Living in Vietnam.

Enjoying the Vietnamese Lifestyle.

What I want to write about today is a bit different from what I normally write about. But, it is one of the most important topics if you want to work or live in Vietnam for an extended period of time.

This article is not so much about what you can find in Vietnam or even what you should bring. But, it is about what you should leave at home.

Ethnocentrism and the Uneasy Traveller

According to the Oxford Dictionary “Ethnocentrism” is the ” evaluation of other cultures according to the preconceptions originating in the standards and customs of our own culture”

Before heading into the topic of a foreign teacher being fired (And what sparked this article) and the debate as to whether he should have been fired or not, I want to cover more on “moral codes” and what makes up “ethnocentricism”

Moral Codes and Cultural Differences.

Moral codes are a set of rules that show how a person should treat others and behave within society. They are learned through interactions with others in society by picking up behavioral standards within your cultural area.

Our moral codes are heavily dependent upon our culture. All these codes may cover aspects of our lives from how we act, how we dress, and how we treat others.

There are some moral codes that are regularly found throughout the world. These would be “though shall not kill” or “treat others as we would like to be treated”

However, each culture has its own idea as to what is right or wrong. These other aspects of moral codes are a direct reflection of the ethical thinking of that area.

Cultural Insensitivity in the Workplace.

I have been living and working in Vietnam for 16 years and I have seen a truckload of cultural insensitivity from both foreigners and Vietnamese. However, the thing to remember is that Vietnam is run by and for the Vietnamese and if we can understand that our life will be much easier.

I have often seen new foreign English teachers come to Vietnam with preconceived ideas telling the Vietnamese teachers how English should be taught. While some of the topics raised by the new teacher may be valid, they should take their time to find out how things are done. Losing “face” is still quite a big thing in Vietnam.

I remember talking to someone very high up in Sacom bank and we were discussing how banks (Being a capitalist entity) survived and thrived in Vietnam and how they dealt with the Government. The gentleman I was talking to gave me an example of how an idea that the bank has is introduced to the government.

First off the idea is planted within the government, at a lower “rank”, and allowed to percolate up to the top. Then a meeting between the bank and the government is organized during which the bank praises the government for its forward-thinking idea.

I’m not saying this is how teaching is, but it gives you some idea about the different approaches that need to be taken.

The Firing of a Foreign Teacher.

There was an incident very recently involving a foreign teacher, a security guard, students, and a Vietnamese teacher.

If it wasn’t so serious it would sound like the start of a bad joke. To start at the end, a foreign teacher was fired after a “scuffle” with a 65 year old security guard. The security guard was checking the names of students who were allowed to leave after the 4th lesson of the day.

At the school above, the 11th graders were allowed to leave as long as their names were on the guards’ list. The guard also checked the name tags of the students who were eligible to leave.

One of the 11th graders was wearing a jacket so the security guard could not see her name. When the security guard asked her to remove her jacket she refused and the guard started yelling at her. This is when the foreign teacher stepped in and pushed the guard over.

The “scuffle” then broke out after the guard was pushed over. Because of the violent acts carried out by both the teacher and guard the school board got together to discuss what should happen next.

The foreign teacher was allowed to continue teaching while the decision was being made about what was to be done with all parties. The head of the English department then asked the foreign teacher to refrain from posting anything on social media.

This seemingly didn’t go down well with the teacher who then started kicking the “teachers’ room” door and yelling at the head of the English Department. He was obviously fired at this stage. But to add one more piece of ludicrousness, the teacher then went onto social media and tried to get the students to defame the school. Trying to incite the students to rebellion.

Who does this guy think he is? he obviously has no regard for any other foreign teachers in Vietnam. Surprisingly there were some who supported this teacher. I did not see the whole story and did not get to talk to anyone firsthand about this, but I think just pushing the 65-year-old over would be grounds enough for dismissal alone. What do you think?

Final Thoughts.

If and when you come to Vietnam, please leave your preconceived ideas at home. We are guests in this lovely country and yes there are things that are different and they may not sit easily with us. However, if you can adapt to this culture (and there is not that much you need to adapt) you will have the time of your life.

Also, remember there are other foreigners and teachers who live here and we get “tarred by the same brush” if we do anything wrong. Vietnam is a very tolerant country, however, it doesn’t take much to influence the Vietnamese that we are insensitive to others feelings.

Thank you.

Stephen


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.

 

Vietnams Ministry of Education Bans IELTS Exams.

IELTS suspended from the Vietnamese classroom.

Students fly overseas to take IELTS exams after indefinite suspension in Vietnam” was the headline from VN Express International, an English language newspaper catering to all English speakers in Vietnam.

IELTS is an English proficiency exam that is used to assess students’ ability in listening, reading, writing, and speaking. It is commonly used by students in Vietnam to enter foreign schools and universities to further their education. And it is also being commonly used to enter Vietnamese Universities at an increasing rate as well.

To find out more about the course details you can look at IELTS.org.

One Students Ordeal.

To give you an understanding of how this has upset the students who have been studying this, here is one persons ordeal.

A young lady had her test canceled by the British Council ( One of 2 bodies that can conduct tests in Vietnam) because of the MOETs ruling to stop tests. She was scheduled to take this test as a final prerequisite for applying to a Canadian college. She lost her fee with the British Council and on top of that paid out an additional sum to fly to Thailand to take her test there. The additional costs were obviously an added burden but she needed her IELTS score asap so the visa to Canada could be arranged.

Following the abrupt postponement in Vietnam, this young lady is one of the hundreds of Vietnamese students who intend to fly abroad to take IELTS tests.

Why has MOET Suspended IELTS Exams?

The British Council and IDP, according to the MOET, failed to obtain their approval documents, and the tests were improperly managed. And for that reason, the testing was abruptly stopped. The British Council and the IDP are the 2 bodies in Vietnam authorized to conduct these tests in Vietnam.

Poorly Planned

The government directive requiring organizations to obtain updated authorization from the education ministry to conduct foreign language exams was issued in June 2018, according to Ho Quang Huy, chief of the Legal Document Inspection Department at the Ministry of Justice.

He attributed the lack of information to the education ministry and claimed that earlier statements from the department would have allowed companies more time to submit their paperwork.

Students who had started to submit their admission documents to study abroad have experienced significant difficulties as a result of the IELTS exam postponement attributed the lack of communication to the ministry of education.

Is This The Only Reason?

There have been other reasons suggested as well as the above for the abrupt termination or suspension of IELTS testing.

Online Scammers and Leaked IELTS papers.

The only two IELTS testing organizations in Vietnam, the British Council and IDP, caution applicants against falling for online con artists who sell “genuine” exam papers.

IELTS test papers containing answers that were claimed to be “genuine” have cost “candidates” millions of dong. As more and more colleges prioritize IELTS as a requirement for admission, the demand for the credential is surging.

IELTS was just a requirement for admission to a small number of colleges in 2017. But when more than 30 colleges added it to the admissions process last year, the number went up.

Many con artists claim that the day before the examination, candidates will receive the “genuine” test paper. The money quickly vanished after the “applicant” pays for the “genuine” test paper.

Test Too Difficult for Vietnamese English Teachers.

It has been discussed by some “foreign” teachers that now that Vietnamese English teachers must sit and pass the test for their jobs, the content has been found to be too difficult for them. With some people going even further in their responses. Albeit this is not necessarily the opinion of this website.


