How to Establish Sustainable Classroom Routines for Adult ESL Classrooms
Time management in the classroom is a tricky business. It seems like half of ESL teachers I know find themselves running out of time in the classroom and find it hard to fit in everything they’d like to cover, while the other half of ESL teachers have way too much time that they’re unsure of how to fill.
How to Get Started (Again): Coming Back From a Break
When facing your classroom after a break or maybe facing them for the first time, it’s tricky to figure out where to start, what to teach, and how to support your students well. So, today we’re going to be talking about some tips and tricks for refocusing and jumping back into the classroom routine!
So, You Need to Teach English: 4 Tips and Tricks for Working with Beginner-Level Adults
Today we’re going to be breaking down the 4 things that you need to know when working with adult learners, especially beginner-level learners! How you teach and what you use can make or break your classroom, so keep reading below to learn more about how you can teach your students well!
8 No-Stress Activities for Your Beginner ESL Class
Today I want to share 8 activities that are perfect for beginner-level adults. Whether you’re working with true-beginners or more advanced beginners, you’re sure to find an activity that will work for you and your students! These activities require little-to-no prep, are super easy to explain, and can be used time and time again!
Setting Your Students Up For Success: Your Guide to Reading Prep for Adults
Today we’re going to be breaking down how you can prepare your students for reading and, in the meantime, build their confidence, vocabulary, and motivation! Keep reading below to learn more about how you can use background knowledge, experiences, vocabulary, and reading strategies to create more confident and capable readers.
4 New Thought Group Activities to Help Your Students Improve Their Communication
One of the best ways that you can improve your students’ pronunciation is by teaching them and giving them opportunity to practice thought groups. Many teachers dive straight into vowel sounds and digraphs, but focusing on rhythm, intonation, focus words, and thought groups will make a much bigger difference in how well your students are able to communicate with native and non-native speakers alike!
Metacognitive Skills for Lower-Level Learners: 6 Tips for Teaching Your ESL Students Language Learning Skills
Today we’re going to be talking more about how you can help your students develop metacognitive skills, so that they can better understand how they learn best! While this article is written specifically with beginner-level learners in mind, many of the tips and activities below can be tweaked and used in your intermediate- or advanced-level classes.
The ESL Teacher's Guide to Writing for Beginners: Building Strong Writers from the Start
Today we’re going to talk more about introducing writing to your beginner-level learners in a way that won’t overwhelm them! Instead of simply throwing your students into an intensive task, like writing an essay, we’re going to prepare them by teaching language in chunks, modelling writing, observing written texts, and, eventually, building their own pieces of writing.
3 Activities To Help You Strengthen Your Adult Language Learners' Working Memory
Today we’re going to be breaking down everything you need to know about building working memory in your language classroom, and you won’t want to miss the 4 activities that can help your students access and build their schemata! Keep reading to learn more and to find the perfect activity for your adult language learners.
Basic English Grammar for the ESL Teacher: Adjective Edition
Adjectives can add so much more meaning to your students’ sentences and conversations, so it’s important to properly equip them with the tools they need to use these words properly. If you’re looking to brush up on your own knowledge of adjectives or find simple and effective ways to explain the concept to your students, keep reading below!
ESL Games for Adults: DIY Board Games
Some of my most favorite memories from teaching in Mongolia revolve around playing board games and card games. We played games in the classroom almost daily as a way to cool down after a information-heavy lesson or fill time when my students progressed more quickly than I had anticipated. However, I never viewed it as a “time filler” or as a break from language learning. The games we played varied often, but even the ones that wouldn’t necessarily be considered language games helped my students grow in their use of the English language.
The Importance of Cooperative Self-Development as an ESL Teacher
There are plenty of seminars and conferences for educators and ESL teachers, but professional development should be a balance of daily growth, collaborative learning, and self-development. So, today we’re breaking down why cooperative self-development is important and how you can begin to incorporate a routine of professional growth into your already busy schedule!
