Published 8th August 2016


Teaching English as a Foreign Language day in and day out can feel like you’re running on a hamster wheel sometimes. Sometimes you feel like you’re teaching the same lesson five times a day (and sometimes you are!) and that can make you feel like your job is a fate worse than watching Keeping Up With The Kardashians.

The problem is, if you are feeling frustrated and bored, either you will start to put less and less effort into your lessons or your students will pick up on your frustrations and become bored themselves.

So here are our suggestions for ways to make your lessons more exciting to make sure you and your students don’t fall asleep in the middle of them.

Do something random

Think of a game or activity to do that is not at all related to the lesson for the day. Play hangman or basketball or Pictionary or play a YouTube video that has made you laugh recently. Don’t try and incorporate a language focus or learning point. Just do something because it’s fun.

Let your students be the teachers

Give control of the classroom to your students. Assign language points to groups of students and let them come up with ways of explaining them to the class. They can do this however they want to, including playing games or doing worksheets.

Do a Dogme lesson

If you’re feeling brave (and your syllabus allows) put the coursebook down and teach a materials-free lesson. Let the students decide what they want to talk about and let them talk. A language focus should come out of the discussion naturally.

Do something unexpected

Don’t let your students be able to predict exactly what is going to happen in the classroom. Mix things up a bit so they don’t always feel stuck in a routine. If you don’t usually use technology, find a cool video to base a lesson on, or make use of an interactive language learning website or app. If you always use the coursebook, find another way to teach the language without grammar exercises. Just do something different.

Play games

Dedicate an entire lesson to playing games. Give the students a choice of games and let them choose which they want to play. Set the games up so they are all actually revision games but your students probably won’t even notice. By playing games for the entire lesson students will feel like they have been given the lesson off (even though they are basically studying) and will love you for it.

Doing things differently in the classroom will help keep the excitement and interest alive in your lessons, not only for your students but for you too.