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Teacher's guide and other helpful information for you
A good teacher can inspire hope, ignite the imagination, and instill a love of learning
Freshman Senior
Useful Info
Teaching tips
Campus English School focuses on communication skills in English. Intensive Course is ideal for students at every level of English fluency.
The curriculum combines grammar study, vocabulary, pronunciation, writing and conversation. Classes are given twice a week for three academic hours each
Materials to use
The New English File 3rd Edition
(available @ https://disk.yandex.ru/client/disk)

login: hello@campus54.com
password: inspirit

Your own materials are also welcome
2 months long

48 hours

16 lessons

4 months long

96 hours

32 lessons

5 months long

96 hours

32 lessons

+ 24 hours of practice weeks

6 months long

120 hours

40 lessons

+ 24 hours of practice weeks

Progress Report (PR)
PR is a very important document that must be filled out after each lesson. PR allows us to carefully track everything that is happening in each group.
Who works with PR
Managers and administrators - track the amount of students in groups, check the attendance and the results of the students in order to contact them and stay in touch with them on weekly basis, solve possible issues.

Teachers - fill out the attendance, check the students progress, plan out lessons, fill in test results and give feedback to the students. Thus they have full information about each student in order to decide whether they can be transferred onto the next level.

Head Teacher - checks lesson planning and utilization of each teacher, checks the progress of the students in each group to make sure they can get their certificates at the end of each level, solves possible issues

Directors - work with overall statistics concerning each group.

It means it is vital to fill out the PR after each lesson because all of the departments must have updated information to work with daily.

Teachers ought to communicate with managers concerning any possible issues in each group such as

  • a student is absent more than 2 lessons in a row
  • the number of students in the group is wrong
  • a student is not on the list of the group
  • there isn't enough room for everybody and others

Below you will find
Progress Report Structure
Click on the "plus" sign to read more info about each section
Follow this link to read the whole document (Progress Report Guidelines)
First Lesson
It should include three important stages:

Course Introduction, Entry Test, Ice breakers

The teacher is supposed to create a relaxed and working atmosphere, explain the course flow, set goals and explain how to achieve them (presence at every lesson, homework, consultations, involvement in the lessons).

Entry Test is supposed to be conducted in order to understand the initial level of the student to track their progress in the future. Entry test field should be filled out right after the lesson.

Feedback Letters
FL should be filled in and sent out to every student. It should include the Entry test Results only and a few encouraging words.

FL must be sent out 3 times during the course - after each test (Entry, Progress, Final).

FL should contain test results, covered topics (this part can be copy-pasted into all letters) and teacher's commentaries for each student.

FL are located in the cloud (disk.yandex)

You can find the units that are recommended for you to be covered right above the attendance section. It is strongly recommended to follow these units. However if there's a deviation from the recommendations you should write down the factual unit that you covered in class. It also needs to be explained why in notes.
Right under the attendance section teachers ought to use notes to write down the homework tasks. This is an important procedure in case you can not do your class and need a sub, besides we can trace the students' progress this way.
There are three statuses:

H - was present, homework done; N - was present, no homework; O - out of class

Teacher must fill in the statuses right after the class. Administrators and managers check the PR daily and carry on their work with the students. Besides the attendance determines whether Student is going to get a certificate at the end of the course.

Practice Weeks
PW are made for either review of all the topics covered previously or writing tests. Teacher must not cover any new units. It is recommended for the first day to review Grammar - different types of tests and exercises, speaking activities and others, all centered around Grammar. The second day should be dedicated to Vocabulary and Speaking practice.
There are three tests to be written throughout the course.

  1. Entry

  2. Progress

  3. Final
The days for the tests are already assigned. See the PR for that. It is vital to fill in the Test result section to trace the progress of your students. Besides the test results must be present in the Feedback letter.

Each students who meets the following requirements shall receive the certificate after each course:

  • attended 80% of classes

  • did at least 50% of homework tasks

  • has 75% for the final test

Lesson Planning
It is very important to plan something to stay organized.

Before you start your new group make sure you plan out when you are going to cover each lesson. Use corresponding fields in the Progress Report for planning ahead the whole course and input the actual lesson number you've covered on a specific day

First, it helps trace your pace to make sure you cover all the lessons eventually
Second, in case you need a substitute we will know where you are with your group

Use of Russian in class
You may be tempted, but restrain yourself as much as possible. Let the students immerse into English

Beginner 70-50%
Elementary 50-30%
Pre-Intermediate 30-0%
Intermediate occasional
Intermediate + occasional
Upper-Intermediate English only
Advanced English only

How to understand levels
We use standard CEFR levels with a little twist

B1 + B2 + C1 = SENIOR
We have quite a lot of books available in the cloud and on the Teacher's Computer in the school. Besides we have real text books in the school premices

login: hello@campus54.com
password: inspirit
it is necessary to collect
Student Cards
Collect Student cards at the start of the lesson and take it to the administrator no later than 20 minutes after the beginning of the class
Our approach
Enjoy the process
Share the idea
Useful outcome
Basic principles

Confident interaction with the students
Use what matters to the student
Communication skills development
State the result (practicality)
Versatile approach to addressing the subject
Create dynamics

Moving around the class/standing activity
Change of activity every 15 mins (3 activities per lesson minimum)


Peer-to-peer interaction and peer-to-peer education
Group assignments
Role play

How to conduct a lesson.
First of all, you can click the tab called "Teaching tips" at the top of the page for more interesting information and clues.

