New jobs vocabulary page

I’ve published a stack of PDFs on names of jobs over the years, so not sure how I never thought of making a page of worksheets on the topic before, but here it finally is:

Jobs vocabulary page – NEW PAGE

Includes many combining the topic with other points like modal verbs, present tenses, present perfect, adverbs of frequency, ed and ing adjectives, advantages and disadvantages, requests and reported speech.

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New TEFL articles and printables spring 2019

Newest ones not mentioned before top of each section.

Lists of useful language

The big list of classroom language with gestures – NEW

New TEFL Articles

Using body language and gestures to teach grammar – NEW

52 TPR grammar games

The top six grammar points for IELTS

How to teach British and American English (summary of the articles on specific points like those below, with activities that work with a mix of grammar, vocab, functions, etc)

How to teach British and American times, dates and numbers

How to teach British and American vocabulary

32 bad IELTS tips


Movie vocabulary opinions – NEW

Travel English imperatives and requests practice

Countable and uncountable in IELTS

Phrasal verbs storytelling game

Giving directions free and controlled speaking

Gradable and extreme adjectives discussion questions

House and home likes and recommendations

Personality bluffing game

The future in IELTS writing

Clothes and appearance recommendations

Past, present and future in IELTS Writing Part One

Past regrets with should have and advice speaking

Social issues discuss and agree determiners speaking practice

Possessives, body and adjectives pick and draw

Requests and future forms review

Superlatives reversi memory game

Present Simple questions with be speaking

Likes and dislikes guessing game

Countable and uncountable nouns pick and draw

Describing people and things bluff

Adverbs of frequency and times dice bluff

Travel plans bluffing game

Feelings plus nouns pick and draw drawing game

Comparing places comparative adjectives random pelmanism game

News and media countable and uncountable

Adverbs in CAE and CPE Use of English Part One

Adverbs in CPE Use of English Part Three game

Positive and negative reviews language

Abilities of animals with can and can’t games

Prefixes opposites jigsaw

Weather adverbs of frequency

Singular, plural and uncountable in IELTS Listening

Future in IELTS Speaking and Writing

Fear vocabulary discussion


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New grammar for IELTS page

New article, new worksheets, old worksheets and places for upcoming worksheets on the most vital grammar points for IELTS on my new page on the topic here:

IELTS grammar page

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New describing objects page

Put up a new worksheet on “How long is it?”, “What does it look like?” etc and then realised there was no page on the topic. So now there is one, with links to related stuff on colours, materials, etc:

Describing objects page – NEW

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Updated guide to Cambridge Proficiency books

I’ve recently been researching the next book for my Cambridge CPE class and found that all the info online is out of date, so thought I’d summarise my findings here.

The only CPE textbooks which are updated for the post-2013 exam and are available new are, in order of personal preference:

Objective Proficiency

textbook with key, textbook without key, workbook with key, workbook without key, and teacher’s book

Proficiency Masterclass

textbook and teacher’s book

There is no physical workbook, but the student’s book comes with online practice.

Proficiency Expert

textbook and workbook

The Proficiency Expert teacher’s book is no longer being sold, but your local Pearson rep will give you PDF copies of that, the answer keys and the transcripts for free if you ask.

And that’s it! Other old CPE textbooks such as Proficiency Gold are no longer being sold, and other exam series from the big publishers such as Compact don’t have CPE level books.

You’ll also need a practice exam book or two. The only three ones for the updated exam are:



Cambridge English: Proficiency Practice Tests with Key by Mark Harrison (OUP)

There are also two full tests available online for free, one as an online test and in the CPE teacher’s handbook, and the other as a downloadable PDF paper-based practice test.

The best other CPE book available is Advanced Language Practice, a grammar and vocabulary book designed for both CAE and CPE (although no longer marketed as such) and which I liked a lot when I used it for homework with my Proficiency classes many many years ago. As the language content of the test hasn’t changed much, it should still be useful.

On a related note, students can now get exactly the same level (C2) from getting an A in CAE as from passing CPE, so another possibility is just to put all your higher-level students in a CAE class, for which many more materials are available. However, you’d have to stop students going straight from passing FCE into a CAE class and put an Advanced-level general English class between the two, as otherwise you’d have a huge range of levels and needs in one class.

Another possibility is to use a very high-level Advanced textbook between CPE textbooks with supplements such as the exam practice books and/ or Advanced Language Practice above, something which I did many years ago and went okay. Headway Advanced is too high-level and too heavy in topics for most standard Advanced classes, so would probably be suitable for this.

