Experiences of an English Language Teacher

Tag: teaching ideas

Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II: Five Teaching Ideas

Credit BBC 2022

It was saddened to have learnt about the passing of our great Majesty Queen Elizabeth II. She was truly an inspiration and figure that all students that I had the pleasure to teach, knew a little about. In today’s post, I am sharing some videos, material, etc. that you could use in your lessons to raise student awareness about the Queen and the Royal Family.

1. A Look Back At The Queen’s Life: Video Quiz

When it comes to interactive videos which incorporate quizzes, I tend to get students to come up to computer and select or type the correct answer. The following video is a great introduction to the life of Queen Elizabeth II and after students have completed it, you could get students to try to recall as much information as possible. One possible grammar point on this lesson would naturally lead to the Past Simple.

2. Marking The Queen’s Jubilee: Video Quiz

Much like the previous suggestion, the video below incorporates a quiz revolving round tea with the Queen. It is a great British tradition where people, regardless status, have tea with each other. In the following video, Paddington Bear is invited to have tea with the Queen to celebrate her Platinum Jubilee. You could get students to first share their ideas on protocols when having tea with a Queen or King (i.e. what should people do and not do). Board up these ideas and then get students to watch the video, completing the quiz. As a note, the Queen ate jam sandwiches everyday since childhood, and something which is of relevance in the following video below.

3. The Queen Remembered: BBC Podcast

BBC Sounds has a wonderful resource of podcasts, news, etc. which are great for students to access in their own time

As an alternative, you could get students to listen to an episode of a podcast from BBC Sounds, ‘The Queen Remembered’, at home for selfstudy. This will be best suited to students who is a strong intermediate or above. Explain to students that they will listen to the first podcast as mentioned above, making notes of what they listen, and when returning to class the next day they will have an opportunity to share what they had learnt.

Have a listen to the first episode of the podcast above, making a note of the language used in the podcast, and develop some comprehension questions (which you could dictate to learners) such as:

  • How old was Princess Elizabeth when she became Queen? (25 years old)
  • What date did Princess Elizabeth become Queen? (6 February 1952)
  • How did Princess Elizabeth and her sister, Princess Margaret, speak to child evacuees during the Second World War? (Through the wireless on Children’s Hour)
  • How old was the young Elizabeth when she signed up for service during the Second World War? (18 years old)
  • How did the general public feel when Princess Elizabeth married a Greek Prince? (There was a 40% public disapproval rating)
  • Why did Princess Elizabeth and Prince Philip go on a tour of South Africa? (To mark the 21st birthday of Princess Elizabeth)
  • When was the Royal Wedding between Princess Elizabeth and Prince Philip? (November 1947)
  • Who were Princess Elizabeth’s and Prince Philip’s first two children and when were they married? (Charles (1948) and Anne (1950))
  • Where were Princess Elizabeth and Prince Philip living in their early years of marriage? (Malta as Prince Philip was stationed there with the Navy)

4. Discussion Questions: Royal Family

Another way to get students interested or involved in the topic of the Royal Family is to either dictate or board up the following questions:

  • What do you know about the Royal Family? Share your knowledge with others.
  • What other countries have Royal Families?
  • Does your country have a Royal Family? If so, can you share a bit more information to your partner?
  • What functions do the Royal Family provide?
  • What do you think that a King or Queen does each day? Share your ideas with others.
  • What question(s) would you ask a King or Queen?

As with any class discussion, monitor students and make a note of any language that could be corrected or scaffolded. Try to elicit ideas, views, etc. from the whole class after the student to student discussion. You could incorporate the following video to add more a debate between the Monarchy and a Republic.

5. The Crown: Netflix Series

One thing that I decided to incorporate into the classroom is showing the popular Netflix series, ‘The Crown’. Start by showing the following trailer from the series and ask students to make a note of which people were portrayed in this trailer.

Once students have watched the trailer, pair learners together and ask them to retell the trailer to each other (i.e. What scenes do they remember? What people were portrayed? What struggles were shared in the trailer?). Elicit from students and board up their ideas.

Afterwards, start the first episode of the series (if you have a Netflix account) and pause at integral points, nominating students to answer questions about what is happening at these points. You may wish to introduce the movie, ‘The King’s Speech’ so learners could learn more about King George VI.