Must have lesson stages:

*Introduce yourself
*Ice-Breaker - create a relaxed atmosphere, let the students get acquainted with each other
*Personal Story related to the topic (you can start with a story that happened to you as an ice-breaker. Listen to the students, hear their reaction, use it further on during the lesson)
*State the topic of the lesson and set goals (write it on the board)
*Introduce your material in an interesting non-trivial way (make a "boring grammar" interesting through the means of a good lead in).

Make the students move, don't turn your class into a lecture.

*Change activities every now and then
*Make students speak as much as possible
*Group-work is welcomed (micro projects, mini presentations, etc.)

Summary at the end of the lesson:

*State what you have covered and learned
*Ask for students feedback

Classes Description
Make sure you know what you are teaching
Enlarge the students' grammar range and accuracy
Provide the students with extensive practice (controlled and free, written and oral)

TST vs SST 40/60 (Teacher Speaking Time vs Student Speaking Time)

Grammar is not a boring lecture. Grammar classes are about understanding how to use it in specific life situations. Of course you want to explain the aspects of grammar, but do not forget to help students understand when and how to use it. Make sure you give a lot of time for practice (controlled and free), do not only give the students written exercises. Help them feel the language and let them "speak the grammar".

Resources: "English Grammar in Use", "Teaching Grammar creatively"

Enlarge the students' vocabs scope and accuracy
Provide the students with extensive practice

TST vs SST 40/60

Resources: "Oxford Word Skills", "Vocabulary in Use" and other. Go to disk.yandex for more books.

Vocabulary class is not only about learning 10 new words according to the topic. It is about learning and practicing what to say and what not to say in specific situations. How to describe a nice view avoiding the word "nice"? Help the students expand their active vocabulary. Allow them to practise enough to put the words into their active vocabulary. As you learn new words and phrases let the students "speak the vocabs", allow them to try the new vocabs speaking in groups or pairs, in various role-plays and such.
Develop students' listening skills
Develop students' vocabs and grammar range and accuracy

There is no strict curriculum for Listening. The topics and content are decided by the teacher according to the level of students. Different web resources such as www.ted.com can be used.
Help the students learn to listen and understand what they hear. Make it interesting for them. Do not forget the classical aspect of listening. It is not only listening to a story and trying to retell what happened there. It is about working with what you are listening to through "fill in the gaps" exercises, through open and closed questions and so on. Refer to the New English File to see how the Listening sections are constructed.
Phrasal verbs & Collocations

Enlarge the students' vocabs scope and accuracy
Provide the students with extensive practice

TST vs SST 40/60

Resources: "Phrasal verbs and Collocations in Use" and others. Refer to disk.yandex for more books.

This class is very similar to Vocabulary class. Make sure you practise enough.

Improve students' pronunciation
Develop students' listening skills for intonation and sounds
Provide the students with extensive pronunciation practice

TST vs SST 50/50

Resources: "Lose your Accent in 28 days", "How now brown cow" (by Prentice Hall), disk.yandex

Pronunciation can be a big issue for the students. Pay attention to "cleaning out the mess' and practising the right way of pronouncing sounds. Make the students get tired as they say the chants, tongue-twisters, minimal pairs and such. There's no strict rule concerning the accent. You can choose any accent you are comfortable with. Only make sure you explain it to the students. Do not neglect exercises on intonation, how to sound friendly and interested and so on.

Real English

Teach how to "say it for reals"
Provide the students with extensive practice of using words and phrases in specific life situations

TST vs SST 40/60

How to make a small talk? What is a good thing to say when you are late? What's something you should never say to a policemen? This class is all about real life situations. There are no specific topics. The teacher can choose whatever he finds interesting and relevant. Russian speaking students use their Russian mindset when constructing sentences. Our aim is to help them think like natives which may seem a tud illogical at times.

Enlarge the students' vocabs scope and accuracy
Provide the students with extensive practice

TST vs SST 40/60

There is no specific resource to use. Make sure you find something relevant and up-to-date according to the topic of the lesson. This class is very similar to Vocabulary class.

Resources: "English Idioms in Use", "How Idioms Work", "Idioms for Everyday Use", disk.yandex
Common Mistakes

Point out common mistakes and correct them
Provide extensive practice in order to remember how to say it correctly

TST vs SST 40/60

Resources: Go to disk.yandex for more books.

Lamp is on the table. This is how a Russian may say it neglecting "there is/there are". In this class we discuss prominent mistakes that ESL students usually make. Make sure to make the class interesting and practical.
Provide intensive speaking practice for the students
Enlarge the students' vocabs
Improve students' interactive skills

TST vs SST:30/70

This class is all about lots of speaking, debating and discussion for the students. Pre-teach vocabs, correct mistakes the students make, change activities and make the experience fun. You may think there's no preparations needed, but it is vital to have a good plan that will help you to keep your lesson dynamic and interesting. Let the students work in groups and pairs, discuss pros and cons of the matter, role-play situations, and debate. Be careful when it comes to sensitive subjects.


