Talk To Teach

How to teach English infographic

Teaching English Infographic

Teaching English to non-English speakers

It can be a challenge to teach English as a foreign language. It depends on things like the level of the students, their personality, their objectives and their needs.  However, following some simple rules, it can become easier and fun for both the teacher and student.

Here are 5 things you can include in your lessons to ensure that they are more memorable and fun!


1. Mimes

When explaining a new vocabulary, mime what it means. This will be more efficient than a simple translation.

2. Real life examples

When students understand the possible re-usability of a point from the lesson to their own personal life, the incentive to remember is bigger. For example, teaching how to find information on an English website can be re-used in real life and is more likely to be remembered.

3. Language immersion

Spending time where the students only speak English with you, each other and ideally other English speakers is a very effective method to teach English.

4. Play games

In a language immersion situation it can be difficult to know what to talk about.  Playing games is a great way to give you something to talk about that’s easy to understand and concrete.  There are also plenty of language based games that specifically help with vocabulary or comprehension.

5. Movies and music

Encourage your students to use English in their personal life, through movies, music and applications, in order for them to learn in a way that suits them.


Miscellaneous facts

  • English is spoken by almost 1 billion people in the world (native and non-native)
  • Second most spoken language after Chinese
  • English is the official language of 67 countries.
  • English is the most used language for science, technology and communication
  • All websites are coded in English – html, PHP and CSS are all written in English, even if a website is in Chinese!


A combined approach is best!

A combined approach of lessons, games and language immersion is the ideal way to learn a new language.  The cumulative benefit of different approaches where a student is required to speak English all the time is ideal.

Let students experiment in order to learn. Trial and error is necessary for students to understand and is better than being handed down the knowledge without any real thought on their part. For instance, in an exercise, show a couple of sentences as an example and then let the students try and understand on their own, it will be more efficient.

Be patient and encouraging, highlight your students’ strengths and qualities to encourage them to go further. Nobody gets it right on the first try, so give them space to make errors and learn from them.

In conclusion, there is not one right way to teach English to non-English speakers. The key is to make it a fun experience where students can learn and progress in a safe, diverse and enriching environment with a teacher that will enlighten and encourage them all the way to fluency!