How to use Gamification in the Classroom.

Make your classroom fun with gamification

What is Gamification?

Gamification is the process of turning a classroom and normal activities into a game. It is a basic concept that uses a practical, applied, and hands-on approach to learning to increase student engagement, modify views and attitudes, and develop abilities.

It necessitates imagination, teamwork, and fun. There are a variety of ways to include games and gameplay in the classroom to increase learning and deepen student knowledge.

Why Use Gamification?

‘Gamification of learning may help you generate dynamic, instructional, and entertaining content regardless of your audience or topic matter.’ It’s not meant to transform work into a game, but it does tap into the psychology that motivates people to engage.

One of the main advantages of gamification is that it makes learning more interesting and instructive, owing to its interactivity. Role-playing and competitive components offer an immersive element that, when done right, may make learning more enjoyable.

How Gamification Works.

Finding the determination and endurance to complete a challenging assignment might be difficult at times. Gamification encourages people to participate in a process by making it more pleasurable. As a person becomes more involved in a course or project, their favorable feelings toward the experience grow, and they are more willing to engage on their own.

Gamification has grown in popularity in areas like health care and the workplace during the last decade. Gamified learning has also been a popular teaching approach as students embrace technology in the classroom at a greater rate than before.

When employed in schools, however, gamification, like any other method, has advantages and disadvantages.

Gamification Traps to avoid.

When implemented incorrectly, gamification in the classroom can lead to students being driven by prizes but disinterested in the learning process, which is the exact opposite of what is expected. It’s critical to grasp the distinction between internal and extrinsic drive in order to avoid this.

Intrinsic motivation occurs when students love studying for the sake of learning, such as the thrill of grasping a new concept or mastering a new ability. When pupils are motivated by external rewards or penalties, this is known as extrinsic motivation.

By selecting intrinsic rewards as a teacher, you can help students avoid being extrinsically motivated.

Instead of throwing a class party, consider devising prizes that will encourage pupils to build a passion for learning English or any other subject that is being taught.

Ways to Gamify Your Classroom.

How can we re-imagine and accelerate the learning experience by leveraging this pervasive and compelling gaming phenomenon? Here are a few ideas for gamifying your classroom, whether it’s online or in-person, to increase participation, cooperation, and learning.

Adapt old-school games for use in the classroom.

Scavenger hunts, bingo, dice games, hangman, and Scrabble have all been around for a long time and can be used in the classroom. Place vocabulary words on bingo cards and see if students can match the words to the definitions after hearing them.

Students can play Scrabble together in groups by spelling out responses to content-specific questions. Consider a scavenger hunt. If students are online, you may give them a list of items to look for around their house, which they could then present on Zoom or during a Google Meet.

Online games.

Students adore Kahoot!, Quizizz, Quizlet Live, Gimkit, and Blooket, the newest online trivia and games platform. Teachers can use these free platforms to design multiple-choice questions that students can answer on their own devices.

Teachers can also construct content-specific questions to serve as pre-assessments, quizzes, or exit tickets by selecting from the thousands of quizzes already uploaded on these sites.

Breakout EDU also features an online learning collection of digital games, riddles, and ciphers that teach critical thinking.

Kahoot: For both formative and informal quizzes, Kahoot allows instructors to create their own multiple-choice questions. Students were required to participate by answering timed questions and were ranked based on their speed and correctness. It’s available through the Kahoot! app or a web browser.

TEDEd: TEDEd is an online video library with an accompanying app that allows instructors to build interactive video lectures based on their course themes, complete with quizzes, discussion prompts, and other activities.

Gimkit: Gimkit allows instructors to construct their own game shows that students can participate in and answer on their own devices. Students work through question sets at their own pace until they master them, ensuring that they have thoroughly grasped course contents.

Find out more about my favorite online tools here ” Teachers tools to make life easier

Award badges of honor

Badges can be used to recognize mastery and accomplishment. Badges, which go beyond grades because they indicate more than just academic progress, can be used by teachers to recognize student accomplishments and mastery.

Students strive toward earning various badges in order to demonstrate mastery of a subject, standard, or ability. Once students have learned a specific ability, badges can be distributed digitally or displayed in the classroom for all to see.

Battle the boss.

A “boss” is a villain in video games who the hero must beat in order to rescue the day. The same as the monster at the end of each level in the original Super Mario game, which must be defeated before proceeding to the next level.

Teachers can design their own boss battles and quests using questions from any curriculum area on the gamification platform Classcraft. Teachers can also build their own fictional boss by utilizing Google Forms or Google Slides to create boss battles.

Freshworks can help.

Who are Freshworks, and what do they do? They are a company that will assist you in making the move to creating a loyal online following or improving your classroom experience.

Freshworks makes it simple for teachers to delight their pupils. They achieve this by employing a new strategy to designing and delivering cost-effective and user-friendly software-as-a-service.

They design technology that everyone can use, making it simple for you to create a stimulating learning environment in your classroom.

Find out how Freshworks can help you by clicking ” Freshworks for fun


Students can fail, conquer, and persevere by using games. They are given a sense of control over their learning.

your students will have influence over the decisions they make, and the more ownership they have, the better.

Instant feedback and little rewards (or large rewards, such as winning) are effective motivators.

If you like the notion of using points and badges to motivate your students, gamified learning might be for you.

However, if you have trouble prioritizing your time when it comes to course development, gamification might not be the best option. The secret to success is to start modestly and give yourself plenty of time to plan.

Are you using gamification in the classroom and is it working for you, let me know.

Check out my other stuff on Vietnam Esl.

Who am I?

My name is Stephen and I have been teaching EFL/ ESL for over 15 years. I have my own school and I am both the author of this article and the owner of this website.

You can check out my school here, prior to opening, after being closed due to Covid.

Any or all links on this site may be affiliate links, and if you purchase something through those links I will make a small commission on them.

There will be no extra cost to you and at times due to my affiliation, you could actually save money.

You can read our full affiliate disclosure here.

My First TET in Vietnam as an English teacher

This is a true story of Marty Hoares’ first TET in Vietnam. It is entertaining and informative. It will give you an understanding of the culture and how Vietnamese celebrate TET holiday. I hope you enjoy it.

I have his approval to post to my website.

Author: Marty Hoare

My first couple of days before the TET holiday I was sitting alone in a bistro/bar in Hanoi after a busy workday having a cold beer. Having recently arrived in Vietnam, all those years ago, and not knowing anything about the national holiday, I was wondering how I would spend the break.

I happened to notice a young woman sitting alone a few tables over so I decided to invite her to my table for a drink and some chit-chat.

One thing led to another and before I knew it I was being invited to her hometown of Viet Tri for the holidays. Of course, I immediately accepted.

That night at home I was busily packing for the trip and looking at a map trying to work out where the devil this place Viet Tri was. Miss Thuy and I met the following morning back at the bar to share a cab to head off to a place I had never heard of or could find on a map.

We had a lovely chat on the way where I learned quite a bit about my new home Vietnam. Keeping the conversation convivial I asked a lot of questions. One was, hey Miss Thuy, what are those strange words on the back of that delivery van in front of us. Miss Thuy let out a polite little giggle and explained that “bao cao su ” was the Vietnamese word for condom.

We shared a pregnant pause (no pun intended) before moving our conversation on to the brick factories that lined the highway. I learned that Viet Tri was famous for the mythical Hung King, was home to the longest Main Street in Vietnam, housed international tennis, ping pong, and swimming stadiums, and was notable for a special type of very expensive fish delicacy due to the 3 rivers that intersected in this booming agricultural regional city to the North of Hanoi.

Arriving at Miss Thuy’s home I was greeted by fighting cocks, a special needs brother, and elderly mum and dad, all standing in the yard overflowing with bonsai, awaiting our arrival. Having exchanged pleasantries with the family I was ushered into the “good room” where dad motioned for me to sit on what looked like a chair fit for a king.

An excruciatingly uncomfortable place to sit, made obviously by hand from deep redwood, adorned with carvings of dragons. Dad pumped a hot water thermos, dribbled a little water into a tiny porcelain cup, swished it about, then tossed the remains onto the floor then filled it to the brim with the most tepid horribly tasting tea I had ever tasted.

I smiled graciously. Dad was very engaging, very chatty. I was to find out later that I was the first Ong Tay (Mr. Foreigner) to visit their moldy abode. Even before I had sat down mum and Miss Thuy had hurried off, somewhere, leaving me with dad.

He couldn’t speak a word of English and the only words of Vietnamese I could speak (poorly) were Karm On (thank you) and bao cao su (condom). Looking around the room at the array of photo-shopped gregariously framed pictures I quickly realized that with all the gold stars on dad’s army uniform he must have been someone pretty important.

In the good room, there was a wooden framed double bed with a bamboo mat in one corner, more redwood furniture in the center with another double bed with a matching bamboo mat in the far corner. Pride of place in the center of the room was a 50-inch flat-screen TV sitting above what looked like a karaoke machine with the biggest pair of speakers I’d ever seen in my life.

I wondered which bed was mine. All of a sudden dad jumped up, launched into a dictionary of Vietnamese chatter before bowing down and handing me an envelope. I accepted the envelope with a poorly spoken Karm On. He continued excitedly shouting at me whilst pointing at the envelope. I again said Karm On. Not really sure what to do next so I carefully opened the envelope to find a brand new crisp 100,000 Vietnam dong note.