Provide intensive speaking practice to the students
Enlarge the students' vocabs in the various social fields (Media, Politics, Society, Culture, Hi-Tech, Sports, etc.)
Broaden their general knowledge

TST vs SST: 40/60

Resources: www.euronews.com, www.rt.com, www.bbc.co.uk, www.youtube.com

It is a speaking class. The main idea is to pick some interesting news and give students a chance to discuss it. We recommend preparing at least three pieces of news from various fields for the lesson. You are welcome to use video materials as well as printed handouts with articles.
Basically, it is a discussion class based on the news from all around the world
Role Play
Provide intensive speaking practice focused on spontaneous speech
Enlarge the students' vocabs and functions in the various social fields
Practise different life-situation
Motivate through playing and having fun

TST vs SST: 30/70

Resources: Communication games by Jill Hadfield, New Market Leader (Case Studies), Survival English by Peter Viney, New English File
There are number of games that can be played in class. You can ask the administrator to help you find the boarding games that we have available here. You can also play different grammar, spelling, vocabulary games to your taste. Make it fun and practical
Business English

Develop students' language skills in the business context
Enlarge students' business vocabs scope

TST vs SST 40/60

Resources: Current topics are taken from "Market Leader" of various levels. Besides you can use "Business English in Use' and other books that you can find at disk.yandex

The thing is that not many of the students are businessmen. Do not go too deep into the specifics. We look at this class as at the opportunity to switch our attention to the world of business. We jokingly call it "Business English for housewives" unless there are any serious businessmen in class. Let the students learn words and practise them through role-play and all kinds of case-studies. Teach the students to negotiate, agree and disagree with different points of view, express their thoughts and so on.

Reading and Writing

Enlarge the students' vocabs scope
Provide the students with extensive reading practice
Teach students understand what they read out of context
Provide written practice to help express students' thoughts correctly

TST vs SST 50/50

Resources: Go to disk.yandex or materials.

You can start with O'Henry's stories and move on to writing your own together with the students. Combine reading with discussion. Teach them to understand the grammar used by the author. Make the students fall in love with reading in English.

We want you to feel free and comfortable. There's no strict dress-code. Casual is the right word to describe it. Just look clean, tidy, stylish, individual and awesome
Our contacts
Feel free to write, call and talk to us. We really love to communicate.

+7 812 467 33 04
Sasha Stepanov,
Head Teacher
+7 911 818 52 37
Ruslan Yamaltdinov,
Product and Marketing
Maxim Levushkin,
Finance and Sales
9 Elements of an Outstanding English Language Lesson:
1. Clear goals and objectives for each class: You are taking these lessons for a reason. You need results! The focus of your lesson should be on results. That means that the teacher should let you know at the beginning of each class, what result he or she wants to achieve during the class. If your class isn't focused on results, where will you end up?

2. A fun and motivating atmosphere: Is the class held in a location where you feel comfortable or does it remind you of your days in grade school? Are the lessons held at a time when you are able to put all of your energy into your learning? All of these aspects can contribute to or reduce your motivation.

3. A focus on student talking time: A good English language lesson allows for about 80% student talking time. The teacher should only be speaking 20% of the time or less. Your teacher should set up your conversation so that he or she elicits information and talking from you. You should be exhausted at the end of each lesson!

4. A clear link between the lesson and everyday life: Your lesson must be centered on everyday situations in your workplace and in your community. Your teacher should use customized role plays to make the language come alive and to center the learning on your needs. There should be a clear demonstration of how and when you can use your new skills outside of the classroom. This will help you stay motivated and excited about learning.

5. Immediate error correction: If you are taking private Englishlanguage lessons, your errors should be corrected immediately. It is important not to make the same mistakes again and again.

6. Accountability and high expectations: While your English lesson doesn't have to include a written test, your progress should be measured in some way and you should be held accountable for the new material that you learn. Your English teacher might suggest documenting your English learning journey through video as a way to state your goals to reach a certain level by a certain time. This gives you the responsibility to practice and get better. Your teacher should expect a lot from you and you should expect a lot from yourself!

7. Integration of cultural knowledge and skills: Learning English is not about grammar, vocabulary and pronunciation unless you only plan to use your skills to write academic papers. You are learning English to be able to communicate. To really be successful with your English skills, you need to have a clear understanding of the cultural context. A more in-depth cross-cultural training may be helpful if you are interviewing in American culture or doing business in the US but your English teacher should at least introduce some aspects of US culture and how they are embedded in the language.

8. Inspiring and well-traveled teacher: How much do you think that you will progress if your teacher doesn't inspire you? Your teacher should have a dynamic style, an engaging personality and a positive tone. Your teacher should also have experience teaching and living abroad. Without having lived abroad and learned a new language, your teacher probably won't understand you and your situation on the most profound level.

9. Guidance and coaching for your language learning journey:Many classes give you the minimum. They teach you the grammar, the vocabulary and the phrases that you need to communicate. But do they guide you through the language learning process as well? Does the teacher offer advice on the best way to learn languages? Does he check in with you about your progress and your fears about English learning? Does he encourage you to take risks? Does he take a genuine interest in your progress?


1. Opposites. This works for certain adjectives, verbs, nouns, adverbs, determiners etc, e.g. "What's the opposite of dark/ stop/ an idiot/ suddenly/ few?"

2. Ranks, sequences and sliding scales. We can extend the idea of giving opposites to include things that could be written with two opposites as steps on a scale, e.g. (words you are trying to elicit in brackets) "What comes next? Cold, hot, (boiling)/ Dislike, like, (love)" This can be extended to anything else that could be seen to have some kind of sequence such as "pupil, undergraduate, (graduate)", "tap, hit, (bash)" or "today, yesterday, (the day before yesterday)".

3. Similarities. This is another good way of eliciting "the day before yesterday"- "If tomorrow is followed by the day after tomorrow, what is yesterday preceded by?" This works for word forms (e.g. "the noun of 'act' is made the same way as the noun for 'connect' that we learnt last week") and similarities in spelling and pronunciation (e.g. "It has the same spelling/pronunciation/grammatical form as 'bought'").

