8 Benefits of Games in TEFL

Language learning is not easy. It takes time and effort. Games can sustain students’ interest and work so they ought to be at the heart of teaching the foreign language. Perhaps they are often used as short warm-up activities or when there is some time left at the end of a lesson, but they should be used at all stages of the lesson, provided that they are suitable and carefully chosen.

There are many benefits of using games in EFL classes. These are seven of them

  1. Games break the usual routine of the language class as they are fun, and children like to play them.
  2. Games motivate and challenge learners as they add variation to a lesson and increase motivation by providing a plausible incentive to use the target language.
  3. Games provide language practice in the various skills: speaking, writing, listening and reading as they create a meaningful context for language use. They also encourage creative and spontaneous use of the language
  4. Games make the foreign language immediately useful to the children as they bring it to life and make the reasons for speaking even to reluctant children.
  5. Games encourage students to interact and communicate with their environment. Through games children experiment, discover, and learn English the way children learn their mother tongue without being aware they are studying; thus, without stress, so they can learn a lot.
  6. Games make classroom students-centered as in the game context, teacher acts only as facilitator while whole class participate and involve in healthy competition. Even shy students can participate positively.
  7. Games reinforce and review language items as they help learners recall material in a pleasant, entertaining way.
  8. Games can focus on grammar communicatively and promote using language structures in real-life situations.

Even if games resulted in noise, they are still worth paying attention to and implementing in the EFL classes since they motivate learners, promote communicative competence, and generate fluency.


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Three Methods to Teach Your Child to Read

Reading is Best Taught Using a Combination of Three Methods:

  1. Auditory training – training for the ears to prepare the child’s brain for phonics.
  2. Phonics – knowledge of letter(s) sounds.
  3. Whole Language – immediate application of phonics into connected sentences and stories.

It’s clear from research that using one of these methods will help only a few children. In fact, using two out of three methods will still leave numerous children illiterate. However, when auditory training, phonics and whole language are merged, literacy rates increase significantly.

Learning How to Read Begins in Children’s Ears.

Most people think children learn how to read through their eyes. But reading is actually learned through the ears. Parents lay a foundation for success in reading by talking to a child, reading books to him, and playing auditory games such as rhyming. The more books you read, the bigger his vocabulary becomes. A bigger vocabulary allows him to recognize lots of words while he reads.

Steps to Teach Your Child to Read:

  1. Teaching alphabet sounds to help your child improve auditory skills.
  2. Encourage and motivate your child to put sounds together.
  3. Teach your child how to rhyme.
  4. Teach your child to sound out new words.
  5. Encourage your child to memorize words as whole units.

The Normal Sequence For Children Learning How to Read:

  1. From birth to age three, children listen to lots of words spoken and learn how to talk.
  2. Children, aged three to four years old have growing vocabularies, and they learn how to rhyme.
  3. In first grade children are taught how to blend letter sounds together to “sound out” words and memorize sight words. They begin reading simple sentences.
  4. Second and third graders learn how to read “chapter” books and read fluently with comprehension.

Students who fail at reading in English are unlikely to do well in English exams at school, so all ESL/EFL teachers in primary schools place much emphasis on developing the reading skills of their learners.

ESL/EFL teachers in primary schools are constantly searching for effective techniques that can help them produce effective results related to getting their students to read in English as quickly as possible, that’s why I’ve decided to create a practical guide with sample activities to help both teachers and parents to teach children beginning reading so that they can read in English easily and quickly.

“Teaching Beginning Reading” eBook tackles the following main ideas:

  • What is reading?
  • The main approaches to teaching beginning reading.
  • The stages of teaching beginning reading.
  • Sample activities for beginning reading.
  • Some important guidelines for EFL teachers to follow before beginning to teach reading in English.

I wrote this eBook to exchange my experience with the teachers on the techniques they should use in the classroom, the guidelines they should follow and the reading tasks that can get most children to read in ESL/EFL classes with ease and in a fairly short time.

To spread benefit, I offer this eBook for the lowest price and moreover, if you buy it, you will get another eBook on “Teaching Grammar in the Classroom to ESL/EFL Learners” as a bonus from elttguide.com.

