ESL Speaking Activity – My Timeline

Teach Verb Tenses Using My Timeline ActivityToday’s ESL speaking activity can be done in one-on-one tutorials or in larger classes, but ideally with a group. My Timeline provides a creative way to engage learners, but it doesn’t end there. This speaking activity can help ESL students develop their ability to use basic verb tenses in a natural way by talking about themselves.

Class members also have opportunities to talk about significant events in their past, their lives at present, and their plans, goals, or hopes for the future. That makes it meaningful. In addition, My Timeline helps facilitate greater confidence, enhanced vocabulary, presentation skills, and fluency. Plus, it can give you more variety beyond the typical subjects present in ESL conversation classes. Read more

ESL Speaking Activity – Daily News

Teaching using the news in ESL classrooms If you’re looking for something to use for one hour, for several classes, or even long-term, this will fit the bill. The Daily News integrates reading comprehension, vocabulary building, grammar, pronunciation, listening comprehension, fluency, and confidence building.

It’s also a practical way to keep a class active on a daily basis while providing variety at the same time. No one will get bored and class members will learn new things. In addition, students stay current on news and have opportunities to build their English skills. What more could you ask for in a classroom activity, right? Read more

Teaching Speaking Skills: An Activity For More Groupwork In the ESL Classroom

Getting a classroom of ESL learners to speak is difficult sometimes. Especially in a mixed-level class, it can be downright challenging. This week’s post will provide an activity to get ESL students speaking, develop new vocabulary, and give opportunities for feedback at the same time. Read more

Is Perfect Grammar the Point of ESL Classes?

Teach engaging English grammar lessonsTraditionally, teaching language is associated with learning grammar rules. And why not? Without structure you have nothing to build communication on. Communicating would be nothing more than hit or miss if we didn’t know how to arrange the words.

 Learning English in school is often about the rules and mastering them.  Instead of developing your ability to use English in meaningful ways, the emphasis may have been on passing tests.

But teaching English is instead about giving your students opportunities to use the language. It is about creating an environment where perfect grammar is not the only acceptable display of language proficiency. 

The following points will help you see that shooting for perfect grammar may not be the way to go. Read more

Are You Teaching About English or Helping People To Use It?

Teach English as a Language, Not a SubjectYou spent two hours preparing your lesson on the present perfect verb tense. You have visual aids, handouts, and a reinforcing class activity ready to go. In class, you spend the next forty minutes of a fifty-minute class discussing the proper use of the present perfect tense and giving examples.

Your students listen attentively. There are a few nodding off, but for the most part they are listening. Some are even taking notes. You spend the last ten minutes of class engaged in individual seatwork activity with the class members.

After class, you go to the teacher’s lounge, have a seat, and reflect on how tiring that was. You grab a quick cup of coffee and prepare yourself for the next class. At the end of the day, you feel pretty tired. And why not, you worked a full day as an ESL teacher.

But what might the students say about it?

Get certified to teach English abroad with our 120-hour Advanced TESOL certificate!

Read more

5 Ways to Help Students Do Well on English Speaking Tests

 The IELTS, TOEFL, TOEIC, OPI English proficiency are designed to gauge a person’s skills using English as a language. Much emphasis is placed on the speaking element of these tests by our students. That is because they discover that reading, writing, and even listening at times can be studied on their own. However, one element many lack is the confidence to use English when conversing. In my own experience over the years, I have repeatedly encountered people who dread the speaking tasks of these tests. That is because despite having knowledge of lexis, structure, and pronunciation, they find it difficult to put it all together when speaking. So, they come to us for help. Some ways that you can help them face and do better in the speaking tests follow. Read more

TESOL 101: How to Teach Language Acquisition

 Help Your ESL Students Communicate With EaseOne of my favourite things to tell new classes is to stop studying English and to learn to use it. Of course, I say it in a nice way. But the reaction I get is humorous. People have a paradigm that to improve in a subject, they must study more. While that may be true for school subjects such as math, science, history, and the like, it does not work for languages.

Language is for communication, not for study alone. That is one reason why the old grammar translation method lost its foothold once new approaches came on the scene. Yet a common mindset until today by both students and teachers is that English is still a subject.

I am also known for saying, put the books down, and let’s learn English. But what do I mean by these words? The idea being conveyed is this: Stop viewing English as a subject to be mastered by memorizing and studying endless rules. Begin to use English as it was meant to be—a language for communication.

Are we not living in a global environment where English is the main mode of communication? How then can one develop their ability to function in this environment? They will need to go beyond the books and pick it up. Read more

4 Ways To Be Culturally Sensitive In The ESL Classroom

Celebrate Your ESL Student's CultureCultural sensitivity is something that is extremely beneficial when teaching to different cultures. When teaching English, the importance of cultural sensitivity becomes even greater. Being a culturally sensitive teacher is to learn about and understand your students’ cultural backgrounds. In doing so,  teachers improve the classroom experience, help increase the students’ level of English fluency and their overall ability to learn.

About the Author: Jessica Whitehorne is a graduate of OnTESOL’s 250-hour TESOL diplomaTeaching English to Young Learners Specialist Course and Teaching Business English Course. She currently lives and teaches in rural Madagascar. 

Read more

Five Reasons Why the 70-30 Rule Is Useful In ESL Conversation Classes 

Using the 70/30 Rule in ESL ClasssroomsThere is a long-standing rule that many veteran ESL teachers know about called the 70-30 rule. What is the 70-30 rule? It is a ratio of student talk time to teacher talk time. We can state total class talk time during one conversation class period (60 minutes, 50, 45, 30, 20, etc.) as 100 percent. Seventy percent of the talk time should be student talk time. The remaining 30 percent should be teacher talk time. 

Seventy-thirty provides a formula for monitoring talk time in ESL conversation classrooms and an effective strategy. It is a guide for how much teachers should be talking and how much freedom students should be afforded to talk. It is not a hard and fast mandate where measurements need to be made. But it is a rule of thumb that helps teachers manage their conversation classes. The following are five reasons why the 70-30 rule is useful in ESL classrooms.  Read more

3 Perspectives on Teaching ESL

Adapting Your lesson to ESL LearnersAs English teachers, our role is to  help students achieve their English language goals. For some ESL students their goal is to do well on an English proficiency test such as IELTS, TOEIC, or TOEFL. Some want to study or work abroad. Others want to do their jobs more effectively. Some want to communicate with international business clients or colleagues. Some want to become more proficient in giving presentations. For others, it is to be able to participate in the world of English language. They want to watch and understand Hollywood movies, chat with foreigners, or converse with people from different countries.

Read more