4. Definitions. This is the technique that new teachers tend to use most often and most naturally. This is perhaps because we often use it when we really can't remember a word or name in our own language and are hoping the person we are speaking to can come up with it or at least understand what we are talking about anyway, as in "I need one of those, what do you call them? Things to get your car off the ground so you can change a tyre" "A jack?" "Yes, that's it." You can make the definitions you use to elicit in class easier to come up with and understand by writing all the definitions you are going to use on your lesson plan, taking them straight out of a dictionary or the teacher's book, writing the definition up on the board as well as or instead of saying it, or only using words they should know at that level (perhaps from a vocabulary list) when writing definitions. You might also want to have a plan B definition in case the first one is not understood or is confused with another word.

5. Synonyms. If you are lucky, you won't need to go through a whole long definition if there is a word that means approximately the same (it doesn't always matter if it is not an exact synonym as long as it produces the word you want, but make sure that it doesn't reinforce their wrong idea that two different words are the same). You can increase your chances of using this method successfully and often by getting the students used to doing exercises on synonyms in class and for homework. If there are several synonyms, you might want to check with a teacher with more knowledge of students with that L1 which of them is more likely to be familiar because it is similar to their own language, is more often studied in the school system, is part of a well known product name etc.

6. When we talked about it before. Another method we use naturally in our normal speech we can exploit in the classroom is "Who was that actor we were talking about yesterday? You remember, when we were talking about films that we hate. That's right, Beat Takeshi. Well, he…" with variations like "Remember the word everyone had problems with in the test?" and "What was the word for the kind of shop that we did a roleplay about last week?"

7. Memory. The idea of getting them to remember things to elicit words can be extended to, for example, seeing if they can remember a word from a dialogue they have just been doing, e.g. "What was the third product he asked for in the shop?"

8. Gaps. This could mean a word with letters blanked out, a typical sentences with the word or expression you are trying to elicit blanked out, or a combination of the two, e.g. "He let the c_t out of the bag". This can be used with spoken elicitation as well as written elicitation by humming the missing part of the sentence.

9. Stress clues. By humming the rhythm of the word or drawing its stress pattern on the board, you can help students work out which of several similar words you are trying to elicit from them.

10. Multiple choice. You can really go for it with giving clues by telling students options they can choose from, although if you have chosen this method because students actually have no idea of the answer this makes it more of a presentation than an elicitation.

11. Brainstorm. Although not many people think of it this way, brainstorming is basically a form of eliciting but without the words you want them to come up with necessarily being defined. A brainstorming stage can then be moved onto a more traditional elicitation by showing them which of words they have already given you is most similar to the one you want.

12. Spider diagrams/ Mind maps. Brainstorming can also be done in a more organised manner with words being added to categories and subcategories like the branches and twigs of a tree. You can then point to the place where the word you want to elicit would be if it was on that mind map, using other elicitation methods to help them work out which of the possibilities that could be there you are thinking of.

13. Common mistakes. Another technique that teachers don't often think of combining with elicitation is talking about errors, but in fact giving hints about what mistakes students make with a word or expression can be a great hint about which one you are thinking of (e.g. "People often confuse it with 'butter', but it has flour and is put on something that you deep fry" for "batter", or "Spanish speakers often think it means pregnant, but it actually means ashamed" for "embarrassed"). This technique can also lead onto talking about subjects like false friends, pronunciation mistakes, negative and positive connotations ("People who call someone fat should probably use this word that we learnt last term instead") and formality mistakes ("Although some people write 'hello' at the beginning of a business email, the word we want starts with 'd' and is…?")

14. Visuals. Just like your students when they get totally stuck communicating in English during their travels, you might find that a quick sketch is the only way to get them to understand and produce the word or expression that you mean. In you think a picture might be the best way of explaining something, you also have the option of using a flashcard or a printout from the internet (try searching in the images option of Google).

15. Multimedia. If you have internet access in the classroom, there is also the option to just search for an image as the topic comes up (as long as the students can't see the search terms you are using, as this means there is nothing left to elicit!) Using video takes a lot more preparation, but you could use a very short clip to elicit the name of something you can see on a video, or even something that is going to appear but hasn't yet.

You can and should combine these.
Mill Drill
When teaching speaking, teachers might normally use a conventional drill to introduce new language expressions. Students are asked to repeat the new language expressions after their teachers for many times until students more or less memorize the expressions or get used to using them.

Mill drill is an effective way to introduce new language expressions without making students get tired of doing it. Mill drill is different from conventional drill. It is an effective way of drilling newly-presented language using cards with picture or word prompts on one or both sides.

Let's say, you are going to teach your students how to ask for and give personal information, such as names, jobs, and place of work (company/office). Thus, you will let your students practice language expressions like: a) What's your name?, b) What do you do?, and c) Where do you work? / What company are you with?. So, prior to teaching, you have to prepare cards (the number of cards depends on the number of students in class) stating a name of a person, his/her job, and his/her company or office. The cards can appear as the following:

Name: Peter Parker Name: Donald Trump
Job: Photographer Job: President of the US
Office: Parker's Studio Office: White House

In class, Teacher gives each student one card and tells them that they will become the person in their cards. Before doing the mill drill, Teacher elicits from students the above expressions by asking questions like: "How do you ask someone's name?", "How do you ask someone's job?", and "How do you ask where someone works?"
When students come up with the expressions, Teacher writes them down on the board with the responses included. The board can show this way:

A: What's your name?
B: My name's … (Peter Parker)

A: What do you do?
B: I'm a/an … (photographer)

A: Where do you work?
B: I work at … (Parker's Studio)

As the all expressions have been jotted down, Teacher asks them to say the expressions by repeating after him to let them know the correct pronunciation and intonation. Teacher also checks if students can pronounce the name of job on their cards correctly.

