Word games are an engaging way not only to practice vocabulary and spelling in class but also to hone important language skills such as defining and describing. They’re fun, too, make ideal warmers and fillers, and generally don’t require much preparation – especially if you get the students involved in setting them up. Plus, many work well as competitions and can easily be adapted to suit different ages and levels. Here are 6 easy word games for the English language classroom. Why not give them a try?
Persuading students of the usefulness of watching English-language movies at home isn’t hard, but there are many things you can do to bring films into the classroom as well.
Here are 5 great activities for using movies in the EFL class.
- Half in half out
Choose a scene from a movie that you’d like to work on, preferably one with lots of movement and lots of dialogue. Divide the class into two groups, A and B. Send group A out while you show group B the scene with the volume muted. Then, bring group A back and send group B out. Play the scene again, but this time only let group A listen to the dialogue – don’t let them see the screen (if you have an IWB you can simply turn the screen off, if not just have the students face away). So you now have one group that have heard the scene and one that have seen it. Bring group B back, put students into A/B pairs and have them reconstruct as well as they can what they think was going on. Then show the full scene so they can see how close they were. Continue reading
Many students shy away from writing in English as they feel it is either difficult or boring. At the same time, it can be tempting for the teacher to tackle the skill by setting simple compositions with little structure or purpose. However, writing is not only a necessary language skill, especially for students hoping to use English in their work or studies, but also a great way to improve their level overall, and it need not be boring. We look at 7 tips for teaching writing in the EFL classroom.
Tips for teaching writing in the EFL classroom:
1. Know the aim of text and the target reader
Perhaps the two most important things to bear in mind when teaching writing (and when writing oneself) are the aim of the text and the target reader, as these will dictate the type of language used and the organisation of the text itself. Writing an informal email to a friend to let them know your news requires a very different approach to writing a report for your boss about the progress of a project you’re running. Equally, it would be just as odd to give titles to the sections of a letter of complaint – My Shock on Discovering the Item Didn’t Work, How This Has Inconvenienced Me, Here’s What I Want You to Do About It! – as it would to open a love letter with ‘To whom it may concern…’ Continue reading
Every lesson needs a warmer and there are few that go by that don’t have an odd five or ten minutes that need filling with something to keep your students on their toes or to give the class a change of pace.
We look at 7 easy warmers and fillers for the English language classroom.
Nice and nasty
This super-simple warmer is guaranteed to get your students chatting and is a great first day activity. Have students divide a sheet of paper into two columns, one they label ‘nice’, the other they label ‘nasty’. Tell them you’re going to read out a list of words, each of which they have to write in the column that expresses how they feel about it. Your list should include of a variety of people, places and things that are likely to divide opinion (for example, hip hop, spicy food, winter, Sunday evening, ironing, tattoos, English grammar, Michael Jackson, department stores). Once you have finished reading out the list and students have written the items down, they compare their answers in pairs to see how similar or how different their tastes are. Continue reading
From puking babies to philosophical pigs, today we take a look at 5 poems for the English language classroom. Poems can be a great resource for both the teacher and the learner. Not only are they an ideal way to practise the stress and intonation patterns of the language, they also lend themselves to a whole range of accompanying activities, from predicting the content to discussing how they make the reader feel, or even, with younger learners, illustrating different scenes.
5 poems for the English language classroom:
With higher levels, you might want to introduce your learners to some lines by the most celebrated poet of all, William Shakespeare. Although his 400 year-old English can often be intimidating, especially as it was never written to be read on the page but rather heard in the theatre, there are still many accessible passages, even for English learners. Continue reading
Hands up at the back, fellow TEFL teachers, if you’ve ever found yourself in a foreign classroom with a gaggle of overexcited little children getting gradually out of control. You’re at the board trying to get them to pay attention, they’re climbing all over one another and doing everything but speaking English. Teaching kids, while very often a great deal of fun and incredibly rewarding, is one of the most challenging types of EFL class to execute successfully. Nevertheless, it’s a part of the job that’s increasingly called for by many schools and academies. Today we offer 7 recommendations for teaching English to children to help ensure that your lessons work smoothly both for you and for them.
Recommendations for teaching English to children:
Last weekend Pearson was at the British Council ‘Learning to Learn’ Conferences with Michael Brand in Bilbao, Brian Engquist in Madrid and Elena Merino in Barcelona. We would like to thank all the teachers who attended our sessions, where we had the opportunity to share teaching ideas and get the most out of our coursebooks.
As promised, we are sharing our presentation and we hope you find it useful for your lessons. Continue reading
Would you Adam and Eve it? The trouble and strife’s on the custard and jelly!
To the uninitiated, and almost certainly to most Americans, such a phrase sounds like gibberish, but your average Brit would understand the expression of disbelief (Adam and Eve: believe) that his wife (trouble and strife) was on the telly (custard and jelly), slang in itself for TV. Welcome to the world of Cockney Rhyming Slang!
Where is Cockney Rhyming Slang from and how does it work? Continue reading
Using dictation in class has suffered some bad press over the years, having been criticised as being uncommunicative and teacher-centred: surely the days of teachers being trained to be dictators are long gone! However, could it be making a comeback? There are many non-traditional ways to use dictation and there’s a lot to be said in its defence: it’s a multi-skilled activity, it’s useful in large or mixed-ability classes and, believe it or not, dictation can be fun!
In this article we look at 5 ways to use a dictation in class:
What a month! We’ve been travelling all over the country sharing ELT ideas for Primary teachers. Madrid, Zaragoza, Valencia, Sevilla, Málaga…and we’ve met amazing teachers everywhere. Teachers that never lose their passion, their commitment, teachers that after working hard the whole day decided to spend some time with us to share their experiences and expertise.
As promised, we are sharing our presentations with all of you. We really hope that you find them useful! Continue reading