I stood up, bowed, thanked him for his kind generosity, and slipped the envelope into my pocket.I didn’t really understand his change of facial expression from that of glee to ashen gray. Miss Thuy and her mum bounded into the room screaming An Com (eat-eat) ushering us out of the good room and into a not-so-good room where I was greeted with a veritable buffet of traditional Vietnamese delicacies.

Dad made his way in, still with an ashen gray look about him. The food was amazing. Desperately trying not to look like a starving kid from Africa I scoffed down all but 3 of the 12 deep-fried spring rolls on the table. Miss Thuy politely explained what the array of dishes were while in between mouthfuls all I could say was Karm On Karm On (thank you thank you).

Dad was still, confusingly, not very convivial. After lunch, we returned to the good room for more atrocious tea. Just as mum disappeared to tidy up the lunch plates Miss Thuy said, so my dad told you about his Senior Ping-Pong tournament he won this morning! You know, he’s the best senior Ping-Pong player in Viet Tri! Wow, I said. That’s fantastic.

Miss Thuy then said, please give him back the 100,000 Vietnamese dong you have in your pocket as it was his prize money for winning the tournament.

Oh shit. I handed the envelope back to dad as his look of ashen gray became slightly rosier. Once the smile had come back on dad’s face after having returned his Ping-Pong winnings, Miss Thuy informed me that we were going for a spin around town.

Pointing out all the hot spots in Viet Tri didn’t take very long at all. Next thing I knew we were at the tennis club. It was really quite amazing. International standard and it was busy. I had no idea tennis was so popular in these parts.

All the brand names were represented. Adidas, Nike, Saucony, and of course Gucci. Miss Thuy plonked me down with a few of her buddies who immediately ordered a crate of warm Heineken and some beef jerky snacks while regaling me with tennis stories.

I even got to meet the local champ, Mr. Cuong. (More about him later).Once we’d finished the crate of warm beer I was again being whisked off to a cafe for some traditional coffee and more chit-chat. During a lull in the conversation, I quietly mentioned to Miss Thuy about the sleeping arrangements.

I was by now somewhat concerned about the two beds in the good room, both clad with a bamboo mat. Wondering which one we would be sleeping on and if mum and dad would be in the other.

But I was actually slightly more concerned with the toilet facilities. I found it during lunch. It was down a little path off the kitchen (if you could call it a kitchen) towards the back of the moldy house where you stood on the bank of a small rivulet and did your number ones. God only knew what you’d do for number twos!

Miss Thuy assured me that sleeping arrangements were all taken care of and I wasn’t to worry about a thing. I worried, especially about the toilet, as number twos would ultimately catch up with me. Apparently, we had to hurry off to get ready for a big night out in the metropolis of Viet Tri.

Back on the scooter we went. We pulled up at the best hotel in town where she ushered me to reception. Next, I knew I was in their best room, told to freshen up and be in the lobby in an hour or 7pm whichever came first. Miss Thuy hurried off.

I was collected at 8pm (Vietnamese 7pm) to be scooted to the only nightclub in town. It was going off. Very shortly after our arrival another crate of warm Heineken was dropped at our feet. Illicit substances were freely available and embraced by the scores of underage teens wearing all but, well very little really, while the loudest V-pop music rattled every bone in my body.

After a few hours of deafening V-Pop, and endless repeats of ABBA, and me smiling at the incomprehensible conversation, by midnight there weren’t too many revelers left standing. Bouncers were busy sweeping bodies out the door. Young boys were busily arguing over which one of the scantily clad teen females they were going to leave with while my new friends were arranging tomorrow’s tennis tournament and whose team I would be joining.

We left the club. It was a lovely night to be on the back of the scooter, somewhat romantic. I remember Miss Thuy looking rather ravishing in her little black number while we scooted at a terrifying pace, and quite drunk, around the back blocks of Viet Tri under the moonlit sky with warmish wind blowing through our hair.

After I had removed a mouthful of her black locks from my mouth I went in for the mandatory hug around her waist from my uncomfortable and precarious position on the back of the scooter. All of a sudden we were back at the best hotel in town where my now firmly clasped hands were unceremoniously slapped away from my thought-to-be-dates midriff and dumped in front of a locked hotel.

As Miss Thuy sped off she yelled, pick you up at 8. Having woken up quite early in the best room in the best hotel in town, I wandered around the corner to Viet Tri’s central market to buy a suitable outfit for the tennis tournament.

New outfit, a couple of heart starter Cafe Sua das’ (iced milk coffee) later, and a watery bowl of Pho I returned to the best hotel in town to change.

Miss Thuy collected me at Vietnamese 7am, which was actually 8am, and off we went to the stadium. Mr. Cuong (the local tennis champ) was warming up and Mr. Duy welcomed me to his doubles team. I did look rather fetching in my firm-fitting sky blue polyester fake Adidas branded t-shirt and even firmer fitting sun yellow fake Nike shorts finished off with a firm fitting pair of real genuine copy fake Dunlop tennis shoes.

After a few minutes of end-to-end warm-ups Mr. Duy tossed the ball to me and said, you serve. Not having played for quite some time I lined my left foot up towards the center of the baseline (as they do on TV), gripped my racquet like my life depended on it (as they do on TV), and lightly tossed the ball skyward (as they do on TV) and prepared myself for a first point winning ACE (as they do on TV).

By now a decent size crowd had gathered to watch Mr. Cuong (the local champ), Miss Thuy, Mr. Duy, and the slightly uncomfortable-looking Mr. Foreigner play a doubles tournament. My right arm moved skyward in perfect unison with the falling ball and WHACK. I belted that ball like a real pro (as they do on TV).

Within a split-second of smashing the ball the crowd of onlookers went wild (similar to as they do on TV). On hearing the wails of Oh My Gods I felt a rush of adrenalin surge through my body. Although there was no ice offered with the crate of warm beer on the previous day, copious amounts of ice mysteriously appeared and was busily applied to Mr. Duy’s left eye, which in an amazingly short amount of time, had blown up to the size of a golf ball.

My perfectly executed ACE struck the edge of my racquet and went straight into my teammates eye (not as it does on TV). The doubles tournament was over. Another crate of warm beer was plonked at our feet where Mr. Duy, nursing his now very swollen eye, and I sat to watch Mr. Cuong (the local champ) and Miss Thuy play a game of singles.

Having lived abroad for most of my adult life I find this time of year in Vietnam or wherever I happened to be at this time of year, a time of reflection. Nearly 15 years after my First TET in Vietnam I’m once again using this downtime to reflect on some of the many memories Vietnam has afforded me.

Miss Thuy is still in my life as is her Cuban Italian husband and their child. Mr. Cuong (the local tennis champ) has done very well in business and is still married to the mother of his two children, and still lives in Viet Tri, and is still the local tennis champ.

I was to find out some time after meeting him all those years ago that he and Miss Thuy were having a clandestine relationship. This may explain why I was housed in (the best hotel in town) and not on one of the two bamboo mat-clad beds in Miss Thuy’s parent’s good room.

Their relationship was kept very secretive until his wife turned up unexpectedly at tennis one afternoon and found the pair of them sharing more than some end-to-end warm-ups. The wife made a terrible scene at Miss Thuy’s mum and dad’s house where the look of ashen gray returned once again to her Ping-Pong champion fathers face.

Mum and dad are still with us and Miss Thuy has put her tennis days behind her and has since taken up golf. I can only imagine why her Ping-Pong champion father hugged me so tightly at his daughter’s wedding reception a few years back where she married a Cuban Italian.

I guess her father’s overly long hug was either because she hadn’t married the Mr. Foreigner who stole his Ping-Pong winnings or that he had a son-in-law that wasn’t already married. Or maybe it was due to his daughter knowing about “bao cao su” (condoms) and hence, not totally embarrassing her family by birthing a child to a married man.

Mr. Duy is now also married with children. Although we keep in touch we’ve never had another tennis match but, even after all these years, his left eye still has a visible little scar from that now-infamous tennis tournament. We don’t mention the spot on his eye.

My tennis attire has long been donated to the homeless, although it did take some convincing for them to accept it. I guess sun yellow form-fitting shorts aren’t a popular look when you’re homeless. The real genuine fake copy Dunlop tennis shoes fell apart long ago.

The only nightclub in Viet Tri is now a popular cafe haunt for young teens. I guess from the thick smell of herbs billowing out onto the street the young scantily clad teens still manage to find their chosen substances.

I have returned to Viet Tri a number of times over the years. The 26 kilometer, and longest Main Street in Vietnam, leads you to the Temple of the Hung King, a lovely place to spend a summer’s day, except for the ridiculous amount of steps you have to climb to burn a bit of cheap smelling incense.

The tennis and swimming and Ping-Pong stadiums are still standing and I even got to try the local fish delicacy aptly named, 3 rivers.

The Best Hotel in Town is still there although at $17 a night one shouldn’t be too sarcastic. Over the years I have met and become friends with untold numbers of Vietnamese. Business owners, CEOs, bankers, lawyers, developers, millionaires, farmers, millionaire farmers, taxi drivers, teachers, students, and wait-staff.

