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

Posted in possessive s | Leave a comment

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

New zero conditional games and teaching tips

Went to add my new article and worksheets to my zero conditional page but was surprised to find that I’d never had one. Do now! 18 game ideas and photocopiable classroom activities included, so hopefully worth the wait:

Zero conditional games/ worksheets page

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New teaching English syllables materials and teaching ideas

Recently had the hard but rewarding experience of writing and giving a nine-hour course just on pronunciation. Spent about 3 hours of that on making sure my students could recognise and produce the right number of syllables, including in famously difficult situations like consonant clusters, -ed endings and -(e)s endings, and words ending with consonants without a final vowel. It was surprisingly successful given how difficult Japanese students tend to find it to get “strike” down from four syllables to one, but still an awful lot of work for a one-off lesson! Therefore as usual I’ve decided to share my ideas to make all that labour feel more worthwhile…

Six photocopiable classroom activities plus an article with many more lesson ideas now available on my brand new page on the topic:

Teaching English syllables games/ worksheets

and those an a couple of other new activities added to my general pron pages:

Pronunciation games/ worksheets

Articles on teaching pronunciation

Posted in consonant clusters, Pronunciation | 4 Comments

TESOL International Association set ridiculously low standards for short TEFL courses

God knows something needs to be done to raise the standards of the typical 120-hour-ish TEFL courses that dominate our industry, but TESOL (the larger American version of IATEFL) have quite possibly acheived the opposite with their current attempt. From now on, dodgy TEFL course providers will be able to claim that they meet some kind of minimum standards from a well-respected industry organisation while:

  • It is impossible to fail their courses
  • There is no observed teaching practice (let alone the graded observed teaching practice that is by far the most important part of any course)
  • Their trainers have no relevant teaching qualifications
  • There is no outside accreditation (let alone outside accreditation by a university or exam board like some organisations demand)
  • etc

Instead, TESOL set pointless and/ or incredibly vague “standards” such as:

  • Having a mission statement (but nothing at all on what the mission statement should say)
  • “The program’s goals and objectives guide the choice of instructional approaches and materials”
  • “Instructors understand the connections between theory and practice and value the role of culture in language teaching and learning”

Any attempt at a better description of standards than “Cambridge CELTA (or Trinity Cert TESOL) or equivalent” should be a good thing, but as I said above I honestly think TESOL have managed something even worse here. I’d love to think it was just well-meaning incompetence, but I have a terrible feeling it has more to do with the increasing commercialism of the organisation in some way.

Posted in Online TEFL certificate, TEFL certificate, TEFL qualifications | 5 Comments

Ten new(ish) articles on teaching English

Have written a little flurry of new articles during August that I wanted to show off like a primary school kid writing about “What I Did in My Summer Holiday”. Then realised that I haven’t done anything similar this year, so it became more of list of What I’ve Done So Far in 2015:

Why does my teacher not speak more slowly?

40 telephoning activities

Favourites in EFL classes

How to teach FCE Listening Part Two

How to teach like and would like

How to teach telephoning

How to teach frequency expressions

How to teach FCE Writing Part One essays

How to teach There is/ There are

36 fun classroom activities for Present Simple and Present Continuous

The other thing that I could show off (?) to my teacher and classmates in show and tell is that some time this year I seem to have passed the 500 articles about TEFL mark. All of them arranged by topic here and by place of publication here.

Posted in Teaching English as a Foreign Language | 1 Comment

New TEFL pdfs May to July 2015

Didn’t realise that it was so long that I I hadn’t written one of these lists of latest photocopiable material. Can’t say I have any evidence that people were crying out for a bunch of new worksheets from me, but here they all are anyway…

In reverse chronological order:

Comparative Adjectives and Requests speaking and grammar presentation

FCE Listening Part Two-Guessing What Goes in the Gaps game

Past Simple Small Talk Questions

Financial Vocabulary Trends Mini-Presentations

Verbs for Describing Processes

The process of IELTS Listening (listening tips linked to IELTS Writing Part One process tasks)

Which Part of the FCE Listening?

