The Halloween Lesson

ESL Lesson topics are often chosen based on the time of year. So students might spend some time discussing what they plan to do in Summer or what Christmas presents they’re going to buy. One of the most popular themes is Halloween. There are , here are just a few thoughts for a Halloween lesson. Short Activities…

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Teaching With A Topic

Memory plays a big part in learning. After all, what’s the point in spending all day studying something just to forget it all the next day? There are many ways to help retention. For example, I used to use a specific incense stick every time I revised for an exam, then in the test I…

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When There’s Nothing To Do

Not all of the time a teacher spends at school is occupied with actual teaching. For many foreign teachers a majority of their in-school hours are taken up with tedious desk-sitting. This is the ideal time to prepare for future classes, and that’s what most Japanese teachers and private company supervisors expect. However, what does…

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Activity: Board Games

Board games are a classic tradition that have enriched the childhoods of many and vastly improved countless rain-drenched caravan holidays. The most famous games can be found throughout the world but every country has board games of its own. In Japan it’s not hard to find someone who enjoys a game of Shogi, the Japanese…

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A Standard Lesson Plan For Junior High and Up

I’ve already written a little bit about some activities that can be used in the ESL classroom and about how to forge an effective worksheet but how do these elements come together to make a decent lesson? Here I’m going to go through a standard lesson plan for Junior High or High School based on…

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Junior High and Up Activity – Shiritori

Batman’s Utility Belt is a marvellous thing. With everything from smoke pellets to grappling guns to shark-repellent bat-sprays he’s prepared for every situation. ESL teachers can equip themselves with an equally useful, if slightly less flashy, set of tools. One of those tools is Shiritori. I call it by it’s Japanese name since learning it…

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Learning Students’ Names

Names connect us. They bring us together and personalise experiences. A student who is addressed by name will sit up and pay attention. The other benefit is that a teacher who remembers a name is showing that they care about the student. But teaching in a foreign country means students will often have names that…

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BINGO in the ESL classroom

Bingo, also known as “The Game Of Kings”, is known to Japanese kids too. This makes it an easy game to appropriate for English lessons. Elementary The younger they are, the more exciting the prospect of Bingo becomes. I’ve been in some Elementary classes where all I have to do is mention the name of…

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Interview Activities

What is a conversation? Why do we talk to other people? Sometimes we want to tell someone something: I’m hot. You’re very attractive. These pretzels are making me thirst. And at other times we want to find out something from someone else: How are you? What do you think about my new brown, corduroy trousers?…

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Teaching Junior High – An Introduction

Junior High Schools in Japan are similar to Elementary Schools in a lot of ways, so some of the things I mentioned before are likely to be of use to anyone teaching at a Junior High too. The obvious difference is the students’ age range and the fact that they now have subject-specific teachers as…

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