Thursday, 17 December 2015


This is a popular lesson I have used many times. It works best for me in China because of the video at the beginning, which is in English and Chinese, and concerns Western and Chinese culture differences, but the lesson is applicable anywhere.


Start by asking some of the following questions. Edit for class ability and personalities. 
· How does dating work in your country?
· How do you decide whom to date? Where do you meet people to date?
· How do you begin dating?
Who asks whom?
Who pays?
· What topics do you think are acceptable to discuss on a first date?
· What kinds of things do you do on a date?
· Describe a typical first date in your culture.
· How does dating change the longer you date?
· How serious is dating in your culture? If you date, does it mean you’re probably going to get married, or is it often just for fun?
· How long do people in your country usually date before they get married?
· Do you spend time alone with your date, or are there other people there? Does this change over time?
· How long do you think you should date before you start holding hands, kissing, etc.?
· Do people in your country use online date matching services?
· Do people in your country go on blind dates?
· If you are single, would you go on a blind date? If you aren’t single, would you have gone on a blind date when you were single? Who would you trust to set you up on a blind date?
The topic of dating is usually popular but can make some students shy. Emphasize when they're speaking that "you" means people in general, and not that specific student. They're more likely to speak at ease.

Watch a Video

The video below is an hilarious series of observations about cultural differences in dating between China and the West. The students will - if they speak Chinese or English - find it hilarious. The humour might be lost on students from other countries so maybe replace this with another comparable video. 
My advice is to watch this once and have the students talk about the things they found interesting, funny, or surprising. Alternatively, you can watch it a second time with the volume off and have them narrate, act the dialogue, or simply describe what happened - again this depends on class level and enthusiasm. 


Students will now mock a "first date" dialogue. Have them work with a partner and talk through a typical first date. Pick some outgoing students to speak aloud in front of the class.
For this to work best, I'd advise mocking up two people. Get the students to describe a man and a women - ages, appearances, hobbies, jobs, etc - and then the dialogue should follow. 

Tuesday, 13 October 2015

More posts coming soon...

I know I have been poor in updating this website but I have been too busy teaching! I'll get some more materials uploaded soon.

Friday, 26 April 2013

Developing Reading Skills for IELTS

Click HERE to download worksheet

This worksheet is intended for use with any reading passage. It will encourage students to think critically and develop the sort of skills that will help them to pass the IELTS reading exam, and also improve their general academic reading abilities.
With sections on skimming and scanning, as well as methods to increase their absorption of vocabulary, this worksheet should be used together with newspaper or magazine articles, or any other interesting source.

Click HERE to download worksheet

Wednesday, 24 April 2013

Using Modal Verbs

Click HERE to download worksheet

When teaching students about "should" and "shouldn't", you can really make some fun lessons. Try watching the Animaniacs' "Good Idea Bad Idea Compilation" with your class. It's very funny and guaranteed to get a laugh out of your students. After each segment, have the students volunteer a suggestion for what the characters should or shouldn't have done.
For higher level students, try this worksheet. It contains problems written in the style of a newspaper advice column. The students should read the problems and attempt to offer various suggestions, such as: "He should..." and "They shouldn't..."
This works as both reading and speaking practice.

Click HERE to download worksheet

Teaching the Passive Voice

Click HERE to download this worksheet

Practice makes perfect, and with this simple worksheet your students will get the chance to turn the active voice into the passive, and vice versa.
This worksheet is suitable for fairly low level students who're just beginning to wrap their heads around the passive voice, as well as a refreshed for better students who make little niggling errors.

Click HERE to download this worksheet

IELTS Speaking - Describing Cities

Click HERE to download the file

This document contains a brief breakdown of the IELTS speaking exam, including possible topics on which the candidate may be required to speak.
After the introduction, there is a guide to structuring a description of a city. (The example is London, which was a popular choice among my students.)
There are more examples on the next page, with interesting grammatical and vocabulary choices, to help guide students. This should enable them to provide a more believable and entertaining answer than the standard, "My hometown is very beautiful..." reply that some cram schools teach.
The vocabulary here is a little challenging, but can be useful for higher level students.

Click HERE to download the file

Tuesday, 23 April 2013

Travel Troubles

Click HERE to download the worksheet

This is a really fun lesson, based on the popular American TV show, Modern Family. In my experience, Modern Family is a great show for teaching ESL. The humor translates perfectly across cultural boundaries, and yet every student in Asia will notice elements of life that are totally alien to them.
One topic that you wouldn't think Modern Family was helpful for is... travel! However, if you can get your hands on a copy of the episode, "Airport 2010" (S01E22), then you have a brilliant lesson.
When I first taught this lesson, my students already knew about Modern Family as I'd used it to cover the topic of family in previous weeks. If your students don't know it, however, then it doesn't matter. You can use the first page of the download to talk about the characters. If you are dealing with lower level students, it's best to introduce their names, backgrounds, and personalities first. With a higher class, however, I like to challenge them to hear the name and write it down.
Either way, let the students watch the show without too much talking beforehand. You don't want to bore them before it starts...
Assign each student a character from the show, and tell them that every character will encounter some sort of "travel trouble." Tell them they must listen and after the show has finished, they should write about these problems.
In the meantime, as the show plays, they should listen and complete the gap-fill exercise. This helps them with their listening skills and if you are dealing with high level students, you can tell them it's good for their IELTS abilities, which it is.

Click HERE to download the worksheet