The ESL Teacher's Guide to Assessing Speaking
Today we’re going to be talking more about how you can assess your speaking class in a way that makes sense for you. There are three main areas of speaking to pay attention to during an assessment, but we’re just going to focus on the first two: pronunciation and fluency. Accuracy, the final area, is a little bit more straightforward and more commonly addressed in ESL curriculum. Keep reading to learn more about how to test your students’ pronunciation and fluency, what to pay attention to, and how to find the perfect assessment tool for your classroom!
Supporting Struggling Readers: 5 Alternatives to Comprehension Questions
If your learners are struggling with writing, listening, reading, speaking, or anything else in their language learning journey, there are plenty of ways that you can support your students and help to give them the resources and assistance they may need.
2 New Ways to Teach Conversational ESL
Because of this practicality that sets ESL apart, your goal as a teacher is to enable and empower your students to communicate, learn, and exchange information with others in the English language. However, it’s easy to get into a funk with conversational English. It’s easy to get into the habit of listening to scripted conversations, filling out worksheets, or doing simple discussion activities. Yet none of those things actually help your students engage in conversation in the long haul.
How to Use The Pomodoro Technique in Your Adult ESL Classroom
The Pomodoro Technique is a strategy to help you focus and improve your productivity by using a simple kitchen timer to alternate bursts of work and rest. It’s a great technique to use in your classroom to help structure your class, engage your students over longer periods of time, and create a healthy study environment.
3 Ways to Boost Your Life Skills Lesson Plan
There are many different kinds of activities and strategies that can go into a good life skills lesson plan, but there are three tools that you can use to really boost your lesson plan to make it more engaging, practical, and applicable: realia, time to familiarize, and practical skill practice. Keep reading below to learn more about how you can take your life skills lesson plan and use it to empower your students to use English outside of the classroom!
The Best Warm-Up Routine for Adult ESL Students
If your students are looking to take control of their language learning or you’re looking for ways to encourage them to use English daily, then this article is just for you! Journaling is the perfect tool to give your students autonomy, increase their vocabulary skills, track their progress over time, and make sure your students are using language that is applicable to them specifically.
How Reusable Routines Can Help You Save Time in the ESL Classroom
Time is precious. And it’s easy to feel like your time in the classroom is being wasted by lengthy activity directions and classroom management issues. Giving directions is an important part of the ESL classroom because learners who understand what is expected of them are more likely to engage, which solves a lot of classroom management issues as well.
What You Need to Know About Teaching Bilingual Students: Multilingualism, Fluency, and Code Switching
Many students may be learning English as a second language, but many may be learning it as a third, fourth, or even fifth language! Multilingualism can be a tricky topic to discuss in the language acquisition world because there are so many different facets to the conversation.
Today we’re going to look more closely at what it means to be multilingual, what it means to be fluent or proficient, and how your students use their multilingualism in daily life (and possibly in your classroom!).
3 Quick and Engaging Word Games to Play With Adult Learners
There are so many different language skills that you can work on with games, such as reading, spelling, pronunciation, sentence structure, and many more. While you aren’t going to teach your students anything new with word games (usually, these types of games are a great way to help your students further familiarize themselves with vocabulary, think quickly in English, and create new or strengthen old word associations.
Basic English Grammar for the ESL Teacher: Pronouns
Pronouns can be found in all sorts of writing. They’re used in fiction, non-fiction, personal letters, conversation, and so much more. Since they’re so widely used, it’s important for both you and your students to be familiar with how, when, and why to use pronouns in the English language.
How to Accomplish More as an ESL Teacher: Reflecting and Planning for Growth
If you’re goal-oriented like I am, you may be starting to turn your attention towards setting goals and resolutions for the New Year. It’s easy to get overwhelmed when thinking about the projects you’d like to complete and the things you’d like to improve or have time for, on top of the regular stress that often comes with teaching!
Teaching ESL to Adult Learners with Stories: Creative Ways to Use Stories as Prompts
As a book lover and an ESL teacher, I’m always interested in finding ways to share my favorite stories with my students, while still helping them grow in their language learning journey. Stories and books offer so many different ways to prompt your students to think and write creatively, which makes them a great resource for language learning in a classroom.
