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“The views and opinions expressed in this podcast are solely those of the panel and guests on the show. These views and opinions do not necessarily represent those of Macmillan Publishers Limited.”


News and views

  • What is narrative contextualization and why is it so useful for young learner classes?
    • Special thanks to Martin Goosey at The British Council, Vietnam for all his help on this story. 
  • Principled Eclecticism – is it a good idea to use multiple methodologies in the classroom?

Exercises of the month

1. Warmer – Brain Gym – a workout for the body and brain!

Step 1: Put on some lively music and get the students to follow the teacher’s instructions and movements, for example, “touch your knees, touch your shoulders, touch your ears, touch your nose”. This gets the students active in both body and mind.

Step 2: Turn off the music – it’s time to relax

Step 3: Introduce the students to the topic of the lesson. Let’s use the example of the ocean. Ask the students to close their eyes and imagine they are in the ocean. What can they see? How do they feel? You could play some soft music here to help them relax.

Step 4: Show the students different pictures of the topic. Ask students to describe the pictures, identifying colours, shapes, sizes, or what something looks like.

* For higher-level learners, you can introduce grammatical structures and words like prepositions. Ask where things are. Encourage students to talk to each other and discuss what they can see. At this stage, the teacher can be a mediator and let students come up with their own ideas.

2. Vocabulary game for any age

Step 1: Split the class into groups/pairs.

Step 2: Students come up with a list of words in their native tongue that they don’t know in English.

Step 3: Tell students to act these words out and the other students can help them find the right word in English.

Step 4: This is also a good chance to get them started using a dictionary, and you can give the students a list of new words to find.

This kind of activity helps with the social aspect of the class. They are engaging their brains by doing research, but also working together and practising teamwork.


Carol Read talks about the challenges of writing for young learners, discusses how to become a highly effective teacher, and talks about creativity in the classroom. She also explains why her book, 500 Activities for the Primary Classroom, remains so relevant and offers her thoughts on how the industry has changed over the last 30 years and how it will develop over the next couple of years.


  1. What are some good strategies for classroom management with young learners?
  2. How can we encourage students to study more outside the classroom?
  3. What is the most rewarding thing about teaching young learners?


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