Introduction activities to help beginner ESL learnersThere’s a common difficulty I’ve encountered among language learners around the world, at various levels, and with different backgrounds—the hardship of introducing themselves. You might be surprised how many people cannot introduce themselves in a concise, coherent manner. It’s not limited to lower-level language learners either. Higher-level learners struggle with this at times and even native speakers!

Our focus here will be on using an introduction activity to aid beginner-level learners. We’ll show you how to help them gain a sense of accomplishment by class end. Today’s blog will not only offer an idea to work with beginner-level students, but also present a way to engage them in a meaningful, practical, and useful activity. Learning how to introduce themselves will serve them well both inside and outside ESL classrooms. Read more

How to teach an all-day ESL classOnce in a blue moon (or more) you may be tasked to teach the same group of ESL learners all day. It might not happen very often, but it does happen. For example, I taught a daily six-hour program at the Samsung Corporation in South Korea for three years. The class members enrolled for a 10-week English intensive course program. So, each day, we met for class from morning to afternoon. After every cycle, a new batch of ESL learners began another term. It was definitely challenging, but I discovered a way to manage such situations that you might be able to use. I’ll share below some insights I learned for developing a syllabus to manage all-day ESL lessons with the same class members. Read more


Using fun and interactive games to teach ESLThe students at my school struggle to pay attention and to maintain interest when learning English. They avoid speaking in English, especially with their classmates, because they lack confidence. This reduces interaction and thus, they do not communicate well in English in the outside world. In this article, I present a lesson where I used a technique to educate students in a fun and interactive way.

About the Author: Zarin Tasnim completed OnTESOL’s 250-hour TESOL diploma and Teaching English to Young Learners Specialist Course and is now teaching primary English in China. Read more

Young ESL learner engagement It is very important for ESL students to be curious in class and to ask more questions. It can be difficult to achieve this if they lack interest or don’t understand the benefit of this. Relying solely on a screen or paper  can also become a stale approach as the students become used to this routine. A change in teaching approach from time to time stirs up students’ interest and attention. The choice of materials and topics thus becomes a fundamental matter for effective learning and engagement. In this article, I am going to write about the choice of materials that I used in one of my speaking lessons to encourage further class discussion, interaction, and motivation to speak.

About the Author: Zarin Tasnim is a graduate of OnTESOL’2 250-hour TESOL diploma and Teaching English to Young Learners course and teaching primary English in China. 

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Teaching young leaners using creative and authentic materialThe students I teach in my primary school do not show much interest in learning English nor are they motivated to engage in English speaking activities. They are rather shy  and get bored easily. They even start communicating in Cantonese when they don’t feel like being part of the lesson. This is one of the biggest challenges I have faced in this school. At any extent, I wanted to solve this problem so that all my lessons achieved their aims successfully. In this article, I write about the lesson I taught about dinosaurs, why I came up with this topic and how it turned out to be a successful lesson.

About the Author: Zarin Tasnim is currently teaching to primary learners in China and is a graduate of OnTESOL’s 250-hour TESOL diploma and Teaching English to Young Learners Specialist course. 

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Helping ESL learners to transition into thinking in EnglishLearning to think in English develops increased fluency for language learners. However, we might want to keep in mind that using the L1 (the learner’s first language) to interpret the L2 (the second or other language) is a normal part of second language acquisition. In fact, this is one method for interpreting the level of English language learners. But, as teachers, we can help students transition from thinking in L1 to thinking in the L2.
Ideally, learners eventually become language users without this need to translate in their minds. However, we must remember that we cannot force this and expect learners to appreciate it (much less retain it). This is not the forum to discuss the merits or demerits of requiring a class to speak English only, especially at lower levels. But it is safe to say that we can’t turn on a switch to make learners cease from thinking in L1 to think in the L2.
What we can do is provide opportunities to develop their English skills. We can help them reduce their reliance upon the L1. With enough repetition and reinforcement, in time, they’ll begin to think more in English. The following suggestions will provide you with options for facilitating this transition to thinking in English.

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Teaching complex language to ESL learnersWhen teaching English, there will likely be times when you encounter difficulties helping learners understand complex ideas. For example, how can you help them understand something written in a health report like “increased risk of cardiovascular disease is a complication of smoking”?

When you look at your class members and see blank stares, it may be time to incorporate a strategy or two to help them get the idea being conveyed. At the same time, you’ll be facilitating thinking in English. And since our goal as ESL teachers is to develop language acquisition in learners, this can be an effective tool toward that end.

Over the years, I’ve run across this issue repeatedly. So, here are a few ideas that may help you in similar situations. Read more

How to Best Prepare an ESL Conversation LessonYou have a conversation class starting in a few minutes. But after a second glance of the material and topic, you determine it might be a little difficult for your class members. And, if you’re like me, there are times when you have just a few minutes to prepare a lesson based on an article or topic from an ESL conversation/discussion book. What do you do? Today’s blog will give you an option for such situations when teaching English. And, the following breakdown will help you visualize how it works. Read more

Remaining Patient in the Online ESL ClassroomRaise your hand if you have ever lost your cool while teaching English online. I am probably the first one to put my hand up when it comes to this. Being impatient with a student is not my proudest moment, but I know there is much to learn from it. Read on to find my top tips for keeping your cool in the online ESL classroom. 

About the Author: Manuela Stef is currently teaching English online with a Chinese ESL company. She graduated from OnTESOL’s 250-hour TESOL diploma , Teaching IELTS, Teaching Young Learners and Teaching Business English Course. Read more

Online ESL Group ClassesSome people may associate online ESL classes with one-on-one tutoring, but group classes are also a thing. Online group classes are an effective way to capitalize on time and finances, so some online ESL companies offer them. Group classes can be anywhere from three to eight class members or more. But you may be more familiar with private tutorials than group classes you might be thinking, “how do I manage a group class?” In today’s blog, we’ll give you a few tips on how to do it. Read on to know more. Read more