Top 10 Tips for Teaching a Great EFL Lesson

If you want to make a success and teach a great English language lesson, you should consider the following before stepping into the classroom:

  1. Be aware of the aims of teaching English language in the country where you are working and in the educational stage you are working in.
  2. Read the learning outcomes of the whole unit to which the lesson you are teaching belongs.
  3. Read the lesson from student’s book and write the answers of the exercises on both student’s book and workbook.
  4. Get a look at the teacher’s guide to know the guidelines for teaching the lesson.
  5. Be aware of the behavioral objectives that students should be able to achieve at the end of the lesson.
  6. Prepare in writing what steps you will follow and what you will do exactly in teaching the lesson.
  7. Prepare at least one teaching aid (e.g. word & picture cards) to facilitate learning, activate students and attract their attention.
  8. Prepare the the audio files and listen to them beforehand and check the pronunciation of each word in the lesson.
  9. Be aware of the specifications of the exams and prepare related questions to train students.
  10.  Have an assessment sheet to assess students during the lesson.

What else should the teacher do before going ahead to the classroom to teach a lesson? Waiting for more suggestions from you.

 


If you are interested in how to teach reading comprehension and want practical tips to do so in the classroom, you can buy my latest eBook: Teaching Reading Comprehension to ESL/EFL Learners: A Practical Classroom Guide With Sample Reading Lesson Plans.

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If you want to know how to teach beginning reading to your primary students, you can get my eBook “Teaching Beginning Reading to ESL/EFL Learners” now for the lowest price for a limited time.

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How to Deal with Low-Achiever Students and Help Them

Who is the low-achiever student?

If the student doesn’t or achieves to a low extent the required objectives at the end of the lesson, unit or course, it is important to recognize and identify him/her as a low achiever. In this case, a remedial plan should be designed to allow him/her to learn the required knowledge and skills to achieve the established objectives.

Why are some students low achievers?

Some students are low achievers due to different and various reasons. Some of them are as follows:

1. Perhaps the content is too difficult or the students must learn a large amount of it in a short time.

2. Maybe there was no time for practice, revision or recycling the previous content.

3. The students may use wrong or poor learning strategies or study habits when learning or studying their lessons.

4. The students may suffer from stress, depression, physical illness or learning disability.

5. The attitude of the students towards education may be negative. They may lack motivation to learn and study.

6. The reasons may relate to the teachers and teaching. Teachers may be unclear concerning to the objectives their students should achieve. Teachers may use poor or inappropriate teaching or assessment techniques. Feedback and assistance that must be provided to low achievers may be totally absent or provided too late.

How can you assist low achievers and improve their learning skills?

1. First of all, know well who low-achiever learners are. They are learners who usually:

* lack basic knowledge or skills.

* have difficulty in comprehension.

* lack concentration.

* confuse easily in the classroom.

2. Change your attitudes towards them.

3. Give them clear, step by step instructions.

4. Be ready to give them extra help or explanation.

5. Motivate them all the time using all possible ways.

6. Be aware of their learning or studying habits and try to improve them.

7. Know their leaning styles and adapt your teaching to them.

8. Set the objectives that  students should achieve at the end of learning sessions and prepare how to assess their achievement. Objectives should be SMART (specific, measurable, acceptable, realistic and timed) and be informed to the students orally at the beginning of each learning session.

9. Diagnose the difficulties as soon as possible or anticipate them and prepare how to deal with and react to them.

10. Observe the students and provide them with immediate feedback concerning to their points of weakness.

11. Prepare some procedures that students should follow or design and implement a remedial plan to remedy your students’ points of weakness.

12. Consult and get advice as early as possible from your colleagues, supervisor, psychological and social specialist regarding to learning issues of your students.

What to do if unable to prevent failure or remedy low achievement?

1. Never give a passing mark to the learner who doesn’t deserve it.

2. Make professional and fair judgments about your students’ performance.

3. Document your judgments and let the school principal and parents be aware of them.

4. Don’t feel “bad”. Failure in a course can be a signal for students to re-consider their choices of the kind of learning or specialization or at least it will mean that, unless they work hard, they won’t pass.

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16 Tips to Become the Best EFL Teacher

1. Learn your students’ names.

You will be able to control your class better and gain more respect if you learn the students’ names early on. If you are one who has a poor memory for names, ask each student to bring a photo of his own and write his name below it. Your students will be impressed when you call them with their names.