Through to my 15-year relationship with the fellow behind the Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum in Hanoi who cleans and repairs my shoes. His two kids, who I’ve watched grow up while playing on the pavement while their dad works tirelessly to earn an income for his family, are now both at international-type schools preparing for their future.

I often look at them and wonder what their future holds. And to the lovely elderly lady, with the most welcoming smile imaginable, who sells me my morning cafe sua da (iced milk coffee), who once shared with me her very private love letters she received from a French soldier she had an intense romantic relationship with during colonization.

One challenging memory that always brings a tear to my eye is of the beautiful little Mai, a 6-year-old girl who I was helping learn to read who has since passed as a result of the dreaded AIDS virus she contracted from her drug-addicted parents.

She loved Dr. Seuss. God rest her little soul. Her parents are now both clean and are living in a sweet little house built with funds raised by the local community. They continue to live under the cloud of AIDS.

I can’t honestly remember how many weddings I’ve been to or how many of their kids now refer to me as uncle. I’ve lost some dear friends over the years and have gained many new ones.

My beautiful wife Thuy Duong and our 13-year-old princess are now central figures in my life and next week we will come together with immediate and extended family and friends to celebrate Vietnam’s national holiday.

But this year we will celebrate TET in Melbourne. I sincerely hope that as visitors to Vietnam you amass as many fond memories as I have over the years and that they become an important part of your life as they have mine


If you are looking to come to Vietnam these are the type of experiences you can still enjoy. The people on whole are friendly and welcoming. And if you make the effort to interact with them you will be enriched by the experience.

If you liked this, you may also like Martys take on the ESL industry in Vietnam

Who am I?

My name is Stephen and I have been teaching ESL for over 15 years and have my own school. I also place teachers across Vietnam into both private and public schools. I am also the author and owner of this website. You can look at my school in Vietnam prior to reopening below.

Any or all links on this site may be affiliate links, and if you purchase something through those links I will make a small commission on them.

There will be no extra cost to you and at times due to my affiliation, you could actually save money.

You can read our full affiliate disclosure here.

How to Improve English Reading Skills | EFL

Learning English requires the use of four separate skills.

The four skills in learning a language.

People generally learn these four English Language skills in the following order.

Listening skill. When people are learning a new language they will first hear it spoken. Like a newborn baby to the learning of a language, they will spend the first lessons listening and speaking

Speaking skill. After they have listened to keywords and phrases they try to repeat what they hear

Reading skill. Later they will learn the reading skill which is the visual representation of any language. And this is the one we will be covering today.

Writing skill. And the last and the hardest skill is the writing skill. All the previous skills should be quite well-developed, however, the sooner you introduce this skill the better.

The five Components of Reading skills.

The 5 reading abilities are an excellent resource for showing teachers how to teach the reading skill, and what points should be covered. If you employ these five essential components of reading in your lessons your pupils will have a strong foundation for success in reading.

Reading Fluency

People can be fluent in reading just like they can be fluent in a language. When you read fluently, you can do so quickly, easily, and accurately.

When your reading flows naturally, exactly like it does when you’re conversing.

Some people believe that reading fluency just means reading quickly. There’s a lot more to it than that.

Reading fluency is made up of four primary components that work together to provide a rewarding reading experience.

Speed of Reading

The first aspect of reading fluency is the rate, or speed, at which students read. Students should read at a good rate because slow and laborious reading slows comprehension.

However, you don’t want students to be solely concerned with how rapidly they can read the content. It’s a delicate balancing act. A higher rate of reading fluency increases comprehension and flow.


The number of words you read properly is a factor in reading fluency. It’s critical to teach pupils to self-correct when reading so that they can understand what they’re reading.

Tell them to go back and try again if they read a word that doesn’t make sense. Help them focus on looking at the word they’re reading and making sure they’re reading it correctly, rather than on getting through as many words as possible.


When you read, prosody refers to the emotion and expression you employ. It entails easily reading phrases with inflection. Intonation refers to the pitch of your voice as it rises and falls.

For some pupils, this is the most difficult goal to achieve. Demonstrate how a learner should read by reading a passage robotically or without intonation, then reading it again with stress and tone.

Ask the students which they find the best and easiest to understand. It is important to understand the pitch and intonation of reading as well as speaking as it shows the listener when the end of the sentence has arrived.


Comprehension is another aspect of reading fluency that many people overlook. Although comprehension is a distinct reading skill, it is also an important component of reading fluency.

Reading quickly and accurately isn’t enough, as we discussed earlier. To be fully fluent, students must comprehend what they are reading.

When someone speaks a language fluently, they don’t just say a bunch of random words. They know what they’re saying and are having a rational discussion.

The same can be said of reading fluency. To read fluently, students must comprehend and consider what they are reading.


Phonics is the process of associating sounds to written letters and then using those sounds to create words. It is the process of decoding words by listening to the sounds that each letter makes.

Essentially, it involves looking at the letters, saying the sounds they create, and deducing the word from those letters and sounds. This is referred to as “sounding out words” by many.

At its simplest it is like saying A, apple; B banana; what sound does the A have in apple and what sound does the B have in banana.

Students are given reading tools through phonics teaching that will give them abilities they can use if they come across a word they don’t recognize. They can sound out a word phonetically if taught some basic information. For example, what sound does “Qu” make, yes it sounds like “Kwa”

Students will always come across big, fresh, unknown words in their learning journey. Reading textbooks and academic content will be a tremendous task for them if they are struggling with each new or unfamiliar word.

On the contrary, if your students have the phonics methods they need to decipher words, they will not be intimidated by whatever word their education throws at them. By providing children the ability to decode every word they come across, you are empowering them!

Phonemic Awareness

Being able to listen to and hear the sounds of words is known as phonemic awareness. This talent excludes the use of letters and written words. It’s merely about being able to hear and listen to sounds. There is no decoding involved


The fifth of the 5 Reading Skills that you should include in your reading education is vocabulary

Vocabulary is the ability of students to engage with words and understand what they mean and imply.

There are two types of vocabulary: receptive (words heard and read) and expressive (words spoken) Both are equally important.

Receptive vocabulary is typically learned first, followed by expressive vocabulary, because it is easier to recognize words than it is to produce them.


The goal we want our students to reach is reading comprehension. We read in order to comprehend and learn. Every other reading skill (phonemic awareness, phonics, fluency, and vocabulary) is aimed at assisting us in reading words and comprehending their meaning.

Fostering a love of reading is one of the most effective ways to increase reading comprehension. Show kids how to love reading by allowing them to immerse themselves in the stories or learn new facts.

Make reading enjoyable for your students by reading aloud to them and then having discussions about what they’ve read. Encourage them to discuss what they read as they read independently.

Ask Questions.

It’s essential to offer students comprehension questions during and after they read, as well as merely talk with them about what they read, whether they’re performing individual or group reading tasks.

When you ask students questions regarding the text and they don’t know the answer, assist them in going back to the text to find it. Referring to the text is an important skill that will help students improve their reading comprehension and read with intention.


When you teach any of these skills it needs the involvement of the other skills as well. Try to make a lesson that incorporates the use of the whole range of skills. Being aware of the learning process is what will help you in your ESL or EFL teaching.

Go back to my posts about listening, speaking, and writing and choose what works best for you. There are a lot of tools online and websites you can visit that will help you prepare for your classroom or online teaching time.

You can find a lot of free resources that will help in my post

Top 10 Websites for the ESL teacher

Who Am I?

My name is Stephen and I have been teaching ESL for over 15 years and have my own school. I also place teachers across Vietnam into both private and public schools. I am also the author and owner of this website. You can look at my school in Vietnam prior to reopening below.

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My School

Any or all links on this site may be affiliate links, and if you purchase something through those links I will make a small commission on them.

There will be no extra cost to you and at times due to my affiliation, you could actually save money.

You can read our full affiliate disclosure here.

How to Improve English Speaking Skills | ESL

Improve your students’ English Speaking Skills.

Many students can master the finer parts of English grammar but struggle when it comes to actually converse with native speakers. The only method to improve their speaking fluency is for them to do a lot of listening and then practice speaking.

Remember, listening is the foundation for speaking. And learning and teaching the listening skill is an important component in your students’ success in their ability to speak effectively.

Here are a few pointers on how to improve their English speaking abilities. But first, let us look at how the students feel.

Students concerns.

Why do students frequently cite listening and speaking as their primary concerns? Partly due to the demands of listening and speaking, and partly due to the manner in which speech is frequently taught.

It frequently includes language practice activities (discussions, information-gap tasks, and so on) or is used to drill a specific grammatical point.

Neither teaches real-world interaction patterns. So, how can we prepare students for real-world interaction in the classroom?

Real-Life Dialogue.

Many linguistic and ESL instructors now believe that students acquire a second language by “interacting.” This is best accomplished through communicative language instruction and collaborative learning.

The teaching of communicative language is based on real-life situations that necessitate communication. Students will be able to communicate with each other in the target language if this method is used in ESL classes.

In summary, ESL teachers should develop a classroom climate that promotes oral language through real-life dialogue, authentic activities, and meaningful work. When students work together in groups to achieve a goal or complete a task, this can happen.

