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…

Continue Reading

Vocabulary Review Game for Kids and Adults | ESL Vocabulary Game

vocabulary-review-game

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…

Continue Reading

SOS Game | Speaking Review for ESL Students | ESL Game

SOS-game

SOS Game: Review Just about Anything I like to play the SOS game as a way to review whatever we studied in the previous class. I use it as a quick warm-up at the beginning of a class. It’s fun, interesting, and fast moving, so it’s the perfect way to begin your English class. For example, maybe the grammar point is countable/uncountable nouns and all the technical details surrounding it. It can get quite complicated, so it’s something I’d for sure want to review before moving on with new material. This SOS game is a great way to do that!…

Continue Reading

ESL Board Games | ESL Games Kids | ESL Games Adults

ESL-board-games

Board games for ESL students are one of my favourite in-class activities. Students generally love them, and they’re an excellent way to recap a class or unit. It does take a bit of time to teach students how to play them, but after doing it once, you can use board games a few more times during the course easily. I’ve also used them many times as a review activity in the class before a midterm or final exam. It’s quite easy to make a question to cover just about everything you’d possibly include on a test in a conversation class, or…

Continue Reading

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

ESL-icebreakers

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…

Continue Reading

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,…

Continue Reading

Level Up your Teaching Game: A Resource for Busy Teachers

resources for busy English Teachers

Usually Not My Style… I’m really, really not one to use a lot of other people’s stuff in my classes. I usually just combine the best from the textbook that I’m given and then make the rest of my own materials-surveys, board games, presentation projects, or lesson plans. I usually think that making my own activity or game is way better than searching around for hours on the Internet trying to find something that I can actually use. But, the one thing that I do use in each and every single one of my university classes here in South Korea is The…

Continue Reading

Disappearing Text ESL Vocabulary Game

ESL Vocabulary Game

Disappearing Text ESL Vocabulary Game Skills: Reading/Speaking Time: 5-10 minutes Materials: Whiteboard, marker and eraser Disappearing text is a fun ESL vocabulary game that also works on English grammar. Write one (or more) sentences on the board reviewing new material from that class, or from the previous class if you’re using this as a warm-up activity. This can be done as last man standing or last group/table standing. Begin with all students standing. Have them read aloud what is written on the board. Remove one word (or phrase) at a time, and have them repeat the entire passage as it…

Continue Reading

Apples to Apples Vocabulary Game

Apples to Apples Vocabulary Game

Apples to Apples ESL Vocabulary Game Skills: Listening/speaking Time: 30+ minutes, including deck-building Level: Intermediate to Advanced, age 9+ Materials Required: Paper, pen/pencils, textbooks, and scissors Apples to Apples is a vocabulary game in which players defend their choice of card played. This version is somewhat different than the actual Apples to Apples game, in order to increase speaking time. Before playing, students need to make two decks of cards using vocabulary words. This is best done at the end of a semester or book, so that there are more words to play with. You may also want to encourage…

Continue Reading

Top 5 Games and Activities for Big ESL Classes | ESL Activities

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.…

Continue Reading

81 Ways to Make your ESL Speaking Class Awesome | Teaching ESL

introduction

Make your ESL Speaking Class Awesome 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! Ready? Keep on reading for the ESL speaking class awesome. 1.What’s your Target Language? The first way to make your ESL speaking class awesome is to be clear about the aims of your lesson. “Practicing speaking” isn’t enough. Something more specific like, “Introduce and practice 5 feeling words,”…

Continue Reading

Top 5 ESL Warm-Up Activities | ESL Warmers | ESL Games

ESL-warm-up-activities

Top 5 ESL Warm-Up Activities ESL Warm-up activities are an excellent way to begin class because they ease students back into using English again. In many cases, the last time students thought about or spoke English was in your class last week! Here are five of my favourite ESL warm-up activities that I use in my own classes in a Korean university. Warm-Up Activity #1: Just a Minute Just a Minute is a very simple activity that you can use to get your students talking. Write a bunch of general categories on the board such as jobs, hobbies, dreams, movies,…

Continue Reading

Never Have I Ever ESL Game | ESL Icebreaker Activity

Never Have I Ever ESL Game

Never Have I Ever for ESL/EFL Students Skills: Speaking/listening Time: 10-20 minutes Level: Intermediate to Advanced Materials Required: Nothing Never have I ever ESL Game is taken from the classic party game that you can play in your ESL speaking classes as well. The way it works is that students think of a few things that they haven’t done but that they think others in the class have. For example, maybe someone hasn’t been to Japan or China but most of the people in the class probably have. Or, perhaps someone has never tried Indian or Vietnamese food. If you…

Continue Reading

Top 10 ESL Speaking Activities for False Beginners

top-10-ESL-speaking-activities-false-beginners

Top 10 ESL Speaking Activities for False Beginners I taught English in South Korea for almost a decade and most of that time was spent teaching false beginners. False beginners are students who’ve studied English at some point in the past but had to stop for whatever reason. Or more commonly in Korea, they’ve studied English for years, sometimes very advanced level concepts but didn’t really even grasp the basics. It was all too common amongst my students! Some students realized that they were actually at quite a basic level, and they were easy to teach because they were willing…

Continue Reading