Better self-study materials

Just published two articles on the topic of improving self-study books, homework materials, etc.

20 things wrong with most self-study materials

Activities that match the questions in students’ heads

After reading them, you can check out my attempt at making better self-study, and then comment below on anything I said you should be doing and I didn’t, or anything even more important I missed:

Really Learn the Most Useful Telephoning phrases e-book

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New telephoning in English resources for students

On top of my new book on English phone calls, have just put up a list of the most important language and an article on the most important part of the call:

The 100 most useful telephoning phrases (for students, but also useful for planning classes/ writing materials)

How to start phone calls in English (ditto)

Really Learn the Most Useful Emailing Phrases e-book

More telephoning articles for students coming up in June and am also planning similar lists of useful language, articles for students and e-books on other vital areas like emailing and presentations (in the unlikely event that my masterplan works out and gives me the time…)

Posted in Telephoning | 2 Comments

The first TEFLtastic e-book – Really Learn the Most Useful Telephoning Phrases

After 20 years in TEFL and more than ten publishing my ideas and worksheets, I’ve finally put together a whole book of materials – and one that goes against almost everything I’ve done so far. First of all, it’s a self-study book that learners can use (completely) on their own. More importantly, I’ve really concentrated on giving students throrough practice of only the language they most need (rather than rushing through everything that might possibly be useful like many of my previous worksheets and most other self-study books) . To achieve that, I’ve included lots of realistic and achievable self-study speaking activities, preparation for their own real-life speaking, and training in the most efficient ways to study on their own.

If you’ve got students who this might be useful for or are just intrigued to see if the rather grand claims above are really true, it’s just $1.99 for a single student copy or $3.99 for the edition to photocopy for your whole class, available at

If the blurb above and ridiculously cheap price aren’t enough to persuade you to give it a try, I promise that if I can sell enough copies to turn down some teaching work I’ll spend the time on producing as much useful material as I can, including updating and expanding this rather sadly neglected site… Spread the word!

Posted in Self-study materials, Telephoning | 4 Comments

New question formation classroom activities pages

New pages on question formation just created, with a specific one for subject questions. That also makes the tense review page where they used to live much more manageable.

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22 key word sentence transformations links

Just in case you didn’t notice in the last post, a brief heads up that I’ve gone a little FCE sentence transformations crazy over the last couple of months, with an article and loads of new worksheets. I’ve also added two more new worksheets since that post, and updated my links to other relevant pages on the blog (have something done, reported speech, etc). Most also useable with Cambridge Advanced classes. And, believe it or not, more coming soon…

Cambridge First Usef of English Part Four games/ worksheets page


Posted in Cambridge First Certificate, Photocopiable worksheets | 3 Comments

30 new TEFL articles and worksheets (Spring 2016)

A fairly typical amount of new stuff on and on TEFLtastic, though in my humble opinion the quality is getting a little better all the time…

Help and Hindrance in IELTS Listening

Whose is this Whose are these Possessives personalised drawing game

Body Idioms problems and solutions presentation and speaking

Make Self-Study Tips Linking Words Practice

Language Learning Advice Modals practice and presentation

The First Time/Last Time Past Tenses Extended Speaking

Help & Hindrance in IELTS Academic Reading

Third Person Statements Bluffing Coin Game

Will for Spontaneous Decisions “Answer Me” getting reactions speaking game

Have and Want Personalised Guessing Game

Opposites Hangman Spelling and Guessing Game

Typical Mistakes with English Numbers Error Correction Task

Cambridge First Certificate (FCE) Speaking Part Three Phrases Presentation, practice and games (for updated exam)

Advice for Foreign Travellers Zero Conditional with Imperatives and Modals practice

Cambridge First Certificate (FCE) Use of English Part 4 Sentence Transformation Hangman

Make FCE Use of English Part Four Questions from the root sentences

Make FCE Use of English Part Four Sentence Transformation Tasks for typical language points

Make FCE Use of English Sentence Transformations from the key words

How to teach Cambridge First Certificate (FCE) Use of English key word sentence transformations

Cambridge First Certificate (FCE) Speaking Part Two Prepositions, Determiners and Key Words

Guess the Clothes from the Hints

It is/ They are & my/ your/ his/ her Drawing Game

Dealing with Requests and Enquiries Responses- Card Games

Travel English Simplest Responses and Key Words Games

Future tenses in telephoning roleplays and grammar presentation

Small talk after not meeting for a while

Personal Pronouns and Possessive Adjectives Drawing Game

How to teach possessive adjectives

Dealing with Enquiries- Jigsaw Dialogues

Dealing with problems and complaints- step by step roleplays

If that ain’t enough for yer, more materials for all these language points and other uses for most of the same games elsewhere on this blog.

