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Authentic Material: How to Teach English Using Radio or Podcasts

By Margaret Hurley. Co-writer You Can Teach Grammar

Podcasts and radio in the ESL classroom - Authentic Material TESOLThe benefits of using authentic material in the TESOL classroom are many. They generate interest, they are certainly more varied in range than the material embedded in textbooks, they can be extremely practical, they can be fun and they can be very current. Especially for teachers who are not in an English-speaking country, authentic material are an excellent way to bring the English-speaking world into the classroom. In this series, different specific ways of using authentic materials will be covered. This inaugural issue covers some tips for using (non-musical) radio or podcasts in the classroom.

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Teaching Large ESL Classes: Problems and Advantages

Problems and advantages of teaching large ESL classes Teaching large ESL classes is a great unexpected challenge for most new teachers, who feel quite confident about organizing activities for a class of about 15 students, only to find themselves confronted with a class of 30, 40, 50 or even more students.

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Is The TEYL Course Enough To Get A Job?

TEYL is a specialization course that covers how to Teach English to Young Learners (TEYL) and is not enough to qualify for teaching positions worldwide. Schools look at the TESOL certificate first and foremost and if the position is for teaching English to children, as many positions are, then a TEYL certificate comes in very handy. For this reason, Ontesol offers a 50% on the TEYL course when you enrol in one our internationally recognized online TESOL courses. To learn more about the difference between each TESOL program and what’s included in the TEYL course, take a moment to compare the syllabi.

Do I Need To Speak A Foreign Language to Teach English Abroad?

Do I need to speak another language to teach abroad?This is a question that many new ESL teachers ask themselves and it is a very reasonable question because moving to a different country without speaking the local language creates a lot of anxiety.  Learning a foreign language is an important part of the wonderful teaching English abroad experience, but it is not necessary to find a job or teach English effectively.

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Using Photos To Tell Stories

Photos or pictures are excellent tools to integrate writing and speaking skills in a lesson. You know how the saying goes, a picture is worth a thousand words.

Choose a picture or photo that shows a place and one or more people. Divide the class into two groups. One group has to write the story of what happened before the photo was taken and the other group has to write the story of what happened after it was taken. Then, the two groups put the two parts together to make one story.

Using Flashcards

Flashcards are excellent tools to use with classes of all levels.

They are simple to use and you can use them to present or review vocabulary, grammar topics, practice pronunciation, play games, get your students to make sentences, or write stories.


You can create your own flashcards with cut-outs from magazines, photos you can find online, or have your students make them as a task when practicing vocabulary or any grammar topic.


Another good thing about flashcards is that once you create them, they can be reused with different groups of students for different topics.

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Teaching Beginners: Simplify the Language of Instruction

Teaching beginners simply the languageSimplifying the way we word the language of instruction, especially when teaching beginners, is very important. As teachers, we have to remember that we are talking to learners of the English language, not to native speakers. The more difficult the words are and the longer and more complex the sentences are, the less our beginner students will understand our instructions, or explanations.

  –TESOL 101: The Free TESOL Course by OnTESOL

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Activities With a Focus

When you plan to use an activity in any section of your lesson, make sure that it has a focus. Let’s consider, for example, a listening activity. One of the most common mistakes made by a teacher is to play a recording and then ask the students to say what it is about. There isn’t any focus in such activity. The students may get lost as there could be a lot of information in that recording. When you focus the activity on certain information, for example, “Listen and complete the chart with all the numbers you hear” you are helping your students improve their listening skills in a very measurable way.

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TESOL Lesson Planning

Lesson plans definitely take a long time to prepare at first. There is no question about it. However, the more you practice and understand the basics of lesson planning, the less it will take.

The type of lesson plan will depend on the approach you use, but in any approach or method there are steps to follow. At first, it is not easy to see the whole picture and how each step paves the way for the next, in order to make the lesson flow smoothly. Once you have internalized the steps and the purpose of each, you will find that the ideas come much more quickly.

Do not forget that writing detailed lesson plans will help you be very well prepared for teaching any sort of lesson. It is important to know that many ESL schools ask for detailed lesson plans and some ask for them in advance so they can be approved or rejected.

Another reason that learning how to write professional lesson plans is very important is because many employers ask applicants to write a lesson plan on any given topic and on the spot. So, practice writing lesson plans to impress your future employer.

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Teaching Grammar: Elicitation Through Concept Questions

Concept questions teaching grammarConcept Questions are used to elicit function, the intention of the speaker, and form -the grammatical structure that the speaker uses to express meaning (i.e. what he/she is trying to communicate to the audience)-. Concept Questions are used in the Communicative Approach when teaching grammar topics or vocabulary, mainly in the Presentation Stage of the PPP format, or in the Study Phase of the ESA format.  Concept Questions are a good way of eliciting information from the students and checking their comprehension rather than explaining the topic with long and difficult definitions that may only confuse the students. They are also a way of getting meaning across in a more effective and student-centered way.

-Learn to teach grammar with an accredited online TESOL certification course- 

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