Editorial Comment by Marty Hoare.

We can all be certain of one thing. This IELTS drama is more complicated than what we are seeing in the news.

Without providing a reason, the BC has abruptly stopped all IELTS exams till further notice.

The local media alerts us to problems with the exam itself the very next minute.

It’s rather safe to presume that the BC and MOET have gotten into a battle over something.

I wonder if the requirements and evaluation of the IELTS have anything to do with that.

I also wonder if it has anything to do with the terrible results of the most recent IELTS tests that Vietnamese English teachers had to take and pass.

The likelihood that the abhorrent and embarrassing results of the English Vietnamese teacher testing for MOET, and the local education sector more broadly, has caused this fight.


Promises for a Quick Fix.

On Saturday, the education ministry declared that in the upcoming days, it will give IELTS and TOEFL approval priority over all other foreign language competence exams.

According to the Ministry of Education and Training, the choice was made to remove obstacles for candidates who want to sit for these tests. In order to get ministry approval to resume the testing, it has asked pertinent units to finish papers.

The postponement, according to the education ministry, was caused by organizations not finishing their approval documents and improper management of exam quality. If all of the required documentation is submitted, the approval procedure should take about 20 days, according to deputy education minister Nguyen Huu Do.

Let us hope that whatever the issue that started this, it will be resolved quickly so there are no more problems for the students affected.


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

Best Gifts for an ESL Teacher

Thhis year let’s ask for the stars and we might hit the moon anyway. Tired of books for Christmas, let’s ask for laptops and see what happens.

Vietnamesl Amazon privacy policy
Associates Program

What You Wanted and What You Got.

We have all woken up on Christmas day at some stage and been totally underwhelmed by what we received. When you were wishing for a new bicycle and ended up with a pair of socks.

And it always started with the advent calendar. All the other kids were getting metal whistles and cool gifts and you ended up with a plastic “dummy”.

This Christmas is about Karma and will right some of the wrongs you have been dealt with over the years.

The Gifts You Always Wanted.

Here are some suggestions for gifts that are MUCH better than gift cards or socks if you have an English teacher on your gift list.

Alternatively, if you ARE an English teacher, you can leave this list open on your laptop for your students to “inadvertently” find. Or go and treat yourself. Isn’t it time you upgraded your laptop and added some speakers to play in the class?

There will be no judgments from this teacher.

Books, The teachers’ choice.

Teaching is a stressful profession, and reading for enjoyment can help you decompress by transporting you into a different world. This is why teachers adore books.

Whether it’s fiction or non-fiction if it is a captivating read you can be transported through time and space to a place where you can escape and explore.

Books are a teacher’s and student’s choice.

The World Book Company.

Since 1915, the World Book Corporation has dedicated itself to producing accurate, impartial, and trustworthy products that have regularly been rated as the finest in the education industry by teachers, librarians, and families.

The complete World Book Encyclopedia is the most recent and up-to-date print and online encyclopedia available thanks to the work of thousands of specialists.

From the 2017 World Book Encyclopedia’s 100th Anniversary Commemorative edition to intriguing new titles like Enigmas of History, Building Blocks of Science: Life Science, and Endangered Animals of the World, the titles cover a variety of topics and age groups.

There are various advertising campaigns every month, and they offer free shipping to consumers in the United States and Canada. You’ll come across information that will enlighten and enrich you.

The World Book company has everything from sports-related books to encyclopedias. A teacher’s dream and delight await all who hearken upon this voyage.

Or divest yourself of pretense of unselfishness and throw your head back and scream for your laptop.

Laptops for Legendary Teachers who Create.

And books are great, but let’s get real. These babies are for the hardworking teacher who crafts his lessons from scratch and demands the best. So if you want to reward yourself, These come strongly recommended.

Are you already dreaming of i9 Laptops? The Real Dream.

Asus Zenbook.

Maybe a bit of ASUS will spice things up for you…You can just watch or be part of the action for less than US$2,000.000.

 

Asus New Features.

There are a few features that make this laptop a standout and stand apart laptop. This laptop includes a secondary 3.5-inch OLED display on the lid in addition to the primary display in its usual location. This display may show various animations, notifications, battery life, date and time, and user-customizable text.

This laptop’s compliance with US Space System Command Standards (SMC-S-016A) and resistance to vibrations and extremely low or high temperatures are its other unique features. This device’s durability meets MIL-STD-810H specifications for toughness.

The ASUS ZenBook’s internal processor, the Intel Core i9-12900H, has 14 cores and 20 threads. The laptop’s integrated Intel Iris Xe graphics are available for graphics. A 1TB PCIe Gen 4 SSD and 32GB of LPDDR5 RAM are added to the potent processor.

It lacks a number pad because of size and space limitations. However, it does have a virtual number pad. It comes with 2 Thunderbolt 4 connections, a USB Type-A port, an HDMI and headphone jack, and an SD card reader.

A USB Type-A to RJ45 Gigabit Ethernet converter from Asus is also included in the box.

The ASUS ZenBook is currently available for purchase. The laptop costs $1,999 and has a metallic Titanium color. Words and numbers aside, it is ready for some heavy duty processing work


Apple Pro M2. Dream No. Two or No. One?

M1 or M2, 14″ or 16″

The M1 MacBook Air, M1 MacBook Pro, and M2 versions of those models have already been released, and their successors might not be too far away. Here is all the information you require for the upcoming release.

Despite rumors that the new laptops would be released soon, the prediction that the MacBook Pro with M2 Pro and Max CPU s would arrive in the fall of 2022 has been crushed.

New Macs are often introduced by Apple in November.

Next year will bring new Macs. Apple’s upcoming lineup of Macs “probably won’t ship until early next year,” according to Gurman. Gurman anticipates the first half of March 2023 as the timeframe.

Pricing.

The prices for the current models are as follows. Despite some significant price increases, we don’t foresee any significant changes in the U.S. With the M2 makeover, Apple increased the cost of the base MacBook Air by $200, or 20 percent.


Final Thoughts.

Despite or maybe because everyone seems so serious this year, I have put together a couple of things that I would love to receive under the Christmas tree.

Sometimes Santa is better when he tries to be worse. They say “karma” is a b****. Well, this year I’m up for it and I hope you are too. My ‘karmic” balance involves a couple of hi-end laptops and I hope this can go somewhere in bringing a bit of balance in your life.

If these don’t tickle your fancy, send me an email and Include your righteous response with a plethora of your perfect presents. And I will see what Santa can do to provide some Santa treats.


Author: Stephen. Editor

Editor to VietnamESL, Kool Affiliate, and recently acquired Gardening-Guru, Stephen has worked in small business for the last twenty years. He has clocked up many hours, days weeks, and years in growing small businesses into large healthy ones.

 Stephen’s career highlights include establishing and running two English schools in H.C.M.C Vietnam. Conducting training for native English Teachers in Pleiku for the Ministry of Education of Vietnam (M.O.E).

And now helps people with their own dreams who wish to teach in Vietnam or live the nomadic lifestyle of the laptop warrior.


 

Free Alphabet Video for ESL Teachers in Vietnam.

Is Teaching The Alphabet still Relevant?

