If you teach ESL online and are looking for some of the best activities and ideas for planning your lessons, then you’re in the right place. Keep on reading for all the details you need to know about teaching English online.
Teach ESL Online: Activities, Games, Resources and Lesson Plan Ideas
Let’s get into the best activity and resource ideas for online English teaching.
#1: Podcasts for Teaching English Online
With some of my more advanced students, I used podcasts very successfully. Between sessions, we listened to the same episode and then discussed it in detail in class. I also assigned other activities related to this like the following:
- Find 10 new vocabulary words and memorize them
- Answer some listening comprehension questions
- Give an opinion about something in writing
- Predict what will happen next
Here are some of the top picks for a variety of levels: Podcasts for English Learners.
#2: Role Playing When Teaching ESL Online
Many of our students who are studying English online are doing it for a specific purpose. For example, maybe someone has to speak to customers in English or a doctor has to interview some patients from a foreign country using English.
In this case, consider doing some role-play tailored to those unique situations. This can give our students some serious confidence in “real life.”
#3: Breaking News English
If you’re a TEFL teacher and don’t know about Breaking News English, you’ve been missing out in a big way! Basically, they take news articles from around the world and grade them for English learners. But, not only that—they design excellent lesson plans for each one and it’s basically a wealth of all things good for teaching ESL online.
#4: Just a Minute ESL Speaking Activity
If you want to help students improve their English speaking fluency, then try out this fun activity at the beginning of your classes.
#5: Extensive Reading to Teach ESL Online
If your students are serious about improving their English skills in a big way, then they’ll need to get serious about extensive reading! It’s one of the best ways to not only improve reading skills, but also vocabulary, grammar, speaking, listening, and writing.
The key is that students read something they enjoy and also that it’s not too difficult for them. Check out these recommendations: ESL Extensive Reading.
#6: Film English
A lot of my students are really into movies and other kinds of visual stories. If your students are the same, then you’ll want to check out Film English. The best part is that all the selections are solid in terms of movies, but that there are also some great lesson plans to go along with them.
#7: Sentence Structure Activities to Teach ESL Online
Working on building better sentences with any English learner is never a waste of time! This is something that many students struggle with and some dedicated time and practice with it can yield some big results when writing or speaking.
There are lots of activities you can do to work on this. Here are some of the best ideas: ESL Sentence Structure Activities.
#8: English Presentation Project
Some of our students have to do presentations in English at work. If this is the case, consider having them work on doing a presentation in your online class. Here are some of the best ideas: Presentation Ideas and Topics.
#9: British Council
Learning English Online from the British Council is a website geared towards our students. However, there is also a wealth of good things for teaching ESL online so have a look around and you’re sure to find some things you can use in your classes.
#10: Odd One Out ESL Warm-Up
A quick warm-up to consider using is Odd One Out. The way it works is that you think of groups of four words, one of which doesn’t belong. For example:
- apple, pear, cucumber, cantaloupe
Students have to choose the one that doesn’t match and say why. In this case, they’d probably say cucumber because it’s a vegetable, not a fruit. Of course, many answers are possible as long as they support it.
- Amazon Kindle Edition
- English (Publication Language)
#11: Rote Memorization of Vocabulary
There are various schools of thought for how students pick up new words. However, it’s often the case that rote memorization, combined with review and then encountering these new words, again and agains yields the best results.
When teaching ESL online, giving students some vocabulary to memorize between sessions and then testing them in the following class can help them see some nice gains. Find out more about this here: Vocabulary Acquisition through Rote Memorization.
#12: Business English Pod
Teachers of business English online will certainly want to check out this website, Business English Pod. There is a paid version but the free one has enough material for years of teaching business English online! It’s actually the best resource around for teaching English for this purpose.
#13: Top 5 Tips for Teaching English Online
If you teach ESL online, you’ll certainly want to check out some of these top tips:
#14: Using an ESL Textbook for Teaching English Online
There are some different options for materials when teaching ESL online:
- Using the materials the platform you’re teaching on provides for you (often mandatory)
- Piecing together materials from various websites like Breaking News English
- Going through a 4-skills ESL textbook for general English
If students are interested in learning general English and not for a specific purpose, then using a textbook series has a lot of merit. That’s because it covers grammar and vocabulary in an organized fashion and also hits all 4 skills mostly equally.
#15: News Articles and Current Events to Teach ESL Online
If my students are higher-level, then I love to talk about current events with them. These things are relevant and often far more interesting than talking about hobbies, sports, food, etc. that they’ve been talking about for years in English classes!
Here are some of the best resources that you’ll want to check out: ESL News Articles.
Have your Say about Teaching ESL Online
Do you have any resources, ideas or activities that you’d like to recommend for teaching English online? Leave a comment below and let us know. We’d love to hear from you.
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Last update on 2020-04-16 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API