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ESL Essentials – Important Teaching Tips

In this section there are 2,043 articles that cover essential ESL topics such as how to teach grammar, use realia, and teach young learners. There are also a lot of lesson ideas and fun activities included in the articles. This ESL article, for example, is about teaching grammar and describes five great activities. It has been given five stars by other busy teachers so it obviously has useful content. Check it out for yourself or take a look at other articles that relate better to your questions or teaching situation.

There are a lot of dos and don’ts and tips and tricks that many teachers learn through teaching.

Our ESL Essentials section will help you master the basics of teaching English and will help you start teaching like a 'pro'. Every ESL Essentials article provides clear, to-the-point instructions that can be used with the students right away.
At the moment we have 2,043 ESL Essentials.
Sometimes that is the best way to learn but the experiences of others can also help you develop your teaching skills without having to make the same mistakes. If you have a great story or activity, feel free to submit your own article so that you can share your knowledge with others. We would love to hear from you!

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ESL Articles
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Predicting POTUS: 6 Ideas for Initial Discussions and Analysis of the Trump Presidency

Predicting POTUS: 6 Ideas for Initial Discussions and Analysis of the Trump Presidency

ESL Essentials
It’s not every day that a hundred million people wake up to discover that the sky is falling. This was the horrified, shocked reaction from American democrats on the morning of 9th November ...
5 Views 3,591 All
Dragon Rising: Five ESL Topics for Understanding China’s Growing Influence

Dragon Rising: Five ESL Topics for Understanding China’s Growing Influence

ESL Essentials
This is China’s century. We’re just along for the ride. We’ve all heard sentiments like this. Though they are expressed with varying degrees of expertise, it’s not diffic ...
4 Views 1,957 All
After Snowden: 6 Discussion and Essay Ideas for an ESL Class on Cyber-Security and Privacy

After Snowden: 6 Discussion and Essay Ideas for an ESL Class on Cyber-Security and Privacy

ESL Essentials
I’ll begin with a question I asked my students, one which is well worth considering: Do you feel safe online? I clarified that I wasn’t really asking about stalkers or identify thieve ...
1 Views 2,470 All
Mirror, Mirror on the Wall: 3 Key Ways Reflection Can Help Your Students Become Better Learners

Mirror, Mirror on the Wall: 3 Key Ways Reflection Can Help Your Students Become Better Learners

ESL Essentials
What do you think of at the mention of self-help books? They tend to have a stigma about them. Only people with real problems need them. But in fact, those who read self-help books tend to be mor ...
4 Views 3,177 All
Consider the Constitution: An ESL Class on the USA’s Most Important Document

Consider the Constitution: An ESL Class on the USA’s Most Important Document

ESL Essentials
A little quiz to begin, if you don’t mind. There’s a very famous document which begins, “We the people…”. How much of that famous opening paragraph can you quote? D ...
2 Views 1,720 All
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Creative Current Events: 5 New Ways to Use Todays’ News in Class

Creative Current Events: 5 New Ways to Use Todays’ News in Class

ESL Essentials
If you have ever taught an ESL reading class, you have probably used articles from the news for your typical reading activities, activities like writing summaries and answering comprehension quest ...
5 Views 6,224 All

"To Bear Arms": A Gun Debate Primer for ESL Teachers

ESL Essentials
If you teach ESL, wherever that may be, and your curriculum encourages a focus on current events, then a discussion of guns is inevitable. Much like race, politics and inequality, firearms owners ...
2 Views 2,633 All
Brexit Time: How to Help Your ESL Students Understand Brexit

Brexit Time: How to Help Your ESL Students Understand Brexit

ESL Essentials
You probably already know that Europe suffered something of a political earthquake on June 23, 2016. Against expectations, a majority of British voters expressed a desire to leave the European Un ...
2 Views 4,240 All
From Pokémon to Picasso: 5 Simple Ways to Encourage Friendships Between EAL Students and Native Speakers

From Pokémon to Picasso: 5 Simple Ways to Encourage Friendships Between EAL Students and Native Speakers

ESL Essentials
Learning English isn’t just about the words. Do I have your attention? I hope I do. It’s not every day you read an ESL blog that downplays the importance of words. But really, when yo ...
3 Views 2,846 All
Democracy in Action? How to Help ESL Students Understand the 2016 Election

Democracy in Action? How to Help ESL Students Understand the 2016 Election

ESL Essentials
In less than a month from now, everything will have calmed down. Now we have a new president and members of congress, and  soon the dust will finally settle after one of the most extraordina ...
2 Views 5,596 All
Analyze This: How to Use Student Critical Analysis for Language Development in the ESL Classroom

Analyze This: How to Use Student Critical Analysis for Language Development in the ESL Classroom

ESL Essentials
Remember. Understand. Apply. Remember the rules of grammar. Understand what a certain tense means. Apply that knowledge by using that tense to express your experiences or hopes. That’s the ...
3 Views 4,771 All
3 Ready to Go ESL Lessons Based on Disney’s Movie Inside Out