In my opinion, a big fat yes. Just like a well-constructed house needs “good foundations”, an ESL student needs good linguistic foundations’ for their second language.

In addition to learning to identify and name the letters both in and out of order, students also need to learn the sounds that go with each letter.

Start with the fundamentals. Don’t try to teach each of the 26 letters at once. Simply practice 5–6 letters at a time, giving your students a chance to see, hear, and interact with each letter in different ways.

The ABC’s should be taught through a range of strategies and materials because children learn via all of their senses, even if the books are excellent, don’t just rely on them. Learn the letters by using ABC blocks, coloring sheets, ABC mats, or even play dough or in this case video. Mixing up the lesson will make it more interesting.

The most important piece of advice is to enjoy yourself. Make learning with you fun for your students by turning it into a game. You can read some more material about this in my previous post;

“Is Learning The Alphabet Still Important For ESL Students ?”

And Here Is a Copy Of the Front Page of My English/Vietnamese Alphabet. If you wish a PowerPoint copy sent to you please leave a message in the comments. Thank you.

English Alphabet for Vietnamese.

All of our students strive to sound as natural or as close to a native speaker as they can. The alphabet is a fantastic subject to study and master! They must thoroughly understand and be aware of the letter sounds. A fantastic technique to advance those fundamental abilities is to be able to follow the letters while listening to a native speaker.

One of the reasons I created this alphabetical English/Vietnamese video is because of this. It is currently in MP4 format, but if you’d prefer a PowerPoint version, tell me your email address and I’ll send it to you as soon as I can.

Or, you may wish to view it via YouTube.

YouTube Logo


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.

Are ESL Teachers in Demand in Vietnam?

There is a strong demand for Native and Non Native English teachers in Vietnam. The new school semester is about to begin.

Taking my students to the zoo in Ho Chi Minh City

The Effects of Covid on ESL.

As livelihoods were snatched by the Covid-19 pandemic, many foreign teachers ran online classes at cheap rates to survive, while others left Vietnam.

After living in Vietnam for 15 years and being married, my options were somewhat limited. I had been teaching in both public schools and had my own students. Covid kicked me in the proverbial teeth. Schools and language centers were shut down and I, like many, had to teach online to survive.

Others, left for their home countries ( Some, never to return) or battened down waiting for the lockdown to cease. Some gave up the teaching profession as they refused to be vaccinated.

ESL Teaching Pre-Covid.

In a country that was among the world’s nine countries that pay the highest salaries to ESL (English as a Second Language) teachers, who could earn up to $2,000 and more per month, many ex-pat teachers were then in a distressing situation.I had one friend who ran out of money and ended up walking the streets for a week. (He had no computer so could not teach on-line.)

As English is compulsory from sixth grade across Vietnam and in large cities like Hanoi and HCMC, many primary schools opt for English programs for students and demand high proficiency. And because of these Government directives, the ESL industry had thrived in Vietnam in recent years, with jobs offering high salaries available all year round.

But the year-long pandemic and prolonged lockdown changed the table. Over the last few months, the tables have changed again.

ESL Teachers in Demand.

Vietnam has kicked off the constraints of Covid and the government is back pushing English in public schools again. Tourism and the rumored relocation of some major businesses from China ( Apple, Samsung, and LG) to Vietnam are behind this.

It implies that if locals speak English, the country will be able to draw in more tourists, businesses from other countries, jobs for the locals, and competitive economic growth

Іf уоu vіѕіt аnу eхраt Fасеbооk grоuрѕ оr ѕіmрlу Gооglіng tеасhіng Еnglіѕh іn Vіеtnаm, іt wіll ѕurеlу оvеrwhеlm уоu wіth the plethora of јоb оffеrѕ. Whеthеr уоu dесіdе tо lіvе іn Наnоі оr Но Сhі Міnh Сіtу (Ѕаіgоn), оr еvеn іn ѕmаllеr сіtіеѕ lіkе Dа Nаng, оr Nhа Тrаng, уоu саn gеt уоurѕеlf а јоb еаѕіlу.

The Good, The Bad and…

Тhеrе аrе lоаdѕ оf рrіvаtе Еnglіѕh сеntrеѕ аnd рublіс ѕсhооlѕ thаt аrе dеѕреrаtе tо gеt thеіr hаndѕ оn а fоrеіgn tеасhеr.

Ноwеvеr, thеrе аrе а fеw uglу truthѕ уоu nееd tо knоw аnd рrераrе уоurѕеlf.

Most schools play by the book and get people with the right qualifications. That is everything from police and health clearance forms up to a University degree, however, there are a few that won’t care so much about your qualifications but more about your accent and the color of your skin. Or to clarify that, the whiteness of your skin.

The Ugly.

Racism is quite the norm when it comes to ESL teachers and it always makes me sad when I see a perfectly qualified black African teacher placed 2nd over an unqualified white backpacker.

Nоn-nаtіvе English speakers who are not native speakers will face a bigger challenge in finding the job they are looking for, but it is still possible. If you are well qualified, you should look into larger companies and international schools because they are more professional and interested in your qualifications than the color of your skin.

ESL Teacher Pay in Vietnam.

It is generally advertised that the pay rates for ESL teachers in Vietnam can range anywhere between $1200 – $ 1800 U.S. or $2,000 – $2,400.U.S. depending on whether you have just started or whether you are qualified with a few years of experience. And what levels have you taught before etc.

After working and having my own school in Vietnam for the last 15 years it still appears that those advertising they still haven’t worked out an easy way to show pay rates for foreigners.

An hourly rate works best for those schools that are more upfront about their pay scales. Then when the teachers weekly hourly schedule is worked out then you know exactly what you are earning.

Normal Pay Rate.

The normal pay rate is between $18.00 to $30.00.per hour with each class running for about 1.5 hours.

There are 2 types of teaching for ESL, and that is the public system or Government schools that generally pay less and are daytime hours, Monday to Friday. And then the private schools or academies that run in the evenings and the weekends.

Obviously depending on where you are in Vietnam will have an effect on the pay scales.

You will find out some more about the education system in Vietnam here at……….

The Vietnam Education System and ESL | Stephen (vietnamesl.com)

Native and Non-Native Speakers.

Native English speakers are deemed to be those who have passports from the U.S.A, England, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand with South Africa coming somewhere in between the Philippines and the U.S.A. But generally, any Europeans will be seen as Non-Native speakers. And similar to the Filipinos they will be paid at a lesser rate.

For example, if a “native speaker” was being paid at 450,000 dong per hour the non-native speaker would be paid around the 370,000dong rate. n.b. All pay rates should be quoted in Vietnam dong ( Even though it is not) by government decree.

My Daughter-in-law back to school in 2022

School Holidays

Vietnamese students often attend school for only half of the six-day school week, which starts on Monday and ends on Saturday. However my daughter-in-law attends an International school and only goes 5 days a week, but full time. And she has just finished her close on 3 month holiday. Generally, private or international schools have a five-week summer break in July and August.

In Ho Chi Minh City, the academic year normally lasts from September to May. While a typical school day only lasts for half a day, the school week starts on Monday and finishes on Saturday. The 15th of June marks the end of the academic year. The summer break lasts from June 16 to August 7.

Desperate Recruiting Measures.