I don’t particularly recommend Common Mistakes in Proficiency, which doesn’t actually cover the things that my students find tricky, but it’s worth looking at for teachers.

If you want to supplement or avoid the books above, it might also be worth looking at my own rapidly growing page of CPE materials:

CPE games and worksheets

Posted in Cambridge Proficiency | 5 Comments

Lots of new British and American English resources

Over the last few months I’ve put up articles on teaching UK and US grammar, vocabulary, spelling, punctuation, numbers, body language and gestures, dates and times, and functional language, plus carefully collated lists of the important vocabulary differences to teach and a new couple of worksheets. And I’ve just rounded all that off with a summary of the highlights. All available on my now very large page of UK and US English resources here:

British and American English games, worksheets and articles




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More bad IELTS tips

I recently published a list of 32 bad IELTS tips. That seemed like a lot, but then I remembered even more bad advice from textbooks, websites and students which I think is worth a mention. Would love to hear other people’s ideas too.

Bad IELTS Speaking Part Two tips

Some IELTS books have completely pointless activities where they get students to draw mind maps as preparation for Speaking Part Two presentations. Interestingly, none of them even pretend that this can be done in one minute, which makes it completely useless in the exam. Worse, it is likely to make students say anything they like about the topic on the card, whereas in fact they have to answer just the four questions on that topic which are given on the card. They should therefore just write brief answers or key words to each of those questions on their scrap paper.

I very occasionally see students going the other way and trying to really save time by writing answers to the questions in their own language, but this is likely to affect their fluency and even possibly accuracy while speaking and so should avoided.

Please share any other bad ideas in this and other parts of the test below.

Many worksheets and articles with better tips here:

Teaching IELTS articles

IELTS games/ worksheets

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The most TEFLtastic photocopiables of 2018

In approximate order of how often I have used them and am likely to use them myself. They are all also on the pages for each topic, and mentioned in any relevant TEFLtastic Classics posts on the most adaptable TEFL games and activities.

Talking about the future The same or different?

Speaker or listener simplest responses game (turn taking and active listening) – NEW

Giving directions miming games

Giving directions drawing games

Opinions on travel vocabulary (with travel collocations)

Crime and punishment extended speaking bluffing game

Going to mimes

Time expressions meetings roleplay

Time expressions the same or different

Turn taking and active listening game

Solutions to countable and uncountable problems discussion

Academic writing cultural differences and useful phrases

Pick and act imperatives card game – NEW

Prepositions and determiners in Academic Writing pairwork guessing game

Passive voice problems and solutions speaking

Comparatives make me say yes game

Passive voice discuss and agree

Plurals simplest responses game

CPE Use of English collocations dominoes

Phrasal verbs random pelmanism game

Feelings- Miming & Drawing Game

Past time things in common

Telling the time warmer cooler guessing game

Comparatives make me say yes questions game

Ordinal numbers competitions

Singular and plural mimes

Verb patterns discussion questions

Country and nationality words drawing games

Academic writing error correction pairwork

Opinions on science and technology

This that these those pick and draw drawing game

Present and past ability sentence completion games

Comparative adjectives drawing games

Academic discussions prepositions and determiners pairwork guessing game

Simple irregular and regular plurals presentation

Business meetings vocabulary and turn taking practice

Passive voice Yes No questions games

Academic discussions cultural differences and useful phrases

Designing and selling inventions with passive voice

Verb patterns sentence completion guessing games

How British is your Technical English?

Phonics yes no questions pelmanism game

Can you questions personalised pelmanism game

Asking questions to get more details drawing game

Past, present and future listening (especially useful for TOEIC Listening)

Guess the future time predictions practice

Weather things in common game

Irregular plurals reversi memory game

Regular and irregular plurals storytelling

British and American technical English collocations dominoes

Spot the odd one out ordinal numbers practice

Telephoning challenges dice game

Meetings dice game

A and an drawing games

Is and are drawing game

Are they… or…? TPR games

Was were past time guessing game

Possessive adjectives pick and draw drawing game

Country and nationality words sentence completion games

Medical English present progressive mimes

Want and feelings guessing game

How many are there drawing game

Cultural differences extended speaking

Past and present modals of permission and obligation sentence completion games

Ordinal numbers flashcard memory games

Looking at both sides dominoes

Basic adjectives and nouns drawing games

Does he she like pick and draw drawing game

Like and don’t like TPR coin game

Prepositions and pronouns drawing game

Positive and negative words to talk about architecture

Adjectives and prepositions pick and draw

Possessives coin drawing game

Guess the dates from hints game

Which is plus comparative drawing game

Nationality word endings maze games

Nationality words syllables and stress card games (pelmanism and snap)

