Monday 24 March 2008

General Teaching Tips

Updated 5 January 2012
This article has also been published in the ELT Times.

  • Do your research. Check out ebooks to help you get started.
  • Act like a teacher. As a foreign teacher, both students and teachers will look up to you as a representative of your country. Act professional.
  • Make class interesting. Prepare a variety of activities and games. You can find lots of material for lesson plans online.
  • Be consistent. You shouldn’t play favourites-make sure you treat all your students equally.
  • Plan your lessons. Winging it doesn’t work.
  • Make sure the topic is appropriate. Some issues that are accepted at home are taboo abroad.
  • Your voice. Speak clearly and loudly.
  • Why. Tell the students why you want them to do something.
  • Expect the unexpected. Maybe you planned an activity for ten students and only five showed up. Always have a back-up plan.
  • Keep an open mind. Some countries have laid-back ideas about timing. Students may show up ten minutes late.
  • Ask your students for feedback. Most times they will be honest and tell you if they liked or didn’t like the activities you planned and how you can make it better.
  • Adapt your teaching style. Some students like to thinking things over and have everything perfect before speaking. Others want to shout out the answer as soon as they know it.
  • Bring realia. Pictures from magazines, photos from home or your travels, etc. Real objects make lessons come alive.

  • Dress inappropriately. Jogging pants, jeans or shorts aren’t acceptable. Women should cover their shoulders, stomachs and knees. Sleeveless shirts are ok, but spaghetti straps aren’t. Men should wear dress pants and a dress shirt with a collar. Piercings and tattoos should be covered up.
  • Dumb students down. Just because they can’t answer a question, doesn’t make them understand. Ask a different question or see if someone can help the student.
  • Embarrass your students. No one likes to be embarrassed.


Friday 21 March 2008

Sites for Lesson Planning

Updated 13 September 2016

There are thousands upon thousands of websites dedicated to teaching ESL and EFL. Here are some to help you get started. Be sure to look at learning about TEFL for tips that will help you in the classroom.

Anything and Everything
Behaviour / Classroom Management / Discipline

Bilingual Education

Business English
 Cross Curricular / CLIL

English for Academic Purposes (EAP)

(See specific topics as well, such as "Grammar", "Worksheets and Quizzes", and "Young Learners")


International Exams
Lesson Planning and Activities
Listening (see also "Technology")

(See "Young Learners")

Primary and Secondary School

Pronunciation (see also "Speaking" and "Technology)

Speaking (see also "Pronunciation" and "Technology")


Technology: Interactive
Worksheets and Quizzes


Young Learners (Preschool to Primary)


Tuesday 4 March 2008

Teaching English to Young Learners

Updated 24 February 2012
Change Activities Often
  • Young children simply can’t pay attention for a longer period of time and will start fidgeting.

Move Around
  • TPR (Total Physical Response) is great for children."Simon Says", "Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes", and "Do What I Say Not What I Do" are some examples.
  • Children love to be active and move around.
  • Try giving rambunctious children leadership roles. Have them hand out papers, collect game pieces, etc. It will keep them busy, quiet and make them feel important.

Games and Holidays
  • Forget boring fill in the blank activities. Put those questions on a game board instead.
  • Card games work well as well.
  • Try MES English for game ideas and templates.
  • Holidays are a great way to teach children English and culture so try to integrate them into your lessons.

Group Children Differently

  • Children learn just as much from their peers as they do their teacher.
  • They can learn to work together in addition to language skills.
  • When you pair students up they can sit side-by-side, face-to-face, back-to-back, or even on opposite sides of the room.
  • Small groups work well around a table or sitting on the floor.

  • Rather than punishing students for bad behaviour, try rewarding them for good behaviour.
  • Praise, stickers, stamps, and little gifts are wonderful ways to reward students that behave well.
  • Watch what happens when you compliment one student on sitting properly in his chair, all the others will quickly sit up straight because they want to be praised as well.
Discipline is Key

  • Try Star Lotto. At the beginning of class draw six stars on the board. When you want them to be quiet start counting down from ten and if you reach zero erase a star. At the end of class have a student draw a number. Numbers need to be from one to six. If a student gets a number that is equal to or less than the stars on the board, then the class gets a sticker on their Star Lotto chart. Once they get a certain number of stickers the class gets a prize.
  • Use signals for silence. Have a signal, such as putting your hands on your head, then clapping three times and then sitting up straight. Students will be able to see you and know that you want them to be quiet even if they can’t hear you. TEFL dot net has some ideas for calming down a pre-school class.
  • Make sure students understand the rules.You might need them to be translated into their native language.
  • Demonstrate how to do something with a couple of students in front of the class. That way if they don’t understand English they can see what they have to do.
  • Realise that boys and girls act very differently. Try reading how boys and girls learn differently for more info.
Learn More
If you're looking for online courses, check out How to Teach Young Learners offered by International House and Oxford TEFL.

This article has been published in the ELT Times.


Sunday 2 March 2008

Interviewed by ELT World

This interview was featured in ELT World Horizons Journal Issue 3 (March 2008) on page 37.


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