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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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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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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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 Warm Up Questions- Student Generated!

ESL warm-up

ESL Warm-Ups Questions One of the things I find with in English classes is that most of the burden is on the teacher. The teacher is the person who keeps the conversation going. She is the one who asks questions. She’s also the one who decides what to study and how. Whenever possible, I like to take this burden off myself and try to go as student centred as is feasibly possible. An interesting question is an excellent ESL warm-up to begin your classes with. They help ease the students back into using English in a fun, engaging way. This…

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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…

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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…

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Top 5 ESL Conversation Activities for Adults

ESL conversation activities

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! They range from warm-ups, to fun games to complete ESL lesson plans. Check out these conversation activities below. Clicking on the title will take you to the article with all the information. How to set it up, resources needed, etc. The Small Talk Game Small talk is an important, but often overlooked skill. Get…

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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…

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