Age and Level Relevant.

Before we get into the teaching tips, let us look at the level and age of the student we are teaching. As some ages and levels will not be able or understand some of the following practices.

For the younger learners, you will no doubt be using a book similar to “Family and Friends” This is text-based with a CD or downloadable audio file. They come with “Flashcards” which make the understanding of a new word a lot easier with a visual representation of the word being taught.

Mix it up for the younger learner with games and other material with both online and paper-based resources.

You can find a lot of material to help in my post “Top ten ESL websites

Once your students are older and have some basic skills on board you can then start using the following classroom tips.

Teaching Tips.

Here are just a few ways you can mix up your lessons to make learning the speaking skill more interesting.


Role-playing is one approach to getting pupils to speak up. Students act out a range of social scenarios and take on various social roles.

The teacher provides information to the students in role-playing activities, such as who they are and what they believe or feel. You may, for example, have your pupils practice a job application role-play. One is the employer, while the other is the job seeker.


Students can give a quick summary of a narrative or story they heard previously, ( See my post on Listening Skills ) or they can make up their own stories to share with their classmates.

Telling stories encourages creative thinking. It also aids students in expressing ideas in a formalized format. It has a beginning, middle, and end, as well as the characters and setting required to complete the story.

Students can also ask questions or tell jokes. For example, the teacher might invite a few pupils to ask him or her a question or share a joke at the start of each class session.

Telling jokes in a foreign language is very difficult, so reserve this for your more advanced students.

Use Pictures

Use pictures in speaking activities. Give pupils an image and ask them to explain what they see. Students can work in groups for this assignment, with each group receiving a different picture.

Students discuss the image in groups, and then a representative from each group describes the image to the entire class. This activity encourages learners’ originality and inventiveness, as well as their public speaking abilities.

Spot the Difference

Students can work in pairs for this task, and each pair is given two distinct photographs, such as a picture of a bedroom with different items in them. Students work in pairs to discuss the pictures’ similarities and differences. This is also great for teaching prepositions of place. For example, in, on, under, etc. In picture 1 the toys are on the rug, but in picture 2 there are no toys on the rug.

Information Gap

Students are meant to work in pairs on this exercise. One student will have information that the other partner does not, and the two students will share their information.

Reasons for using the “information gap” technique serve a variety of functions, including problem-solving and data collection.

In addition, each partner has a critical role to perform because the task cannot be done unless the partners offer the knowledge that the others require.

This gives everyone the opportunity to speak extensively in the target language. I personally find these activities very effective.

And More.

You can find out more about teaching Speaking skills at ” Teaching English Organization

Points to remember as a Teacher.

If there are only two things you take away from this article, it would be this.

1. To ensure that your ESL students understand, speak slowly and clearly. Choose words that are less difficult for them to understand. When appropriate, use flashcards or illustrations so that your students may more easily understand the words or phrases being taught. Understanding and learning are enhanced when two or more techniques are used in the classroom.

2. Do not over-correct. If you continually correct their dialogue they will become too scared to talk in the classroom. They will “lose face” if you are teaching in South East Asia. Be aware of the social differences when teaching in a foreign country.

As a teacher, if you constantly correct your students’ you will disrupt the flow of the speech. Whether or not it is a great speech, they will become unmotivated to learn unless you provide positive feedback.

You can critique your students’ speech, but try to do it in a positive way. For example, you could say, ” Wow your speaking has come a long way in the last two months but be careful how you pronounce “said” etc.

Outside the Classroom.

Your pupils want words in order to communicate, and while class time is ideal for learning vocabulary, there are other opportunities for them to improve their speaking abilities outside of the classroom.

They can do so through viewing movies, listening to music, listening to the radio, and listening to podcasts.

They have access to books, periodicals, and blogs as well. They should listen and read for new and interesting idioms, slang terminology, and synonyms.

Then they should jot down this new information and look up anything they don’t understand. After that, they can either bring it to the following class or search it up on their own. This might be turned into a homework assignment.

Tips for the student.

Turn your thoughts into words

Speaking English can be practiced by saying your thoughts aloud or narrating your actions (“I’m washing the clothes, then I’ll make lunch”). You can improve your ability to translate your ideas into spoken words by chatting to yourself. Because no one will hear your blunders, practicing alone is also a low-pressure approach to practice.

Label everything.

Put “post-it notes” around the house with the name of the item you have labeled. For example, you can put a label on a desk with the word “desk” on it. Then you can practice your speaking by saying something like; I am walking to my desk.

Join an English coffee club.

In most countries, you will find like-minded people who wish to communicate in a social real-life situation. By joining a coffee club you will be given the opportunity to speak with native speakers as well as fellow countrymen.

An example of what you can expect can be found in various Facebook groups. You can find an example here. English clubs of Ho Chi Minh City.

Make a recording of yourself.

Most people dread having their voices recorded, but it’s a great method to develop your speaking skills. Hearing yourself on tape reveals things you would not have noticed otherwise.

You might be pleasantly pleased to learn that your speaking abilities are significantly greater than what you previously believed. You can also show your tape to your teacher or a native speaker friend and get feedback from them.

Instead of learning single words, learn sentences.

Speaking phrases rather than individual words is another way to improve your fluency.

Instead of asking, “Hello, how are you ?” use different expressions like “What’s up, buddy?” to spice things up. “How are you today, sir?” or “Hey dude, what’s up?”

When it comes to using informal dialogue, be cautious. Choose a greeting that is appropriate for the situation.


Overall, remember that using language in conversation is not the same as practicing speaking in the classroom.

Developing the range of skills required to be a “good speaker” necessitates you as a teacher to focus on how your students talk to people and how they deliver it as spoken content.

Who am I?

I am the author and owner of Vietnam ESL. My name is Stephen and I am an EFL teacher who has been living in Vietnam for 15 years and now have my own school.

I also do teacher placements in Vietnam and Thailand. If you want to look at my school click on the YouTube button below.

My school.

Any or all links on this site may be affiliate links, and if you purchase something through those links I will make a small commission on them.

There will be no extra cost to you and at times due to my affiliation, you could actually save money.

You can read our full affiliate disclosure here.

How to Improve English Listening Skills for ESL.

The Four English Learning Skills.

When learning a language, there are four abilities that we must master in order to communicate effectively. Listening is usually the first skill learned when learning a new language, followed by speaking, reading, and lastly writing. The four “linguistic skills” are as follows.

  • Listening: People who are learning a new language hear it spoken first.
  • Speaking: At some point, they attempt to repeat what they have heard.
  • Reading: They later see the spoken language symbolically represented in print.
  • Writing: Finally, they write these symbols down on paper.

Today we are going to cover the listening skill and how to help your students learn this skill quicker.

The Listening Skill

There are a few things that make mastering listening difficult. It is not enough to have a vast vocabulary and solid grammar to understand speech and recordings in English.

You must also know how to pronounce English correctly. And that is not enough either, accents and styles of talking bring their own problems.

Each speaker lends their own quirks to the language: their accent, how clearly they speak, and how quickly they talk. Even if you have a high level of English, comprehending a native speaker can be difficult if you have never heard them speak before.

It is not made any easier by the language itself.

There are many terms in English that change significantly in spelling and sound. And then there are some words that sound the same and are spelled the same yet have different meanings and can only be recognized in the context of the whole dialogue. It’s nearly impossible to recognize such words in conversation if you’ve only ever seen them in a book.

How to improve your Students Listening Skills.

If you want to improve your students’ English listening skills, you must utilize a strategy that is most effective for them. Some people study best in a classroom setting, while others prefer to practice alone.

You may develop your students’ English listening skills quickly if you’re in they are in the proper environment with the right tools. Some may like learning in groups and some may like learning alone.

Are you ready to begin? We need to figure out what type of learners your students are first.

Learning Styles.

The following are the three primary types of learning situations:

You’ll need to talk with your students about which option they prefer.

Independent lessons. This entails studying English at their leisure. If they are easily distracted in a classroom, are too busy for a traditional class, or have to move around a lot for work, this may be a good alternative for them. Online lessons work well with this type of student.

The classroom. If they enjoy talking with other students, are uncomfortable alone with an instructor, or have difficulties focusing on their own, this might be the choice for them.

Individual Tuition. If they’re hesitant with other students or find it easier to ask questions of a teacher or discussion partner, these lessons might be for them. Teaching one-on-one presents its own problems, mainly solved by good preparation and good content.

Whatever style of learning your new ESL student prefers, there are ways you can organize lessons for them and boost their listening skills progress.

Tips for students Listening outside the classroom.

Make a schedule for practicing on a regular basis.

For example, aim for a manageable amount of time each day to listen to something in English, such as 15 minutes at lunch, 15 minutes before breakfast, or 15 minutes in the evening

Indulge your passions.

When you’re listening to something that interests you or that you appreciate, you’re more likely to be inspired to learn. If you want to watch movies, that’s OK. But keep in mind that you won’t be able to see the person speaking in an exam.

So nonvisual listening is also an excellent practice option. Short audio news bits are frequently found on podcasts, online radio stations, and foreign news websites. Select the stories that spark your interest.

Practice on a regular basis.

