Sunday, 24 September 2017

Listening and Dubbing Practice with The Big Bang Theory [ESL Lesson]

This lesson is intended as a bit of fun to engage your students have get them talking. It poses some listening challenges and also includes a dubbing activity. Altogether, this lesson should give your students ample opportunity to speak. The topic is education, which is always relevant in an ESL class.

First up, I like to show my students have a few pictures and have them discuss what they see. I use one quote and a couple of pictures that relate to education. Try to get the students to elicit the vocabulary and ideas and then build upon that.

Next, I show a video with the sound off. I ask the students what happened, and it's actually quite difficult to guess. I introduce the concept of dubbing and the students will then spend some time putting their guesses into practice by dubbing the clip. (The clip is from The Big Bang Theory, which is super popular here in China.)

After they've done, I'll ask some groups to speak in front of the class. Then I'll play the video again with sound and ask a few questions to check comprehension.

  1. What is happening at the start?
  2. What does Penny want to learn?
  3. Why can’t she just learn “a little physics”?
  4. What does Sheldon suggest she do instead?
  5. Why does she say his time is not valuable?
  6. What science experience does she have?
  7. How does she convince him? 
I then show another clip from later in the episode, and have my students discuss a little more freely: 

  1. Is Penny a good student?
  2. Is Sheldon a good teacher?
  3. What is the conflict?
  4. Are they successful? Why? 

Teaching Intermediate ESL Friends and Family Vocabulary

So your students know the basics - mother, father, grandmother, aunt, etc - and you want to teach them how to talk about their friends and family with greater range and accuracy...

Well, look no further. I have made a PPT that teaches some very useful vocabulary for intermediate level students. You should couple this with some interesting activities to help them put it to use.

Tuesday, 12 September 2017

Parts of Speech Worksheet

I was teaching my students about parts of speech, and made this useful worksheet. It begins with a matching exercises, which I think works well for guided discovery. Then I have a labelling exercises for a paragraph from the novel, The Rum Diary, by Hunter S. Thompson. (It's one of my favourite books.)

Here's the worksheet, and the answers are below:

I have also created a PPT for explaining the different parts of speech, with examples and a simple guide to building sentences.

Monday, 4 September 2017

Overview of the IELTS Exam

I'm back in the classroom once again, teaching a group of 50 Chinese students about the IELTS exam. For most of them, this is their first time learning about IELTS. Therefore, I have created a really basic PPT guide to help them understand what the test is all about. In this PPT I have linked to some outside resources including YouTube videos. There's a missing link that pointed at a PDF I used. You could replace it with any PDF of an IELTS practice test.

Overview of the IELTS Exam from David Wills

For more IELTS teaching and learning materials, see TED-IELTS.

Sunday, 3 September 2017

Photography Vocabulary - a fun welcome back ESL lesson

So it's the first day of the new semester. You want your students to have fun and talk about their summer, but you're sick of doing the same old lesson: "How was your holiday?" Boring.

Today I'm showing my students my favourite holidays snaps (just four) and quickly describing them. Then I'm going to teach the class how to talk about photos and photography before they do the same.

Some useful photography vocabulary:
  • selfie (of course)
  • composition
  • take/shoot a photo
  • landscape
To help me teach this lesson, I made a colourful PPT. Feel free to use it, adapt, or share it. 

Friday, 1 September 2017

Welcome Back... Let's Talk About IELTS!

Hello Readers,

It's been a while since I last posted. As many of you know, I teach at a university here in Eastern China and that means I get a looooooooooong holiday!

This year I went travelling through Europe and Thailand. I saw my parents in Scotland, did some museums in Amsterdam, saw some beautiful architecture and art in Antwerp, walked up to the castle in Bratislava, shot some awesome photos in Budapest, and then took my girlfriend to Thailand. You read about that at my blog.

I've been posting some secrets to IELTS success on my IELTS website while travelling throughout the summer because there's a good community of readers there who need to get a high score in their IELTS test. Check it out and consider bookmarking the website. (A share on social media is also a great help.)

I've also been working on a book about the Beat Generation. It concerns Allen Ginsberg and his extensive world travels. Take a look at my Beatdom website if you're interested in that sort of literature - lots of essays on Jack Kerouac, William S. Burroughs, and others.

But I've not been posting here as much as I like. This is where I post materials I use in class, and, as I said above, I've not taught for 2 months!

So hopefully many of you will continue checking back in the coming weeks because I will be posting a flurry of materials here, including many PPTs and PDFs after I use them in my lessons. This year my classes will be mostly IELTS, but I also teach a general writing course.

Here's a PPT I designed that asks your students "Why should they study IELTS?" It acts as a very basic overview of the IELTS exam and what it can do to help your students in their futures.