After 3 months at home, the students and especially the parents are ready for public schools to start again. And even though there has been “Summer-school” everyone is ready to start a full-time curriculum again. And there is now a pent-up demand for teachers for the next semester.

So from now until the schools start again, there will be a big drive for teachers for public schools. This is often filled not only by the schools but also recruitment agencies who are desperate to get people on board. And when people are desperate, corners will be cut. The enforcement of University degrees and even English teaching licenses may well take a back seat until vacancies are filled.

Where to Find a Job.

Vietnam loves Facebook, and so do the recruiters. There are a large number of Facebook groups you can join or you can work via “Teacher Placements” to find a position for you. Whichever you feel most comfortable with.

Here is a small list of Facebook groups for jobs.

Foreign English Teachers Vietnam.

Below are some links that can help with your teaching.

How to teach ESL to Kids.

How to teach ESL to Teenagers

How to teach ESL to Adults.


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.

Is Learning the Alphabet Still Important for ESL Students?

The Importance of the ABC.

Do you still think teaching the alphabet is worthwhile or just an excuse to fill in time in the classroom? Do you get sick of hearing the sing-song of the young students attempted at the ABC and then appalled when they can’t say it without singing?

I think the ABC is like the foundations of a house, if you have bad foundations your house is not structurally sound and it is the same for your younger and older students. Why is it important, let me explain.

Why is it important?

What is the alphabet, and why should our students learn it? The alphabet is nothing more than a set of letters and sounds. . The ABCs are the foundations of language exactly like the foundations of a house give the structural integrity to the whole house.

Our students must be able to recognize each letter, both in sequence and out of order, as well as the sounds associated with every letter, in order to become literate. Once your student has such understanding, he or she is well on their way to learning to read and write.

So, if we agree that learning the ABC’s and teaching the ABC’s are still important, how can we as teachers teach the alphabet effectively?

How to Teach The ABC’s.

This can be either a fun activity for your students or turn into one of the most boring lessons ever depending on your approach or teaching style.

Teachers can engage students in a variety of activities to help them learn the alphabet. Some of this learning may happen as a result of life experiences, things you know that can be fun and passed onto your students. Specific alphabet resources, such as puzzles and matching games, might provide additional learning opportunities.

Children will appreciate using specialized alphabet materials if they are simply one aspect of a larger literacy curriculum because they will know which experiences in the world they relate to. Children find learning the alphabet dull and useless only when it is taught in a restricted, linear,’skills-first’ manner.

This can happen, for example, if the teaching methodology consists of studying one letter each week for the entire school year, or writing one letter on a workbook page repeatedly each day. However, there is no necessity to learn the letters in this manner. These days, there are so many alternatives and better ways to do it.

Lessons for Teaching the Alphabet.

Students must learn to recognize and name the letters, both in and out of sequence, as well as the sounds associated with each letter, as the alphabet is the cornerstone of literacy.

Begin with the basics. Don’t attempt to teach all 26 letters at the same time. Simply do 5-6 letters at a time, allowing your pupils to see, hear, and experience the letter in a variety of ways.

Remember that children learn via all of their senses, so while books can be great, teach the ABCs using a variety of tactics and materials. Use ABC blocks, coloring pages, ABC mats, and even play dough to learn the alphabet.

The most crucial piece of advice is to have fun with it. Make it a game for your students, and they’ll enjoy learning with you.

Alphabet Teaching Resources.

As teachers, we are spoilt with the ever-increasing amount of resources we can use to teach the alphabet. In my 15 years of teaching ESL in Vietnam, there have never been so many different tools we can use. Mixing it up and making it fun is the name of the game. Here are a few of the many tools you can use. From apps to coloring pages, online games, PowerPoint, and a plethora of other tools, here are some of my favorites.

Apps.

ABC Kids.

Children will enjoy learning phonics and the alphabet with ABC Kids, a free phonics and alphabet app. It includes a series of tracing games designed to help children recognize letter shapes, link them with phonic sounds, and apply their alphabet knowledge in entertaining matching activities.

By just following the arrows with their finger, any young student can learn English and the English alphabet. As kids complete tracing games, they can even “win” stickers and toys.

Online Games

British Council.

The British Council website has so much to offer, not just the alphabet. Here you can make your own flashcards or worksheets, listen to songs and so much more. A wonderful site put together by teaching professionals.

Websites for Worksheets.

LanternFish/ Bogglesworld.

One of my all-time favorites that I keep coming back to, even after 15 years I find things on this site that are new to me. Again, it offers so much more than your basic worksheets. Well worth a look and definitely a useful site.

These are just a few of the many websites and apps that you can use to keep your students interested and excited about learning. You can also look here at “Online Teachers Tools” for more ideas.

Teaching the Alphabet in the Classroom.

Before teaching the alphabet consider the age of the student. You would not teach adults the same way as teaching young learners. Teaching adults is in some ways easier as the motivation to learn has already been established by the student, otherwise they would not be in the classroom. Teaching adults is mainly making sure that the pronunciation is correct as I put the onus on learning the alphabet onto the adult student.

However with your younger student you must create the reason for learning and that reason will be “fun”. We have to make the learning experience fun and exciting for the students.

Also remember the attention span of the younger student is not very long so you need to have sets of, approximately, 10 minute maximum activities.

Techniques I Use to Teach the ABC.

For the very young student, kindergarten or pre-school, I will use as one tool an animal ABC song that you can find on YouTube. The Animal ABC Song.

Flashcards.

Memory.

Flashcards are another “oldie but goodie” tool to use. With flashcards, you can play a myriad of games. From placing them face down and getting students to find the correct letter. A flashcard version of the old ‘memory game

To make it more exciting place your students in teams. Boys verse girls always works well. Then place no more than 10 cards face down and call out one letter. Lets say you are using A to J, then you may call out A for example. Then each team has alternate turns in trying to find that letter. A point is scored for each letter “found”

You can also “tweak” this game by adding 2 sets of flashcards and the participants must match A with A, B with B etc. Be aware that this version can take longer so adjust your lesson times accordingly. Scoring remains the same.

4 Corners

A very simple game where you choose 4 flashcards or 4 letters in this case and place them in the corners of the room. You then call out 1 letter, and the last student to touch the card or stand within a set boundary must sit down and are “out” of the game.

You need a good size room and should be able to clear the floor of all chairs etc. This is a fast paced game and watch out that the students don’t push or accidentally hurt one another.

Guess the Card

Similar to the memory game, but rather than placing the cards face down you hold them against your chest. You can make this a lot of fun by kidding with the students as to what you have or not in your hand.

ABC animal/ ABC food/ ABC Country.

I use this not so much as a teaching tool but more as a task for remembering and introducing new words for the higher grades and older learners. By this I mean 10 to 12-year-olds.

Once again, I will split the class into 2 groups and points will be scored only when a student gets the answer wrong. For example, if A team gets the answer wrong, B team will collect the point.

If you try to give a point for all correct answers your back will be towards the class for far too long.

So if you choose ABC food, the teams must alternate in their answers with the correct responses being A- apple, B-banana, C- coconut, etc. I also put a time limit of 3 seconds for the answer and penalize any shout-outs.

I don’t prompt the alphabet and each person on the team must be able to both recite their ABC’s and find the correct name of food, animal, or country for their answer.

The students have a lot of fun with this game and it has become very popular and is a great way to get the students to remember their ABC’s.