You will hear more if you listen more. Return to a text you’ve already listened to and practice listening for new ideas. If you are studying with a book, this can be a terrific way to listen to the texts. Keep track of new terms and phrases you come across; this will help you improve your reading, listening, speaking, and writing skills.


Use subtitles for TV programs and films in English. Your learner will pick up a lot of English just by watching or listening to English-language shows or films. Avoid dubbed shows and listen to the original soundtrack instead.

Tips for teaching Listening skills.

When teaching listening skills it is a good idea to pre-plan your lesson well. This is one way I teach English listening skills.

Introduction and Discussion.

Introduces the listening topic’s theme. If your listening topic is food, for example, you may ask your students what their favorite food is and when and where their last restaurant meal was. And, more importantly, did they have a nice time?

Alternatively, if your theme is travel, you may ask students to list five things they take with them when going on holiday. It’s preferable to have students discuss the question with their partner for a few minutes before immediately eliciting some responses from the class.

Pre-Listening Exercise

After that, assign a pre-listening exercise to the students. This can be accomplished in a variety of ways. Predicting what will happen by providing an image on the topic or outlining the benefits and drawbacks of various options are two of my faves. For example, if the topic is going out to restaurants, what are the benefits and drawbacks, as well as any potential problems?

This will serve as a natural transition into the listening activity.

Listening for the first time.

First, get the pupils to listen for the broader picture. If you utilized a pre-listening exercise, you can have them check to see if their predictions were correct. Give them some basic true or false questions at the end of the first hearing. This will determine whether or not they comprehended what they had just heard.

And it will help you, as the teacher, evaluate your students listening skills.

You can also get the students to paraphrase what they have just heard.

Have students compare answers with a partner and then quickly go over them together. Don’t spend too much time with this because they’ll listen one more time before more discussion.

Listening for the second time.

Give students some more challenging comprehension questions after they have listened again, double-check answers with a partner, and then with the rest of the class.

If required, you can spend a little more time discussing the responses than you did in the previous phase.

Another option is to read the text out loud slowly and have the pupils record what they hear. Remember, this should only be used by people with fair to good writing skills.


There are always some words that are difficult to pronounce for your students. You will want to focus a little on pronunciation.

Choose the words that your students had problems with pronouncing and write them on the board. A good way to help your students with pronunciation is to break the difficult words down into syllables. For example; Pro/nun/ci/a/tion.

Keep it Fun.

My classroom ethos, whatever level of the student, is Laugh and Learn. Mix up your lesson with some listening games and your students will be only too happy to learn.

One of the best games that involve the students and get them to concentrate on the listening skill lesson is “How many times”

It is very easy and you simply choose one word from the text or script the students will listen to and count the number of times it has been said. After listening you ask the students how many times has the word “the” been said. ( It can be any word ).

Make sure you have counted correctly as it can be embarrassing if you get it wrong. This works best if you have a transcript of the listening exercise.

Sit back and watch them intently read the transcript to win points for their team. Yes, I turn it into a full-on game.


Remember that the best listening tasks for ESL students are those that are just slightly beyond their level. This is how students improve their listening abilities.

Remember to have fun and enjoy yourself. A fun teacher who assists them with their studying will be well-received by the students.

My name is Stephen and I have been teaching ESL for over 15 years and have my own school. I also place teachers across Vietnam into both private and public schools. I am also the author and owner of this website.

You can check out my school on the YouTube link below.

Any or all links on this site may be affiliate links, and if you purchase something through those links I will make a small commission on them.

There will be no extra cost to you and at times due to my affiliation, you could actually save money.

You can read our full affiliate disclosure here.


The top 10 Websites for new ESL teachers

Teaching ESL.

If you’re new to teaching English, you’ll need to find the greatest teacher materials to help you get started. With the widely available lessons and PowerPoint on the internet, teaching ESL has never been easier.

Teachers can use these ESL websites for assignments, lesson plans, and game ideas. It will halve the time you spend preparing to teach.

Even if you’ve been teaching ESL for a while and have a lot of resources, it’s always a good idea to go back to the basics and revisit the websites that were helpful when you first started.

My top 10 ESL websites.

Lantern Fish/ Boggles World

Many ESL teachers throughout the world consider Lantern Fish to be one of their favorites. I still use it after 15 years in my sector for a variety of reasons. For the busy instructor, it includes a variety of worksheets and lesson plans.

Worksheets on grammar, vocabulary, speaking, reading, listening, writing, and pronunciation are available to download.

You can also create your own worksheets and download or print crossword puzzles and “wordsearches” for those last few minutes in class.

Busy Teacher

BusyTeacher is greatly useful since it saves you hours of preparation time and helps you become a better teacher.

About 17,300 free printable worksheets and lesson plans are available to assist in the teaching of English to children and adults, beginners through to experienced students.

There are sections on vocabulary, grammar, listening, reading, writing, and speaking. Almost always, you’ll be able to find what you’re looking for here.

MES English

MES-English is a fantastic resource for teachers of young students of all ages and levels.

It provides free online worksheet tools and templates that you can use to create and print customized resources for your classroom.

All of the images from MES can be used to create spelling, reading, and writing tasks, as well as crosswords, wordsearches, flashcards, mazes, and other classroom games.

There are also talking worksheets, worksheets for introducing grammar points, a phonics workbook series, reward certificates, clip art to design your own worksheets, song sheets, nursery rhymes and chanting cards, and vocabulary building worksheets.

iSL Collective

ISL Collective is a global network of language teachers who freely share their own worksheets. The site is designed for all language teachers, whether they work in schools or provide private tutoring.

For teaching English classes, there are over 70,000 ESL, EFL printable worksheets, activities, and exercises.

In addition to English, training resources are available in German, French, Spanish, Portuguese, and Russian.

English Club.

English Club is an all-in-one ESL website that covers all aspects of the language from beginner to intermediate.

They even go up to near-fluent levels, so if you try one of their more complex ESL crosswords, you could find yourself fumbling a little.

From their webpage, English Club offers two options: Teach English for teachers and Learn English for students.

ESL Games Plus.

ESL Games Plus provides learners and teachers with engaging online games. Their learning games are primarily designed to teach ESL to children and teenagers. Grammar, vocabulary, sentences, listening, and pronunciation abilities. And are all taught and practiced through activities.

Students learn English vocabulary, sentence structures, grammar, listening, pronunciation, and phonics by playing educational games.

This website has a large number of ESL activities available online. Memory games, spelling games, interactive board games, hangman games, and many others are examples. They also have games for iPad, iPhone, and Android phones and tablets.

Dream English

Dream English songs are used to teach English to youngsters all around the world.

DreamEnglish has a song for almost everything. He’s a touch odd, but he has a knack for writing songs that are appropriate for children.

He also has fantastic music videos for each tune. If the song contains key language, you can sure he’s included it prominently in the video. This is an excellent location to look for songs that can assist your children to learn English.

There are kindergarten songs, sing-a-longs, flashcards, worksheets, and more.

You can download free mp3s of children’s songs and chants. Lyrics are available on all free song pages.

Merriam Webster Learner Dictionary

This dictionary will provide ESL students and teachers with clear and simple definitions. Simply insert a word into the search box to get a definition and an example phrase. When you’re trying to explain something, no more rambling and trying to explain in a long-winded fashion.

British Council; Learn English Kids.

Learn English Kids is a fantastic resource for both kids and parents. The students will have a variety of learning alternatives, including games to study vocabulary, grammar, writing, spelling, and punctuation in a fun and interactive way.

Worksheets, flashcards, crafts, and coloring pages are also available at Learn English Kids. They provide support to parents, as well as articles on a variety of themes to assist your children, videos on how to use English at home, and face-to-face training.

An excellent resource in whatever Country you work in.


This free English learning website and app is designed for youngsters aged 13 and up. It’s a fun and interactive approach for older students to improve reading, listening, speaking, and writing abilities.

Duolingo’s lessons are packed with core methods; it tracks your progress, provides feedback when you get an answer wrong, and keeps your child motivated with a lives’ system that requires you to start again if you lose all of your lives’.

My top Websites for teaching online.

Teaching OnLine

For both the teacher and the student, online teaching and learning can be boring. However, with a little forethought and the use of some of the tools accessible, you can go from zero to hero in no time.

Thousands of digital education tools have been created to provide students greater choice and improve the learning experience. These tools encourage collaboration and promote teacher-student communication.

At the same time, both the teacher and the students will find the lessons more engaging.

These resources can be found on several of my favorite online teaching websites. OnLine Teachers Tools.


ESL websites are fantastic for getting some fresh ideas to help you make your classes exciting and interesting. With a little casual surfing, you can find a variety of worksheets, handouts, entertaining exercises, and interesting activities.

These ESL websites are excellent for both you and your students, whether you’re a rookie ESL teacher or have plenty of experience in the classroom.

I have used these websites personally and still find them a great tool for both the classroom and online. Share these entertaining and educational ESL websites with your students to introduce them to a new method of learning English in class and at home.

My name is Stephen and I have been teaching ESL for over 15 years and have my own school. I also place teachers across Vietnam into both private and public schools. I am also the author and owner of this website.

You can check out my school on the YouTube link below.