The next step is giving instruction on how to do mill drill.
The best way to do it is by demonstrating it. Teacher divides students into two groups and asks them to stand up in two lines facing one another. Teacher tells them that they will practice the expressions with a friend in front of them. As each student is finished practicing with a friend in front of them, Teacher asks them to move around clockwise by saying "move!" so that each student faces a new partner and practices the expressions again. This activity continues until each student has practiced with all of their friends. However, if Teacher has a small number of students, he should give them an additional round. This time, each student has to turn around his/her card showing it to a partner in front of them. In other words, each student will read his/her partner's card to respond the questions. By doing this, students are given an opportunity to make new responses. Every student moves around again until he/has practiced with all of their friends.

That's the concept of mill drill. It differs from conventional drill in that it promotes student-student interaction while providing teachers with an opportunity to monitor their students' performance, particularly pronunciation and intonation while students are doing the activity.

Don't let your students get bored anymore of conventional drill.
Teacher's role
Unlike other methods, where the teacher often plays the role of a strict supervisor, the teacher has several roles in the communicative methodology:

Needs analyst: teacher assesses what each student needs

Resource: if a student does not have enough language tools, the teacher can help him

Organizer: the teacher divides students into groups and monitors their work to make it more effective

Advisor: the teacher gives advice to students about the learning process, how to solve problems and how to increase efficiency

Coordinator - perhaps the most important role. The teacher is a kind of link between the student and the language studied, in no way limiting the student and controlling his work only where necessary.
Idioms. Teaching them wisely
Provide idioms in context, so students can fully understand the meaning. Be sure to provide a sample conversation around it. For example, take the following dialogue featuring the idiom "to be a chicken" when at a local amusement park.

Jack: Ooh, wow. Look at that roller coaster, Jane! It goes upside-down!
Jane: My stomach aches just looking at it. I will not ride that.
Jack: Ah, come on. Don't be a chicken!

Teach idioms in spoken form, not written, and explain to students how they are conversational, rather than formal. Have students practice the idioms in dialogue to help them understand they're used in spoken colloquial English.

Be sure to explain how the individual words have different meanings from the whole idiom phrase. For example, how much does an arm and a leg actually cost? Who knows?

Don't just hand out a long list of idioms. Be sure to provide a small selection of 5-10 idioms (or less!) and explain each one. If you provide too many examples, it'll simply turn into an introduction of what an idiom is, rather than how to actually remember the meaning and use one effectively in dialogue.

That brings us to just how important it is to help your students understand idiom usage.

Exercises to Help Your Students Understand Idioms

1. Teach idioms with pictures

Provide a picture to explain the context. This works best if you show an image that humorously illustrates the literal meaning of the idiom. It will make students laugh, but also help them understand or guess what a phrase means. Idioms are full of colorful imagery, perfect for a flashcard or photo. Show the picture to your students and have them guess the meaning of the idiom.

From there, give examples of when you would use it and how the words and the actual meaning of the idiom are different. Looking for a good resource? Check out this website for an example of great images to explain the meaning of idioms. And for some beautiful images depicting idioms, be sure to check out this site.

2. Use small groups to present dialogues

Break your class into small groups and have each group look up two idioms. Dave's ESL Cafe has a great collection of idioms and their meanings for student reference.

Before they look them up, have the students make an educated guess on what the idiom means, and then let them search for the real meaning. Have students explain the meaning to the rest of the class and use the idiom in a short sample dialogue.

3. Use stories

Telling a story can help students understand and remember the meaning behind the words. "Kill two birds with one stone," for example, lends itself well to a simple story. You can then have your kids discuss the meaning of the phrase, and come up with other ways that they could "kill two birds with one stone."

You can also use stories that contain a lot of idioms, such as the Amelia Bedelia books. This series is rich in idioms and puns, and with a main character who often completely misinterprets them. Reading and discussing it with your students can be a lot of fun, and a great way to get them thinking about idioms and their meanings.

4. Use a theme

A great way to teach idioms is to use a theme. For example, you could use all weather-related idioms (see this great worksheet!). Or teach sports-related idioms with this helpful worksheet. By using a common theme to teach idioms, it's easier for students to grasp the meanings of the phrases, and see how similar words can mean very different things.

5. Say the idioms regularly in the classroom

Keep track of the idioms that you've taught your students, and make it a point to use them every now and then in class. This will not only help students remember the phrase and its meaning, but will also help them get a feel for how the idiom is used in everyday speech.

6. Keep it fun and light

Teaching idioms is about helping the students communicate and understand conversational English. Whatever activities or games you do, keep it low-stress and focus on getting your students comfortable with understanding and using the idioms that they know.

7. Resources

Lists of Common Idioms:

A lot of times it can be hard to come up with an idiom off the top of your head—browse through these lists for ideas of common idioms that your students should know.




Free Idioms Worksheets:

Check out these free worksheets to help review and teach idioms.



Idiom-Based Games and Lesson Ideas:

If you're drawing a blank when it comes to thinking up fun and interesting ways to introduce new idioms to your students, you'll find these games and lesson ideas helpful.



Icebreakers and games. Links
Use ice-breakers and games in class to create a relaxed atmosphere and teach English in a fun way. Make the students move around the class, make them enjoy the lesson.






Reading. Make it fun
While-reading tasks
Although reading is often a solitary activity and the idea of 'reading in pairs' seems odd, reading can be collaborative.

