ESL Teaching Tips


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ESL Teaching Tips- Substitute Teaching Tips-Teaching English Tips 

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We will include some basic teaching tips and advice here for teaching English in Taiwan. If you have been teaching ESL for some time these tips may seem very basic for you however we do feel that some of these tips can be very useful for someone just new to teaching English in Taiwan.


  • Speak slowly, I can't stress this enough, even some teachers that have been here for years still speak at a normal rate of speech, which is to fast for ESL learners.
  • Don't use a lot of slang or idioms, except if you are teaching an advanced class or a special idiom class. We have compiled a good list of 

Common Idiom Examples A-Z.

  • Make your class fun, students not only come to learn English but they also go to English classes for entertainment. This of course is more true when teaching adults.?However, you should get a feel for the type of school you are teaching in, as many are getting more strict on the amount of time in the class allotted for games and activities.
  • Use the whiteboard. Draw pictures or write new vocabulary on the board.
  • Stand up and walk around the classroom. By sitting down while teaching gives the students a feeling of boredom and takes away from your energy level. Sitting down is fine if you are in a discussion type class around a board room table setting on the floor in a circle is sometimes a great way to help teach children also. This may help them in learning T.P.R.(Total Physical Response) , directions and such a neat way to play certain games. Children's games
  • Get the students out of their chair to do activities.
  • Get beginners to also use the index finger to point out pictures, vocabulary. Not only having them stare at the book.
  • Coloring is good for teaching young students the different colors.

Presenting Information To teach something new the instructor must first present the information. This can be done by pictorial information, rules or the teacher can actually perform and demonstrate the skill to be learned. The presentation can be performed by any medium not just the instructor. These would include textbooks, tapes, video and any activity or game?that requires the student to seek out information.
Guiding the Learner- There is more direct interaction with the learner. If the learner misinterpret the information the instructor will correct the student in a positive fashion. When studying from a book: questions or activities are suggested but if the learner doesn't do this correctly true guidance doesn't occur. The learner may receive additional?help later. Guidance is important because the learner may mot be aware of mistakes they are making.
Practice -Learning is not complete without additional practice. This ongoing practice s learner centered. - The instructor may observe and give and make corrections when errors are observed but the emphasis is always on the learner.
Accessing the Learner- Learning is accessed usually by testing. Emphasis should be on instructional decisions to determine what individual ?instruction is needed for which learners.
Fluency -This is the speed of correct response. ?We tend to say that the learner has learned something when they can respond or do the task rapidly. The faster and quicker you can do it the better student you are.
In many ESL classes , especially in Taiwan , the common type of practice is the use of flashcards.

Call = Computer Assisted Language Learning.

Audio Lingual Method - Listen and Speak: this method considers listening and speaking the first tasks in language learning, followed by reading and writing.
Behaviorism - A psychological theory developed by B.F. Skinner; became the basis for the audio-lingual approach, which viewed language learning in terms of habit formation.
Cloze Procedure - An exercise where every filth word (or sixth or seventh etc.) is deleted from a text. the interval between the deleted words should remain the same throughout the text. The student then supplies the missing words, often relying on contextualization for help.
Cognate - Cognates are words from different languages which are related historically, eg. English bath - German bad or English yoke - Hindi - yoga. Beware of False Friends - These are Cognate words or words accidentally similar in form, whose meaning is rather different in the two languages, eg English gentle - French - gentil.
Communities Language - An approach concerned with the needs of the students to communicate outside the classroom.
Direct Method - The most common approach in TEFL, where language is taught through listening and speaking. There may be little or no explicit explanation of grammatical rules, nor translation into the mother tongue of the student. In Taiwan, most classes prohibit the use of Chinese to teach students.
ESP - English for Special Purposes; and technology, business, medicine, etc.
Grammar - Translation - A method based upon memorizing the rules and logic of a language and the practice of translation. Traditionally the means by which Latin and Greek have been taught.
Intermediate - At this level a student will have a working vocabulary of between 1200 and 1500 words be should be able to cope easily in most everyday situations. There should be an ability to express needs, thoughts and feelings in a reasonably clear way.
Passive Vocabulary - The vocabulary that students are able to understand in comparison to that which they are able to use. Contrasted with Active Vocabulary.
Stress - Normally refers to word stress: English words have one syllable which is invariably stressed, the others being weak or unstressed: Be low, nor mally, pho to graph. Words of three or more syllables may have secondary stress on one of the remaining syllables: pho to graph. It may also refer to the greater emphasis of some syllables or words over others in speech. This often carries changes of meanings as in: He went to America (not she) or He went to to America (not Canada). This is an aspect sentence stress, or rhythm, and involves different intonation patterns.
Syntax - The branch of grammar concerned with word order as an element in a clause or sentence and the rules governing word order and sentence structure.
TPR - Total Physical Response - An approach, in which learners are not required to speak until they are ready. This may take days, weeks or even months. During this period the learner listens and acquires language; understanding and comprehension are demonstrated through non-verbal, physical responses. Playing the game teacher says is a great TPR game.

More teaching tips--Woes of Teaching


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There are a few magazines on the market that are specifically for teachers teaching English as a second language. I have included some links for you to check out some of these magazines for some helpful teaching tips.

English Teaching Professional
The Language Teacher Online (JALT)
Studio Classroom


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Book Stores

Caves Books


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Teachers' Web Sites


There are some teachers in Taiwan that have developed their own web sites with some invaluable information. I have listed some of the sites that I am aware of and are worth while taking a look at. If you know of any other site that is not here or you have your own site that you would like me to list below please send me an email at
David's Web Page to Taiwan David Garside
EFL in Asia Hall Houston
Hall Houston's Home Page Hall Houston
The Domain of the Langren Brian David Phillips
The ELT Two-Cents Cafe Tim Nall
Trent Widdup's Home Page Trent Widdup
Scott Sommers' Taiwan Web log Scott Sommer


World Wide Teachers Web Sites - RESOURCEFUL TEACHER SITES

French School - offers classes in French, German, Italian or English
World of - free powerpoints by teachers

English the Easy Way - writing instructions, grammar guide, resume resources Free downloadable teaching resources
Right Now Publications - Monthly high interest, current-events units
Powerpoint for
Teacher's Debt
Learn new TEACHING STRATEGIES that work
The Canadian
MOST POPULAR Teacher Sites on the net - by Rank
AMERICAN Teacher Sites
Teacher - Jokes and Resources
Tooter4Kids - Teacher Resources - Algebra Worksheets and Test Generator
The Educational Resource Page
The Teacher Spot
Quality Teaching Resources
The Teacher's
The Lesson Tutor
The Lessons Plan Page
Pratt's Educational resources
Spartacus Schoolnet - education on the internet
Teachers Helping
Cozy Grammar
Renae's Room
The Bully - A Discussion and Activity Story
Nellie's English Projects
Internet Sites that Work with Students
Middle School Help - Article Directory, Reading Help
English Grammar the Easy Way

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