ABC Listen and Write.

Two teams and points scored on the accuracy of the listening and writing skills.

All you need for this game is a sheet of paper for each student and a whiteboard the students can copy their work to.

The students are given a sheet of paper, preferably pre-drawn, with numbers from 1 to 7 in the corresponding columns. (as shown). The teacher then reads out any letter from A to Z and the students must copy in the correct column.

You might say, number 1 letter S, number 2 letter X, number 3 letter B, number 4 letter P, and so on. Once both teams ( As individuals) have written down all the letters from 1 to 7 you will choose one person to copy the letters to the board. They will get one point for each correct letter.

I have played this game with children as young as 7 who picked up the rules very quickly. You will need to do one game as an example first so your students understand.

This is a great listening skills game and it also reinforces letter recognition. You will find this helps students recognize some of the similar-sounding letters like P’s and B’s and S’s and X’s.

A popular game with great listening skill outcomes for the students.

Conclusion.

There are so many ways you can teach the alphabet to make it interesting and fun. The above are only a few ways that I use for my students. Some of the best games are those you make up yourself. Never be scared to try something new because your students will respond positively to something that is fun.

And for the younger student change your activities frequently so they don’t get bored. It is a terrible feeling if you look around and see your students yawning.

And who am I?

My name is Stephen and I have been teaching in Vietnam for 15 years and have my own school as well as placing students into private and public schools around Vietnam.

If you wish you can look at my Alphabet video by clicking on the YouTube button below. And if you wish to support my website, subscribe to my YouTube channel. It doesn’t cost you anything. Thanks.


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.

.

Lesson Plans for ESL students | Cooking in the Classroom.

Feed their stomachs then feed their brains.

As an ESL teacher, I am always looking for different ideas and ways to get my teaching ideas out there.

One of the joys of being a long-time ESL teacher is you are never stuck for an idea to use in the classroom. After 15 years I can walk into just about any classroom and have a fallback lesson plan. 

However, for me, it is not something I would want to do continually. To have an informative, fun, and interesting lesson you need prior preparation.

Prior Preparation Prevents Poor Performance.

You can only follow your student and teacher class books for so long until you need to mix things up a bit to keep your students and yourself motivated and your lessons fun and focused. 

In Vietnam, you will quite often see “Mum” walking down the street with a bowl of rice or other breakfast for her child. 

A slightly different attitude from where I was brought up. My mealtime option was, to eat it now or have it again for lunch.

So my amusement level was kicked into overdrive when I saw this, and I wondered if I could do something similar with my students?

No, not to chase my class down the road, but to get them to cook,( under my directions) and then sit around talk and eat.

It’s Time to Pre-Plan our Pre-Planning.

Pre-planning has not changed much over the years and it still comes down to these concepts for the classroom.

Lesson plans use a variety of tactics to engage students, measure progress, and encourage learning and understanding.

At the same time as keeping the students at the top of the teachers mind. It’s a time when teachers see all the teaching resources and consider how they’ll fit together to create a successful learning experience.

Teachers who plan lessons ahead of time arrive in the classroom each day fully prepared to explain new concepts and conduct important conversations, rather than winging it.

Without a lesson plan, students may lose concentration rapidly, and teachers may find themselves trying to figure out what to do next.

Getting the culinary vocabulary in order.

Decide on what you are going to teach, and what is your focus of the day. Don’t feel bound to teach just one thing, you may want to teach vocabulary first, followed up by the color, size, taste, smell, and feel/texture of their food. Students can share their work with the rest of the class.


When teaching ESL the points we want to cover are listening, speaking, reading, and writing, in that order. I try to cover at least 2 of these areas in every class. Listening is the first skill and you can find out more here at ” Listening Skills

Grammar.

And as unpopular as it is, I will try to cover at least one grammatical point along the way. I will do this by pre-reading some grammatical points.

For Example; Countable and Uncountable nouns and can we make uncountable nouns countable by adding a countable word before the “noun”.

  • A bottle of water. There are three bottles of water on the table.
  • A cup of tea. I want three cups of tea, please.
  • A bowl of rice. I often have a bowl of rice for dinner.
  • A bar of chocolate. Can I have a bar of chocolate,?
  • A piece of pizza. Here is a piece of pizza for you.
  • A jar of jam. How many jars of jam should I make?

There are many things you can cover when teaching “cooking in the Classroom” here is a great website that I have used on and off for years. ESL Kidstuff. They cater more to the younger student.

Or you may wish to have a look at a previous post that shows you my top 10 websites for anything from Vocabulary to videos, songs, and Language Learning. “My Top Ten Websites for ESL Teachers“.

Keep it Age Relevant.

I wouldn’t do a class 100% focused on cooking for kindergarten. However, I have done it for younger students with simpler recipes and no sharp utensils or plates and bowls that can be broken.

If there is a chance for students to drop bowls, plates, etc, it will happen. Make sure you have replaced your “fine china” with plastic and you have a mop and rags on hand.

Keep it culturally appropriate and check for Allergies.

Some of the students in your classroom will have allergies or will be unable to eat certain foods due to religious or cultural restrictions. So consult with their parents and the school before making any final decisions about what you want to cook in class.

You may have to alter your plans, but it is well worth the effort if it means that everyone can fully participate and that there is no risk of anyone becoming ill or unable to consume the food.

Younger Students.

If you have decided to have fun with your younger students, well done. Most teachers will put this in the too-hard basket and revert to the book. However, it is not impossible or complicated to have a successful “cooking class”.

A little preparation will go a long way. Think about what you want to teach (Easy Vocabulary) and in a way that is the least messy. A simple “recipe ” to use for children is “fairy bread”

Fairy Bread.

You can have everything pre-prepared in your classroom or Kitchen. ( More on this soon). This is so simple that all you need is the bread, hundreds and thousands, and margarine or soft butter.

You can butter the bread, sprinkle on the hundreds and thousands and then “iconically” cut it into triangles for that perfect shape.

Teaching Goals for the younger student.

My major goal for the younger student is to develop and nurture the joy of wanting to learn. In this case, it happens to be ESL or English as a Second Language.

The secondary, although some say it’s the primary goal, is to increase the vocabulary and pronunciation skills of the young learner. But if you have instilled the joy of learning, vocabulary and pronunciation will be a breeze to teach.

Getting your student to talk and communicate in English is the ultimate outcome for the ESL Teacher.

Songs.

There are many enjoyable songs about food and cooking that can be learned and sung. Make sure you have at least one of these for your class.

Songs make learning vocabulary for younger students much easier, especially if there is an amusing video to go along with it or funny gestures to follow in the classroom.

Here are some more…” Tips for Using Songs in The Classroom

Classroom or kitchen.

I count my blessings, as one of my schools is within a house. So I have ample room to bring out 15 to 20 chairs for my students to sit, watch and join in with the cooking experience.

And directly behind me, there is seating for up to 25 people with, the all-important, air conditioning.

So I am lucky to be able to provide a flexible environment where the students can learn. However, for those who do not have the same flexibility as me, you can still do a lot in the classroom.

My lesson Plan for Students in the Kitchen is as follows.

1. Vocabulary.

  • Food Nouns.
  • Food Utensil Nouns.
  • Food preparation verbs.