My School

Any or all links on this site may be affiliate links, and if you purchase something through those links I will make a small commission on them.

There will be no extra cost to you and at times due to my affiliation, you could actually save money.

You can read our full affiliate disclosure here.

Vietnamese culture in the classroom for ESL teachers.

This is about the importance of learning about the cultural difference in business and the classroom.

The importance of Vietnamese culture in the workplace.

Getting a job in another nation requires more than just finding a job and working hard. It’s also about getting a sense of the country’s cultural and business environments.

Adapting to the country’s business culture is, in essence, one of the most important talents to learn and one of the least discussed. If not handled correctly it can lead to miscommunication, frustrations, and uncomfortable situations.

It is necessary for those doing business or working in Vietnam for the first time to become acquainted with the country’s unique culture and traditions. Those who do will have an easier time finding work in the country.

Vietnam Cultural Traditions.

Understanding the business culture of Vietnam might help you connect with colleagues and avoid cultural misunderstandings.

Vietnams traditions have a long history throughout Southeast Asia. Learning about these traditional, well-respected cultural norms will make working in this country much easier.

Let’s take a look at some of the most important aspects of Vietnamese business culture, including some basic business conventions and etiquette.

Vietnamese greetings.

While English is becoming more popular, Vietnamese remains the most widely spoken language, with 86 percent of the people speaking it.

If a foreigner tries to learn simple phrases in Vietnamese, such as “xin chao” (pronounced “seen chow”), which means “hello,” the Vietnamese will be appreciative.

Saying hello and farewell is usually done with a handshake and a small bow of the head. Also, note that Vietnamese names are written in the following order: surname name, middle name, first name. Learn Vietnamese with the Mondly app.

Some basic Vietnamese cultural points.

Seniority and respect are prominent notions in Vietnam, influenced by Confucianism’s hierarchical structure; most Vietnamese believe they have a responsibility to respect those who are older than them.

Vietnamese people are very punctual
, especially in business and in the classroom. However, a 5-minute lateness tolerance is usually acceptable.

Outside of the office, Vietnamese people typically need to create personal trust in order to improve teamwork and collaboration.

Attire: Due to the hot heat, Vietnamese people, particularly those from the south, dress informally. Suits and ties aren’t as popular as they once were, but wearing a t-shirt and trousers to class is a no-no.


“Face” is incredibly significant in Vietnam, as it is in many other Asian countries. While being candid and straightforward is a positive trait in the West,

in Vietnam, open dissent or raising issues in public can be perceived by the receiver as “losing face.” “Face” is a notion that approximately translates to “represents a person’s reputation, dignity, and prominence.”

Foreigners should be conscious that their words or behavior may accidentally cause a loss of face.

The most important thing to remember is to treat your coworkers with respect. If you have any recommendations or concerns, it’s preferable to discuss them in private.

Personal questions.

Many Vietnamese will ask questions that may seem personal to a foreigner. Discussing one’s family and personal life is normal and is seen as a sign of friendliness and interest.

Now we have covered the basics let us look at the culture of the classroom.

learning classroom Culture for the ESL teacher.

English is currently regarded by the Vietnamese as a language that can lead to personal achievement and worldwide opportunities. This is why the present generation of young learners want to learn English as a second language.

This necessitates parental involvement in the learning process, as they encourage their children to study hard and do their best in order to get high grades. When you work as an ESL teacher in a Vietnamese school, you may observe this.

You may also want to look at Culturally Responsive Education by Cynthia M. Douglas, PhD.

The classroom culture.

The Vietnamese place a high priority on promptness. Every day, you should arrive on time for class. However, teachers may be late due to inclement weather or traffic. In Vietnamese schools, there is also a dress code.

Although there is a lot more to say about this, the key point is that they dress conservatively. Depending on the school you attend, business casual is preferred or something a little more casual and relaxed.

Also, if you have a tattoo, cover it up as tattoos are still associated with criminals in Vietnam.

East vs. West.

Students at Western schools volunteer to respond to a question. Vietnamese students Vietnam, on the other hand, wait for the teacher to summon them. Pupils who answer when they are not called are penalized by their teachers.

Furthermore, it is common to see a teacher sitting at their desk, drinking or eating in class, playing games, or performing other personal things.

However, as an ESL teacher, I can assure you that this is not the case. Vietnamese students Vietnam are accustomed to seeing teachers as authoritative figures., so making friends with teachers is not a normal option.

The students.

Vietnamese students will tell you how confined their lives are. However, this is the standard in the country. They have a very competitive job market, which means that if you want to succeed, you must stay at the top of your class.

Vietnam has changed over the course of its war-torn history. It now boasts a thriving economy that provides incredible chances for its kids – but only for those who work hard.

This entails extended school-days, as well as the prospect of evening studies. Many Vietnamese students learn English as well, as it is now a prerequisite for those who complete higher school.

Outside the classroom.

Vietnam’s culture is deeply influenced by its rice paddies, mountains, oceans, and rivers. As a result, they consider it impolite to refuse to eat or finish your food, particularly if you are a visitor at someone’s home and they have prepared a meal for you.

If you are invited to someone’s home, try not to put too much in your bowl. Also, don’t forget to praise your hosts.

The Vietnamese are also open about their society’s difficulties. The subject might be anything from traffic to pollution to academic cheating to corruption.

Remember that when foreigners begin to criticize, they find it a bit arrogant and may take offense. Like anywhere, it is best to get to know your hosts before talking about anything controversial

Find out a lot more about etiquette in Vietnam in my previous post. Etiquette in Vietnam.


Vietnamese culture is vivacious, inviting, and welcoming. It’s no different from other countries in that it’s full of nuanced details that take time to grasp.

However, unlike in current Western societies, Vietnamese culture places a strong emphasis on family, even into adulthood.

Family reputation and well-being are extremely important to the Vietnamese. This indicates that each family takes pride in supporting their children to succeed in school and in their careers.

Being aware of cultural differences will make a big difference to your stay in Vietnam.

Who am I?

My name is Stephen and I have lived in Vietnam for 15 years and have my own school. I am also the author and owner of this website.

If you would like to see a bit of Vietnam click on the YouTube link below.

My House in Vietnam

Privacy Policy

Any or all links on this site may be affiliate links, and if you purchase something through those links I will make a small commission on them.

There will be no extra cost to you and at times due to my affiliation, you could actually save money.

You can read our full affiliate disclosure here.


How to Grade Your Younger ESL students.

Testing your younger ESL students.

ESL students’ English-speaking ability can be assessed in a variety of ways. The two most common are speaking tests and speaking exams.

IELTS and TOEFL are tests are normally used for older and more proficient students and you can find out more information about this at

But first you need to look at the age of your new student and their proficiency in all the 4 learning skills. Especially as today we are concentrating on the younger student.

What are the 4 skills for learning a language?


When you were a kid, the first thing you did to learn how to speak was just listen to what everyone else said However, to improve listening skills, you must listen, listen and listen again.

It is not enough to take a lesson with your teacher; your student should also make an effort to watch cartoons or listen to music in their spare time, always keeping in mind that the content they select is appropriate to their level.

Subtitles in movies can also be used to learn new words.

This is where you need to involve the parents in the learning process.

Find out more about “Helping Your Children to Learn English at Home


As a child, the second skill is to reproduce the sounds you had previously heard. Simply try to say the words. Talking is the key to progressing in speaking abilities.

Get your students to talk to other students and native speakers to get a sense of the language’s cadence and rhythm. The students must build up a belief in themselves and strive to communicate as much as possible.

It does not matter if they make mistakes because they will learn from them. The objective is to get them to talk as much as possible.

Do not over correct them as it may inhibit their desire to speak.


Learning the alphabet and repeating the vowels and letters was the third thing you did in school. And it is the same with ESL. This is the 3rd skill.

There are certain actions you can take to improve reading efficiency. First teach words and short phrases. Then build to teaching the reading of paragraphs.

Then use the skim reading approach, which is reading quickly in order to get a rough impression of the information. A silent reading is also recommended internalizing the pronunciation of each word as well as the punctuation pauses.

However, you should make a list of the words your students don’t understand so you can look them and translate if necessary.

I was always told not to translate, but with some of the more prosaic words it is easier to do a translation than waste 30 minutes trying to get your students to understand a difficult word.


Writing is the fourth skill. However, before you begin writing, you must consider potential topics in order to arrange your thoughts. That means do a lesson plan, please. This skill is ranked last not because it is less important, but because it is the most difficult to master.

When practicing this skill, keep in mind the three main elements of the text: introduction, body, and conclusion, as well as studying punctuation, which will aid in text cohesiveness (how to utilize punctuation).

On the other hand, if you want your younger students to write right now, it’s best to start with short sentences, then tiny paragraphs, and finally whole text.

At this level do not expect too much. I concentrate on things like; ” I like chicken” ” I do not like fish” And I do not teach contractions at this level. The students have enough to think about already.

So what is the easiest way to test your new student without spending a long time going through everything, well this is how I do it.

Speaking Examinations

The first and most straightforward technique is to ask questions in a comfortable in-class or exam atmosphere.

For younger and lower-level students, or for those who do not have access to a formal testing location, a spoken test is preferable.

Before you ask questions you need to know the basics understanding the steps in learning English, or any language.