Countable and Uncountable Nouns- Kitchen Shopping Roleplay Discussion

Like and Would Like Food Roleplay Dialogue

Setting Up a New Office- Countable & Uncountable Roleplay

FCE Speaking Part One on education

FCE Speaking Part Two on education

FCE Speaking Part Four and Writing Part One on education

Likes Alphabet Coin Game

Determiners in Typical Presentations Phrases

He Likes & She Likes Games

Explaining education in your country comparing and contrasting practice

Meeting on the topic of entertaining guests

Describing Japanese things comparing and contrasting practice

Formal and Informal Phrases for FCE Emails and Letters

Country and Nationality Words Bluffing Game

Planning FCE Email Tasks

Wh- Questions Needs Analysis, Presentation and Practice

There is & There are with Prepositions Make Me Say Yes Game

Giving Reasons in Negotiations

Dealing with Presentation Questions Politely

FCE Speaking Part One on family

FCE Speaking Part One on free time and hobbies

FCE Writing Part Two restaurant review task

Present Simple and Continuous Discuss and Agree

Present Perfect and Simple Past Meetings Roleplays

Leading seminars & discussions longer phrases game

Leading seminars & discussions review

Rephrasing in IELTS Speaking Part One

Arrangements, Plans, Predictions and Spontaneous Decisions game

Conspiracy Theories- Speculating about the Present and Past Practice

Alphabet Homophones and Minimal Pairs

Giving Positive and Negative Feedback in Academic Discussions

IELTS Speaking Part One and Needs Analysis First Lesson

Leading Seminars/Discussions Politeness Competition Game

Present Continuous and Prepositions Drawing Dice Game

Negotiating Phrases Mimes

Meeting People- Key Words, Phrases, Dialogues and Topics

Respond to the meeting people phrases

Internal and External Business Negotiation Roleplays

Language of trends and advice practice

Business trends and predictions

Comparing and contrasting synonyms

Opinions on emailing

Second conditional and trends

Frequency Expressions Ranking and Speaking Card Games

Meaning and Formality Differences in Emails

Solutions to poverty discussion and reading

Emailing test

Small talk with present tenses

Travel Vocabulary & Roleplays

Travel Situations Email and Telephone Roleplays

If that ain’t enough for you, see the last post on food and drink vocabulary for a couple more new ones.




Posted in Photocopiable worksheets | 1 Comment

Linking food and drink to other language points

While reorganising my food and drink vocab index pages, noticed that many of them tied it in quite nicely with other language points – buy one language point, get one free! Here are the ones that do that:

Food and drink vocabulary with grammar points

Food vocabulary with too and not enough – NEW

Kitchen shopping countable and uncountable roleplay discussion

Countable and uncountable foods presentation and speaking

Food and drink mimes Present Continuous

Food present continuous mimes (young learner version)

Food Present Continuous pictionary

Food vocabulary comparatives and superlatives

and one on passive voice coming soon

Food and drink vocabulary with functional language

Food and drink and kitchen supplies to sell (with food and drink and sales collocations) – NEW

Like and would like roleplay dialogue on food

Explaining Japanese things comparing and contrasting practice (mainly food and drink)

Meetings on the topic of food and drink and business entertaining

British food speculating game

Making food IELTS process task practice

Food trends and speaking

Food and drink vocabulary teaching general vocabulary points

Food vocabulary word formation challenge game

Positive and negative words about food and dining

Food and other vocabulary

Food spelling code game

Circular foods picture flashcards

Food word recognition flashcards

Triangular foods picture flashcards

Square and rectangular foods flashcards

Exam practice on the topic of food and drink

FCE restaurant review task

IELTS Speaking on food

IELTS Speaking Part Two presentations on food

FCE Speaking Part One on food

FCE Speaking Part Two on food

FCE Speaking Part Four on food

Posted in comparatives, countable and uncountable nouns, Food vocabulary, Modals of deduction, present continuous | Leave a comment

New Present Simple pdf classroom materials pages

So many activities recently that the main Present Simple photocopiables page had got a bit unmanageable. Hopefully a bit easier to handle now with separate pages for Third Person S Activities and It is/ They are Activities. Links also there for connected grammar like this/ that/ these/ those, can, and have got.

Posted in Present simple for routines etc. | Leave a comment