Feel free to share your own lesson ideas in the comments. As always, a level of discretion is needed when preparing lessons revolving around the Royal Family and it is important to remain impartial and not share any personal opinions in the classroom.

How To Make Reading More Engaging

In this quick post, I share five tips to make your reading more engaging and entertaining for your learners. I have also supplemented the post with a video for those that want to watch something for 5 minutes.

Should you enjoy the video, please leave a Like and Subscribe if you haven’t already.

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Five Icebreakers in the EFL Classroom

Those dreaded first lessons do not have to be stressful. Watch the video below for some ideas on five icebreakers in the EFL classroom.

What activities or techniques do you incorporate in your first lessons? Have you tried any ideas in the video?

Story Cubes: Ten Teaching Ideas

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A few months ago, I decided to invest in some Story Cubes and have been trying them out with some of my classes. If you are unfamiliar with Story Cubes, they are a collection of nine dice with images printed on each side of the dice. They are stored in a convenient box which is super portable, with them being small enough to just place in your pocket. Anyhow, when using the Story Cubes in class, the students responded positively and created some very engaging and funny stories. If you want to find out a bit more information about these Story Cubes, you can check Rory’s website.

In this article, we look at ten teaching ideas for using Story Cubes in the classroom.

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Classroom Community Builders: Book Review

Introduction

I was kindly asked a few weeks ago by Alphabet Publishing to review a recent publication, ““, written by Walton Burns. After a few weeks of waiting, the book finally arrived along with a personalised letter from the publisher.

The publisher, Alphabet Publishing, is one of those small independent organisations which specialise with practical ideas for teaching and lesson ideas. The first book that I reviewed for them was “” as a video book review. You can watch the video below or find out a bit more from a previous blog post.

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Why Should Teachers Blog?

The-Beginners-Guide-to-Blogging

Last week, I was inducting some new teachers into our school: preparing them for their teaching career for the year ahead. We looked at various areas about teaching: classroom management, get to know you activities, games in the classroom, etc. The final area we looked at was about continuing professional development (CPD). We looked at formal and peer observations, attending workshops, contributing to workshops as well as blogging. All teachers with varying years of experience, including a teacher who had just completed her CELTA (or equivalent), had only come across the mainstream websites related to English language teaching (TEFL.com, Dave’s ESL Cafe or Teaching English) yet had not really considered blogging a tool for CPD.

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Teaching Ideas for Word Stress

pronunciation-practice-activities

Pronunciation Practice Activities” by Martin Hewings

So the past few months, I have been focusing more and more on pronunciation for all levels of learners, no matter whether they are young learners or adult learners of English. Anyhow, I tried out a new lesson idea today which was partly inspired from the wonderful book, “Pronunciation Practice Activities“, written by Martin Hewings. I would recommend any teacher worth their salt to purchase this book, as it offers some great pronunciation lesson ideas which could be incorporated into class immediately.

Most teachers would identify word stress with the teaching of new vocabulary or as a technique to support pronunciation for problematic lexical items. This is all well and good but it reminds me of a teacher reacting to issues rather than proactively focusing on areas of language learning. Personally, if a teacher is able to develop a lesson based around pronunciation and developing learners’ awareness of pronunciation, so much the better. There is by no means anything wrong by reacting to pronunciation issues as they arise but I think it would be a nice change of focus when we remind learners that there are some basic principles that they can learn no matter how large or small the lexical item. Nevertheless, lets look at one lesson idea which is published in “Pronunciation Practice Activities“.

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Improving Spelling with Elementary Learners

Hello all. It is almost the Lunar New Year, so a huge congratulations to those readers from China and the Far East who will be commencing their celebrations soon. Today, we are looking at how to improve spelling with elementary or low-level learners, particularly if they are from an Arabic background.

It is notoriously difficult to improve or develop an Arabic learners. There are some important things you could consider incorporating in class such as unscrabbling letters to make the words, removing the vowels from words and students have to write them in words and, one of my favourite activities, using Scrabble tiles in class. Watch the video below to see how I use them in class by getting learners to review spelling and vocabulary.

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