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5 Tips for ESL Teachers in the Classroom by the English School of Canada

Introduction So you’ve decided or been asked to teach ESL (English as a Second Language)? First of all, being a native speaker and having a great command of English does not automatically make you a great teacher. Teaching is as much about knowledge and ability as it is practical skills and experience of the craft. If the prospect of giving a course looks scary at first, don’t pull your hair out just yet. In this presentation, we will give you 5 tips that will help you start your journey on the right foot and pass that test with flying colors.

Tip 1: Get Your References Ready “Knowing" why a verb is conjugated a certain way is very different from knowing HOW to explain it to someone with no English background. That is why you need to get your hands on reference books (grammar, especially) for support.

Tip 2: Start Easy Most of us don’t realize it, but we are so used to speaking English that we have no idea how fast we may sound to people who are new to the language. When you start a class, be sure to speak slowly and articulate every word in order for everyone to understand what you say. Repeat difficult words and when you do, ask them all to pronounce it with you. Also, use basic vocabulary so as to not confuse your students. It is already hard enough for them to follow you at first. Increase your speed and your choice of words as they get used to your voice.

Tip 3: Use Props


The best way to get students involved in a class is to use visual aids. It could be drawings or posters. But the best option is still to ask every student to bring with him/her personal pictures. You can then ask them to describe those photos in their own words: were they doing? what clothes were they wearing?

When the students have an emotional connection to the subject at hand, they will generally be more invested and focused.

Tip 4: Get Them to Talk Apart from using props, one surefire way to keep your students involved and ensure that they progress is to solicit their participation whenever possible. When all they do is listen to you and adopt a passive posture (as is usually the case in regular schools), they generally lose interest, which impedes their learning. That is why you have to use any opportunity to have them join in and practice their English. If someone is sick or has missed a day of school, use that excuse to start a conversation on how to stay healthy. If a student has recently had a birthday, ask everyone what was the best present they ever got‌

Tip 5: Movies & Music This tip could be used when you have already had your class for some time. It can help in reigniting their interest. Movies and music can be great teachers. Many people learn a language by themselves just by watching TV or by listening to thousands of songs.

Take a page out of their book and apply this method to your students. You could, for example, take a famous song and cut it in smaller chunks and analyze it with your students. You could also try and find TV shows with subtitles in their native language. Have them watch an entire episode and then have the class speak about what they saw afterwards.


Teaching English as a second language might be a challenge, but if you use proven methods and engage students with interesting and entertaining content, then you should have no problem ensuring their progress.

Want more tips or info on ESL training? Check out our site at:

5 Tips for ESL Teachers in the Classroom  

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