10 Surefire Ways to Teach Vocabulary to Adult Learners
How do you find the proper methods to help your students learn and internalize important vocabulary words to the best of your ability? Simple, object-based nouns are pretty easy to explain to non-native speakers; however, more obscure words like “usually,” “possibility,” and “partial” can be much more difficult.
I’ve compiled a list of 10 different ways to explain vocabulary terms when you may just be getting blank stares.
5 Ways That You Can Get Your Students to Speak Confidently: Tips & Tricks for All Learners
Nevertheless, there’s nothing worse than a silent conversation class. Getting ESL students to break out of their shell and begin using the language they are learning can be pretty difficult, but there are plenty of ways that you can help your students feel more confident, safe, and even excited to speak to their peers. Whether your students are just beginning their language learning journey or are nearly fluent, these tips and tricks will help the conversation in your classroom flourish!
Keep Your Lesson Planning on Track: Free Ultimate Lesson Planning Checklist
Today I wanted to share a little bit more about a new resource in my Free Teaching Resource Library, which you can gain access to when you sign up for the Everyday ESL newsletter. It’s a great, quick, and easy way to help you plan a well-thought-out lesson plan that will intentionally and practically meet your students’ needs and create a healthy learning environment.
The 4 Step Guide to Creating a Seamless Lesson Plan: Part Two
There are 4 major steps in the pre-planning process. The first two (use and topic) are discussed in part 1, but today we’re going to be talking about the final 2 steps: language and review. Keep reading below to learn more about how pre-planning can help you to meet your students’ language needs and create review routines that will help to strengthen your students’ English skills.
The 4 Step Guide to Creating a Seamless Lesson Plan: Part 1
Pre-planning is a great time to allow yourself the time and space to think through how you can create a lesson that will engage your students and be entirely applicable to their daily lives and needs. Without pre-planning, it can be easy to just jump into planning out activities and end up overwhelmed, directionless, and with a disjointed lesson.
Is Your Lesson Planning Routine Incomplete? The Three Stages of Planning Adult ESL Lessons
If you find yourself trying to throw together a plan at the last minute, not knowing where to even begin, or feeling that your planning time is not used as efficiently and effectively as it could be, then keep reading below to learn more about how to prepare lessons from start-to-finish that will be engaging, well-thought-out, and seamless.
Teaching Grammar With Guided Discovery: An Interactive Approach to Adult Grammar Instruction
As I did more reading about how grammar is learned, I stumbled upon the idea of guided discovery. I’ve used guided discovery before to encourage my students to hypothesize based on a picture, or to define new vocabulary words, but I’ve never explicitly used it to teach grammar.
This week I want to talk more about what guided discovery is and how it can help you to create a productive, effective, and engaging learning environment, specifically when it comes to grammar!
What is Total Physical Response? (and why should I use it in my adult classroom?)
While these are all definitely forms of TPR, it can take a variety of forms, be used in a variety of activities, and help such a wide range of students improve their language learning experience. If you haven’t previously used TPR in your ESL classroom, you’ll definitely want to after learning more about it below!
How to Use Writing Prompts with Your ESL Students: Ideas, Activities, and Routines to Get Your Students Writing
There are so many cool writing prompts on the internet, and specifically on Pinterest! I’ve definitely seen a few that I thought could make excellent novels and short stories, but the question I always come back to is how we can use those prompts as ESL teachers.
Professional Development for the ESL Teacher: How to Take Control of Your Growth to Better Your Classroom
Today I want to share more about my experiences learning as a teacher and share a few thoughts about what makes up professional development and growth. By the end of this article I hope you’ll be more inclined to continue learning and growing, so that you can provide a richer learning environment for your students, and so that you can become the best ESL teacher that you can be.
Improve Your Students' Vowel Pronunciation: The 4 Aspects of Vowel Formation in English
While I don’t want to advocate for perfect, accent-less pronunciation, being misunderstood in a second language can be really frustrating. Just changing the way that you shape your mouth or place your tongue when saying certain sounds can make a huge difference and improve your students communication and confidence!
