Interactive Ways to Teach ESL

Interactive Ways to Teach ESL: Present Progressive

One great way to vary the ways in which you teach lessons is a game that everyone is familiar with: Charades. This game can be used for many different activities in the ESL classroom. A fun and different alternative, charades is a great way to teach the present progressive. As the teacher, you can start out the game yourself, or by telling a student to act out an action such as brushing their hair, or driving a car, and has the other students call out what you or the student are doing in the present progressive tense.

A second activity you could have your class perform is writing out what they are doing. To start off this exercise you can have the class brainstorm all of the different places they have visited and activities they have done throughout the week. You should have the students pair up after the full class brainstorming session and have them work together telling each other where they are and what they are doing. An example of this may be the first student telling the second that they are at the marina and the second telling the first that they are getting on a boat. The great part about this lesson is you can also use it to review prepositions of locations as well.

Another interesting way to help students with their present progressive ESL is to have them write a letter to someone  they know, it can be a co-worker, sibling, spouse, etc. Have them explain to the second party what it is that they do for fun, what they’re currently doing in the class, and what their life is like as an ESL student.

Pictures (as you can see in the link) have always been known to be worth a thousand words, and it’s no difference in the case of the present progressive. Try to find a picture from a magazine article, website, book, newspaper, etc. that is of an action. This can be someone kicking a soccer ball, doing karate or even helping with dinner. Have the students pair up again and then have one student describe the picture to the other without saying what the actual action is. Then, have the student listening to the description draw a picture of what is being described. Make sure that the student describing the image uses the present progressive whenever possible. It’s almost always a great reaction at the end when the two get to compare the original from the drawn image. This is a great and interactive way to have the students participate in activities together.

The final easy way to have students actively learn the simple progressive is to have them describe what is going on around them in the present progressive. This can be as simple as “I’m sitting in a classroom.” It may be more interactive if they are able to look out a window, or into a hallway to see other people and also describe what those people are doing.

These were a couple of fun ways that you would be able to have a good time with the class and still teach them some principles of the English language. These classes are not always easy to teach, but when you are able to throw in little fun things like these it makes it that much easier and your students will be that much closer to being fluent  in English, even if it is a second language.

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