Teaching Tips

Using Voice to Convey Meaning

We communicate not only by the words we say, but also by the way in which we say them. Tone and inflection can affect the meaning of a word or phrase. Here are some exercises on using your voice in different ways.

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Always Keep Dice with You

When practicing a grammar structure with my class, I often use dice to randomize prompts.  This way, students don’t know what they’re supposed to say or write until I tell them the results of a roll, which keeps them on their toes.

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3 Alternate Ways to Teach Idioms

With idioms, students already know the words that make up the expression. But since idioms aren’t to be taken literally, they still need to learn the meaning. Instead of teaching idioms like you would other vocabulary terms, why not build off what they already know?

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Define Your Own Terms

There are lots of long, strange-sounding, technical terms that we don’t use outside the classroom, so why confuse students by teaching them? Instead, make up your own terms for for those concepts.

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Comics Can Grow Reading Skills and Habits

For any student who can’t read very well or doesn’t like to read, I recommend comic books. This medium has advantages that picture books, chapter books, and novels don’t have.  Comics can both provide motivation and aid in reading comprehension.

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Save ‘To Be’ for Later

‘To be’ so often is drilled into students’ minds that they end up using it far more that they should, as if it’s a requirement for every sentence.  Starting off with some simple sentences that don’t have am/is/are might be a better way to get started.

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Vocab-Building through Associations

There’s a lot of vocabulary to learn, but thankfully plenty of words are related to each other.  Learning words by associating them with each other helps us to remember those words later.  You can help students establish and strengthen those connections in your students’ minds.

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Mistakes on Purpose

When students have the opportunity to correct the teacher, it reinforces that language point, assesses the students’ understanding of that language point, gives the learner confidence, and teaches students to problem-solve.

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Never Say ‘Good’

‘Good’ is such a generic word, but it has so many synonyms that are far more interesting. Encourage your students to expand their vocabulary by forbidding them to use the word ‘good’.

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Writing with Colors

Colors can be used to create associations in the minds of learners.  By doing so, students are quicker to find mistakes or identify what they’re supposed to do.

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