Mastering the Art of Listening in a Second Language: An ESL Teacher's Guide to Active Listening
We all know that hearing is not the same as listening. As a child, I could hear my mom tell me to do something, but I didn’t actually listen to what she wanted. As a teacher, many students simply hear what you say, but don’t actually listen to the specific directions you’re giving.
Building Motivation to Read: A Guide for Adult ESL Teachers
Reading is a language skill that is mostly completed individually, as compared to speaking or listening. Plus, it’s not as easy to “check in” with your students periodically, like you can with writing. So, how do we, as language teachers, personalize our instruction, engage our students, and build motivation in the classroom? Making a more student-centered learning environment can do wonders for your students' reading motivation! Continue reading below to find out more about how to do this.
Building a Thought Web: A Warm Up Activity to Build Prior Knowledge
Today I’m sharing one of my favorite ways to warm up my students, prepare them for the lesson ahead, and do a mini, sneaky assessment of what they already know using a thought web! If you're looking for a warm up activity to promote creativity and sharing ideas, check out Community Creations. To find out more about what a thought web is and how you can use it in your adult ESL classroom, keep reading below.
The Secret Ingredient to Speaking Well in a Second Language
If you're teaching a conversation class, looking for ways to improve your students' communication, or find your students reading out loud in dull, flat tones, then this article is for you! Learn more about the tones of voice below, so that you're better equipped to helping your students excel at communicating in English. After all, communication and language isn't all about words and letter sounds! It's much more complex.
Bloom's Taxonomy for the Adult ESL Classroom: What is It and How Does It Apply to My Classroom?
Bloom’s Taxonomy. Chances are, if you’ve been in the educational world for any length of time, you’ve heard of it. And, if not, you’ve definitely seen it. It’s a hierarchical system for classifying learning objectives or levels of thinking according to their complexity and specificity.
While most often used to help teachers write SLOs (Student Learning Objectives) for formal lesson planning, it is also useful for planning out lessons and classes that are well-paced and build upon one another. What I want to examine today is how Bloom’s Taxonomy can help you become a better teacher and lesson planner specifically in the adult ESL classroom.
2 Simple Things You Can Do to Revolutionize How You Teach Vocabulary
The two difficult areas of vocabulary instruction that I want to target today are planning and explanation. How do you decide what to teach when, and how do you actually explain it in a way that’s going to stick? After all, there’s nothing worse than trying to explain something and only receiving blank stares in return.
Basic English Grammar for the ESL Teacher: Past Progressive Verbs
Verb tenses prove to be one of the most useful things to learn in a second language. After all, you can’t communicate very many ideas and experiences without being able to use the proper tense. However, and unfortunately, they also tend to be one of the most difficult things to explain because of all of the nuances and connotations involved.
4 Ways to Make Any ESL Activity More Engaging
Reaching and engaging all of your diverse learners is an extremely difficult task, and when you throw in the language barrier it can feel almost impossible. So, how do you engage all of these different people? How do you touch their interests and find ways to make language learning personalized to their preferences, learning styles, intelligences, experiences, etc?
Create Purposeful Writing Tasks for Adult ESL
There are many different reasons for teaching writing in an ESL class. If you’re teaching an academic class, you’ll probably focus on research and essay-writing. If you’re teaching a business English class, you’ll probably focus on writing reports, emails, and resumes. And if you’re teaching a survival English class, you’ll want to focus on filling out forms, writing comments or emails, and maybe even writing a grocery list.
However, I think it’s safe to say, every teacher wants their writing activities to be applicable and practical. Sometimes a practical writing task will be a research project, but it could also be a simple storytelling exercise. A practical writing task will look different for every classroom.
Create an Engaging Learning Environment with Gardner's Theory of Multiple Intelligences
It shouldn’t come as a surprise that people learn differently. However, it isn’t quite that simple. Howard Gardner argues that people don't just learn differently, but that they have strength in different areas of intelligence. Specifically, Gardner has outlined 8 different types of intelligence that go beyond the typical, IQ-test type of intelligence.
An ESL Teacher's Guide to Pronunciation and Focus Words
Pronunciation is so multi-faceted and unique to each student, which makes it really difficult to teach! It’s easy to get overwhelmed, especially if your class is multicultural (students with similar language backgrounds will usually have similar pronunciation struggles).
