Category Archives: Ideas for teachers

Lesson plan: Describing Places

Greenwich VillageIn this lesson, learners use a range of skills, focussed around the topic of describing an area within a town or city. All the materials and procedures are provided as attachments.

Level: Upper-Intermediate (B2) to Advanced (C1)

Time: 70 – 90 minutes

Topic: your favourite area in a town or city
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Lesson plan: modals of deduction and speculation

FamilyLevel: Intermediate+ – Upper-Intermediate (B1+ – B2)

Lesson aim: To introduce, highlight and clarify the form, function and pronunciation of past and present (simple) modals for deduction / speculation.

Time: 50 – 60 minutes

Topic: Famous photographs / Photography

Framework: Test-Teach-Test
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Song lesson idea: The Beatles “Revolution” and word-building

Good_Day_SunshineLevel: High Intermediate (CEFR B1+) – Upper-Intermediate (CEFR B2)

Time: +- 45 minutes

Revolution worksheet and teacher’s notes

(I first started using this song as an introduction to Part 3 of the Use of English paper when training students who were planning to take the Cambridge First Cetificate in English course.)

  1. Start by showing students pictures of various revolutions (French, Chinese etc.) Continue reading

Icebreaker lesson idea: “Be the Teacher”


This is a fun, dynamic, communicative and student-centered activity I usually do if the learners in the class know each other, but not me.

  1. Tell the learners that they are going to get the chance to get to know you, and that they will be able to ask you any questions they like – about anything! (They usually look really excited at this point!) Continue reading

My teen-tutoring dos and don’ts

If, like me, you’ve spent most of your tutorhood teaching high school pupils, there were probably a few times you were faced with a blank stare, a look of despair, an icy air.

Just the other day, I was met with a garbled answer and a sweaty frown to a straightforward CCQ (concept checking question) whilst teaching modal verb usage in Afrikaans. Holy whippets! What went wrong?

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Does meta matter?

metalanguage (1)

I have a confession. Until two weeks ago, I didn’t know what a comma splice was. I quickly recognised that I knew the error behind it, I just didn’t know that it had a name.

Did I feel this impeded my ability to identify and correct said mistake? No. Did I feel just a teensy bit disappointed in myself that I didn’t know what it was called? Yup.

But I’m a language professional. That’s why I felt, dare I say, ashamed at the notion of not knowing this marvellous little bit of metalanguage.

But in the world of ELT, the question of whether metalanguage should be used in the classroom remains controversial and highly contested.

Let’s look at some arguments: Continue reading

To sing or not to sing?: Using songs in the English classroom


I have always found the subject of using songs in the classroom a controversial one. Many teachers I have worked with wouldn’t touch them. Others took their guitars into class with them on a regular basis.

Below is my take on the matter, with some lesson ideas and useful websites to inspire other teachers to at least give it a shot.

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