Running and reading: this approach especially lends itself to scanning as the idea is to encourage the students to read as quickly as possible in a race.
Divide the class into student A and student B pairs. Student A sits at one end of the classroom.Stick the text to be read on the wall at the other end of the room.Give student A a list of questions.Student A reads the first question to student B who has to run down the classroom to find the answer in the text, and then run back to dictate the answer to student A, who then tells B question 2 and so on.The first pair to answer all the questions wins. (You can ask the students to swap roles halfway through so everyone gets a chance to scan).

Slashed / Cut up texts: This is a genuinely collaborative reading approach.
Photocopy a suitable text and cut it diagonally into four. Seat students in fours. Give a piece of the text to each student. They mustn't show their piece to the others. Give each group a set of questions. The group have to work collaboratively to answer the questions since no one has the whole of the text. Groups can compare answers when they have finished.

Using websites: if you have a computer room available this is a very effective way of promoting communication as students can work on a reading task in pairs reading from the same screen.

While-reading tasks leading into post-reading tasks
Jigsaw reading is an old favourite but perennially effective.
Divide a text into two parts or find two (or three) separate texts on the same topic.Students A get one text and a related task, students B get the other text and task.Students A complete their tasks in a group. Students B likewise. Compare answers in A & B groups.Students get into A & B pairs and tell each other about their tasks.

Creating a class text bank:
Encourage students to bring in interesting texts that they have found (perhaps as a homework task using the Internet) which can be submitted to the class text bank. For weekend homework each student selects a text to take away which they then discuss with the student who originally submitted it. This is, of course, what readers do in real life.

Exploiting graded readers: this is a good way to help with detailed reading since this implies reading for pleasure.
Two possible approaches:
Using a class set of the same reader so that everyone reads the same book. This leads into class discussions of what everyone has read. Students read different books and then recommend their book (e.g. by writing reviews) to their colleagues.
Exploiting students' written work: you can put students written work up on the walls for the others to read. Tasks can include guessing who the author is, voting on which is the most interesting, selecting some for a class magazine.

Other ideas to use include:
Discussions about the text
Summarising texts
Reviewing texts
Using a 'follow-up' speaking task related to the topic
Looking at the language of the text (e.g. collocations).
Listening. Tips
  1. Listening with a Purpose
    A student puts on a pair of headphones and hits "play" on the computer screen. He/she is sitting down to watch a movie – in English – in order to improve his/her listening skills. What's the purpose of this exercise? While "improve listening comprehension" sounds like a good purpose, it's not. Students need specific exercises, each with a specific purpose that goes beyond mere "listening". They can listen to a podcast with the purpose of identifying three future online shopping trends. They can listen to a conversation with the purpose of identifying the speaker's vacation plans. But there should always be a purpose to the listening exercise. Be sure to communicate what it is.

  2. From Passive to Active
    In the above situation where the student sits back and just listens, there is a misconception that he/she will passively improve his/her listening skills – just by listening. Students must be active in their listening exercises. They must be thinking of answers, options or ideas.

    Give them questions to answer or information to find out, and have them report back their findings. Separate them into groups and have one group listen for one set of information and the other group for another, and then get together and share. Just make sure they are not simply "sitting and listening"!

  3. Clear Instructions
    Do they have to complete a True/False exercise after the listening? Fill in blanks as they listen? Write down the answers to the questions, or raise their hands and say them out loud? Students must be absolutely clear on what is expected of them.

  4. Use Variety
    Do you always give your class song lyrics with gaps they must complete?Add some spice to your listening exercises and mix it up! What if you give two different groups two different sets of worksheets where the gaps are different? Students in Group A must then work with students in Group B and ask each other questions to find out the missing information. The class listens to the song at the end to confirm that the answers are right.

  5. Keep it Real
    We're all more than familiar with the handy little audio CDs that come with our beloved course book. You should absolutely take advantage of the amount of listening material you have available there, but don't forget to use some real audio from time to time. Now, movies, TV shows and songs are what usually comes to mind, but what about TV commercials, weather reports or podcasts? There are many more sources of real audio out there, most of which are not too hard for students if they are approached correctly.

  6. Do the Work
    If students are really committed to improving their listening, they must understand this one crucial fact: they gotta do the work. This usually involves doing at least one short listening exercise, several times a week – even every day. They can watch a short video on YouTube or CNN.com every morning. Or listen to an audio book for 10 minutes every day. In class, be sure to give them listening comprehension exercises every day, maybe even several in one class. The more work they do, the faster they'll improve.

  7. Teach Them to Check
    Just as essential as understanding when they listen is the checking for comprehension or asking for clarification. If students learn to ask someone to clarify a point, they'll increase their odds of improved communication – what they didn't get at first, they may understand the second time around. Be sure to teach them to:

    • Check for meaning: He said he was feeling blue. Does that mean he was feeling sad?
    • Ask for clarification: What did he mean when he said he was feeling blue?
    • Re-phrase: He said he was feeling unhappy and sad, right?
Listening. Stages
The PRE-LISTENING STAGE is vitally important if we want our students to get as much as possible out of the listening. Choice of listening is the first thing. We ourselves would not sit down and listen to a radio documentary on a subject we had no interest in and we should not expect our students to be any different. Teachers thus shouldn't inflict on their students listening they believe will be of little or no interest to their class as students are less likely to gain anything useful from it.

Once we have decided on a listening to use with our class, the next stage is to prepare them as much as possible.

Students should be given a reason to listen, a chance to discuss and predict what they are going to hear. Any "holes" in their content schemata must be filled. What we mean is – if you are going to play a listening about British politics, it is important they not only know what the Boundary Commission is, but its political importance. You, as a teacher, know this and this information must be given to your students. They cannot be let do a listening, "blind" of information.