2. Food preparation Instructions.

  • Introduce the recipe and make sure the students understand the different terminology used in cooking.
  • Break the students up into groups and get them to perform the different activities needed to make a meal.
  • Don’t forget to get all the students to perform the more onerous tasks like washing the dishes and cleaning up.

3. Cook, Eat and Talk.

Discuss with the students what they found the hardest things to do. Turn the conversation into a general English-speaking free for all. Have a backup list of prepared questions that you can introduce to keep the conversation flowing.

Recipes; Use a recipe that is not too difficult. Or with words and phrases that may overwhelm the students. But I have certainly gone beyond “eggs on toast”. Introducing foreign food is a great way to stimulate conversation.

Basic Questions.

  • Do you like this meal?
  • Is there any part of the recipe you would change?
  • What are your favorite dishes?
  • Can you cook?
  • Who does most of the cooking in your house?

Add your own questions.

Example of Utensil Nouns.



Think outside the square (table). Food challenges in 2022.

Although not strictly within the category of cooking in the classroom, it does introduce another area for talking about food that could be used to start debates about the ethics of binge eating while there are people dying from starvation.

Like all lessons and lesson planning, we are only limited by our own imagination.

Conclusion.

Laugh and learn.

When you’re in the middle of a classroom with “hundreds and thousands” ( The candy, not the students) rolling around the floor and your dog is greedily eating their 5th piece of bread, Relax.

Even if everything appears to be a train wreck, keep laughing and try to stay calm and enjoy yourself.

And you will probably be amazed at how much your students learned through that lesson.

They will remember it for a long time because they had so much fun even if it went off the rails a bit.

A great lesson is a lesson with a lot of laughter and learning!

Who Am I?

My name is Stephen and I have been teaching ESL in Vietnam for over 15 years. It has given me equal measures of joy and frustrations, sometimes at the same time.

One thing it has never given me is boredom. If you are looking for a satisfying career in helping others attain their dreams, reach out to me and see if I can help you find a job in Vietnam or Thailand.

You can check me out on my YouTube channel below.

TET 2022

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.

Tips for Using Songs in the ESL Classroom.

Using Songs in The ESL Classroom.

Music can be used in English classes in a variety of ways. It provides numerous advantages for both the teacher and the pupils, including boosting memory and focus, stimulating learning, and, most significantly, making learning enjoyable.

Nothing makes a teacher happier than seeing their kids laugh and grin while they learn. Students are in the same boat. Students enjoy coming to class when they are taught in a pleasant and creative manner. Teachers can accomplish success with their pupils by incorporating music into the classroom.

It’s also worth noting that listening to music can assist learners to enhance and develop their general English skills. Let’s have a look at some of the approaches for using music to augment conventional English sessions.

Planning your Musical Lessons.

What is your learning focus?

Will the focus of your class be on vocabulary, grammar, pronunciation, or a specific topic? Whatever your focus, keep in mind that there are no restrictions on what you can do with the song.

For example, you might utilize the song to demonstrate a specific verb tense or make use of the opportunity to examine the lyrics for any intriguing idioms.

What is the Age level of your learners?

Teaching songs to children, teenagers, and adults all require different approaches. If you’re a young learner’s teacher, you’ll most likely want to employ songs that are repetitious and simple to understand.

However, for teenagers, use current or recently released pop and rock tunes. My recommendation is to ask them ‘what’s popular.’ Use songs that are appealing to their age group.

Adult learners will be more receptive to different types of music as long as they perceive a learning reward.

Cultural Inappropriateness.

What are some of the things that are commonly considered inappropriate in the culture where you teach? Whatever you do, don’t utilize music only to satisfy your own cultural expectations. Consider your audience and their tastes; better yet, let them choose the tunes you play.

What classroom tech do you have?

There is no good preparing a fantastic musical lesson and arriving into the classroom to find you do not have the tech tools available to play your songs.

Some schools have limited resources so it is a wise idea to invest in a few basic classroom tech tools to help you with your lessons. I now record all my lessons on to my phone and playback through a wireless blue tooth speaker.

Tips for Using Songs in the Classroom.

Busy Teacher has a large range of free songs you can use in the classroom, click on the link to discover these resources.

The Young Learner.

Children have an inherent affinity towards music. You don’t need to persuade them that it will aid their learning. They will quickly respond and remember what is being taught. Here are some ideas for activities to do with children.

  • Use a variety of alphabet songs (not just the classic ABC) to help kids recall their letters in English.
  • Colors: Use a variety of color songs and rhythms to teach the colors.
  • Simple action songs that demand kids to stand up and move about should be taught. Consider traditional song-based birthday games like pass the parcel or musical chairs.
  • Children enjoy learning about animals through songs. Use songs like “Old McDonald had a Farm” and “There was an Old Lady who swallowed a fly” to teach animals and animal sounds.
  • Simple number songs, such as “there were ten in the bed, and the little one said, roll over, roll over,” will get your pupils up and moving.

Children are arguably the easiest to provide lessons to in a song setting as they are naturally receptive to listening and singing along.

The Teenage Learner.

Songs are an excellent listening exercise for teenagers. Songs also have the ability to tell stories and convey emotions. Music can help to establish the tone or modify the mood. You may start or close a class with a song, or create a whole course around it, its message, and the artist or band.

  • Print out the lyrics to the song for students and listen to the song a couple of times while students read along.
  • For older learners, rather than have them sing the song, rely on them listening only and getting hem to fill in a song close sheet. You may want the older student to fill in the word close before the listening activity and see how close they get.
  • After listening, encourage your students to discuss the song and share what language they were comfortable with and where they struggled.
  • Rewrite the Song
  1. Older ESL students will require a bigger challenge to put their language skills to the test. So consider trying to get them to rephrase the song into a story.
  2. The pupils will need to have a basic comprehension of the original song before moving on to the next stage.
  3. The pupils will then have to completely rewrite the song into a story.
    Many students would simply substitute well-known synonyms for keywords, while experienced students may completely rewrite the song into a story format.
  4. Make sure students present their work to the rest of the class.

Teenagers will know exactly what kind of music they like and don’t like! Ask them what they like and incorporate a variety of musical styles in your classes. you don’t want to lose them at the start of the lesson just by choosing the wrong song.

The Adult Learner.

You can use some of the same approaches to songs with Adults as you have done with the teenagers.

Do your stop-gap exercises and blank out the lyrics that you wish to focus on or get the adults to also rewrite the song. And you are only limited by your own imagination. Here are some other ideas that will provide a more meaningful experience for your students.

  • Create a whole new verse of lyrics in the same mood and style as the ones before. You can do this I individually or in groups with your students. Then get each person or group to read them out. The remainder of the class can listen to the new lyrics.
  • A song usually gives you the singer’s point of view. Write a response from the perspective of the person about whom the song is being sung. It doesn’t have to be in lyric format.
  • Get the students to plan a music video for the song. They decide the setting, the people, and what happens in groups. After that, each group presents their concept to the rest of the class, and the students vote on which one is the best.
  • Role Play; Select a song that tells a tale or describes a relationship. Learners work in pairs or small groups after listening to the music to build a scene from the song, or even what happened before or after the story depicted in the song. Students could then perform their role-play in front of an audience.

Why Use Songs in the Classroom.

Language learning is aided by rhythm.

