Number one for English language teachers


A selection of your classroom anecdotes involving vocabulary problems or misunderstandings.

Related articles

  • Anecdote: A successful vocabulary lesson?

    Author: Fiona MacKenzie Type: Anecdote

    The scene is a vile yellow-painted classroom in a rundown secondary school in London. A very young teacher - me - has a group of very lively (that's polite) 14 year olds for whom school is not much of a priority and English last thing on a Friday afternoon is definitely not a priority. Between them they speak quite a number of languages, but you should know that this is a school where any second language teaching needs are catered for by the Remedial Department - not an enlightened ...

  • Anecdote: An embarrassing body part

    Author: Kathy Fusco Type: Anecdote

    Last term I taught an upper-elementary conversation class. Although the students didn't have much grammar or vocabulary, they were rather outgoing and communicated quite well with limited grammar and by simply linking words together.

  • Anecdote: Blood sports

    Author: Anonymous Type: Anecdote

    The subject of blood sports came up in my classroom one day recently. One of my adult students didn't understand the word so I asked another student to explain. She did so, giving the example of duck-hunting. I asked for more examples and got fox-hunting and a few others, and then one of my Czech students suggested 'cricket'. I said, "How is cricket a blood sport?" and he replied "It's bloody boring!"

  • Anecdote: Chicken dog

    Author: Pat O'Rourke Type: Anecdote

    One day I was telling my ESL students a story about a snake skin I found in my basement. I brought in the snake skin to show them while I was telling the story. I tell a lot of stories about my family and home in class. The students were as surprised as I was that I had a snake in my basement. One student said " Why didn't your dog smell the snake and try to find it?" I replied " My dog, oh no, my dog is a CHICKEN!" The looks on their faces were priceless. They said " Your dog is a ...

  • Anecdote: Crocodile confusion

    Author: Renata Radzikowska Type: Anecdote

    Renata Radzikowska shares a winning anecdote about the influence of fashion on animal vocabulary.

  • Anecdote: Cuddly students

    Author: Denise Henderson Type: Anecdote

    At end the lesson for a bit of fun I said we would play a game. I asked students to write a description of someone in the classroom and then they would take turns reading their descriptions and the others were to guess who they were talking about. "Of course we'll keep it very polite," I said. I gave them a few minutes to write their descriptions and then picked out a new girl who seemed particularly animated by the exercise to read out what she'd written. She began, "This person has ...

  • Anecdote: Make yourself at home

    Type: Anecdote

    One of Bridget Mary Schoebi’s students takes ‘hospitality’ to a whole new level.

  • Anecdote: Tin of tuna?

    Author: Christine Noble Type: Anecdote

    I was teaching an intermediate group of mixed nationalities. We had been studying defining relative clauses and as a practice activity we played a game. The class was divided into two teams and there was a set of cards to share. Each card had five categories: 1. People, 2. Places, 3. Objects, 4. Actions, 5. Other. The idea of the game was to win as many cards as possible. To win the cards, the teams took turns to nominate one member of their team to describe as many cards as they could ...

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