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Incorporate Authentic Material in Your Classroom

Using authentic material in your lessons can stimulate and capture the imaginations of your students. Original and native material such as newspapers, maps, brochures, menus and magazines are some ideas to bring real world language into the classroom.

Challenge Your Students with Task Based Lessons

Involving your students in real world tasks will help reinforce new skills and encourage the practical use of the language. Reading and comprehending a utility bill or a shopping receipt are some ways to motivate and enhance language learning.

Be a Guide on the Side, Not a Sage on the Stage

Student centred learning can go a long way in the classroom. Help stimulate student curiosity and encourage confidence by acting as a facilitator or guide and deliver lessons that reflect your interest in student experiences and learning skills.

Create an Enjoyable Learning Environment

Encouraging laughter and self-correction of mistakes in the classroom can help promote a positive learning environment that is safe and risk-free. Avoid criticism and judgement.

Remember the 80-20 Rule

Talking less and letting your students do 80% of it in class can reinforce speaking and listening skills in language learning. Encourage pair or group conversation after every lesson highlighting grammar points, new vocabulary and life/cultural experiences.

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

5 Compelling Reasons to Use News in Your ESL Class!

By ESL MADE EASY - If you’re teaching English as a Second Language, using standard textbooks can get tiring after a while. Students may see the scenarios you ask them to discuss as contrived or not representative of real life language applications, and teachers often get bored using the same lessons over and over.
However, there’s one source of material that will never run dry, and that’s current events. With so much happening in the world around us, there’s very little reason to use the discussion sections in printed textbooks to strengthen your students’ conversational skills. Need more convincing? Here are five compelling reasons to use the news as a teaching tool in an ESL class.

1. The newspaper is an authentic text.
Unlike the awkward scenarios in most textbooks, the news is real (forget the biases)  — it's authentic. Students can actually take what they learn in class and have an actual conversation, in English, with friends, family, acquaintances, and co-workers about the same subjects.

2. It helps students build vocabulary and learn idioms.
There are some words that come up frequently in current news articles and nowhere else. By using the news to teach, students can learn these words. Also, as students learn idioms that are used in reporting and in everyday conversation, they’ll feel more and more comfortable with the language.

3. It helps students learn what is going on in their new country.
Many English learners are new to Canada and therefore may not be familiar with the country’s current hot button issues, key figures, or political climate. Using the news as a teaching tool in class not only helps your students the language — it teaches them important nuances about their new home.

4. It gets students in the habit of keeping up with the news.
Once students are comfortable picking up an English language newspaper or watching an English language news broadcast, they’re more likely to continue the practice long after your class is done. This is a great habit for them to get into - they might learn to paraphrase all the crazy hoopla that's been happening with the US election coverage on CNN too!
5. It makes your job more interesting!
The news is always changing, which means that there’s always something new to talk about in class. And while it’s true that you won’t be able to rely on last term’s class prep to get you through your current class, your new lessons will take the monotony out of teaching the same material from one term to the next, and it will help you grow as a teacher.

Using newspapers and news broadcasts in your ESL class as a teaching tool is an idea that you should consider if you haven't already been doing it. You and your students will reap the benefits mentioned above, and you’ll find yourself becoming much more knowledgeable about what’s going on in the world around you.


Friday, August 5, 2016

August Topic: World Left Handers Day!

August 13th is Left Handers Day and because I'm a leftie , it'll be a proud day for me! Almost 85% of the world's population is right handed which means much of the world's products such as scissors, desks, and sports equipment are projected for right paws. However, if you're a leftie like me, let's not let this get us down as many of us have learned to adapt quite well in this right-handed world. Interestingly enough, there's been many famous lefties such as Mozart, Leonardo Da Vinci, Albert Einstein, Julius Caesar, Celine Dion, President Obama and Michelangelo who have made significant contributions in the creative world too!

What about you?...
•Are you a leftie or a rightie? If you are a leftie, how has this affected your life?
•Do you know any left-handed people? If so, do they often complain about being left-handed?
•Are there any challenges for left-handed people in your home country? Explain.


Saturday, July 30, 2016

August Teaching Themes and Topics!

August is full of some interesting topics that your ESL students will enjoy starting with Friendship Day and Sister Day on August 2nd! If your students like cats, International Cat Day might be a fun topic to explore too.

Other mentionables are International Indigenous Day, World Humanitarian Day, Senior Citizens Day, World Mosquito Day, Dream Day and Daffodil Day!

Don't forget to mark your calendars with all of August's Themes and Topics for your ESL students here!

Friday, July 22, 2016

July Topic: Parents!

It's National Parents' Day on July 26th! This day promotes responsible parenting and celebrates the special love between a parent and their child. It also recognizes the important roles that parents play on their children's lives. Get your students talking about what it's like to be a parent, what their parents were like and/or what their childhood was like.