3 Ready to Go ESL Lessons Based on Disney’s Movie Inside Out

ESL Essentials
Whether or not you are ready to talk about how you feel, emotions can be a great starting point for some interesting ESL lessons. Watch the movie with your class, and then follow up the screening ...
8 Views 7,062 All
Let the Little Ones Speak: 6 Fun Activities for Coaxing Young Learners out of Their Shells

Let the Little Ones Speak: 6 Fun Activities for Coaxing Young Learners out of Their Shells

ESL Essentials
Communication is key when it comes to language learning. Language is a tool, something we use to make connections with other people around us. And a big part of that connection comes through talk ...
2 Views 5,560 All
Is Teaching Online Right for You? 6 Perks to Virtual Teaching

Is Teaching Online Right for You? 6 Perks to Virtual Teaching

ESL Essentials
In this virtual world that we live in, jobs aren’t what they used to be. Even teaching jobs. In the past you set up your classroom, decorated the walls, arranged the desks, and made photoco ...
3 Views 4,382 All
Inviting Technology without Forcing out Communication: 3 Great Activities

Inviting Technology without Forcing out Communication: 3 Great Activities

ESL Essentials
“Here’s your new family portrait,” you say. She looks down at the picture. She and her husband and her two children, each holding a phone or tablet, all looking down at the scre ...
3 Views 13,462 All
Open Lines Open Hearts: 4 Activities for Teaching about Diversity and Social Justice

Open Lines Open Hearts: 4 Activities for Teaching about Diversity and Social Justice

ESL Essentials
We are all different. Odds are that if you are teaching English as a second language, you have pretty obvious evidence sitting right in front of you every day. And everyone in your class has prob ...
5 Views 5,231 All
Creating a Room that Connects: 5 Ways toBring Your Classroom into the 21st Century

Creating a Room that Connects: 5 Ways toBring Your Classroom into the 21st Century

ESL Essentials
A teacher desk at the front of the classroom with rows and columns of student desks just doesn’t cut it anymore. The geometric arrangement that teachers have followed for generations was a ...
5 Views 8,882 All
When the Teacher Needs an Attitude Check: 4 Easy Ways to Refresh Your Teaching Self

When the Teacher Needs an Attitude Check: 4 Easy Ways to Refresh Your Teaching Self

ESL Essentials
I hope you're not having one of THOSE days. You know the kind of day I’m talking about – when you spill coffee on your new shirt as you’re driving to work, when your books fall ...
6 Views 6,695 All
Invitation to Fail: 4 Big Reasons You Should Encourage Your Students to Reach for the Unreachable (and Why It Will Benefit Them)

Invitation to Fail: 4 Big Reasons You Should Encourage Your Students to Reach for the Unreachable (and Why It Will Benefit Them)

ESL Essentials
Failure. It’s a word that strikes terror into the A students among us. Teachers included. So why encourage failure in the ESL classroom? There are actually several positive things that come ...
3 Views 4,304 All
What Is SEL and Why Your Young Students Need It

What Is SEL and Why Your Young Students Need It

ESL Essentials
ESL. ELA. EAL. TOEFL. TOEIC. L1L2. The English as a second language field is full of acronyms. If you’re like me, you have days when you feel you just can’t cram another one into your ...
3 Views 6,794 All
Using YouTube to Teach ESL: 6 Instructor-Proven Strategies

Using YouTube to Teach ESL: 6 Instructor-Proven Strategies

ESL Essentials
Whether you consider your classroom high-tech or not, odds are you have at least a little modern technology in your midst. One of the easiest and most flexible technology tools for ESL teachers a ...
6 Views 9,522 All
Bringing Technology to Life for Your ESL Students in Four Simple Steps

Bringing Technology to Life for Your ESL Students in Four Simple Steps

ESL Essentials
Do you remember the excitement that filled the classroom when the teacher dragged out that great little gadget that would silence the teacher like nothing else? Film strip day! Okay, I may be dat ...
3 Views 4,450 All
Breaks and Holidays: Helping ESL Students Maintain Strong Language Skills Year-Round

Breaks and Holidays: Helping ESL Students Maintain Strong Language Skills Year-Round

ESL Essentials
Whether it is the end of the school year with summer knocking on the door or a visit back to their home country for several weeks, sometimes we have to let our students go. It’s hard. We po ...
3 Views 4,218 All
Six Teacher-Tested Strategies for Keeping Student Stress Out of the Classroom

Six Teacher-Tested Strategies for Keeping Student Stress Out of the Classroom

ESL Essentials
Imagine this: you step off of an airplane, your bag packed as tightly as it can be. You carry gifts from home, a bilingual dictionary, some clothes (and you can tell by looking around you will be ...
2 Views 5,024 All
When it’s Time to Leave the Nest: 8 Tips for Helping ESL Students Transition into Mainstream Classes

When it’s Time to Leave the Nest: 8 Tips for Helping ESL Students Transition into Mainstream Classes

ESL Essentials
Sometimes being an ESL teacher is kind of like being a parent. We take pride in our students’ accomplishments. We feel a vicarious thrill when we see them learning and becoming more profici ...
2 Views 2,937 All

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