Featured blogposts 2018-2021

Read a selection of our most popular blog posts from 2018 to 2021 on a wide range of teaching topics.

Here you can read a selection of the best posts from the TeachingEnglish blog from 2020 and 2021 again, covering practical ideas for the classroom as well as reflecting on teaching methodologies and professional practices. You can also revisit some of the winning posts from our Blogs of the Month from 2018 and 2019. Add your comments to keep the conversation going. 

Topics from 2021 included:

  • Planning an online lesson
  • Incorporating global issues into language teaching
  • How teaching and learning may change in "the new normal"
  •  Quick and effective five minute activities
  • Language and how it defines our identity
  • Teaching reading skills in the face to face and online class
  • Maximising speaking opportunities
  • Building vocabulary

Blog posts from 2021

Three great no-prep 'filler' ideas | Jo Gakonga

One of the things that novice teachers struggle with is timing. I’m often asked ‘How do you make your lessons finish exactly on time?’. The key, of course, is not in knowing exactly how long everything will take when you are planning – no one can know this – but in keeping an eye on the time as you go along and having a couple of activities up your sleeve to usefully fill up a few spare minutes at the end of class…and I DON’T mean playing Hangman! Read more

A five-minute primary game where everyone’s a winner | Katherine Bilsborough

The attention span of a primary-aged learner is short, so it’s always a good idea to have a couple of five-minute activities up your sleeve that you can pull out at intervals during the lesson. Use them to break up a longer task or to change the pace between activities. This is one of my favourite, tried-and-tested activities that never fails. Not only is it a perfect way to recycle vocabulary, it’s also a great opportunity to reward children’s efforts so that every single child is a winner. Read more

Restarting, Coming Soon! | ozguozturk

When we return to school, there will be lots of things I think I will do differently. Parents and teachers had a difficult year in 2020, but students had a particularly difficult year. They worked hard to adapt to the digital school environment, which required them to change their lifestyles and habits. However, the time to return to school is approaching. Many countries have already started physical classes. So, what can we do to ensure a smooth transition after a year and a positive environment in our classrooms? In this blog post, I'll offer some advice on the topic. Read more

More posts by ozguozturk: Global Issues in ELT Class , Sample starters full of joy

Change the pace of your lessons in 5 minutes | YesimKilic

When writing lesson plans, we need to consider a lot of things such as objectives, needs of our students and materials. In addition to these key elements, a well-staged lesson plan needs to include warmers to bring students into the topic and fillers in case you find yourself a few minute short at the end of the lesson. So, this post is for the teachers who need 5-minute activities to integrate into their lesson plans. Read more

Important checklist for online lesson plan | S.asma

Teaching and Learning principles remain the same, whether it is online or in-person; however, remote teaching requires extra skills such as: digital literacy, technical requirements, online lesson planning, motivation, empathy and repetitive communication for the effective teaching and learning. Read more

More posts by S.asma: Post Covid-19: Teaching Adaptations 

Planning an Online Lesson | NinaMK

I have been writing e-lessons for English-to-Go and many other virtual and paper publications since the 1990’s. The past year has shown me as a teacher trainer/instructor/author that today’s online teaching and learning are vastly different from everything I knew previously. I summarized the questions and requests from my colleagues to the best of my abilities, added my own recent experiences with webinars and conferences both as participant and coordinator. Here they come. Read more

More posts by NinaMK: Quick Effective Activities, The New Normal, Global issues

Six golden rules for successfully surviving an online lesson | Ingrid Mosquera

Teaching online is completely different from teaching face to face, isn't it? Let's find out! If you have found yourself abruptly transported to an online educational context, I would like to give you some free tips from my own ten-year experience as an online University teacher. Read more

My fantastic five minute activities | S.Akilandeswari

I like to call them 5 minute activities -  they are small, fast, interesting and exciting to get your students’ attention and focus instantly. These 5 minutes will make your students ask for more - seize just 5 minutes to make the most of every class. Read more

Book Reading Included in our lessons? Why not? | Theodora Papapanagiotou

I have always liked reading... But during the actual lesson? Some teachers consider it a waste of time, mainly because it does not belong to the material needed to work towards an exam! Read more

Let's speak up: Engaging Young learners with (8) chit-chat activities | Milica Vukadin

Engaging young learners seems to be a neverending topic and we are always in a constant search for effective activities that will practice all four skills. Keep reading to explore some activities designed to promote chit-chat in the classroom without putting pressure on young learners to speak... Read more

Word Wall – an excellent vocabulary building technique | S. Akilandeswari

There are many time tested techniques to help students expand their vocabulary trove. Some of them are – learn 5 new words every day and use them regularly, read, read and read, keep a thesaurus and dictionary handy, use mnemonics, picture association, and so on.  These techniques may work but they are slow and steady process...Read more