Understanding the first steps in learning English.


Pre A1 Starters can assist your child in taking their initial steps toward: comprehending basic English information on the internet; enjoying English-language books, songs, television, and films; and making worldwide friends.


A1 Movers can assist your child with comprehending basic directions and engaging in simple discussions.

comprehend basic notices, instructions, or data

Fill out basic forms and make notes on times, dates, and locations.


A1 Movers can assist and develop your childs comprehension with basic directions and participating in simple discussions. As well as understanding basic notices, instructions, or data. And filling out basic forms and scribbling down notes, including times, dates, and locations.

It’s also better to focus on the English fluency level than the complexity of the question while administering a speaking test.

Questions that are age relevant.

To find out which level of learning your new student is on, you should mix up the questions, but always start with some easy ones first. And try to make it fun, they will be nervous and for some it may be the first time they have ever talked to a “foreigner”

Questions that can be used.

  • What is your name?
  • How old are you?
  • How many people in your family?
  • Who are they?
  • Where do you live?
  • When were you born?
  • Do you have any pets?
  • What is your favorite color?
  • What’s your favorite food?
  • Can you say the “ABC.”
  • Can you say the days of the week?
  • Can you say the months of the year?
  • Can you swim, cook etc?
  • Do you have brothers and sisters?
  • Are they older or younger than you?
  • Do you live in a house or an apartment?
  • What school do you go to?
  • What class are you in?
  • What is your favorite subject?
  • How long have you been studying English?
  • What country are you from?
  • What time is it?
  • What hobbies do you have?
  • What’s your favorite food?
  • What is your mothers name?
  • What is your fathers name?
  • Are you crazy? ( Remember have fun)

And I can list so many more, but for this age group keep it simple and short and evaluate the students answer. Then look at their age and social skills and choose a class accordingly

You should also use flashcards and other resources to fully develop an understanding of your students skill level.


Whatever method you use to grade your students, please be gentle and kind. The best approach is to engage the students with humor so they want to learn and not forced to learn. Be the teacher you always looked up to.

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Stephen is an English Teacher with more than 15 years of experience in online and face-to-face classes. Stephen also places ESL teachers throughout South East Asia and finds that this and tutoring match perfectly.

Book a class with Stephen to explore his teaching methodology, and improve your English level.

You can check me out on Facebook and leave a message if you wish. Stephen.

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Why is Vietnam a good place to visit?

Vietnam is a vibrant and colorful country. The scenery will take your breath away and there are a million things to do.

Vietnam is a good place to visit.

Vietnam should be on everyone’s travel bucket list. Vietnam will electrify all of your senses and grab you from with its breathtaking scenery, interesting history, epic gastronomy, and pulsating energy. Vietnam is exhilarating and calming and frustrating at the same time.

Vietnam is a safe tourism destination and one of the few that offers breathtaking beauty as well as a rich and interesting history.

One of the main reasons to visit Vietnam is to see the natural beauty. Other key factors include the opportunity to meet local people and learn about their culture.

Places to see in Vietnam

Vietnam is a hidden jewel that only those who have visited the nation can truly appreciate. Halong Bay, Phong Nha Ke Bang caverns, Hoi An Ancient Street, and the Cham Islands are all World Heritage Sites in Vietnam.

However, it is the areas separate from the non-heritage site that will amaze you even more. Da Lat, for example, is simply too beautiful to pass up.

At times, the French-style villas adjacent to a pine forest and bordered by strawberry beds, make you feel like you’re in Europe.

You will not be disappointed, whether it is a must-see attraction or an off-the-beaten-path attraction.

Halong Bay

Halong Bay is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and a famous tourist attraction. Ha Long is a Chinese name that means “descending dragon.”

Halong Bay, near the Chinese border in northern Vietnam, is a stunning natural beauty. The Bay is around 1,500 square kilometers in size and is lined with 1,600 limestone islands and islets.

In 1994, UNESCO designated this exceptional area as a World Heritage Site. Halong Bay is home to a diverse range of wildlife, and the surreal beauty that thrills the senses as you sail around on an upscale “Junk Boat”

From Hanoi, which is only 170 kilometers away, the best method to get to Halong City is by car, minivan, or bus. An hour-long helicopter transfer is also available if money is not an issue.

Phong Nha Caves

Hang son Doong cave

Phong Nha is a national park and UNESCO World Heritage Site located on Vietnam’s North Central Coast, some 500 kilometers south of Hanoi. Phong Nha is known for its cave and grotto systems, which number in the hundreds.

It is thought to be the world’s largest cave system. Phong Nha already held several global cave records prior to its discovery, including the longest river and the largest combined caverns and corridors.

The caves of Phong Nha.

Hang Son Doong. Only in 2009 was the world’s largest cave discovered, and only in 2014 was it opened to tourism. This is a cave with enormous and amazing architecture that could fit a complete New York city block inside of it.

There is no other way to see Son Doong than on the official journey, so be wary of anyone who claims to be able to show you Son Doong.

Hang En Cave is one of the world’s largest and most magnificent caves, on the same cave system as “Hang Son Doong,”. This is as close as you can get to a “Son Doong” adventure without the costly price tag and significant commitment.

A day hike through gorgeous jungle and valleys, as well as a minority community, is required to see this gigantic cave. This is followed by an overnight stay camping at the cave’s entrance or on a beach inside the cave, and then a trip back the next day.

Hang Toi is a true adventure cave that is now extremely popular! The cave has no lighting, so after zip-lining across the river, you swim through it with your head torch to guide you, then explore a muddy side channel before kayaking back across the river.

You can either join the National Park trip or go on your own to explore this magnificent cave.

The alternative entrance to Dark Cave can be viewed on the Abandoned Valley Trek, which is located many kilometers away. Hang Toi is a fantastic and easily accessible example of the stunning caverns found throughout this region.

Phong Nha Cave was the first cave to be opened to the public, and it can be visited by boat from Phong Nha Village up the river.

During the American War, it was used as a shelter, storehouse, and a hospital, and many marks from that time can be seen on its walls.

It can easily be done in half a day and is definitely worth seeing. Particularly for the traditional Dragon Boat ride up the river and through the cave.

The “city” of Phong Nha

The “city” of “Phong Nha” is a small, uninspiring place with only 1,000 inhabitants. There isn’t much to do in the city itself, and travelers will find only a few pubs, cafes, other western “hang-out” areas.

However, this city and its caves are gradually becoming a must-see destination in Vietnam, as proven by blogging websites and tourism leaflets.

Hoi An

Hoi An is a living museum that preserves the old-town architecture and was formerly a prominent Southeast Asian commercial port in the 16th and 17th centuries. Chinese temples, a Japanese-designed bridge, pagodas, wooden shop houses, French-colonial houses, and old canals are just a few of the historic structures.

Despite the fact that large-scale trading had long migrated elsewhere, Hoi An was successful in conserving and restoring its picturesque roots, and in December 1999, it was designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

The Hoi An Riverside resort is one I stayed at, and it was magical to wake up in the morning and see the farmers working in their fields, as well as the lanterns floating down the river next to the resort at night.

Five kilometers from the town center, Hoi An also features two wonderful beaches.

Hoi An is also recognized for its delicious food, enjoyable shopping, skillful tailors, friendly people, and welcoming ambiance, all of which bring visitors to this gorgeous town.

The Cham islands.

The Cham Islands are a group of eight granite islands located 15 kilometers off the magnificent coastline of “Hoi An.” The Cham people first landed on Hon Lao, the largest and principal island, some 3,000 years ago.

Historically, the eastern side of Hon Lao has been a good spot for ships to anchor. The army occupies half of the island and has previously restricted tourist access to the Cham Islands.

Tourists, on the other hand, may now enjoy the laid-back lifestyle and the activities available.

Getting there.

There are a variety of ways to travel to the island, so getting there is not a problem. Using a ferry, a speedboat, or a tour package.

The public ferry is substantially slower than the other modes of transportation. It is, however, far gentler on your wallet, and your stomach. It travels to the Cham Islands once a day and can be boarded at two locations: An Hoi Pier and Cua Dai Pier.

Visitors can go snorkeling, diving, and fishing in their turquoise waters, and there are plenty of powdery sand beaches to pick from. A handful of modest historical sites can be found on the Cham Islands.

They can be seen by taking a motorbike tour or by taking a leisurely stroll through the quiet pathways. Staying the night and watching the sunset behind the mainland is a great way to unwind if you’re looking for a taste of local life.

The Cities of Vietnam

Vietnam is a fast-developing country that is both adventurous and forward-thinking. Its cities are densely packed with culture, innovation, and colonial architecture, and they continue to push forward.

A potpourri of architectural styles and modern Asian architecture can be found in many of Vietnam’s cities. The top cities in Vietnam are waiting for you to discover their spectacular geographical natural panoramas, innovative cityscapes, and traditional cultures.

Saigon and Hanoi.

From the southern city of Ho Chi Minh City where evenings in the city are frantic and fun with packed bars and restaurants that come alive as travelers and locals mix and chat in the busy streets.

To the more sedate, and in my opinion more reserved, but equally congested Capital of Hanoi, there are many cities along the way to explore.

