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English Teaching Tips


Keep a folder of great lessons ready to go at a moment's notice.

This is self-explanatory. If something works, make sure to take the time to set it aside in a special folder for future use. You will be very thankful that you took an extra two minutes to make an extra photocopy for future use! Sometimes, however, you'll need to have an activity ready to go at a moment's notice to fill in at the end of a lesson, or between activities. In this case, it's a good idea to keep no where to go for short activities. A good place to start is this short activities page, or the user submitted short activities suggestion page. Perhaps you could also suggest one of your best short activities.

Find some great activities in the lesson plan library

Take note of the most common student mistakes made during an exercise and correct students after the activity has taken place.

Most ESL EFL classes have improved communication skills as a top priority. When a teacher corrects every mistake, students become hesitant when speaking because they are afraid of being corrected. You can give them more confidence by correcting them after the fact. Most mistakes made are repeated by a number of students and are of a similar nature. By correcting students after the exercise, you help increase communicative fluency by encouraging a natural flow of conversation that would otherwise be interrupted by frequent correction. Correcting students after the exercise also helps them to focus on the most common mistakes which is useful to all students, not just the student who has made a particular mistake.

More on choosing your class materials and approach

Use music in class.

Music can be incredibly helpful in setting the mood, helping students concentrate, or just improving the spirits of students before they get down to work. Put a recording on before students arrive and watch how students leave their cares behind them as they get ready to concentrate on the learning tasks ahead. Music provides a wonderful way of refocusing and relaxing at the same time.

More on using music in your classroom

Get your students more physically involved in the lesson.

Sitting at a desk for a long time can be incredibly boring and cause students to lose attention. Get your students up and walking about, even for just a few moments, and you will be surprised at how the energy level rises in the classroom. Not only do these short breaks help students refocus their energies, but they also improve learning by providing a physical link to the learning taking place at that moment.

More on getting students physically involved with some "Brain Gym" exercises

Begin teaching English for Specific Purposes

One of the best ways to advance your teaching careers is to begin teaching English for Specific purposes. The task might be daunting at first, but you'll soon find out that students bring most of the materials to class. The key to teaching English for Specific Purposes is knowing how to quickly find materials that will be helpful to your students by using the power of the Internet. Once you've got a basic overview of their tasks, you can help them use English to accomplish those tasks. A great place to start is with the U.S. Government's Occupational Outlook Handbook, which, through its use of detailed descriptions, will get you up to speed quickly.

Tips on teaching English one-to-one and for English for Specific Purposes

Focus on making standard activities more communicative.

When all is said and done, most students are learning English in order to be able to communicate in English. Each exercise needs to have a communicative aspect somehow connected to it to take the knowledge acquired from passive to active. If you are working on conjugation exercises, get students to ask each other questions about their past experiences using the tenses concerned. If students are working on a reading comprehension, take the time to ask their opinions on what they have read, how what they have read applies to their own lives, etc.

More on creating a lesson plan incorporating a variety of essential language skills

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