1. Are you a parent? If so, how many children do you have and what are their ages? If you aren't a parent yet, do you want to have children and, if so, how many would you like to have?

2. What are/were some of the house rules observed by your family? (Ex. no computer after 10 p.m., formal dinner every Sunday...etc)

3. What are some of the challenges parents face today when it comes to raising young children? What about when it comes to raising teenagers?

4. Do you think parents today have a more difficult time raising children than their parents and grandparents had? Explain.

5. In what ways can parents "spoil" their child? What negative consequences might this have on their child's life?

6. What are some things that your parents did when you were a child that you would or wouldn't do now as a parent?

7. What do you think makes someone a good parent? What makes someone a bad parent?

8. The verbs 'make' and 'let' are often used when describing a childhood experience. 'Make' suggests being required to do something and 'let' suggests being allowed. (e.g. my parents used to make me tidy my room every Saturday and my parents used to let me stay up late on Saturday night). Make your own sentences using the verbs 'make' and 'let' based on your own childhood experiences. If you are a parent, what are some things you make or let your children do?

Thursday, July 14, 2016

July Topic: Nelson Mandela

It's International Nelson Mandela Day on Monday, July 18th. This day is set aside not only to celebrate Nelson Mandela's life, but to remember some of Mandela's greatest achievements towards working with conflict, human development, democracy, peace and resolution. Get your ESL students talking about the values Nelson Mandela shared with the world on  freedom, equality and respect.


1.  What does freedom mean to you?
2.  Why is it important to respect others regardless of race and religion?
3.  Besides Nelson Mandela, can you think of other people who have contributed to peace on Earth?
4.  Why is it important to teach children how to be respectful and loving? What happens  when they are not taught this at a young age?


Friday, July 8, 2016

July Topic: International Puzzle Day!


It's international Puzzle Day on July 13th! Celebrate this day by giving your ESL students a few puzzles. Using puzzles such as crosswords and word searches is a great way to add some fun and liven up the classroom. Challenge students looking to build on their vocabulary and spelling skills or use puzzles as a way to review and reinforce  previous lessons or themes.

 Find recommended links for your ESL students here!

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

July Topic: World Population Day!

WORLD POPULATION DAY, held every year on July 11th, was created by the United Nations Development Program in 1989. This important day was established to raise awareness of the issues and solutions related to our global population level. With over 7 billion people in the world (see the worldometer here!), there is no doubt that this is an issue that affects us all. It's also a topic that should spark some lively discussion as your ESL learners address such related issues as the impact of further development and population growth, sustainability and the impact all of this has on our young people.

Watch this short video clip "7 Billion - National Geographic" here.


Saturday, July 2, 2016

July Topic: Independence Day!

Monday, July 4th, is Independence Day in the United States. Also known as the Fourth of July, this date commemorates the Declaration of Independence from Great Britain.  This is a festive day for many Americans as they celebrate with fireworks, parades, fairs, concerts, picnics and family reunions. It's a fun and proud day for Americans so get your students talking about the history, the culture, and the traditions of the United States!

Find recommended links for your ESL students here!

July Teaching Themes and Topics

Be sure to check out July Themes and Topics here and follow ESL Made Easy for weekly posts on some of them this month. There's plenty to celebrate in July starting with Canada Day on July 1st and Independence Day in the United States on July 4th. July is also a good month to talk about chocolate, the world's population, and the importance of parents as it's Parents Day on July 26th. There's plenty more topics that fall in July so don't forget to mark your teaching calendar!

Monday, June 27, 2016

July Topic: Canada Day!

                            Happy Birthday Canada! 

Friday, July 1st marks the anniversary date (1867) of the union of the British North America provinces. This statutory holiday means fireworks, festivals, concerts and parades all across Canada! 

It's a proud day for Canadians to celebrate their heritage so why not get your ESL students talking about Canada Day too!
Watch Canada Travel Guide video here


Monday, June 20, 2016

The Importance of Bees

The world needs BEES and there's been a lot of buzz about them lately! Did you know that in North America, one third of the food we consume wouldn't exist without bees and other pollinators?

Unfortunately, the global population of bees and other key pollinators is dropping dramatically and scientists are struggling to understand the causes, impacts and potential solutions. A great thing to get your ESL students talking about might be ‎the sort of changes that are affecting the bee population (e.g., loss of habitat, pesticides and even viruses)!

Find recommended links for your ESL students here!

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

June Topic: Father's Day!

Sunday, June 19th marks a special appreciation day for fathers! There's no shortage of online resources so get your ESL students talking about the role of fathers in the family and in society as well as the history behind this celebration!