Dates the Same or Different game

Comparing animals random pelmanism

Days of the week flashcard memory game

Telephoning roleplays dice game

Travel English telephone roleplays dice game

Are they… or…? drawing games

Days of the week projects

Strong and weak opinions collocations dominoes

Opinions on health

Nationality word endings card games

Singular and plural competitions speaking game

Plurals of words ending In -y activities

Days of the week pick and draw drawing game

First contact and further contact dice game

Johnny Quickly, Jeremy Normal and Jimmy Quickly telling the time story

Days of the week Make me say Yes

Do you like categories pelmanism game

Yes no questions dice game

Different kinds of business communication dice game

Making arrangements roleplay dice game

Basic question formation dice game

Superlative adjectives dice bluffing game

Personal phone calls roleplays dice games

There is are and likes games

Giving directions on how to get somewhere dice game

Making shapes from blocks games

Stacking races games

Supporting your opinions dice games

Months hangman

Lucy Was Not Impressed months of the year story

Can and can’t drawing coin game

I Brushed My Teeth in January past time expressions poem (Present Perfect and Past Simple)

1999 was a Strange Year months story

12 Jobs a Year months story

There is/ There are stacking games

Names of months dominoes

Passive voice rhyming past participles poems activities

Present Perfect rhyming past participles poem activities

Months flashcard memory games

Environmental collocations first conditional pelmanism

Clothes and accessories to sell

Crime and punishment trends

Months battleships

John Finally Came First ordinal numbers story

Marketing discussion questions

Days of the week battleships

Ordinal number word dominoes

Ordinal number word jigsaw games

Put the days of the week in order

Number words dominoes

Days of the week dominoes

Put the months in order games

Feelings and want pelmanism card game

Explaining Japanese performing arts




Different meanings in British and American English jigsaw – NEW


Past and future opposites reversi memory game


IELTS Speaking Part Two dice game


Countable and uncountable nouns Answer Me questions game


Feelings and Present Continuous memory game

Posted in Teaching English as a Foreign Language | 1 Comment

The most TEFLtastic articles of 2018

As my last article of the year is already up, I thought I’d give a list of all the ones in 2018, in approximate order of how often I’ve been using those ideas in my own classes.

If you’ve found any of my teaching ideas or materials useful in 2018, it would really help if you could donate a couple of pounds by buying a copy of my e-book. This will allow me to continue updating, improving and expanding TEFLtastic next year, and if I can make a few more pounds it would also give me time to finish off some of my 12 half-finished e-books. Thanks for all your support in 2018, and all the best for 2019!

Dice games

How to teach British and American grammar

Having a ball – EFL ball games

Matching games part two – pelmanism

Stacks of fun: EFL blocks games

How to teach prepositions of time

How to teach giving and asking for directions

How to teach the language of feelings

How to teach telling the time in English

How to teach TOEIC Listening Part Two: Question Response

How to teach short answer

How to teach English plurals

How to teach irregular plurals

Matching games part one – TEFL dominoes

Teaching ordinal numbers to EFL learners

How to teach British and American spelling and punctuation – NEW

How to teach British and American functional language

British and American body language and gestures

How to teach months

How to teach days of the week in English

How to teach dates in English

How to teach past time expressions

How to teach future time expression

How to teach present time expressions

Blocks games for different language points

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New TEFL stuff autumn 2018

Most recent top of each section

New teaching materials pages

Imperative games, worksheets, stories and songs

Quantifiers page

New TEFL articles

How to teach British and American functional language

How to teach giving and asking for directions

British and American body language and gestures

How to teach TOEIC Listening Part Two: Question Response

List of useful language for EFL teachers and learners

The 100 most useful acronyms for EFL learners

The 100 most useful abbreviations for EFL learners

New TEFL pdfs

Dates- Different or the Same game

Singular and Plural Competitions Speaking Game

Designing and Selling Inventions with Passive Voice

Verb Patterns Sentence Completion Guessing Games

Past and Future Opposites Reversi Memory Game

Opinions on Travel Vocabulary (with Travel Collocations)

Past, Present and Future Listening (especially useful for TOEIC Listening)

How British is your Technical English?

Days of the week Make me say Yes

Comparing animals random pelmanism

Crime & Punishment- Extended Speaking Bluffing Game

Can you questions personalised pelmanism game

Do you like categories pelmanism game

Phonics yes no questions pelmanism game

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