them pick four famous people, dead or alive that they’d like to invite to a party they are having. Then, they have to say the reason why they’re inviting them. I do an example like this: Person: Michael Jackson Reason? He can play some dance music and entertain us. Also, I want to know why he got so…

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Top 10 ESL Icebreakers | ESL Warm-Ups | Icebreaker Questions

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If you’re looking to get your semester started off on the right foot, then you’ll need to use a few of these ESL icebreakers. They’ll help the students get to know each other and you as well. By starting your classes off with some ESL icebreakers, you’re setting yourself up for a successful semester. Keep reading for the top 10 ESL icebreakers. You can see the detailed activity description by clicking the links! #1: Ball Toss If you’re looking for one of the most versatile ESL activities ever, look no further than this Ball Toss one. You can use it for…well…just…

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Partner Conversation Starters | English Conversation Starters

conversation

Have you ever noticed that if you ask students want they want to work on, they’ll often say, “free-talking.” It’s kind of like a buzzword, and even the very lowest of low students will request this. Conversation Starters: ESL Speaking Activity If you teach lower level students, it can be a bit difficult to get a free-flowing conversation going. Most times, it’s almost impossible. The students often don’t know how to get the conversation started, but the good news is that you can help them! For all but the lowest level students who are just learning the most basic of…

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