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Authentic Materials in Beginner Classrooms

Authentic material for ESL BeginnersBringing authentic materials into Beginner classrooms is important because this provides exposure to real-world language use.  However, Beginner students can become quickly frustrated with these materials if they find the associated activities too difficult.  When using authentic reading and listening material, consider the following strategies to help Beginner learners grapple with the difficulty of the language.

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TESOL Teaching Skills: Differences Between Speaking and Writing

Teaching writing skills and teaching speaking skillsIf you are teaching writing, especially for learners with academic goals, it can be very helpful to explore some of the differences between spoken and written language with your class.  Although misunderstandings in spoken communication can be negotiated and overcome, even small inaccuracies in written language can present barriers to effective communication.  This need for grammatical and lexical accuracy is one reason why most L2 learners find academic writing to be the most difficult skill to learn.

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Why Is Methodology More Important Than The Practicum?

The Practicum is a very important module for trainees with little or no prior teaching experience, but it comes after the TESOL course for a very good reason: You cannot stand in front of a classroom if you do not know what to do on each stage of the lesson.

During Methodology, the trainee learns about different methods for effective teaching and the structure for delivering a professional lesson. A plan is crucial as each stage of a lesson requires the use of different tools and activities depending on the type of lesson, aims, assumptions,  and anticipated problems and solutions. Once you know how to create a professional lesson plan, you can stand in front of a classroom with confidence. In general, the Practicum is not required for an entry-level position, so deciding to complete the Practicum  depends on your desire to obtain supervised teaching experience as well as the requirements for jobs and accreditation.

WATCH VIDEO: Why Is Lesson Planning Important?

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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Attending Behavior: Small Classes vs. Big Classes

classroom management tips TESOLAttending behavior would definitely be different in a larger class compared to a smaller class. For example in a smaller class the teacher might use strategies such as eye contact, or touch (in some cultures this is not common, though) to encourage students to talk (or in some cases discourage talking or a reprimanding look to discourage talking). Other strategies such as using a student’s name, nodding or smiling could be used effectively in smaller classes but would also work well in a larger class.

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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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