The Prosody Pyramid is a great method for approaching pronunciation in a non-threatening, sequential way. The base of the pyramid is formed by thought groups, which are simply chunks of spoken language found within long sentences. They are book-ended by short pauses. Teaching your students how to identify these pauses and other attributes of thought groups into their speech can help them to incorporate them into their daily language and communicate more clearly.
Supporting Struggling Listeners: 3 Ways to Scaffold Listening Exercises in the ESL Classroom
There are three ways that you can support your struggling listeners and scaffold your listening exercises. The first is to support them through the recording that you choose or the materials that you make available. The second way is to structure your task in a way that will allow them to succeed and grow. The third way to support your struggling listeners is to teach them how to listen well.
How to Create Your Classroom Book Club
If you're looking to include more extensive reading in your classroom, you should most definitely consider incorporating a book club into your weekly routine.
A book club can work well in a variety of settings. If you have a large class - try a book club. If you have a small class - try a book club. If you have 15 minutes to fill - try a book club. If you have an hour to fill - try a book club. You get the point
Lesson Planning at the Last Minute: A 4 Step Guide to Faster Planning
I’ve always found that when I rush lesson planning, my lessons don’t turn out how I want them to. However, when I use an easy-to-understand format and structure that I can plug information and activities into, it makes the process much quicker.
Today I want to share one of my favorite structures for last-minute lesson plans. It’s not quite as interesting and complex as some other lessons I’ve seen or taught, and it’s nothing too fancy. But, it does more than simply “get the job done.” It allows my students to warm up, practice, learn, and incorporate, which is a successful lesson in my book!
ESL Activities for Adults: How to Create a Speaking Activity That Gets Students Talking!
At the most basic level, an effective speaking task will result in students practicing English they know, learning more English along the way, and developing the confidence to use the language for their specific goals. An advanced business English student, a single mom who just moved to the States, and a student studying for the IELTS will all be looking to practice, learn, and develop confidence.
How to Help Your Students Learn English Faster: Quick Tips and Tricks to Improve English
Adults who learn a second language often have to put in more intentional time and effort because it's less likely to be freely given. This means that the journey to fluency seems much harder and longer than when you were a child. It's easy to be discouraged.
I want to offer you a few tips and tricks on how to help your students learn English faster and more efficiently. While you can't expedite language learning, you can certainly make changes in how you ask your students to use English in the classroom, the type of language they encounter in the classroom, and the amount of exposure and practice they get outside of the classroom.
Cultivating Vocabulary in the ESL Classroom
Vocabulary doesn’t develop overnight. It’s a skill that has to be built slowly over time, bit-by-bit. It has to be cultivated by both teachers and students. While students should work on building their vocabulary, teachers have to practice cultivating vocabulary in their classroom. It's a two-way street!
ESL Listening Assessments: How to Use Portfolios to Measure Progress and Improvement
Listening takes practice. Babies born into an English-speaking household begin learning how to listen from the moment they are born, and ELLs that attend an English class or move to an English speaking area begin learning how to listen from the second they step foot in the room or country.
If your students put time and effort into listening, their progress should be given the same attention that speaking, reading, and writing get. It should be measured.
Basic English Grammar for the ESL Teacher: Noun Edition
When teaching ESL, I am most intimidated by grammar. I think the reason I am so hesitant when it comes to grammar is that when I learned how to speak English, I didn't learn the grammar. I may know how to say something, but I may not know why I say it that way.
So, if you’re in the same boat as I am, here is a little refresher course on nouns. Below you'll find information on what nouns are, how they're used, how to teach your students about nouns, and a few fun practice activities for your classroom.
Community Creations: An ESL Writing Task to Promote Idea-Sharing
I am always looking for ways to bring creativity into the classroom. I’ve said this before and I’ll say it again: language is nothing without the transference of ideas. The entire purpose of language is to communicate.
It’s important for students to know how to speak and write and read and listen, but getting students to communicate is the most important part of ESL, in my opinion. All of the language skills above serve the purpose of pushing individuals towards communication.
