Beginner esl Teaching - Survive the First Week
4.5 (4 ratings)
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Beginner esl Teaching - Survive the First Week

Everything you need to know to walk into a new adult/teen classroom and experience a great start to teaching.
4.5 (4 ratings)
Instead of using a simple lifetime average, Udemy calculates a course's star rating by considering a number of different factors such as the number of ratings, the age of ratings, and the likelihood of fraudulent ratings.
321 students enrolled
Created by JA Starr
Last updated 2/2017
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Current price: $10 Original price: $20 Discount: 50% off
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  • 1.5 hours on-demand video
  • 10 Supplemental Resources
  • Full lifetime access
  • Access on mobile and TV
  • Certificate of Completion
What Will I Learn?
  • walk into a new classroom confidently and fully prepared, conduct a fun and productive first lesson and survive the first teaching week.
View Curriculum
  • Only a basic word processor and graphics program, such as Word and Paint, to make handouts.

This course is for people intending to teach English but with no classroom experience. What the Celta or online TEFL courses don't tell you. How to effectively prepare for your first day, and then walk into the class, exactly what to do and say to hit the ground running.

I am a fully qualified esl teacher for an overseas social enterprise language school which trains new teachers every semester and so I am used to helping transform nervous newbies into confident and popular instructors.

The course is particularly well suited to people who will be teaching in an environment with little or no support. You will learn how to prepare everything needed for day one. Walk into the classroom and build immediate rapport with tried and tested ice-breaker games, plus build a friendly consensus over a few ground-rules to make your life a whole lot easier.

Enough teaching theory is included to construct lesson plans, communicate effectively, drill pronunciation etc.
Lastly, a whole bunch more games, based around revision of the lessons to keep learning fresh and students interested. In fact, a large part of the course explains games, tried and tested, illustrated with photos and diagrams where necessary, because this is much of what's needed for the first week.

The course is for people who will be teaching adults and teens. It only includes enough basic theory to make a start for the initial seven days, helping you find your feet, after that your confidence is in place and you'll learn on the go from your students! The focus is on fun and conversational practice rather than technical grammar. It would also be useful for people traveling overseas who might try teaching to see if it's a viable option or prospective volunteers heading to challenging conditions, or in fact YOU if you are thinking of trying this and want know how lessons could work and if you can even imagine yourself actually doing this (you can!).

Who is the target audience?
  • Volunteer teachers who will be an a largely informal and unsupported environment.
  • Newly qualified esl teachers who want more ideas and reassurance (and games) to survive the first week.
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Curriculum For This Course
15 Lectures
1 Lecture 03:49
Before Teaching
3 Lectures 21:30

Voice projection. You don't sound as loud as you think and it's necessary to keep checking with students to make sure they can hear you.

Keep lessons interesting and students engaged with variety, the different categories of activity are touched on, to check that you aren't falling into that all-too-easy trap of habitually always doing the same thing.

Make your workload ten times lighter using pairwork and groupwork. Standing talking to students isn't actually the point of an English lesson. Usually, you are only talking to set up *their* talking experiences, which is generally with each other because there's only one of you!

Maximise students' learning by eliciting.

Experience smoother lessons by considering classroom management, think ahead to the content of your lesson and decide the seating plan, and also, after observation, the students working well together and the one's who might be better moving.

Preview 06:08

How to talk to students and ensure you are understood. Without thinking, new teachers start speaking to students the same as they would speak to anyone, or perhaps speaking very slowly, or more loudly. None of there are helpful. What you actually need to do is change the actual content of what you are saying to make it easier to understand, reducing complexity. You do this by thinking ahead, planning and practice.

Practical examples of how to grade language.
Last minute things needed for the first lesson, namely the handouts to introduce the class and how it will work for the students. 

Teachers make a lot of handouts and I'll include a good tip here to grab material from the internet to easier create the handouts, and also the best way to introduce the material to students, a technique known as 'chesting'.

Preview 07:46

Your first day! How to start...

How to use and remember their names.

Believe it or not, after a brief icebreaker and introduction, it's best to start with the rules of the class, what students should and shouldn't do. That sounds like the worst way to begin, but it isn't (believe me). It takes pressure off the students because they aren't being asked to 'perform' to the class or produce language as individuals (they work in groups). Also, the classroom rules are build by consensus, using English.How to begin with your initial 'classroom rules' handout, pictorial for lower abilities and written scenarios for intermediate and advanced, with full examples. It's actually a speaking exercise and a group work that teaches English, is a stress-free start for students and let's everyone know the expectations in the class. 

Lecture 3

How ready are you for the classroom!

Section one quiz
3 questions
Your First Day
5 Lectures 30:44

Icebreaking games, games specifically to nlay for the first couple of days, to get students talking to each other, and you. 

Jeperdy, based on the classic TV game, a player writes answers to a question on the board and students guess the answer.
Snowball Questions (with handout example), this is a good mingling activity where students walk around the class speaking to many students and end up introducing one (random) student to the class, so they are getting to know each other while asking and answering questions in English.
Two Truths and a Lie, another classic in which students reveal two true facts about themselves, and the class guesses which is untrue.

