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. Continue reading “Interactive Ways to Teach ESL”

ESL Teaching Methods: Theoretical Orientations


There are many different types of approaches to take when teaching students English. The first approach we will cover in this post is Theoretical Orientations.

When looking at theoretical orientations you will notice that there are 4 general orientations that are part of the ESL approach:

  1. Cognitive
  2. Functional Communication
  3. Interpersonal Communication
  4. Structural


This orientation is based on the theory that learning, specifically that is applied to language learning, can be done cognitively through passing of information in different ways. In this theory, you teach each student differently depending on their cognitive abilities and what types of studying is most successful for each different student. This style fits each technique into a generalization about the language that can easily be understood and memorized by the student. This leads to better competence in the space, which ultimately leads to a better understanding of the subject and a higher performance rate.

Functional Communication:

This concept is loosely based on the theory of language for communication as well as language acquisition. Some teachers will call this a more natural approach, which is why it is so popular among second language teachers around the world. Continue reading “ESL Teaching Methods: Theoretical Orientations”

Teaching ESL

Teaching English as a Second Language

English as a second language, also known as ESL, is not an easy task. The basic idea is that you will be teaching a person, either a child or an adult, how to fluently speak a language other than their native tongue. The English language is already a rather difficult language to speak, but then you add in all of the different nuances such as sarcasm and cultural differences and you can start to see how some people may run into problems attempting to master this feat. A large majority of the students are refugees and immigrants that need to learn English to be able to settle into society in the United States. As a teacher of this difficult subject, you can expect to work with people of all ages and learning abilities and can include teaching at commercial language schools, institutions of higher education, colleges, different industries (teaching employees), and some teachers are even self-employed. If you are thinking of becoming a teacher after you read this article check out this link on How to Become an ESL Teacher.

Responsibilities of an ESL teacher

There is a plethora of books, visual and audio aids, and other materials that are at your disposal as an ESL teacher. A very important part of learning English is role play for everyday activities that your student may run into. You can also use games and literature to help your students grasp their new skill.

Continue reading “Teaching ESL”