Finding the Unusual in the Usual | Nina Koptyug

We can use any familiar objects in an unfamiliar way to make our lesson more attractive and easier to remember. There are a number of simple exercises aimed at expanding and solidifying your students’ vocabulary which I found very useful. Most of them work well with any age and level; you just have to trust your own ability for trial and error, and for distinguishing between the “right” and “wrong” activities for your class. Read more

Read more posts by Nina Koptyug: Reading means loving, The proof of the pudding

A Journey of Learning: Reading | Ozguozturk

In our daily lives, we come across a wide range of texts for reading such as some stories, academic or newspaper articles, reports, emails, notifications and messages. And we all have different reasons for reading these texts to enjoy, to communicate, or to get some new information. And this affects the way we teach... Read more

Read more posts by Ozguozturk: Making Vocabulary Learning Permanent, To Speak or Not to Speak

Maximising speaking opportunities | Madhu Tiwari

With remote teaching maximising speaking opportunities can be particularly difficult where the sessions are more teacher led and teacher talking time is increased. Read more

Transforming online classrooms to maximise speaking | Sajit M Mathews

Whether we like it or not, online classrooms are here to stay. We teachers can transform online classes into active and lively spaces if we understand the platform well. Read more

Reading Class: "The Rhythm Matters" | S. Asma

What is rhythm in the Reading journey?  How can it affect readers and their varied pace? Rhythm is the flow in the learning process... Read more

Read more posts by S. Asma: The significant 5 R's in Vocabulary Teaching

Blog topics from 2020 included:

  • Adapting to online teaching
  • Supporting and engaging with professional development and training remotely
  • Useful advice on how teachers can look after themselves in stressful times
  • Assessing students remotely

Blog posts from 2020 

Working online: Adapting to life | RJCFraser

2020 has changed our lives. Clients and students are in home office. I am in home office. I sit before the computer screen, my flat in the background, and my cats stroll around and jump on my lap. Of course, to a certain extent all this can now be integrated into the online English lesson... read more

Professional Development Now | Richard Fielden-Watkinson

Professional development enables us to hone our skills and develop our knowledge. It encourages us to think critically about our practice and to learn about other ways to teach, as well as giving us a moment of pause to assess what we do, why and how... read more

Teacher wellbeing | Carol Norbury

We hear lots of talk of student wellbeing and quite rightly so, but what about teacher wellbeing? If the teacher isn't in a good place how can we expect the students to be in a good place and for learning to take place? Below are some thoughts and 8 tips for teachers concerned about their own wellbeing... read more

The brave new world of teachers in 2020 | S.Akilandeswari

Every teacher takes on multiple roles: specialist, advisor, friend, facilitator and above all a teacher is in loco parentis. This continues in the virtual world too. But the biggest question is – who will guide us in these difficult times? I think the teaching community – all of us teachers will have to help and guide each other... read more

Technology in the ELT class | ozguozturk

With the outbreak of the Covid-19 situation, not only have people's life styles begun to change but also nearly everything has altered. We have started to be aware of our well-being, to shop online, to spend time with our families more than ever and to learn online... read more

Teacher wellbeing and support | Nina Koptyug

When I check the news, automatically paying attention to every headline connected with education, I notice the same feature regardless of the country and subject taught. It is "teachers should/must…" read more

Adapt and thrive | Emmanuel Kontovas

One of the most interesting heroes in Marvel's Universe is Doctor Strange, a hero who can manipulate time and use it to his own benefit seeing the present, past and future at the same time, an ability that most, if not all teachers, would like to possess during the Covid- 19 times... read more

Teacher training and support | Nina Koptyug

This year is indeed unprecedented; probably for the first time in history the whole world is facing the same challenges. For all teachers, it brought about a sudden swing from face-to-face in-class process to online teaching... read more

A test about testing: Let's see how you score! | Ingrid Mosquera

We tend to correct mistakes, we tend to tell our students what they can improve, but we don´t normally tell them what they've done well. Let's reflect on our assessment and on the feedback we give to our students... read more

In 2018 and 2019 TeachingEnglish selected a featured blog of the month each month as well as series of other recommended blog posts on language teaching. Read a selection of posts from these blogs on a wide range of topics, from 5 minute classroom activities, why students cheat and what to do about it, to how to set up classroom debates. 

Blogs of the month 2019 

One sentence games In this post, ELT-Cation shares suggestions for games and activities that begin with just one sentence, but generate hours of language learning

Steve Smith | The age factor in language learning. In this fascinating blog post, Steve Smith takes a hard look at whether it’s true that children are really better language learners than adults

Clare Voke English for Asia blog | Five 21st Century Skills TEFL Teachers can no longer ignore. Clare Voke from English for Asia looks at ways we can help students develop the skills they need to survive in the 21st century.

Cristina Cabal | Cloze Test Activity, Blog de Cristina’s Style. Cristina Cabal describes here how to create your own customised gap fill activities and turn them into a game for your students!

