Class Sizes in Japan

There are many things that flit through the mind of someone coming to a foreign country to teach English. How will I get to school and back each day? Will students be able to follow the lessons? How many luminescent highlighter pen colours is too many? Well, I can’t answer all of these questions (except…

Read More

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…

Read More

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…

Read More

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…

Read More

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…

Read More

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…

Read More

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…

Read More

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…

Read More

Elementary Activity: Fruit Basket

One of the first activities I learned for teaching English to Elementary School kids was “Fruit Basket”. Although in Japanese it’s pronounced more like Fruits Basketo due to the way it’s translated into Japanese sounds. This simple Elementary activity is fun for everyone and it’s quite possible that you’ve played this or a variant of it in your…

Read More

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…

Read More