Building Writing Routines in the Classroom
If I asked a group of teachers to rank the four skills of language (speaking, listening, reading, and writing) on a scale of most to least important, there would be as many different answers as there were teachers. A typical survival English class will focus on speaking and listening, while a college English course may focus on reading and writing.
Different learner and teacher populations have different motives, goals, and focuses. If your student population doesn’t see writing as an important skill, you may be wondering if, why, and how you should focus on it in class.
What is English as a Second Language? (and how do I teach it?)
I am going away to visit family this week, so I wanted to bring you an article that's super quick and easy to digest! The language systems of English make up what teaching ESL actually is. There is no ESL without language systems!
Language systems or language skills is the terminology many teachers use to talk about the different key subject areas involved in language learning.
Where to Start with English Pronunciation: A Beginner Teacher's Guide to Teaching Phonology
Confession time: I’m not very good at pronouncing English words, and I’m a native speaker! I have a pretty extensive vocabulary when it comes to recognition and definitions, but pronunciation always gets me. I think that is largely due to the fact that English pronunciation isn’t very logical. It's confusing even for people who have been speaking the language their entire life.
If that’s the case, then how do we teach our students who are non-native speakers?
How to Help Your Students Enjoy Reading: An Interactive Approach to Reading Comprehension
If you're a reader (like me), reading comprehension may come naturally, but start reading in a second language and you'll be lost, no matter your natural inclinations! Yet, I'm sure we can all agree that comprehension is integral to reading successfully and to enjoying reading.
A Lesson Planning Guide for the Free-Thinking ESL Teacher
If you’ve been trained as a teacher or you work for an organization or school, you’ve probably learned how to create a formal lesson plan. State your objectives. Explain how you’ll meet them. List your materials. Show how you will accomplish the course goals. Etc.
There is definitely a time and place for formal lesson plans. However, they aren't always practical in day-to-day teaching. If you find that you’re more of a free-thinker, or you’re just straight up unorganized, formal lesson plans might be the bane of your existence.
My Top 5 Speaking Structures for an Adult ESL Class
Conversation classes are some of my favorite types of classes to teach, and sometimes it doesn’t even feel like teaching! But getting your students to talk can be challenging, and keeping them engaged in the discussion activities can feel like pulling teeth.
In order to prevent your students from getting bored and in order to keep the class exciting use speaking structures!
English Language Learning Strategies: 4 Ways to Make Your Students Think
When learning a language, there are three major factors at play: memory, cognitive functions, and compensation. The first article in this series, titled English Language Learning Strategies: Improve Memory, targeted memory. I definitely recommend checking that out before you continue reading, as it provides a good basis for talking about language learning strategies.
How to Succeed as an ESL Teacher in a Multi-Level Classroom
You’ll be hard pressed to find a teaching placement that does not include some variety in student levels within the same classroom. Sometimes this is due to grouping students by age (often in adolescent classes), keeping groups together throughout a program, insufficient placement testing, or a lack of resources that will allow students to be grouped more specifically by level. More often than not, you’re at the whims of your institution.
From a mile away your students may seem to be at the same level, but there will always be variations in what students know and which language skills they excel at. If this is the case, the best thing you can do for your students and your own sanity is conduct a needs analysis.
The #1 Method to Revolutionize Your Grammar Lesson: A Communicative Method
Some people are definitely grammar nerds, and can sit and listen to a lecture on verb tenses for hours on end. I, for one, am not one of those people. If you're in the same boat as I am, I'm sure (like me) you find it difficult to engage and comprehend grammar articles or presentations, let alone stay awake!
If you aren't confident in teaching grammar, planning out a 20 minute long lecture on the 8 different rules for the use of the definite article, 'the,' can be overwhelming. Imagine how it feels for your students who are listening in their second language!
ESL Activities for Adults: Planning Student Arrangements
When planning an activity, a detail that often goes unnoticed is the way that students are working together. Student arrangements are so important, though. An individual activity is much different than a whole class collaborative activity, which could involve more than 20 students working together. You, as the teacher, should know what groupings are available to you, and how to change or modify a suggested grouping.
