5 Tips to improve communication in your ESL class

Hi There,

One of the hardest parts in an ESL class is making your students communicate , make them use their English in a meaningful context.

Tip 1: Information Gap. Let’s face it, in most questions on an ESL class the answer is not a mystery! Look at the next example:

Peter bought an ice-cream. 

What did Peter buy?

Boring, isn’t it?

Students will be more motivated with challenging task where they have to find some kind of missing information. So if you want to practise simple past question like in the example above you can use a short video showing what Peter did yesterday, ask them to pay attention and try to memorize the activities and then ask them.

Tip 2: Give a context. The right context makes learning much more meaningful for the students and for us! Sadly, the use of context is not a regular practice in ESL lessons.

Some examples of easy and motivating contexts are : fairy tales, books, films or even the news. Each context has a limited vocabulary and gives a lot of clues to the students, so it makes them feel more comfortable with their master of the language.

Tip 3: Take your time. Rome wasn’t built in a day! And communication relies on complex variables such as self-confidence or motivation so don’t try to run very fast. Try to find a pace that fits both you and your group.

Tip 4: Allow some time in their mother language. Students will feel more relaxed if they know that they will be able to comment on the activities and express themselves in their mother tongue at some point. So why not let them do it? The thing is to make crystal clear when they are expected to speak in English and when they can use their first language.

Tip 5: Try to use games. Games are wonderful when it comes to communication, in a way they sum up all the previous points. They are challenging for the students, they provide a context and they make the student feel motivated and relaxed.

To finish up I would like to share an example activity to boost communication at your class. It’s a classical one but I find it really handy and students also like it. You can download the activity here:

Find a person who..

    Image source

As always I hope that you find this post useful and I’m really looking forward to your comments!


Wonderful exercises on have to/ don’t have to

Hi there,

I’ve been really busy lately. But now I’m back with some new materials. This time I’ve brought some exercises on have to/ don’t have to. Students have to fill out some gaps but also there is a creative task at the end of the exercise.

Have to/ don’t have to

I hope you find them useful!

If you like them, please leave your comment.




Printable week schedule to work with verb tenses

Hi there,

In this post I bring a pretty straightforward activity.  But I find it a useful one when it comes to teach the differences among present and past tenses. It combines, both individual work with group discussion activities.

Download the Week Tenses Worksheet

Source: google.es via AMPA on Pinterest

I hope that you enjoy it!

Printable images to work with feelings and emotions

Looking for a versatile material to work with emotions in your class?

By thunder, you should try this document! It’s a collection of thirteen images showing different feelings and emotions. I use them to make the students talk about emotions, to associate them with vocabulary or just to play with them as cards.

Download the feeling and emotions sheet.

Source: google.es via AMPA on Pinterest

Enjoy them!

Mr. Ottis