Students of all ages are naturally motivated to learn more efficiently when knowledge is provided rhythmically.

Consider your own experience as a student. Musical rhythms were most likely used to deliver stories, nursery rhymes, and even the alphabet.

Consider how difficult it would be to learn the alphabet with the letters jumbled up in a random order. Even as adults, we are considerably more likely to remember the words of a song than the contents of a speech we had just heard a few times. And this is because of the rhythm and melody.

Music has the ability to capture people’s attention.

Furthermore, few things capture the attention of ESL students like a great tune. During your lessons, you will inevitably have students that struggle to pay attention.

Additionally, kids may have a harder time understanding particular language elements that you give. You can assist your pupils by presenting linguistic topics in a more accessible manner utilizing ESL songs and music.

There are a few disadvantages to teaching with songs.

The songs can be;

  • be very fast for ESL learners;
  • contain slang or ungrammatical sentences
  • have difficult vocabulary that even upper intermediate students will not understand.

So please choose your songs carefully to be both age and skill relevant.

Final Thoughts.

In an ESL classroom, music can be used in a variety of ways. It is a readily available resource, and music can be used to teach a variety of skills.

Most teachers use music as a supplement, but it can also be used as a stand-alone unit, a lesson, or a part of your regular class activities.

Furthermore, there is a wide range of music to pick from that can assist you in conducting a number of fun activities in the ESL classroom.


My name is Stephen and I have been teaching ESL in Vietnam for over 15 years and have my own English school .

You can check out “Tet” in Vietnam on my YouTube channel below.

Tet in 2022

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 teach ESL to Teenagers.

Teaching English to Teenagers.

You may believe that teaching ESL to teens is more challenging than teaching English to children or adults. Common preconceptions are that because they are going through changes in their life they are less willing to learn.

However, as an experienced EFL teacher of kids and teens, and adults in Vietnam, I don’t believe this to be true. Yes, you may have to work harder to gain the attention of pupils this age, but it is not hard work.

In this article, I’ll provide you with tips on how to teach teens ESL that have worked for me. Including unique teaching strategies, engagement methods, and much more, that will keep your students focused on learning throughout the year.

And, yes, It works in public schools as well where you may get 50 plus students to a class. You will not win them all over, but you can get the others involved to a degree that they want to learn and will keep the uninterested students quiet.

Before we dive into the tips, let’s get a bit of perspective on what is happening inside the teenage brain and how it might affect their learning processes.

Restructuring and remodeling the brain.

When children are young, their brains go through a major growth surge. Their brains are roughly 90-95 percent of adult size by the time they’re six. Although the early years are crucial for brain development, the brain still requires extensive restructuring before it can operate as an adult brain.

During adolescence, your child’s brain undergoes extensive restructuring, which lasts until they are in their mid-20s. Age, experience, and puberty hormone changes all influence brain development.

Inside the brain of a teenager

Adolescence is a time of enormous growth and development and restructuring of the teenage brain. New connections are being made and those less used are being pared away.

So the unused connections in your child’s thinking and processing region of the brain are ‘trimmed’ away. Other interconnections are strengthened at the same time. Based on the ‘use it or lose it’ premise, this is the brain’s approach to becoming more efficient.

Think of it like the brain turning several roads going to the same place as the brain restructures the roads to become one faster “superhighway”.

How does this affect learning behavior?

Because the prefrontal cortex is still developing in teenagers they are more likely than adults to rely on the amygdala to make decisions and solve issues. Emotions, impulses, hostility, and instinctual behavior are all linked to the amygdala.

Have you noticed that your student’s thinking and behavior appear to be quite mature at times, but then they act or think in irrational, impulsive, or emotional ways at other times?

These shifts and alterations are explained by the brain’s back-to-front growth, teenagers are functioning with brains that are still developing.

The Impact on learning.

The mix of your student’s developing brain and culture has an impact on how he or she acts, thinks, and feels. Your students’ favorite activities and skills, for example, may become ‘hard-wired’ in the brain.

So consider the variety of activities and experiences your student enjoys, such as music, sports, study, languages, and video games. And build them into your lessons.

Now let’s Dive in with some tips.

Introductions.

Learn as much as you can about your students.

Getting to know your teenage students on a more personal level will pay off in your classroom. When you initially meet your pupils, take the time to learn about their interests, hobbies, abilities, and even dislikes.

Then use this knowledge by incorporating it into your teaching. Students are considerably more likely to be interested in a lesson that is relevant to them than in one that is irrelevant to them.

You can begin with an introduction lesson, in which you introduce yourself and the topic you want your pupils to discuss. Name, age, family, hobbies, and sports, for example. Keep things light and breezy at this stage.

Try to remember the student’s name. In large classes it is difficult, but if you get your students to write on a sticker you can then save it and apply it to a desk layout of the classroom. Asking someone by name is always better than saying ” Can you tell me..”

Set Rules and Routines.

You want a lively classroom, but your kids must understand the rules. Teenagers will test the limits, but if you have established ground rules, you can help your class return to a more productive state.

Also, give your students a predictable and pleasant learning environment, as well as a natural “flow” to your session.

Your session should follow the same format, whether it is a warm-up, homework review, new subject presentation, or lesson practice. It is your decision how you want to format your classroom activities, but keep it lively and interesting.

Allowing students to build routines will assist them in understanding what is going on during a class and maintaining their focus during learning.

However, occasionally shake things up and break away from the routine by introducing a fun new exercise or activity.

Teach to the Students Level.

However much you will complain to the staff or owner, your class will have students at different levels of learning. Some will be faster and some will be slower.

Please don’t think this means the slower students are less intelligent, it may mean your teaching style is not correct for them.

Remember that pupils, especially teens, will work at varying levels of difficulty. When you give a group of teens identical work, some will find it challenging, while others will become bored due to how simple it is.

As a result, it’s critical to vary your approach so that everyone in the class may learn to their full potential. Also, you may need to prepare different types of lessons for the same class.

This does not necessarily mean a lot of extra work, it might just mean asking a different complexity of questions.

Make use of the amygdala.

Obviously, your pupils will not be able to pick and choose what they learn in each class. However, incorporating choice into their learning can help teenagers become more engaged students.

Give your students a few options to pick from if you assign a speaking task. This empowers teenagers to take control of their work.

And if it is a listening task, you can liven it up by including the students’ names in listening exercises. Don’t your ears perk up when you hear your name?

Some of my best lessons for listening are when I totally change the script and include “funny references” to eating or going to school etc. And including the students’ names. Just be careful it is culturally appropriate.

Writing tasks are exactly the same, just don’t forget the sequence for learning different English skills

Use Rewards.

Who doesn’t like to be rewarded for a job well done, your students are no exception.

Using rewards are a great way to enforce both the classroom rules and encourage your teenage students to learn.

While younger children might like to be rewarded by helping the teacher and receiving a smiley-face sticker, you’ll need a different approach when teaching young adults.

I have done things like taking the students out for pizza or ordering in if they have completed certain tasks. In a public school, you can still use the same idea as long as you do it in the classroom.

Bring snacks, throw a party and play music. You will capture the love of your student if you go above and beyond most of the other ESL teachers out there.

Play Games.

When selecting classroom games and activities for teaching ESL to teenagers, it’s critical to select advanced games so that the teens don’t feel like you are treating them like a child.