4 Writing Activities to Engage Your Learners and Spark Creativity
Chances are you’ve thought about using pictures as a prompt in the language classroom. They’re great for discussion, to guide listening, to aid reading, and to jump start writing! There are so many things to do with a well-chosen picture.
3 Activities to Help You Teach Business English Well
Teaching English to adults is one thing, but teaching business English is another animal entirely. While it can seem difficult to teach business English without prior business experience, teaching English for a specific purpose (tourism, academia, business, etc) can be a lot of fun and really engaging for both the teacher and the students!
An ESL Teacher's Guide to Setting Resolutions
We’re officially a few days into 2018 and everyone is setting resolutions. It’s almost guaranteed that you, or someone you know, has set the resolution to ‘lose weight,’ ‘spend more time with family,’ or ‘get organized.’ These kinds of resolutions can be great, but resolutions don't just have to be for personal growth and development. You can set professional resolutions as well! In fact, goal-setting is a great opportunity for reflection and planning for teachers, students, and general learning communities.
Reflection and Resolution: A New Year's Mini-Lesson for Adult ESL Students
Happy (almost) New Year!! With Christmas in only a few days, 2018 is right around the corner! There are plenty of aspects of this holiday that may be confusing to students, and there is a TON of language that you can teach while discussing the traditions.
Christmas Around the ESL Classroom: Free Worksheet + Lesson Activities
I don’t know about you, but I always struggle to find a way to talk about the holiday season, while being sensitive towards the cultures and religions in my classroom and respectful towards my adult learners. A lot of ESL materials are written for children, and while these materials are sometimes transferable to adult learners, most times I feel like it’s a little demeaning and disrespectful to use materials with cartoons and activities for elementary age learners with my adults.
Creating a Lesson Plan Road Map: 3 Steps to a Logical and Creative Plan
Lesson planning is a HUGE challenge for a lot of English teachers. When I taught in Mongolia for 6 weeks, I was always rushing to finish my lesson plan because I simply didn’t have enough time to do everything. It can be frustrating, as a teacher, to feel this much of a time crunch. I knew that I was capable of teaching and planning much more complex or creative lessons, and I knew that my students deserved every ounce of my ability, but I simply couldn’t afford to “get creative.”
How to Use Information Gap Activities for Authentic Communication
Communication is one of the biggest, if not the biggest, goals for English language learners, which means that it should be the goal of the language classroom. However, authentic communication is hard to mimic in the confines of the classroom, especially more formal classrooms that can feel academic or stark. Information gap activities are great for structuring communication in an authentic way.
English Language Learning Strategies: Improve Memory in the Classroom
Memory is one of the most important aspects of language learning. Without concrete memory strategies, English language learners can become overwhelmed by the amount of information they’ll be required to remember, classify, manipulate, and produce.
It’s easy to demand students to memorize a list of vocabulary words or the correct greeting for a specific social situation, but it’s much more effective and helpful to provide your students with techniques and strategies for doing so.
English Pronunciation Guide: Thought Groups
There are many teachers who are overwhelmed by teaching grammar, uncomfortable with open-ended speaking activities, or struggle to properly support their students when reading (if that’s you, click here!). Nevertheless, pronunciation proves to be one of the most difficult and most important aspects of English for both teachers and students to overcome.
How to Increase Reading Fluency in Your Classroom
Teaching reading is incredibly multi-faceted. If your students aren’t literate in their first language, you may have to teach them the basic skills of literacy. Phonics is a major part of reading, as well as pronunciation and grammar, but one of the most overlooked aspects is your students’ general ability to read fluently.
Encouraging Diversity in Multicultural Classrooms
One of my favorite things about my experience teaching ESL (as opposed to my experience teaching EFL, though I loved both) was the diverse range of people and cultures that I had in my classroom. I love cultural diversity in the classroom! However, in some ways, teaching EFL to students within the same age range, upbringing, educational background, and culture was much easier. I knew who I was working with, I only had to research one culture, and most of the time the students were on the same page. That wasn’t the case with my adult ESL class.
