How to teach English

Even the most experienced teachers of English sometimes ask themselves «How can I improve my lessons?», «How to keep motivation at the lessons?», «What way can I meet my students’ English needs?», «How to teach English?» To put it more precisely, not even experienced teachers, but it is experienced teachers

who ask themselves such questions as they realize the necessity of their own methodological and linguistic development. Such a category of enthusiasts attend teaching seminars, workshops, take international exams etc.

Nowadays it is an undeniable fact that students are demanding to themselves and to their teachers which is motivating. The article considers some teaching and learning problems and their solutions, useful how-to-teach-English life-hacks, methodological tips on teaching English as a second language (based on «Teaching English in Accordance with European Standards» (Pearson Education Limited).

1. I suppose you agree that the process of education consists of problems and solutions. Take a look at a few of them, the most widespread.

Language Teaching and Learning



— students’ negative attitude due to previous learning experiences;
— students learn the material quickly – and forget it quickly too!
— recycle the teaching material frequently;
— deal with the new topics in small pieces;
— personalize the teaching process — use the students’ names more often, explain their mistakes in detail, cater for everybody;
— prepare interactive and memorable material.

2. If your students are




— are structured (they can structure information well);
— are problem-solving instead of trouble-making;
— are logical;
— like rules;
— like systems.
— are creative
— are artistic;
— are interactive;
— dislike rules;
— dislike systems.

So what you need is to understand who is who.

3. Remember that practice activities both educate and entertain.


4. Before you start teaching, explore the audience. Take into consideration that:

General English Students. Business English Students
— often lack direction and purpose;
— need to keep up to speed with the class even if they miss some lessons;
— need to be part of the social fabric of the class (need to have smth to say);
— need to be genuinely engaged in the course book content.

— need specialized vocabulary;
— need specific functional language;
— have varied needs;
— are busy people;
— want quick results (want to know English «yesterday»).

Consequently, be ready to react and act in class quickly without delay when dealing with general or business English students.

5. Typical teaching problems and solutions

Problems Solutions
1. Unable to express themselves. 1. Give them time to prepare.
Pre-teach the necessary vocabulary, structures.
2.Some students dominate; others are silent. 2. Group students carefully. Try to put all the silent students in one group.
3. Have no interest in the topic. 3. Find out what your students are interested in; don’t male the topic area too narrow.
4. Some students prefer to speak to the teacher rather than “listen to each others’ mistakes”. 4. Introduce extended speaking tasks gradually and provide a rationale for their use.
5. Some students finish more quickly than others. 5. Set a time limit to give a clear idea of how long the task should take. Have additional activities ready for early students.
6. Students don’t see the point of the activity. 6. Ensure there is a goal for the communication. Make sure you feed back on the results of the communication after the activity.

6. Here are a few rules of thumb for teachers to keep in mind.

  • To fail to prepare is to prepare to fail!
  • Don’t expect miracles!
  • A student: «What you tell me, I forget. What I work out for myself, I remember.»
  • Your students’ discovery should be rule-driven.

7. One of my favourite tasks for developing speaking skills is

«Speaking for a minute without…»:

— hesitation;
— deviation;
— repetition.
For most students, it’s a challenge to be long-winded and speak fluently for a minute without any long pauses.

8. The top 5 words in English — use it as a warming-up activity.


9. Watching movies in English – points to bear in mind.

  • Think about what you want your students to achieve linguistically — learn new idioms, focus on English tenses etc.
  • Provide a focus – students can watch video at home for “general” language development;
  • Gear the tasks to suit the level of the students;
  • Less is more — sometimes it’s more efficient to watch a short part of the movie and do post-viewing activities together in class rather than watching the whole thing at the lesson and making the students do the tasks at home;
  • Any video must generate your learners’ interest;
  • Highlight the value of multimedia;
  • Feedback on what they’ve learned from the material.

10. We all make mistakes in speech. Such a list of amusing errors can be an excellent way to warm up your students, review some grammar and vocab:

  • Expensive Katerina
  • A nursery is a school for nurses
  • There’s some cat on the chair
  • She likes talking to the phone
  • Hospitable is when you go for hospital
  • With best regrets

Here are Students’ mistakes of different levels — for you to analyze with English learners.

Movies in English with pre-viewing, viewing and post-viewing activities.

11. As you know, any material needs to be revised. Do the test and check how attentive you were while reading the article. And remember to use the guidelines in your teaching career.

How to teach English Quiz for teachers of English

  1. Students have a negative attitude to the language due to …
  2. Learn quickly – …
  3. Don’t expect …
  4. Cater for …
  5. General English learners often lack …
  6. Deal with the new topics in small pieces…
  7. To fail to prepare is …
  8. Make sure you … on the results of the communication after the activity.
  9. Pre-teach the necessary…
  10. Try to put all the silent students …
  11. … to give a clear idea of how long the task.
  12. The second top 5 word in English is…
  13. What you tell me, … what I work out for myself, …
  14. Less is … (about watching video)
  15. Speaking for a minute without…

Look forward to your teaching comments!

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How to teach English

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