The pre-teaching of some vocabulary which may be problematic can also be a useful part of this pre-listening stage.


There are similarities between reading and listening but also large differences. Whilst reading is a static medium which can be and usually is re-drafted again and again to read well, listening is transient and sometimes a little jumbled and confusing. Students can read at their own speed whereas listening can pass them by somewhat.

Most teachers use listening files for their classroom listening practice. The students are denied all the physical, visual clues that make face to face conversation easier. Students are left only with a disembodied voice on what may be a technically poor piece of equipment. Video can solve some, but not all of these problems. Teachers should be encouraged to offer visual clues to help students when using tape recorders. This can be in the form of flashcards or maps on the white-board or whatever is felt appropriate.

Different types of listening can be encouraged: gist for general meaning and listening for specific information for example. Students can be asked to convert information heard into a map, a picture or a form to be filled out.

Listening can be divided up to make them more manageable or the tapescript can be used (perhaps in cut up form) to ease students into a task.


It is better if students first check answers to any comprehension tasks in pairs or groups which is less demotivating for the many students who find listening difficult.
The feedback to a listening activity in general is important. It is good for the students to realise they have been doing something useful and interesting. If a teacher merely stops the tape, checks the questions and moves on, it makes a mockery of all the pre-listening preparation that has been done. For this reason, it is a good idea to use listening as part of an integrated skills approach where the listening is used as a springboard onto other activities such as writing or role-plays that share the same topic.

Grammar games
This classic sleepover and bus trip game, ideal for getting participants to know more about each other, can be a perfect giggle-inducing grammar game to reinforce recent lessons. The game is simple enough, driven by straightforward questions and answers.

The main use for this game in the ESL classroom is to practice using conditionals and discussing hypothetical situations (would you):

Would you rather get stung by a bee or bit by a spider?

Would you rather dance in front of ten thousand people or in front of the President of the United States?

Not to mention, being able to compare things in English is something that students will encounter frequently in interaction with native speakers. They'll also get lots of practice using verbs in their different contexts.

You can have students play this game in pairs, groups or as a whole classroom. Prepare questions ahead of time and provide students with lists, or let their imaginations run wild with freestyle play. Either way, a great way to add another tricky element to this game is to see how many students would rather do one thing as opposed to the other after playing for a while.

For example, you could ask one student: "Sara, how many of your classmates would rather dance in front of the President of the United States?" Then this student must tell you how many people chose this option in her group or in the class.

This game is plain and simple—a good, old-fashioned classroom favorite for the ages.

Divide the board into two halves, and divide the class into two teams. Call out a theme or category for learned vocabulary words and have students run to the board and write as many related words as possible.

For example, you might call out something like, "Animals you will see at the zoo!" and one student from each team must run up to the board and write as many English zoo animal names as they can think of within a certain time limit. This game gets students thinking quickly and creatively.

Draw up the grid for tic-tac-toe on the board. Fill in each square of the grid with a part of speech you want students to practice. What exactly you choose to include here is totally flexible, and depends on what lessons you'd like to reinforce. If you're studying verb conjugation in the present tense, for example, fill in the grid with verbs in their infinitive forms.

Students will be divided into two teams for this game. The first team goes by choosing a square from the tic-tac-toe grid. They then have to figure out, as a group, how to properly conjugate that verb. If they get the answer right, then they claim that square of the grid. If they get the answer wrong, then they lose their turn.

Keep playing until one team scores a tic-tac-toe!

Use a foam or inflatable ball, and start up a fast-paced round or two of hot potato.

The objective, of course, is to pass the ball around in a circle as fast as possible. Before passing the ball to the next student, the student holding the ball must show off their English grammar skills.

When a student catches the ball, they must quickly think up a word that fits your given criteria, spit it out and pass the ball before the allotted time runs out.

This is super flexible and can be adjusted to practice virtually any bit of grammar you've recently introduced or would like to review.

For example, tell students learning the present tense that they must each say one verb conjugated in the present tense, using first person singular or "I form." Each student will then have to say something like, "I run," "I dance" or "I cry." The ball gets passed around and around, with students being eliminated whenever they draw blanks or conjugate their verb wrong.

For easier games, give each student 6-8 seconds. For harder, faster paced games, give students 2-3 seconds. You can also start slower and gradually increase the pace of the game as it progresses.

In this tricky game, students will have to think quickly and creatively.

Start the class off by giving them a word which fits your desired theme. Restrict them to only certain parts of speech, such as nouns or verbs. For an extra challenging session, limit the words to certain moods and tenses. For example, every word given might need to be in present or past tense. If you've been practicing nouns in class lately, say a noun.

The student who starts off the game will have to think of a word that begins with the last letter of the word you provided. If you're practicing nouns and said, "food," then the student could say "dog" or "dish." If you're practicing with adjectives and started with "beautiful," then the next student might say "lazy" or "loud." Go around the classroom playing this way and eliminating students who can't think up words quickly enough.

We often need to review things that are no fun, things like the past simple or past participle of irregular verbs. Instead of the classic Q & A, try this. Use a large container or trash can as your "basket", give your students a ball and have them shoot for points. But here's the catch: you'll ask them a question in past simple, and they'll have to remember the past correctly in order to earn the chance to shoot. They can get 10 points for scoring or five if they miss (because at least they answered the question correctly). You can try any variety of this type of game, whether you use large balls or small ones, or even a wadded up piece of paper

To play this classic game in your grammar review lesson, you'll first need to prepare some cards: they may have verb tenses written on them, questions your students must answer or prompts from which to say a complete sentence.

