So, you want to teach English online but aren’t sure what to actually do with your students? I have some good news for you! I’ll share my top 15 ESL games and activities for teaching English online so keep on reading!
ESL Games and Activities for Teaching English Online
ESL teaching online isn’t difficult if you have a variety of interesting, engaging and student-centred activities as your fingertips. Keep on reading for the top 15 to choose from to get your started with teaching ESL online.
Or, you may want to check this out too: How to teach English online.
#1: ESL Role Plays
If your student is studying English for a specific purpose such as travel, being able to converse with their patients as a doctor, nurse or dentist, or someone who wants to serve customers in English as a banker, air steward, etc., then consider doing some role-plays.
The student can play themselves and you can be the customer, immigration offer, or patient. Mix things up and use some different problems, as well as different responses. The goal is to help your student gain some serious confidence with things they’ll encounter out in the real world.
#2: Dictation Practice
An easy way to practice both listening and writing skills, along with things like spelling and punctuation is to do some dictation work. You can either dictate a passage or individual sentences. Consider starting with single words for low beginners. Learn how to do it here: ESL Dictation Activity.
This is a challenging listening activity that you can try out if you teach ESL online. The way it works is that you find a passage of some kind and read it at a slightly faster pace than normal. The student has to take notes about what what they hear. Then, read it again and finally the student has to recreate what they heard, either by speaking or writing.
Want to give it a try? You can see all the details here: Dictogloss.
#4: Is that Sentence Correct?
This is a quick review activity that you can use for just about anything! The way it works is that you can make some sentences, some of which are correct while others are not. The student has to decide which ones are incorrect and make the required changes.
Besides using it as a warmer or review activity for your online TEFL class, it’s also the perfect homework activity. Find out more here: Sentence Correction Activity.
#5: Film English to Teach ESL Online
If you have students who love watching movies, then consider using Film English. They have a nice variety of shorter and longer films to choose from plus some great activities to go along with them.
For online ESL teaching, it’s certainly possible to watch some of the shorter ones together but the preferred option would be to have the student watch it before class. Then in class, discuss together and finally, assign some writing homework based on it.
- Amazon Kindle Edition
- Bolen, Jackie (Author)
- English (Publication Language)
- 48 Pages - 01/21/2016 (Publication Date)
#6: Proof-Reading and Editing
A nice activity for students who want to improve their writing skills is to focus on proof-reading editing. It’s a super important skill that often gets neglected as the teacher usually just corrects the mistakes!
There are two ways to do this. The first is to provide students with a paragraph with mistakes for them to correct. Or, teach students how to correct their own writing. Find out all the details here: ESL Proofreading and Editing.
#7: ESL Reading Lesson Plan
Out of all the skills to work on with ESL online, I generally prefer reading. However, there’s more to reading than just telling students to read! A single paragraph can yield so many more benefits if within the context of a well-organized lesson.
Do you want to know how to do this? Find out here: How to Plan an ESL Reading Lesson.
#8: Making Predictions Activities
A fun topic to do with online English teaching is to talk about predictions for the future. It’s time to get your crystal balls out! Find out some of the best things to do here: ESL Prediction Activities and Games.
#9: Breaking News English
Let’s get real here for a minute. If you’re an ESL teaching and don’t know about Breaking News English, it’s time to get aquatinted. It’s some serious online English teaching gold.
There are new stories in a variety of levels, along with very detailed lesson plans, or as I prefer, the mini-lessons that are 2 pages and far more manageable.
For online teaching, you can either have students read the article before class, or read it together during class. Then, there are a ton of great discussion questions, vocabulary focus activities and more. Then, it’s possible to assign some writing homework, or even some of the activities in the lesson that you didn’t get to in class.
#10: Journaling, a Teaching English Online Writing Activity
One of the best writing homework assignments for teaching English as a second language online is to get students to keep a journal. It’s easy to do and can help students improve their writing fluency in a big way.
The key is that students do this exercises on a regular basis. Daily is best. Find out more about it here: ESL Journaling Activity.
- Amazon Kindle Edition
- Bolen, Jackie (Author)
- English (Publication Language)
- 54 Pages - 01/19/2016 (Publication Date)
#11: Mixed Up Sentences
Spending some time working on sentence structure when you teach English online will never be a wasted exercise! I love to use this one for my beginner students.
Write down some sentences on a piece of paper but mix up the word order. Students have to work to unscramble it. Check it out here: ESL Mixed Up Sentences.
#12: Business English Pod
If you teach business English online, then you’ll certainly want to check out Business English Pod. It’s heavy on the listening skills and while there is a paid version, I can usually find enough good stuff on there for free. As far as business English goes, it covers just about everything from writing emails to negotiations to telephone calls.
#13: Odd One Out Teach English Online Activity
This is a quick, easy warm-up activity. The way it works is that you list 4 things, one of which doesn’t match and students have to pick that out and tell you why. For example:
- apple, banana, orange, eggplant
Most students will pick eggplant because it’s a vegetable, not a fruit. However, there are many different answers that are acceptable as long as students support it. Find out how to do it here: ESL Odd One Out Game.
#14: ESL Textbooks for Adults
There are various schools of thought when it comes to teaching English online. Some teachers prefer to piece together materials from a variety of sources.
However, there is certainly a case to be made for using one of the 4-skills ESL textbooks and going methodically through it. If students want to generally improve their English skills and aren’t worried about something specifically like business English or a TOEFL speaking exam, this can be a great option.
Here are my top recommendations: ESL Books for Adults.
#15: British Council Learning English Online
This website from the British Council is a wealth of resources for both students and teachers. There are activities for all skills, ranging from writing to speaking, business English and more.
In terms of teaching ESL online, it’s possible to use some of these materials in class with your student. Or, consider assigning some of it as homework.
Have your Say about ESL Activities to Teach English Online
What do you think about these ESL online teaching activities? Did you try out something from this or do you have another one that you’d like to recommend? Leave a comment below and let us know what you think. We’d love to hear from.
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Last update on 2020-04-15 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API