2. Establish authority from the beginning.

Establish a system for communication in the classroom from the first day. Deal quickly with inappropriate conduct in a friendly yet firm manner.

3. Be overly prepared.

You must be well mentally prepared for each lesson. You should know the sequences of activities and how long each activity will take. You should also have an additional activity prepared in case you have extra time.

4. Always consider the learners’ needs when preparing for each lesson.

Why are your students studying English? How will they use English in the future? What do they need to learn? The answer of these questions helps you specify what and how to teach and what to focus on.

5. Be prepared to make changes to your lesson plan.

If the lesson you have prepared isn’t working, don’t be afraid to modify it. Be sensitive to the students and the conditions around.

6. Find out what learners already know.

This is an ongoing process. Students may have already been taught a particular grammar point or vocabulary. Base your lesson on their prior knowledge and provide them with additional information that they don’t know.

7. Be knowledgeable about grammar.

You don’t have to be a linguist to teach EFL. Most of what you need to know can be learned from reading the students’ books. Often the rules and explanations about structure in the students’ books are much more accessible and realistic than in other books

8. Be knowledgeable about the learners’ culture.

The learners’ culture can be a valuable tool for teaching. Knowing it will raise your ability to communicate effectively with your students.

9. Don’t stick literally to the set book.

Add any extra necessary vocabulary, functions, grammar, or topics that you feel the students may want or need.

10. Don’t assume that the set book will always work.

Many activities must be modified to make them work, and some have to be changed completely to cope with the educational setting.

11. Teach vocabulary effectively.

The building blocks of language are not grammar and functions. The most essential thing students need to learn is vocabulary; without vocabulary you have no words to form sentences, no words to pronounce. Help your students to use the stock of vocabulary in their minds and learn more.

12. Proceed from more controlled activities to less controlled ones.

Not always, but in general, present and practice more structured activities before freer or more open ones.

13. Don’t neglect the teaching of listening.

Listening is the most important skill to teach your students. While listening to each other and to the teacher will improve students’ overall listening ability, this can be no substitute for listening to authentic English. As much as possible, try to expose your students to authentic English in a variety of situations. The best way to do this and the most realistic is through audios and videos. Videos are much more motivating and culturally loaded.

14. Turn regular activities into games or competition.

Many familiar teaching points can be turned into games or activities with a competitive angle. It is a sure way to motivate students and activate them to work on the language.

15. Motivate your students with variety of activities.

By giving a variety of interesting topics and activities, students will be more motivated and interested, and they are likely to practice more.

16. Don’t leave the learners in the dark.

Explain exactly what they are expected to learn in a particular lesson. Make sure that students know what they are doing and why. Each task should be introduced so well that students know what to do exactly.


My featured eBook: Teaching Beginning Reading to ESL/EFL Learners is Now on SALE for the Lowest Price only for a limited time to spread benefit among as many ESL/EFL teachers as possible. 

This eBook is a practical guide for ESL/EFL teachers to teaching beginning reading and getting their students to read in English easily and quickly.

It tackles the following main ideas:

  • What is reading?
  • The main approaches to teaching beginning reading.
  • The stages of teaching beginning reading.
  • Sample activities for beginning reading.
  • Some important guidelines for EFL teachers to follow before beginning to teach reading in English.

I offer this step-by-step eBook guide not only for ESL/EFL teachers but also for parents to help them get their children to read in English easily and in a short time.

Moreover, if you buy this eBook, you will get another eBook on “Teaching Grammar in the Classroom to ESL/EFL Learners as a bonus from elttguide.com.

The 5 Key Components of a Lesson Plan

1- Objectives:

Write what you expect your students will do by the end of the lesson  e.g. by the end of the lesson, students will be able to ” pronounce, identify, put words in sentences, change into passive, compare, answer, use, match, …. etc ” or any verbs that can be observable and measurable in the classroom.

2- Warm up:  

Revise the previous lesson, check homework orally, correct common mistakes,  … etc or any other activity that can activate students and prepare them to receive the new material.

3- Presentation:

Present the new material using the suitable techniques, write the procedures that you will follow to explain the new material.

4- Practice:

It is the work done by the students whether it is controlled, guided, or free. Students answer some exercises based on the material presented. These exercises are often there on the set book.