The rules are simple, but the game is so much fun! Students must first choose a token to move around the board (a different colored button for each will do nicely!) Then they take turns rolling the dice to move across the board. They must take a card and answer correctly to remain on that spot, or move back two places if they are incorrect. If they land at the bottom of a ladder, and they answer correctly, they get to move up the ladder, but if they land on a snake's head they automatically move down to where its tail is. Here's a blank template you can use or create your own.

This is a game I've played with students of different ages and levels with tremendous success.
First, you'll need to draw a playing field like this one on the board or a large piece of paper:

Next, divide your students into two teams. Place a "ball" token at the center. Then, students must answer questions correctly to approach the posts and score a goal. For example, Team A answers correctly and moves right one step closer to their goal. Team B answers correctly and moves the ball left back to the center. Team A answers incorrectly and can't move the ball at all. Team B answers correctly and moves left one step closer to their goal. If Team A were to keep answering incorrectly and Team B correctly, then Team B will continue moving left to eventually score a goal. When a team scores, the ball moves back to the center, and the team that did not score last starts. The team with the most goals wins.

Divide your students into two teams. Each team chooses a category and the points they want to play for: We choose Countries for 25 points. Supply a clue or definition: This country is south of the US, and they eat tacos there.They must guess the right country in the form of a question: What is Mexico?If they answer correctly you erase the points from the chart and add them to the team's tally until they're all wiped off. Adapt this game to any level of difficulty and include as many categories as you wish.

Pronunciation Games
Lesson plans
Collecting Europe - Identity (C1)
In this lesson students will look at some of the issues highlighted in the quiz around identity and what the future will be like.

Students will speak about identity issues, watch a short video about how people identify themselves, make predictions about their own future and the future of society, and take part in the 'Collecting Europe' quiz by considering some of the questions it asks. The downloadable plan can be used as a single lesson or divided into two shorter 45 minute classes.


  • To practise speaking skills on the topic of identity.
  • To practise listening comprehension with a short video.
  • To review different ways of talking about the future and probability.
  • To practise speaking in a discussion on the future.

Adults and older teenagers


CEF level B2 and above


90 minutes for one lesson or divided into two 45-minute lessons


The lesson plan and student worksheets can be downloaded below. Internet access is required, but online activities can be done as a homework activity.

Looking for more content like this?

The lesson plan 'Robot relationships' looks at the themes from this lesson and can be in a follow-up class to extend discussion around the future and the theme of relationships.


I feel too busy

Busy-bragging has become an element of every talk with friends, family and co-workers and a status symbol in modern society. People boast about being busy in a manner that resembles complaining. Moreover, they often just want to say: "Can you see how important I am?". This pet peeve lesson consists of various tasks, but the main focus is discussion.


In this pet peeve lesson, students will learn the ways to express their annoyance and talk about pet hates they have. Firstly, they have to answer questions including such phrases as: get on one's nerves, drive somebody nuts, etc. Then, they move to the discussion on annoying things in modern life. There is a list of 10 things, however, you can search for other examples too.


Next, students watch the video about busy-bragging and answer the comprehension questions. There are two questions at the end of this exercise which are not based on the video, but students' own opinions. After watching the video, they will also have the chance to discuss the most annoying things connected with their workplaces. To help them collect some ideas, there is a short text which they have to complete with words given, and then discuss.

This pet peeve lesson should take around 45 minutes depending on how much your students are engaged in the discussion.


Culture Shocked
Teacher Quiz

In the Teacher quiz, you test how much your students have been listening to you. Before class, you hide clues around the class. Next, put students into groups of 4. Finally, they have to match answers with the clues.

For example, the clue "Where is your teacher from?" should match with the answer "New York" or wherever you are from. After they have matched all the clues with the answers, they return back to the teacher with their answer sheet.

Teacher Quiz: How Well Do You Know Your Teacher?

  • Where is your teacher from?
  • What is your teacher's name?
  • What is your teacher's favorite food?
  • Where did your teacher graduate from?
  • Which club is your teacher in?
  • How old is your teacher?
  • What is your teacher's favorite sport?
  • What does your teacher want to be in the future?

Cultural Differences

Use this culture worksheet as a starting point to explore the similarities and differences. Next, create a list of cultural differences in partners and share as a classroom discussion. For example, there are differences between greetings, pets, food, education, family and even travelling.

  • In North America, a lot of families have pets. But in Asia, pets are less common and increasing.
  • Business people greet with a handshake in North America.
  • People are more independent in the West. For example, after high school, students go to university away from home.
  • In North America, it's less common to bring back souvenirs.

Hometown Newspaper

In this Hometown Newspaper activity, you first remove all the headlines. With only the articles, students have to match the headline with the article.

In the next part of this newspaper activity, it's question and answer time. How's the weather? What sports are popular? What made the front page? Write it down. Talk about it.

What's different about it? For example, my students were surprised to see pictures in colors for my hometown newspaper.

Hometown Newspaper Questions and Examples

Front page
• What is the name of the newspaper?
• What is the date of the newspaper?

Weather Page
• How's the weather on that day?
• How will the weather be on the next day?

Sports page
• Which sports are popular?
• What page is the sports page?

General Newspaper
• How many sections are there in the newspaper?
• How many advertisements?

Cultural Dictionary

Ask students to write down one culturally significant item about their country. Ask for volunteers to share. Once you collect all the students answers, you can compile everyone's ideas in a culture exchange dictionary that you can keep in class.

Cultural Dictionary Examples
OSECHI: A special kind of lunch box eaten on New Years in Japan with each food having a symbolic meaning.
ORIGAMI: It is the art of folding paper into various types of animals, objects or shapes.