You can read more about the cities and my experiences in my post “What is it like living in Vietnam”


Da Lat is well-known for the great range of flowers, vegetables, and fruits are grown in the neighboring farmlands. Beautiful vistas, evergreen woods, and minority villages are among the many natural features. It is known as a romantic getaway for the Vietnamese.

Since French colonial times, the hill city of Da Lat has been a favorite destination for getaway holidays.

Many people refer to it as ‘Le Petit Paris,’ and it even has a miniature Eiffel Tower in the center.

This getaway city, located 1,500 meters above sea level, provides a change of scenery with a mild environment, whereas other cities in Vietnam can be extremely hot and humid, especially during the summer. Temperatures in Dalat stay around 10°C from November to March, so make sure you pack some heavier clothing.

The People and Culture.

Outside My House In Vietnam

Vietnam’s people are indeed a priceless resource. From north to south, you will be greeted warmly by the majority of the locals, whether or not you know them.

However you still need to be careful, petty crime is still big in the cities. So do not carry cameras or phones in your hand or over your back if on a Xe-Om (motorbike taxi)

From bartering with locals to dining out with locals there is always something that will frustrate and amuse you at the same time.

The food.

Vietnamese cuisine differs by region and goes beyond pho and spring rolls. Fresh vegetables and pork and poultry continue to reign supreme, while beef is gaining popularity.

You may also find plenty of fresh seafood caught in the morning along the shore in places like Nha Trang and Da Nang, and served in your supper for a very low price.

See my favorite bites in my post...Vietnamese Street Food.


With the lifting of travel restrictions, Vietnam should be on your list of destinations to travel to. However, please check your local embassy before booking your trip.

My House in Vietnam
My House in Vietnam

Stephen is the author and owner of “VietnamESL” and has lived in Vietnam for over 15 years.

How to Travel around Vietnam easily and safely.

Traveling around Vietnam.

Vietnam’s transportation network is improving, however, it is still a touch rough around the edges. 

The majority of travel takes place on roads, which are generally OK, but you may get a few potholes here and there.  Air-conditioned coaches transport visitors and locals up and down Highway 1.

Highway 1 is a small and unsurprisingly congested thoroughfare that stretches from Hanoi to Ho Chi Minh City, passing through Hué, Da Nang, and Nha Trang along the way.

 Off the beaten path, the roads are less friendly. Quite often you will find winding dirt roads and tight narrow alleyways if you are riding a motorbike or traveling around town on a Xe-Om. (Motorbike Taxi)

Trains operate alongside Highway 1, and for longer journeys, their sleeper beds are significantly more comfortable than buses. 

Airline services are expanding, and the low-cost, comfortable services may allow you to shave days off your plan. 

Let us have a bit more of a look.

Planes, trains, and automobiles. (and Boats)

Coaches and Cars and Motorbikes.



Although Vietnam’s congested, narrow roads are not designed for overtaking, nearly every vehicle is either overtaking or being overtaken at any one time, and accidents ( And fatalities) are common.

Most routes now have fixed-price tickets, and the introduction of luxury buses on the main tourist route has seen comfort standards soar. Many buses have sleeper-berths for the entire route on the longer stretches, though obtaining 40 winks might be difficult. 

Why, because the nature of local roads ( and bladder requirements) means that emergency stops are regular, and Vietnamese drivers frequently blast their horns, which can become annoying after a lengthy stop-filled trip.

Security is still a major consideration. Always sleep with your bag at your side and never leave valuables unattended if you travel by coach. Petty crime such as theft is common and quite often done by local ex-pats as well as Vietnamese criminals.


Hiring a personal driver is not expensive in Vietnam. Yes, it is more expensive but not exorbitant. An example of this would be traveling from Ho Chi Minh City to Vung Tau, a coastal town close to H.C.M.C., which would cost about 2,000,000 dong or about $90.00 US. Not bad for a 2-hour journey of 61 miles.


Xe-oms used to be the go-to for traveling around town if you can cope with the heat and traffic. However, Grab has made big inroads into the local Xe-Oms business, mainly because they are cheaper and safer. 

Two dollars will get you from one side of the city to another, so if you are on a budget download the local grab app.

Hiring Motorbikes.

If you want to play Russian road roulette you can hire a motorbike. Unless you have lived here for a while or are a very experienced driver, I would not recommend it. 

But there are many places you can hire from. And most only need a copy of your passport and cash upfront. Do not leave your passport.

If you want a trustworthy person to speak to in H.C.M.C. I would recommend Stevie’s garage. He not only provides rentals but also sells quality second-hand motorcycles.

Road Rules

Because of the chaos that passes for a traffic system in Vietnam you should not venture out onto the roads until you’re completely sure of your ability to do so. 

In theory, you should drive on the right, but in fact, drivers and cyclists will drive on sidewalks and duck in and out of traffic as fast as they can. 

Using the “horn” on the car or motorbike is a normal occurrence and is used to warn others where you are. So do not freak out when you are walking or driving down the road and you hear a loud “BEEP” 

The normal speed limit on highways is 60 km/h, while in cities or towns it is 40 km/h or less. And if you get up to these speeds in rush hour, hats off to you. The traffic here is frantic. 

Get your Licence

I have had friends who have had their motorcycles confiscated because of no paperwork. Do not become one of them. 

You can find out more about getting your license in Vietnam in my postHow to teach English in Vietnam”


Fewer passengers choose the railway over tour buses, mainly because of the lower prices and consistent service of traveling by coach. But rail travel is definitely worth considering for a variety of reasons. 

For starters, main highways are usually dotted with run-down cafés, gas stations, snack stalls, and cell phone shops which the bus companies may have an affiliation with. So stopping in some cases is compulsory. 

However, from the train, you can view some of the countryside. Second, you’ll have a lot fewer close calls with vehicles, motorcycles, and dogs. Third, you’re practically certain to meet a bunch of pleasant locals, and maybe even get invited to join in the feasts that some of them bring on board.


The prices are reasonable by train. HCMC to Hanoi costs between US$35 and US$70, depending on the operator and route, whereas HCMC to Hue costs around US$25. The higher the price, the more stops you add.

You can check out the fares at the Vietnam railway website. however please do not provide credit card details to this site as it is not secure. Please see below. From Google.

This website doesn’t have a valid certificate. The information sent to and from it is not secure and can be intercepted by an attacker or seen by others. There’s a risk to your personal data when sending or receiving information from this site.

If possible, contact the website owner to request that their site protect its data with a secure connection.



On longer journeys, flying comes into its own, saving hours or even days. 

The two-hour flight between Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City, for example, compares well to the 30 to 40 hours you’d spend on the train. And even longer on a bus. However…

With Vietnam’s extensive domestic aircraft network, getting around the country has never been easier.

Noi Bai International Airport in Hanoi, Tan Son Nhat International Airport in Ho Chi Minh City, and Da Nang International Airport in Da Nang are the three major international hub airports in Vietnam.


Domestic flights in Vietnam are currently operated by the following four airlines:

Vietnam Airlines is the country’s national carrier.

Low-cost carrier VietJet Air is dependable for short-haul flights.

Jetstar is a low-cost carrier founded by Vietnam Airlines in collaboration with Australia’s Qantas.

Vasco is a Vietnam Airlines subsidiary that specializes in very short-haul flights. It is used by those who wish to travel around Vietnam’s southern region.

And there are many regional airports in Vietnam with connecting services and taxis waiting to take you to your accommodation.

There are 33 Airports in Vietnam and this link covers all these 33 Vietnam Airports. Find Airport Information about airport to airport distance, airport to city distance, Current Time and Date at airport Vietnam, etc… at ..Airport lists in Vietnam

Boats, Ferries, and hydrofoils.

There are some places where you can catch a boat or a ferry or even a hydrofoil. And it can be a lot of fun.

One of the most amazing adventures in Vietnam is a boat tour of Ha Long Bay. Others include scheduled year-long runs,  weather allowing, to the key islands off Vietnam’s coast, such as Phu Quoc, Cat Ba, and Con Dao. 

Ferry and hydrofoil services are also available from Hai Phong to Cat Ba, as well as hydrofoils from Ho Chi Minh City to Vung Tau and Ha Long City to Mong Cai and Bai Tu Long. 

River Ferries

A few river ferries still carry people from bank to bank in the Mekong from morning to night, despite being steadily superseded by bridges.

I have gone from high-end cruises to small boats on the riverways, and one of my most memorable occasions was sailing down the river in Tra Vinh with my wife and two friends. All at a ridiculously low price.

You can find out prices and more information at Vietnam Open Tour. But once again please do not provide credit card details as it is an unsecured site. OK to look, but do not provide personal information, please.

This website doesn’t have a valid certificate. The information sent to and from it is not secure and can be intercepted by an attacker or seen by others. There’s a risk to your personal data when sending or receiving information from this site.

If possible, contact the website owner to request that their site protect its data with a secure connection.



Whatever way you want to travel around Vietnam is dependant on cost and how adept you are at integrating and socializing with others. 

Be open to new experiences and share how you feel with your new Vietnamese friends, and try to learn a little language before you visit. 

Here is a link to my Happy New Year Phrases in Vietnamese.


My name is Stephen and I am the author and owner of Vietnam ESL 

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