5- Assessment:

Write some sentences on the board or distribute printed papers to see whether the objectives were achieved or not and to check whether students learned or not according to the objectives. If not, you should reteach the lesson using different techniques.

“Teaching Beginning Reading to ESL/EFL Learners” Now on Sale!

Students who fail at reading in English are unlikely to do well in English exams at school, so all ESL/EFL teachers in primary schools place much emphasis on developing the reading skills of their learners.

ESL/EFL teachers in primary schools are constantly searching for effective techniques that can help them produce effective results related to getting their students to read in English as quickly as possible, that’s why I’ve decided to create this eBook.

It is a practical guide for ESL/EFL teachers to teaching beginning reading and getting their students to read in English easily and quickly.

The eBook tackles the following main ideas:

  • What is reading?
  • The main approaches to teaching beginning reading.
  • The stages of teaching beginning reading.
  • Sample activities for beginning reading.
  • Some important guidelines for EFL teachers to follow before beginning to teach reading in English.

This eBook is Now on SALE for the Lowest Price for a Limited Time. 

I offer this step-by-step eBook guide not only for ESL/EFL teachers but also for parents to help them get their children to read in English easily and in a short time.

Moreover, if you buy this eBook, you will get another eBook on “Teaching Grammar in the Classroom to ESL/EFL Learners as a bonus from elttguide.com.

By selling this eBook, you will not only learn how to teach beginning reading to your students in the classroom but also you will support me with little money to continue my mission of helping ESL/EFL teachers teach English language more effectively.

With my love and appreciation
Mohamed Ramadan
Author & Teacher Trainer

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The 18 Tips to Become a More Effective English Language Teacher

How to be an effective English language teacher? Keep the following pieces of advice in your mind to realize your desire.

1. Be enthusiastic! Don’t do it just for the money.

Students appreciate the teacher who shows genuine interest in teaching. Teachers who are not, they should consider moving on to another profession.

2. Show interest in students as individuals.

Treat students as individuals, not subjects. Don’t belittle them; listen and talk to them. Only in this way will true communication take place.

3. Allow time for free communication.

For speaking this would mean allowing time for free conversation, for writing; doing free writing, for reading; allowing time for extensive pleasure reading, and for listening; listening for entertainment sake.

4. Use humor to activate the class.

Make it a habit to get students to laugh at least once per lesson.

5. Circulate.

Move around the classroom. Sit with groups and monitor, Take part in the communication. Walk about, listen and observe.

6. Make your instructions short and clear.

Demonstrate rather than explain whenever possible.

7. Speak up, but don’t break anyone’s eardrum.

You should be heard and comprehended without annoying students.

8. Don’t talk too much.

Depending on the subject, you should be talking from about 5% to 30% of the lesson. Most lessons should be student-centered, not teacher-centered.

9. Don’t talk too slow.

How do you expect your students to understand real English if you don’t speak at a fairly natural speed? Oversimplified and affected speech will hurt your students in the long run.

10. Be sensitive to your students.

Watch their faces and reactions. Do they understand you? Are they interested or bored? Try to be aware of what is going on in your classroom at all times. If you are starting class and one student is still talking, try to gently get him/her to stop. If you are sitting with a group of students on one side of the room, try to be attentive to what is happening in other groups as well. There may be a group across the room that is confused and doesn’t know what to do.

11. Respect both “slow” and “fast” learners.

Language learning is not about intelligence; the important thing to stress is that the students are improving.

12. Don’t lose your cool.

If you do, you will lose respect. Even if you have to leave the classroom, do it in a controlled manner, explaining to the class or students why you are unhappy with them.

13. Be frank.

Praise your students when they are getting better and encourage them when they are not doing as well as they can.

14. Be a coach.

Some times you must be a coach more than a teacher. Push students to reach their potential. Create a safe environment in which they see themselves more clearly and try your best to develop their specific skills.

15. Be fair and realistic in testing.

Teach first and then test; don’t test things that haven’t been taught. Also, remember that the main purpose of language is communication.

16. Don’t over-correct.

If you think a student can correct their own mistake, don’t supply the correction for them, rather allow for some self-monitoring. Remember, some mistakes can be kept uncorrected if you are for fluency.

