Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Vocabulary Activity: Finance

This activity concentrates on developing financial vocabulary as well as discussing the terms involved in finances.  There are two slides for this activity.  The first slide is a list of blank spaces for the student to write the word based on the definition read by the trainer.  This allows the student to also practice listening. The second slide is a basic guessing game where the student chooses a word and gives the definition.  The other students guess which word it is. Alternatively, the student can choose a word and ask a question with the word that could facilitate discussion which could be led by the student or teacher. This lesson can be used successfully in a virtual classroom as well as a traditional classroom.

Monday, September 1, 2014

Fluency Activity: Wishes & Dreams

This is a fluency activity that allows the students to talk about topics that are near and dear to their hearts.  On the first page, the students brainstorm wishes that people in general have.  For example, people wish to get married, to have a home, to have a family, to have a good job and so the students brainstorm all the wishes that people have in general.  The next page is a list of questions on this topic.  The first page is mainly a warm up for the questions.  There are many ways a teacher can use these questions.  First, the teacher can systematically go through questions.  Second, the teacher can ask the students to choose two questions they are interested in and to ask their colleagues.  Finally, one student can choose a question and ask the class and facilitate the discussion and see how long they can talk about that question.  This activity can be used successfully in a virtual classroom as well as a traditional classroom.

Sunday, August 31, 2014

Fluency Exercise: Working Life: Talking About You!

This is a great fluency exercise for people in the workplace.  This can be used successfully in a virtual classroom or in a traditional classroom.  The first slide consists of several pictures and the trainer asks the students to describe the picture.  Then the trainer asks the students to relate one of the pictures to how they feel about their job.  The students start talking a bit about what they do and how they do it.  The next page is a list of questions about their job, corporate culture, their attitudes towards work and allows the students to expand and develop their fluency and increase their confidence talking about a relatively familiar topic:  their jobs and work life.

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Discussion Activity: Youth & Old Age

I wrote this activity about seven years ago to be used in a virtual classroom although anyone can use this in a traditional classroom as well. Anyway,  the basic premise for this lesson is to allow the students to activate passive vocabulary, learn new vocabulary and to practice speaking about a relatively familiar topic in order to increase and/or improve the students' fluency.  The first page is a list of vocabulary words that the students can define, practice pronunciation and/or discuss.  The second page is a blank slate for the students and/or teacher to write 'rites of passages' in their culture.  The final slide is a list of questions that the students can ask and answer.  The level for this activity is intermediate to advanced.

Friday, August 29, 2014

Business Writing Presentation for ESL/EFL Teachers

This PPT is a quick presentation on the difference between American English (AmE) and British English (BrE) in regards to phrases and the small differences between AmE and BrE when writing for business purposes.  Many times, non-native speakers will combine rules from both AmE and BrE because they are not aware of the minute differences.  So, they run the risk of losing credibility when writing to clients because of these differences.  This PPT can be used in addition to other writing activities that allow the students to practice their writing following different scenarios.  The material from this PPT has been used successfully in a virtual classroom or a traditional classroom.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

EFL/ESL Discussion Activities: Your Products & Services

How many times have you talked to a non-native speakers of English and asked them about their job?  Where they able to talk much about what they do and about their products and services?  If not, this discussion activity will give them the chance to practice in an environment where they can receive feedback=their English class.  The PPT starts with some pictures and depending on the level, the teacher can have the student describe the profession related to the picture or just describe the picture.  They then tell the teacher which picture relates closest to their own job.  The final slide is a list of questions related to the students' jobs as well as their products and services.  This PPT has been used successfully in a virtual classroom as well as traditional classrooms.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Learn Business Idioms

I wrote this worksheet on Business Idioms about ten years ago. This is a worksheet for advanced level Business English students. I took the words/idioms  from the Economist Magazine. Although I'm not a huge believer in teaching idioms to students for them to actually use (until it comes out naturally), I do believe that students should have idioms in their passive vocabulary so that they can understand native speakers who do use idioms without thinking.  In my opinion, non-native speakers should use idioms the same way, without thinking.   I have taught this worksheet with one-to-one students and group lessons.  The students can also use this as homework and then the teacher can have them explain the idioms during the class session. Anyway, I have used this worksheet successfully in traditional classrooms as well as virtual classrooms. The students really enjoy this worksheet because they feel that they are learning something new.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

What would you say?

I wrote this activity about seven or eight years ago as a discussion activity. This activity has been used successfully in a virtual classroom and a traditional classroom.  This activity encourages the students who are intermediate and above to explain what they would say about a certain situation and in addition to give the students a chance to provide their opinion about certain issues.  For example, on the first slide, there is a picture of a pregnant woman smoking.  The activity asks what the students would say to this person.  I have used this activity in several consecutive class sessions as the students can normally talk a lot about many of these issues.

Saturday, August 23, 2014

ESL/EFL Activities: Giving Advice

I wrote this activity when I was in the LANCELOT course, which was a course funded by the EU that taught language teachers how to effectively use virtual classrooms plus best practices in the virtual classroom for language training.  This PPT came out of one of the modules from that class.  I have used this activity successfully in the virtual classroom as well as the traditional classroom.  The lesson starts out with a quick review of the modals of advice and then each page in the PPT slide gives a scenario and the students increase their fluency by giving advice for each situation. The teacher can use this in several different ways.  First, the teacher can divide the students into small groups or pairs and have them discuss what advice they would give and then have a whole group discussion. Alternatively, the teacher could choose one volunteer from the class to give the advice for the particular scenario and then the class could have a discussion.  Additionally, the teacher could use this as homework for the students to practice writing and have them write their advice in an email, blog, advice column or letter format.  These are just three ways I've thought of to use this material, but I'm sure there are many ways the teacher can choose to use this material based on their personal teaching style.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

EFL Spoken Grammar Activity: Practice Asking Questions

I wrote this Spoken Grammar Activity while I was in graduate school which seems like only yesterday and yet it was fifteen years ago.  Anyway, this is a very simple activity where the students practice using the WH questions and at the same time work on tense and also on their conversation skills.  The activity consists of a chart of all kinds of nouns with the question at the top:  Who/What/Where is/was your favorite...?  So, what the students do is choose a noun from the chart, for example, 'brand of shampoo' and then the student must form the question "What is your favorite brand of shampoo?"  Another example is "person", so the student can choose how they want to form the question:  "Who is your favorite person?"  or 'Who was your favorite person when you were younger?"  This activity can be used with any level because it can be adapted to focus on what the students need.  Some of the students will need practice forming the question and answering.  Some of the students will need practice developing fluency and the teacher can use this activity as a springboard to free discussion.  I have used this with groups where only one question was actually asked as we were able to use that as a way to get into a conversation everyone was interested in.  I have also used this with groups were just asking the question was the goal and so we went through the entire table.  This activity has been used successfully in the virtual classroom as well as in traditional classrooms with every level.