Language Games for Teaching and Practicing Vocabulary, Rajesh Kouluri describes some easy to set up and highly engaging language games to use in class. This post from Breakout English provides an excellent overview on how to prepare students for Cambridge English exams: PET, KET, FCE or CAE.

Luiz Otávio Barros | Negative inversion: real life examples Never will you have seen such a good lesson on negative inversion as this one from Luiz Otávio. 

Chia Suan Chong | Going beyond accuracy vs fluency Is developing learners’ fluency the same as developing their communicative competence? Chia Suan Chong investigates in this very informative blog post.

Language Teacher Toolkit | Delayed dictation Have you ever done a ‘delayed dictation’? The Language Teacher Toolkit describes here how you can usefully employ this technique in class.

ELT Connect: 7 fun tasks for classroom debates This post has some great ideas to help you get the whole class talking.

Cristina Cabal | Lesson Plan. Success and Failure A great lesson plan from Cristina Cabal based on Lady Gaga's acceptance speech at the 2019 Oscars. Suitable for teenagers and adults at upper-intermediate to advanced level (B2 to C1).

Rajesh Kouluri | A stimulating writing task to describe a great person The problem teachers face with young learners is that they don’t usually want to write. Here, Rajesh demonstrates how to shape a writing task in a way they'll find stimulating to do.

Chia Suan Chong | Ten tips for listening to our students Teachers who talk too much rob speaking time from their students, argues Chia. Here, she offers suggestions for how to become a better listener.

ESLBRAINS | My tips for teaching English to senior learners (60+) Justa from ESL Brains shares her top tips for teaching senior learners.

Language Games for Teaching and Practicing Vocabulary, Rajesh Kouluri describes some easy to set up and highly engaging language games to use in class.

Cristina Cabal | Lesson Plan: Crime and Punishment A series of excellent lesson plans from Cristina Cabal on the theme of ‘Crime and Punishment’.

Breakout English – How to do First (FCE) Use of English Part 2 “Open Cloze” The Use of English paper Part 2 of the First Certificate of English exam is notoriously hard for learners. Here, Breakout English offer some excellent tips on how to approach it.

Chia Suan Chong | Ten task types to improve teamwork skills Having students work in groups can help make the most of the precious time they spend in class. However, not all group work provides an opportunity for useful interaction. Here, Chia Suan Chong looks at which types can prove most effective.

Do your students cheat? David Petrie was shocked to find out 95% of his students do. Here he talks about why and how they do it.

Breakout English | Liar, liar! – present perfect / past simple game Breakout English shares a lesson idea where students are asked to lie – which gives them the opportunity to practise speaking, using the past simple and present perfect.

Eva Büyüksimkeşyan – 3 Fun Icebreakers Some excellent suggestions from Eva Büyüksimkeşyan for activities to liven up your class and encourage collaboration amongst students.

Cristina Cabal | Fixing Fossilized Grammar and Spelling Errors in an Engaging Effective Way Do your students repeat the same errors over and over again? Don’t despair!  Here’s a fun activity from Cristina Cabal which aims to get rid of them once and for all. 

Luiz Otávio Barros | Social media detox: a video lesson An excellent video-based lesson including listening, speaking and vocabulary activities for intermediate to upper intermediate (B1 to B2) teens and adults.  

ELT-CATION – 5 ways to use Google Assistant in the ELT classroom Svetlana Kandybovich shows us five different ways we can use AI in the language classroom 

TEFLGeek (David Petrie)  – First (FCE) Speaking Video Lesson  Here’s a lesson from Teflgeek which helps learners to understand what they should focus on when they do the speaking exam.

Cristina Cabal – Do you Have One Minute? Four sites to Learn English in One Minute Cristina talks about four websites where students can learn English in bite-sized chunks.

Rajesh Kouluri - 3 Writing Tasks to help learners write better, more understandable English Rajesh Kouluri suggests some inspiring writing tasks to help young learners develop their writing skills. 

Onthesamepage ELT - Roll and explain Onthesamepage ELT has created this fun writing and speaking activity for intermediate + learners.

Gianfranco Conti - Back to school – my top tips for the new academic year Gianfranco Conti presents his top tips for successful teaching and learning.

Larry Ferlazzo | The best fun videos for English language learners in 2019 – part two Larry Ferlazzo has some great suggestions for short funny videos you can use in class.

Cristina Cabal – Flexible Seating Using Collocations Get your students moving around, working with different partners and practising collocations with this great lesson plan from Cristina Cabal.

EnglishTeaching101 | How to share negative feedback with parents English Teaching 101 offers five tips for sharing negative feedback with students' parents.

Cristina Cabal | The 5 Seconds Game to Revise Vocabulary Cristina Cabal shares a lovely activity idea for reviewing vocabulary at the beginning of a lesson.

Gianfranco Conti | On fluency and spontaneity: beyond “practice makes perfect” Gianfranco offers his top tips on how to help learners develop their spoken fluency.


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