Lesson Four

General games, types and when to use them. Beyond icebreaking (for the first few days) the following games are used throughout a semester to break up segments of a lesson, wake students up when they need it, if they go through the lesson material too quickly.
Stand Up If... (a kinetic game that takes a lot of energy and students use English to describe others.)
Ten Things That... (A vocabulary game that also involves one student running)
Slap the Board (with photographed example, another good game to both wake student up as it involves movement, but also revises vocabulary, or anything else you've been teaching them).

Lesson Five

Simple Interviewing.
Disappearing Sentence can be used to reinforce a single fact or statement, such as a grammar rule for example, as it involves taking turns to repeat a single statement going around the class. It usually ends in laughter as students start forgetting and have to prompt each other, but it is very much reinforcing what is being repleated.
Words From... (Vocabulary game played in groups.)

Lesson Six

Higher or Lower. Teams guess the numbers to answer a general knowledge question, and 'bet' based on how sure they are of their answers, to beat the opposing team.
Blindfold (with example criteria).
Find Someone Who (with tabled example), a great mingling game that reinforced vocabulary you've been covering, involves moving around (keeps them awake) and gets each student talking to each other. It takes very little set up, but when it works, the class can spend a long time productively talking English to each other with minimal input from you.

Lesson Seven

Hurricane (fully illustrated with pictures and sample scores). This game recaps anything you've been teaching. It takes a bit of set up, but is usually very exciting (the way I do it) because teams scores can wildly swing either way and huge scores run up over time can be wiped out or ceded to the other side. Because of this there's often quite an intense energy as they recall what they have learned to answer the questions and the reinforcing pays off over time.

Lesson Eight
Teaching Theory
4 Lectures 28:00

Teaching theory.
MPF, the main method of teaching English language.
Main types of language exercises. To introduce new words or concepts to students so that it becomes a permanent part of their language ability, you have to give them opportunities to use the new words/understandings in structured and controlled ways (initially) and in freer and more spontaneous ways as it becomes more natural to them.
Lesson structures, specifically how to do this. To make sure they are tightly supported when beginning to use new words/understands, and to gently remove the support to eventually have them spontaneously using the knew knowledge speaking naturally.
Error correction, how to use it to guide students in a way that guides them and corrects them without sapping their confidence.

Lesson Nine

How to teach pronunciation. Using choral repetition and also how to place troublesome sounds from different words beside each other to help students begin to pronounce sounds that don't occour in their own language.
Stress circle game with board example.

Lesson Ten

CCQ's, what they are and how to use them, with full examples.

What is to say you're not going to spend a long, long time teaching, thinking that you're doing fine and the students are doing fine and learning what you think they are learning, but at the end of the semester, it becomes obvious that they have not understood a single thing you were saying, they were just smiling and nodding the whole time to be polite!

CCQ's, concept checking questions, should be spread liberally throughout your teaching as they are feeding back from the students exactly what they have and haven't understood. If it's the latter, then if you correct yourself straight away there's no harm done. This technique eventually becomes second nature to all good students, but in this lesson it is specifically laid out so you can make a start.

Lesson Eleven

Lesson planning and plans, with three practical examples, including anticipating problems, planning boardwork etc. 

There's no set way to plan a lesson, although the lesson structure already presented is the format the teaching should usually be in. Thus the various styles of lesson plans have various commonalities. There are may benefits to lesson planning:

  • Make sure you won't be talking too much and that the students will be talking
  • Know the handouts and materials you will need in advance
  • Anticipate problems and have solutions
  • Plan use of the whiteboard so it doesn't become cluttered
  • Not running out of material
  • etc

Here, I include a few lesson plans, including one from my Celta course when I was formally studying, and also one used at my current school, all fully explained. Once you understand the components, it is quite easy to construct your own. Useful skill not only in itself, but some employers do ask to see your weeks plans as part of the job.


Test your knowledge of teaching theory and practice.

Teaching theory quiz
4 questions
Continuing Educational and Revision Games
2 Lectures 14:47

Continuing Games

A collection of games centred on revision and learning to help keep lessons fresh and students engaged.

crosswords and wordsearches
hotseat (Good start as it takes no preparation and reinforces vocabulary)

pair guessing game (A memory game that also reinforces semantic meaning of recently learned words)
battleships (A grid game that is as above but also teaches spelling)


Continuing educational and revision games.
Five in a row, with pictorial example (a grid based vocabulary reinforcement game).
Running dictation (unique version (works really well with minimal set up), with example).

Classic Bingo.

About the Instructor
JA Starr
4.5 Average rating
4 Reviews
321 Students
1 Course
English teacher

I graduated psychology bsc (hons) and am Celta qualified. I have been at my current school, an NGO social enterprise in Phnom Pehn for over two years. As well as teaching full time, I have also helped develop the curriculum and assist with teacher training four times a year. I have taught around Asia and been to 58 countries overall. I live alone in a volunteer house and my hobbies are travel (obviously), public speaking, meditation, photography, markets, psychology and technology.