Posted in Cambridge First Certificate, past tenses, Photocopiable worksheets, possessive s, Requests | Leave a comment

FCE Speaking Part Two teaching materials section expanded and reorganised

Possibly the most difficult part of Cambridge First Certificate Speaking and certainly the weirdest (“I’d like you to compare the two photos” “Why???), now made much more manageable and fun:

FCE Speaking Part Two games, photocopiables and videos

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New small talk games/ worksheets page

My Business English students often complain that the most difficult part of using English in their jobs is not making presentations or chairing meetings but the networking, chatting and bumping into people in the lift that can happen before and afterwards. There are also lots of cultural issues involved in starting and ending conversations, getting down to business, suitable topics, etc.

Luckily, though, all of that is not only eminently teachable, it also makes for fun communicative practice in the classroom. Just put together a list of my materials on the topic, including some linking it to common grammar points such as question formation and different tenses:

Small talk photocopiable classroom activities page

Posted in Business English and ESP, Cultural differences/ cultural training, Photocopiable worksheets, Social English | Leave a comment

New possessives activities and pages

New worksheets and a new article up recently on possessive forms, so took that opportunity to split the page into two easier to navigate and slightly expanded sections:

Possessive S games, worksheets and songs page

Possessive adjectives games, worksheets and songs page

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New TEFL stuff from the rest of 2015

TEFLtastic blog wasn’t much of a blog in 2015, and it is unlikely to become one again in 2016 given the two unintended consequences of blogging less:

One slightly disheartening effect of never blogging was a record-breaking number of hits, nearly twice last year’s at well over two million page views. That could well be because people can now click on TEFLtastic for teaching ideas and photocopiable activities without any danger of accidentally coming across attempts at humour or navel-gazing on their way there. Or it could, hopefully, be the result of the second consequence of never blogging, which is that a lack of musing on pointless TEFL-related questions has left time for a leap in the quality of the more useful stuff that I’m producing. It may not seem like it from the big list below, but I do believe, or at least sincerely hope, that 2015 was finally the year I went for quality over quantity. In fact, frankly I’m not sure I’d use any of the materials I produced before 2015 anymore

New TEFL articles

Fitting learner training into your syllabus

40 telephoning activities

Favourites in ESL classes

Why does my teacher not speak more slowly?

How to teach Cambridge First Certificate Listening Part Four

How to teach the zero conditional

How to teach English syllables

New pdf classroom activities

Personal Pronouns and Possessive Adjectives Memory Games

Sentences with “in case”- Discuss and Agree

Singular and Plural Possessive S TPR Miming Game

Present Simple and Progressive Trends and Meetings Practice

Cambridge First Certificate (FCE) Speaking Part Three Collaborative Task intensive practice (Revised)

Passive Voice- Free and Controlled Speaking

Numbers in English- The Same or Different

Third Person Present Tense Questions- Alphabet Game

Politeness in making arrangements and future tenses review

Choose the Best Job Interview Responses

First and Second Conditional Negotiating Practice

Past Simple Make Me Say Yes- Personalised Speaking Game

Processes in Planes and Airports- Present and Past Passive Practice

Have & Have Got with Prepositions of Position

Business Moral Dilemmas Conditionals Practice

Collocations- Counting Syllables Practice

Make Sentences from Syllables- Scrabble Game

Consonant Clusters Pronunciation

English Collocations- Counting Syllables Consonant Clusters Practice

Dealing with Requests and Enquiries- Line-by-line Brainstorming

Good and bad responses in negotiations

Do you like + Does he like Categories Coin Game

Cambridge First Certificate (FCE) Exam and Self-study Tips- Speculating Practice

Defining Relative Clauses Discuss and Agree

Modals of Deduction Guess the Country

Discussing Business Problems with Conditionals

TV Ads- Present Simple and Present Continuous Presentation and Practice

Emailing- Dealing with problems and complaints

Social English Responses- Card Games

Dealing with Problems and Complaints- Card Games

Business English Meetings – Comparative Adjectives Practice

Meeting People- Line-by-line Brainstorming

He has/ She has-Present Simple Games

Present Simple and Continuous Needs Analysis and Presentation

Countable and Uncountable Nouns Roleplay- A Buffet Lunch

Present Perfect and Simple Past- Small Talk

Academic English- Countable and Uncountable Nouns

Comparing products using comparative and superlative adjectives

Like and Would Like- Make me say yes speaking game

Describing Companies with Present Simple and Progressive

FCE (Cambridge First Certificate) Speaking- Needs Analysis and Useful Language

Giving Advice- Personality Problems

Food and Drink- Present Perfect Bluffing Game

Small Talk in Business- Present Simple Questions

Guests and Hosts- Restaurant Vocabulary

Do you have + May I have Games

Planning FCE Writing Part One essays

HR vocabulary and trends practice

Number of Syllables- The Same or Different Games

Number of Syllables Maze Game

Zero Conditional Practice- Advice for Parents

Zero Conditional- Personalised Sentence Completion Guessing Game

Zero Conditionals and Feelings Personalised guessing game

Posted in Photocopiable worksheets | 1 Comment