The following are a couple of fun games I play and you can use with your adolescent students to make your lessons enjoyable.

The Directions game.

This game is great for teaching directions, as well as prepositions of place and movement, and it’s a fun lesson supplement. To play, arrive a few minutes early to reorganize the classroom furnishings into a maze.

Students work in couples to guide their blindfolded teammates through the maze. Clear directions must be given by the guides.

The guides can say things like “turn left”, “crouch”, “crawl” and so much more. Be inventive and make it fun, but not too difficult for the skill level of your class.

Not only is it informative it is a lot of fun that will have your students laughing while learning.

Reverse Charades

Reverse charades is a popular guessing game that may be played in a school of any size. To win a point the teams must act out the phrase or word on the board. If the selected team member gets the word or phrase correct that team wins the point.

This is a more classroom-inclusive way of playing the traditional charades game. i love this game because it involves everyone.

I have found in Asia, pitting the boys against the girls works extremely well. Remember the puberty changes, they are all trying to impress both their friends and the opposite sex.

An easy way to set this up and still have control of the activity is by putting 2 chairs with the backs facing the board and the rest of the team members standing in front of them trying to explain with body language what is written on the board.

The teacher is the ultimate arbiter of all disputes arising, or points will be discounted.

You can find more games for teenagers at ESL Kids Games For Teens.

Conclusion.

Remember to use materials that are relevant to the students’ lives, develop individual bonds with students, design active and engaging lessons, and allow time for fun when teaching teens ESL in Asia, online, or anywhere else in the world.

Keep in mind where adolescent ESL students are in their mental and academic development. They need to be academically challenged and appreciated as individuals to develop their love of learning. Be the teacher you loved as a student.

Who Am I?

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


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 Teach ESL to Kids.

This will help you teach ESL to the younger students and make life easier for you.

Teaching English to Kids.

Teaching any subject to kids can be challenging and teaching English to non-native English speakers can be a daunting endeavor and has its own particular problems. And not just because of class size or skill level of the students.

You’ll need a lot of patience, particularly because every child learns differently and at a different pace.

Teaching ESL to youngsters, on the other hand, is also extremely fulfilling. Remember that youngsters have limited attention spans and that teaching them requires patience as well as a sense of fun and humor.

Here are a few tips that will make it easier for you in the classroom.

My Top Ten Tips for the Kids ESL Classroom.

Make use of visuals

Images are excellent for aiding learning. A child may not realize that the term “book” means “book,” but they are aware of what a book looks like. 

Children will be able to deepen their understanding by integrating text and graphics. There are many places online you can get flashcards (Or make your own) that makes learning easier. 

Furthermore, photos and posters provide color to your classroom, making it more interesting and conducive to learning.

Keep it simple.

This is one of the most crucial steps in teaching English to children. Simple words will allow your students to gain their knowledge, which you can then build on. 

These may include phrases like “sit down,” “put your pencils down,” and “open your books,” among others. Keep your wording succinct, informative, and easy to comprehend. 

And don’t forget to teach the fundamentals, such as “may I have some water?” and “may I use the restroom?”

You will want to check to see if they comprehend the short instructions you’ll use in class after teaching them. 

Keep it lighthearted.

Encourage your kids to practice and use the language you’ve taught them by utilizing a variety of activities. Incorporate your pupils’ hobbies as well, so they are motivated to study!

Furthermore, nothing is more tedious for the pupils to read from a textbook and complete drab worksheets with a lot of text and no visuals. When it comes to teaching basic English, be creative and use colorful worksheets.

Making learning interesting in the classroom is simple and does not imply just playing games or acting the fool. 

There is a plethora of entertaining instructional tools available to promote ESL learning, including a variety of games and activities that drive language growth in novel ways.

More on games can be found in my piece “How to Engage Your EFL Student.”

Mix things up a little.

When children are only taught in one way, they rapidly get disinterested and bored. You may cover a variety of learning types while also making your lessons engaging and fascinating by employing multiple learning formats.

We understand that creating all of these materials takes time, but here is a list of my “top 10 websites for ESL teachers” that will make your job easier.

Use Technology in the classroom.

Using resources like Powerpoint and other technology is an important method to involve children in a class. 

There are a multitude of apps, interactive games, and platforms available for teachers to employ in their classes, including these I have listed under ” Technology in the classroom“.

Get them talking.

Overuse of Teacher talk is something I see a lot with novice ESL teachers.  Your job is to get the student to talk, not for you to continually talk.

However, there must be some content focused on listening as the listening skill is the first and arguably most important skill to learn. 

It will be tough for children to initiate English discussions if they are just at a basic level. That means it’s up to you to keep them talking and improve their communication abilities. 

To keep children involved in the language, ask them questions while they work or finish activities.

Sing songs.

Songs are a terrific method to get kids interested in learning and can also aid with memory recall. 

Remember that annoying ” ABC ” song that all the ESL kids sing and you just can’t get out of your head? 

For your students, this works in exactly the same way. Memorizing songs can be a great way to help children remember vocabulary.

Use Real-Life objects.

This is especially effective when discussing themes like food, clothing, the home, or anything else where you have easily available materials to support learning.

Bring some food or plates, cups, forks, etc. to class if you wish to improve your student’s food and utensil vocabulary. Check to see if your kids can select the proper utensil or food item that you layout.  

If you want to focus on clothes vocabulary, take a trip to your wardrobe and pull out some clothes to show. You can also invest a little money and do classroom dress-ups. 

This type of interactive learning is ideal for children since it is more engaging than out-of-context learning.

Practice makes perfect.

You can’t expect your students to understand things straight away.  You should give a range of examples and give your students plenty of time to practice what you’ve just taught them. then check for understanding.

When teaching beginners English, this usually entails drilling the students (but not for too long), followed by individual or group practice. Make sure the kids know it’s okay to make mistakes during practice so they don’t feel pressured to get it right the first time.

Use positive reinforcement.

Another key aspect of teaching English to young students is to provide positive feedback. If someone gives an incorrect answer, give them encouraging feedback and correct them. 

Never make a student feel embarrassed in front of the entire class. Because if you do they will turn off and learn to hate studying English. Instead, attempt to establish a welcoming environment in the classroom by frequently complimenting your students, even if they make mistakes.

When teaching English to beginners, for example, if they get the term right but mispronounce it, say something like, “Okay, good!” and then repeat the word with the correct pronunciation so that the student is not embarrassed and the rest of the class hears the correct pronunciation.

Conclusion.

For both novice and veteran ESL teachers, teaching English to children can be a lot of fun. Although preparing content for teaching English to beginners may seem difficult at first, you will quickly become accustomed to it. 

It’s also quite satisfying when your kids want to talk to you outside of class to tell you about their accomplishments. It’s incredible to watch them progress from having no skills to being able to communicate in basic English!

Following these suggestions will help you gain the respect of both your students and their parents. 

Continue to praise your kids so that they do not become disheartened when they make mistakes. Praise will assist them in being self-assured learners who are not intimidated by a foreign language. Be the teacher you always looked up to.

Who Am I?

My name is Stephen and I have been teaching in Vietnam for over 15 years and have my own small school. I am also the author of this article and owner of this website. You can check me out on YouTube below.

Post Covid

My School in Vietnam


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