Number one for English language teachers

General teaching and planning tips

Jim Scrivener delves into his magic hat and brings us a wide range of general teaching and planning tips, such as setting homework, using coursebooks, pairing and grouping students, name games and lots more.

  • General: extension activities

    Author: Jim Scrivener Level: Starter/beginner, Elementary, Pre-intermediate, Intermediate, Upper intermediate, Advanced Type: Teaching notes

    Ever run out of things to do five minutes before the end of class? An important lesson management skill is to make your material perfectly fit the lesson time.

  • General: teaching with coursebooks

    Author: Jim Scrivener Level: Starter/beginner, Elementary, Pre-intermediate, Intermediate, Upper intermediate, Advanced Type: Teaching notes

    If your relationship with your coursebook is going a little stale, here are a baker’s dozen of ideas to inspire and provoke you.

  • General: using translation

    Author: Jim Scrivener Level: Starter/beginner, Elementary, Pre-intermediate, Intermediate, Upper intermediate, Advanced Type: Teaching notes

    There is a great deal of useful awareness-raising when learners compare English with their own tongue. Here are four great translation games - and they don’t even require you to speak the other language!

  • General: making things last

    Author: Jim Scrivener Level: Starter/beginner, Elementary, Pre-intermediate, Intermediate, Upper intermediate, Advanced Type: Teaching notes

    Ever run out of things to do five minutes before the end of class? There are some fairly simple tricks for usefully extending an activity – so that things just beautifully fall into place.

  • General: controlling time

    Author: Jim Scrivener Level: Starter/beginner, Elementary, Pre-intermediate, Intermediate, Upper intermediate, Advanced Type: Teaching notes

    It can feel unsatisfactory to suddenly rush an activity at the end of a lesson. Here are some strategies for taking control of time and shortening over-long stages.

  • General: addressing the SP in ESP

    Author: Jim Scrivener Level: Starter/beginner, Elementary, Pre-intermediate, Intermediate, Upper intermediate, Advanced Type: Teaching notes

    English for Specific Purposes (ESP) involves more than just working with texts and examples relevant to a particular professional area. Here are some ways of addressing those elusive SPs

  • General: are parrots back in fashion?

    Level: Starter/beginner, Elementary, Pre-intermediate, Intermediate, Upper intermediate, Advanced Type: Teaching notes

    Current methodology seems to pay far less attention to memorising and remembering activities than more traditional teaching approaches. So, here are a few practical ideas for being creatively unfashionable.

  • General: the first lesson of the year

    Author: Jim Scrivener Level: Starter/beginner, Elementary, Pre-intermediate, Intermediate, Upper intermediate, Advanced Type: Teaching notes

    Even if the teacher and class have all worked together before, it is still useful to have activities to welcome everyone back and mark the start of the new year.

  • General: First lessons: Name games

    Author: Jim Scrivener Level: Starter/beginner, Elementary, Pre-intermediate, Intermediate, Upper intermediate, Advanced Type: Teaching notes

    Many new language courses kick off in September and October. If it's the first time the class has met, learners will need a chance to learn each other's names. Here are a few unusual games to try.

  • General: holiday English courses

    Author: Jim Scrivener Level: Starter/beginner, Elementary, Pre-intermediate, Intermediate, Upper intermediate, Advanced Type: Teaching notes

    Many teachers do summer work teaching on short intensive courses. Such courses often have more of a holiday atmosphere than normal classes and teachers may look for jollier, summery activities.

  • General: teaching English one-to-one

    Author: Jim Scrivener Level: Starter/beginner, Elementary, Pre-intermediate, Intermediate, Upper intermediate, Advanced Type: Teaching notes

    Long one-to-one lessons can sometimes be exhausting for both teacher and learner. Here are some ideas for keeping them fresh.

  • General: pairing and grouping students

    Author: Jim Scrivener Level: Starter/beginner, Elementary, Pre-intermediate, Intermediate, Upper intermediate, Advanced Type: Teaching notes

    With current teaching methodology teachers are constantly needing to get students into pairs or small groups. A bit of variety can sometimes raise a smile and can also help you to mix up groupings a little.

  • General: planning lessons

    Author: Jim Scrivener Level: Starter/beginner, Elementary, Pre-intermediate, Intermediate, Upper intermediate, Advanced Type: Teaching notes

    Remember, a plan is not a route-map of what must happen in class, it is only your informed setting-up of some possibilities. Here are a few ideas for alternative plans:

  • General: setting homework

    Author: Jim Scrivener Level: Starter/beginner, Elementary, Pre-intermediate, Intermediate, Upper intermediate, Advanced Type: Teaching notes

    Tired of setting the usual homework tasks? Here are 18 unusual ideas for "homedo" tasks.

  • General: teaching idioms and collocations

    Author: Jim Scrivener Level: Starter/beginner, Elementary, Pre-intermediate, Intermediate, Upper intermediate, Advanced Type: Teaching notes

    Break away from predictable coursebook topics! How about basing a whole morning round a single word? These ideas would work for many items.

  • Guided tours

    Author: Jim Scrivener Level: Starter/beginner, Elementary, Pre-intermediate, Intermediate, Upper intermediate, Advanced Type: Teaching notes

    Wouldn’t it be nice to get out of the classroom sometimes? If your school permits it, and if your class is of a suitably manageable size, there are many interesting and useful things that you can do outside your normal room.

  • General: Learners look at learning

    Author: Jim Scrivener Type: Article

    This month Jim Scrivener talks about how teachers can encourage their students to become more aware of the learning process.

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Readers' comments (1)

  • I'm teaching English in-company, mainly business English but low level. Right now I'm in a point where teaching "how to re-write" is difficult for the students to understand the concept of; They do have the level & vocabulary, but for them, it's too hard to think & rewrite using the English way, they are too tied to its L1.
    Any suggestions on how I can approach them? any clues?
    Thank you for your time.
    Beth

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