The Three Parts of a Listening Exercise
If I were to ask you to come up with a unique speaking activity, I’m sure you’d have little-to-no trouble. If I were to ask you to come up with a unique reading or writing activity, I’m sure you’d have little-to-no trouble. However, if I were to ask you to come up with a unique listening exercise, you might struggle a little bit more.
ESL Activities for Adults: A Pre-Planning Guide
If you’ve been teaching from a textbook or curriculum for a while and want to begin creating your own lesson plans, you may be wondering where to start. There are a lot of different aspects involved in creating a lesson, but one of the most important is planning out the activities that your students will be engaging in.
Don’t worry, you don’t have to start completely from scratch when planning a lesson or an activity. There are plenty of activity ideas that you can access with a quick Google search or Pinterest browse. Nevertheless, finding the right activity for you, your students, and your lesson can be a little bit more time-consuming.
Supporting Struggling Writers: 5 Ways to Boost Writing Competence
In some ways, writing can be one of the most difficult aspects of language learning. Not only do learners have to worry about using the correct words, sentence structure, and grammar, but the words they write can be looked back on multiple times. Speech, on the other hand, is spoken, heard, and forgotten in a moment’s notice.
I’m sure you’ve had students (or perhaps have experienced this in your own second language acquisition) who have been resistant to writing. There are a few different ways this could play out.
Engaging Ways to Use Pre-Written Dialogues in Your Classroom
Many ESL textbooks, whether focused on speaking; reading; writing; or grammar, use pre-written dialogues in every chapter. The textbook usually encourages the reader to listen to an audio of the dialogue, practice with a partner, or answer questions, among other things. However, as I'm sure you can imagine or have experienced, these activities can become very monotonous for both the teacher and the students. So, how do you spice up the lesson, while still following the curriculum or textbook?
How to Create a Vocabulary List and Use It!
Vocabulary influences every aspect of language use. After all, if you don’t know what words mean, they are practically useless to you. When working through a written text with your students or beginning a new topic in class, it's important to highlight vocabulary words to aid in understanding. So, how do you figure out which words to focus on?
ESL Methods of Teaching (plus Find Your Methodology Worksheet!)
Do you ever begin to plan a lesson and find that you can't quite focus on which activities to use, how to teach the content, or what the best method for guiding your students through English is?
Methods of teaching are not something that we think about often. Yet, defining your own personal methodology and beliefs about teaching can be extremely helpful.
Teaching Life Skills: Pt. 2
While part 1 targeted the theory of teaching life skills, today I want to focus more on how to put together a life skills lesson plan. How do you begin? Forming lesson plans can be stressful and overwhelming, but it can be even more difficult to find the balance between teaching a skill and teaching language.
Have no fear! Breaking a task into smaller steps is always helpful, and I like to break up my lesson planning into three steps: identifying a practical need, identifying a linguistic need, and merging the two together. Let's jump in!
Teaching Life Skills: Pt. 1
Teaching a language is more than teaching a set of sounds, utterances, vocabulary terms, and grammatical formulas. Teaching a language is about teaching a culture and teaching a communicative system. Additionally, teaching a language involves teaching life skills, especially in an ESL setting. While you may not be teaching your students how to live their life, you are teaching them how life is lived in a new language.
Teaching with Limited Resources
As an ESL teacher, especially a teacher of adults, there are many situations that are not exactly optimal. Your teaching context may lack the necessary funding, which often leaves you struggling to engage and guide your students through their English education.
Sometimes you may not have a copy machine available for easy use. While other times you may not have a projector or a whiteboard. There are times that I’ve taught in a space that was not the appropriate size for the number of students in my class.
How to Nail Your First Day of Class: Games, Activities, and More!
The first day of a new class can be really intimidating and awkward because you don't know the rhythm, personalities, or sometimes even the proficiency levels of your students. However, it can also be very exciting because you get to set the tone for the rest of the class.
Sometimes there are factors that alleviate or prescribe a few of the variables that make up a class of individuals. Maybe your program places students according to proficiency level, so you know exactly what your students are able to do. Your program may prescribe the "type" of class you teach: academic, conversational, survival, English for Specific Purposes, etc...