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Teaching English


The British Council/BBC website Teaching English is probably the most important English language teaching site on the web. It brings together everything busy teachers need for the classroom and the staffroom – lesson plans and worksheets, teaching tips, web links, teaching articles and lots of information about professional development – training, conferences and qualifications. Teachers can customise their own area on the site to provide personalised content. The site contains interactive and multimedia material including teaching videos, blogs and podcasts, and discussion forums. It also features regular guest contributors – teachers from around the world and ELT specialists from the UK.

Teaching English has agreed that a small number of other English language websites, including Listen to English, can use some of its material. I hope you find it useful!

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Are you a busy teacher?


Are you an English language teacher? A busy English language teacher? Do you often find that you often need teaching resources in a hurry – worksheets, quizzes, activities, audio material etc? The site busyteacher.org has a large collection of useful material which can be downloaded for free. It is an established community of 50.000+ ESL/EFL teachers who contribute teaching materials to the site, with new material available every day. Register with the site and find what it can do to help you and your students.

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Let's Go Green!


Many students of English are concerned about climate change and “green” issues generally. They enjoy learning new vocabulary about environmental issues and participating in exercises. Here are some lesson ideas (reproduced here by permission) from the BBC/British Council Teaching English website.

Environmental Issues

This lesson introduces learners to some of the main issues related to climate change. Learners focus on dictionary skills and the pronunciation of strong and weak syllables in long words. Focusing on the lexis in detail will help them recognise and use these terms outside the classroom.

Topic: Environmental problems

Age: Teenage/adult

Level: B1+

Timing: 60-90 minutes

Aims:
By the end of the lesson learners will be able to:

  • understand important causes of environmental problems and some solutions
  • extend their understanding of lexis connected to climate change and environmental issues
  • improve understanding of pronunciation information given in a dictionary
  • take notes and retell information to others
  • use expressions of certainty when discussing events likely to happen in the future

Download lesson plan

Download worksheets

How Green Are You?

This lesson looks at ways the learners can take to reduce their impact on climate change. Learners will carry out two surveys and summarise their findings as a report.

Topic: Being green

Age: Teenage/adult

Level: A2+

Timing: 60-90 minutes

Aims:

  • To interview others to complete a survey and summarise findings in a report
  • To develop questionnaires on current behaviour using present perfect forms
  • To understand the actions learners can take to reduce their impact on climate change

Download lesson plan

Download worsheets

Save Water

This lesson looks at the causes of water shortages locally and internationally, and learners will produce a poster giving advice on saving water in the home or in the school.

Topic: Water shortages

Age: Teenage/adult

Level: A2+

Timing: 60-90 minutes

Aims:

  • To talk about the use of water in every day life
  • To give advice to others on their role in water conservation

Download lesson plan

Download worksheets

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It's 12 o'clock!


Here is a great idea for an English class, especially a children’s class. I comes from the BBC/British Council teaching English website and was written by Katherine Bilsborough. It is reproduced here with permission.

This is a drawing and speaking activity that is fun to use with primary classes to revise the present continuous form. It is easy to set up and requires no preparation or materials, except a board and a board pen. Students will need a piece of paper and a pencil. This version practises the present continuous form but other versions can practise other tenses. Children like it because it allows them to practise grammar in a safe environment. By repeating the same question and answer a number of times students become more confident and make fewer and fewer errors. They also like it because the drawing adds an element of fun to the activity and allows students who might be good at drawing but less good at English, to excel.

Level: Elementary and above

Age: Primary (can also be used with older students)

Preparation

On the board, draw a simple background scene such as a park with some gardens, a river and a few trees. As you build up the picture, elicit the vocabulary from the students by asking a few simple questions.

What’s this place? What am I drawing now?

Add a simple stick drawing (of yourself) in the scene. You should be “doing” something (e.g. sitting by the river eating a banana). Label the picture of yourself with your name. Point to it and say “This is me. It’s 12 o’clock and I am sitting by the river, eating a banana.”

Procedure

  • Give each student a piece of paper and a pencil and tell them to copy the picture on the board. Give them a limited time of about 4 minutes. They should include the stick drawing of the teacher.
  • Tell the students to add a drawing of themselves and label it. They should be in a specific place and doing something. Explain that if necessary they can add other elements to the picture. Explain that students shouldn’t show their picture to anybody.
  • Write these two questions and answers on the board. If possible elicit the answers. It’s 12 o’clock in the park. Where are you? And what are you doing? I’m sitting by the river. I’m eating a banana.
  • Explain that students should walk around the classroom speaking to their classmates. They should ask and answer the question on the board. Each time a student answers, they should draw that student in the picture, doing the action. Then they should label the student.
  • The activity finishes when each student has drawn and labeled all of their classmates in their picture; all doing different things in different parts of the picture.

Extension

Students can do a follow up writing activity. They should start with the following:

_It’s 12 o’clock on Saturday and everybody is in the park. Everybody is doing something.

The teacher is sitting by the river eating a banana.

I am ….

… is …._

Display pictures and texts around the classroom.

Other versions

  • Change It’s 12 o’clock in the park for Last Saturday at 12 o’clock … and change the tense to the past continuous
  • Change It’s 12 o’clock in the park for Next Saturday … and change the tense to the future continuous.
  • For older students, make the activity a “scene of the crime” activity, with each student being a potential witness to a crime that has occurred in the park. You will need to change the question to Where were you and what were you doing when (somebody stole the bike)?

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Lesson Plan - a Night Out in Newcastle.


Alternative content

Article by Nick Peachey

Level – intermediate and above

Reading can sometimes be a very solitary experience and many teachers prefer to get students to do it at home, but with the right kind of text and the right tasks, reading can be turned into a fun, collaborative and communicative experience. This lesson exploits an authentic text taken from a British Council ‘UKinfocus’ website and has a range of quite simple tasks that students work through in groups. There are also a range of suggestions for follow up tasks.

Plan components

Lesson Plan: – guide for teacher on procedure including answers to tasks.
Download lesson plan 74k pdf

Worksheets: – exercises which can be printed out for use in class. The worksheet contains:

  • Pre-reading
  • Jigsaw reading task
  • Collaborative comprehension task
  • Vocabulary development task
  • Discussion task

Download worksheets 65k pdf

Note: The audio is not essential for the lesson but you may like to use it in class as an optional element.

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