Methods in Teaching English:

Teenagers to Adults

Methods in Teaching English -- Using Graded Readers in your English Class

Post your lessons and classroom games and read the activities others have posted!


Methods in Teaching English -- Graded Readers:

Teaching English in Japan can be pretty dull if you don`t incorporate some reading and discussion in your classes that can handle an activity like this.

Using Graded Readers in your classes and for homework can greatly enhance the atmosphere and learning in an English class.

Graded readers come in all levels and for all age groups. Reading in English literally opens up a whole new world for your students.

Even students who have studied English for many years but have never mastered it, will be thrilled at being able to read an English book, no matter how easy the level is.

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Graded readers come in many different genres, suitable for all tastes and levels. There truly are many books for everyone. At this point they have a great selection from modern books like Harry Potter to classics by Dickens.

You can have your students read them for pleasure, or as a class assignment ie) have them write a book report.


Methods in Teaching English -- Books that suit the Student`s Level

Be sure to have your students choose a book that they are interested in, and one where the vocabulary is comprehensible. Your students should be able to easily understand 95% of the vocabulary or more. Reading shouldn`t be a struggle of looking up words in the dictionary. We are striving for reading pleasure and fluency. Showing them thejoy of reading.

If their English level allows, I sometimes put them into pairs or small groups to tell each other about the story they read. Or you can hand out some simple questions for lower level students to ask each other about the characters and the story.

I have found in my 20 years of experience in teaching English to Japanese, that those who read English books, are also the best speakers and writers by far. I feel there is a strong connection between reading English books and improvement in other areas of English study.

Methods in Teaching English -- Reading Circles

If you have your students read the same short story, you can do a reading circle activity with them. Reading circles usually have four members in each group, and each member performs a different roll. All students actively participate in the group and talk about thestory, but each has a unique roll to play which keeps the discussion interesting:

One student is the:

Methods in Teaching English -- Discussion Leader

He or she keeps the discussion going by designating who schould speaknext or by asking interesting questions when things go quiet. The leader should read the story twice and prepare at least five general discussion questions about it.

-makes sure that everyone has a chance to speak and joins in the discussion.

-calls on everyone to perform their role.

One student is the Summarizer:

She or he summarizes the story (in one or two minutes) for the group.-finds the key points that everyone must know to understand the story.

The Word Master:

is asked to look up words and provide definitions for them--explain the meaning of difficult vocabulary to the group;

-chooses five words that are important and defines them for the group in English.

-tells the group why these five words are important.

-answers questions about vocabulary

The Culture Collector & Connector:

-looks for both differences and similarities between his/her own culture and the culture found in the story.

--makes notes to show examples of these cultural points form passages in the story.

--asks the group questions about cultural points

As Connector:

-looks for connections between the story and the world outside--asks the group if they can see any connections themselves.

One of the best aspects of the reading circles is they incorporate all four skills, reading, writing, speaking and listing. Though perhaps best of all, they are fun.

Movie Projects

One enjoyable project you can do with students that are advanced enough is a movie project. You can either assign it as homework or do it in class as a class project.


Methods in Teaching English: Almost No Prep Activities

This was originally presented as a lecture by Conrad Matsumoto at the Tokyo ELT Expo. In this article, Matsumoto outlines some methods in teaching English--almost no preparation activities. Conrad has found the following activities to work well in the Japanese teaching context.


John F. Fanselow Speaks on English Teaching in his Lecture From a Distance

It was with great pleasure that I was able to enjoy two lectures by Dr. Fanselow of Columbia University Teachers College.

John F. Fanselow`s main interests are observation andthe analysis of interactions, both inside and outsidethe classroom. "Beyond Rashomon," and "Let`s See," are two of his seminal articles in the TESOL Quarterly.He has served as second vice-president and president ofTESOL. In 1987, he started the off-campus TESOLM.A. Program in Tokyo for Teacher`s College, ColumbiaUniversity.

--Input and Output, Toward Intergration,JALT/Tokai University Foreign Language Centre


Dr. Fanselow states:"In From a distance, often sung by Bette Midler, the world appears beautiful, full of harmony and hope.

Introductory Questions: Getting Students Talking without their Textbooks

It is often difficult to get Japanese students to give up their textbook and speak "naked." Not literally of course!!!!Here is one activity that can get them talking and

help to imrpove their confidence.

Things you are interested in

Good for junior high-adult English classes

A fellow teacher recommended this activity to me.

Students write down three things they are interested in. Give them 3-5 minutes or less to do this.

Pair them up with another student and they show each other their interests. Give them time to write each other 4-5 questions about the interests.

Then pair them up again: They ask their questions.

For Writing Classes The students write down what they learned about their partner and write a paragraph.


Methods in Teaching English -- Liar, Liar Pants on Fire

Special thanks to Kevan Hudson and Conrad Matsumoto for reminding me of this activity.

You tell students to think of three lies and one truth about themselves. Then they tell the class each one, and students and the teacher guess if it is true or false. You can get them to write it down if they are lower level students.

This is a very fun activity and gets you away from the textbook for a bit.

On the Future of Education, a New Model?

I was inspired by Sir Ken Robinson`s first talk on TED.com, as well as reading about schools like Summerhill in England, and sharing my ideas with like-minded teachers.

I was a very creative, but bored student throughout school. My IQ tested high, my teachers liked to tell me, but I found what we were forced to learn, was often unpalatable. I wanted to do my own projects.


Teacher Training in Tokyo, Japan

If you want to teach English in Japan, you might be interested in getting training from some of the best teacher/trainers here. David Paul has opened a Teacher Training institute in Tokyo, Japan.



Before opening his teacher training academy in Tokyo, David Paul founded David English House in an apartment in Hiroshima in 1982 and built it up to become one of the most respected schools in East Asia. Paul is familiar with many great methods in teaching English to Japanese.

Paul relates:

"The academy will offer two programs, a 'TESOL Certificate' and a 'TESOL Certificate (Young Learners)'. There will be monthly workshops on Sundays for each program.


To Teach in Japan - the Big Schools here

To Teach English Japan - the American Experience

To Teaching English in Japan

To Teach English in Japan - TESOL

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