17. Be reflective.

Think about your own teaching. After finishing each lesson, take some time to reflect. Was the lesson effective? What were the good and bad points? How could it be improved?

18. Keep in shape.

Renew and update your knowledge about teaching from time to another. Look at new course books and teacher training books to get new ideas. Share your ideas with colleagues. Go to conferences.


If you are interested in how to teach reading comprehension and want practical tips to do so in the classroom, you can buy my latest eBook: Teaching Reading Comprehension to ESL/EFL Learners: A Practical Classroom Guide With Sample Reading Lesson Plans.

Buy This eBook


You can also get my eBook “Teaching Beginning Reading to ESL/EFL Learners” now for the lowest price for a limited time.

Buy This eBook


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Ten Skills a Primary Language Teacher Must Have

primary teacher

A Primary Language Teacher Must have the ability to:

1. understand well the characteristics of young learners whom he works with.

2. link his understanding of young learners with the teaching method and assessment procedures that he uses in the classroom.

3. adapt or create the most suitable learning environment for young learners.

4. use, adapt or create the most suitable resources and materials for young learners.

5. encourage children all the time and give them support and a feeling of achievement.

6. give them a good model for everything that happen in the classroom.

7. create a friendly classroom atmosphere in which children are encouraged to interact and express themselves freely without fear of making errors.

8. act, tell stories, sing, dramatize conversations, correct errors, praise high achievers and encourage lower ones.

9. use, adapt or create meaningful and purposeful language activities in which most children are involved.

10. manage the classroom well following a specific system.

Now it’s your turn, tell me one more ability that you consider a must for primary language teacher.   

Five ELT Approaches Working From the 20th Century Up Till Now

Approach is a broad term that reflects a certain model based on a research or theory (e.g. Communicative approach) while a method is a set of procedures compatible with an approach (e.g. Silent way method). A method is more specific than an approach, but a technique is the narrowest term which refers to learning activities in the classroom used in one or more methods (e.g. Using cooperative leaning activity).

Here are the five English language teaching approaches that prevailed in the 20th century and are still working up till nowadays.

1. Grammar Translation Approach:

  • Instructions are given in native language.
  • Using English is little.
  • Focusing on grammar rather than English language functions.
  • Setting difficult texts for reading from the beginning.
  • Doing translation from English into mother tongue is frequent.
  • Using English for communication is not encouraged.
  • English is not spoken by the teacher in the classroom.

2. Comprehension Based Approach:

  • English acquisition appears when learner comprehends meaningful input.
  • Listening comprehension is very important besides speaking, reading and writing.
  • Listening to meaningful speech is very important.
  • Speaking is postponed until students are ready.
  • Error correction is unnecessary, understanding is most important.
  • Native teachers are preferable in teaching.
  • Audiotapes and videotapes are also used in the classroom.

3. Cognitive Approach:

  • English is rule governed not habit formation.
  • Individualized instruction is done.
  • Grammar taught both deductively (rules first, practice later) and inductively (rules after practice).
  • Pronunciation isn’t emphasized.
  • Reading and writing are developed as well as listening and speaking.
  • Vocabulary instruction is important especially in intermediate and advanced levels.
  • Errors are inevitable and useful for learning.
  • Teacher must have general ability and proficiency of English language.

4. Situational Approach:

  • Spoken language is primary.
  • English is practiced orally. After an oral base in lexical and grammatical forms reading and writing comes.
  • English should be used in situations.
  • Most general and useful lexical items are to be ensured.
  • Grammatical structures are graded from simple to difficult.
  • Lexical and grammatical items should be given in situations.

5. Communicative Approach:

  • The goal is learner ability to communicate.
  • purpose of language is communication.
  • Content of language and social functions are mainly focused not just linguistic structures.
  • Transferring meaning in pairs and groups.
  • Adjusting the use of English in different social contexts by role plays and dramatizations.
  • Authentic materials are used.
  • All skills from the beginning are developed.
  • Teacher primarily facilitate the communication secondarily correct errors.
  • Teacher uses the target language fluently and appropriately.

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Teaching Listening to ESL/EFL Learners

Teaching Grammar to ESL/EFL Learners

Teaching Beginning Reading to ESL/EFL Learners

Teaching Reading Comprehension to ESL/EFL Learners

Useful Printables to ESL/EFL Teachers

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