Home Resources ESOL teaching resources An ESOL teacher's toolbox

An ESOL teacher's toolbox

Are you new to ESOL teaching and looking for some advice from the experts? Perhaps you are an experienced teacher, but would like to update your approach in the classroom a little. Whatever your level of experience, we are sure you will love our ESOL teacher's toolbox suggestions - compiled by members for members.

  • ESOL teacher's toolkitA bell - use it to get student’s attention
  • Word box and pieces of paper/card - learners write new word on one side and definition on the other. Use in future sessions for revision 
  • Ball or similar item to throw - Learning names in first session 
  • Flip chart paper -. Circuit training activity - put text/questions on walls and get students to walk round and write answers/comments. Use for brainstorming exercises. Useful for displaying the outcomes of group discussions
  • Portable whiteboard sticky sheets for use in centres/venues with no flip charts/boards/IT. You purchase them from Amazon
  • Mini whiteboards - Can be made by laminating A4 or A3 paper. Can also be purchased cheaply at £1 shops.  Very useful for checking answers – all students hold them up at the same time. Pictionary. Short texts
  • Red dots - use for evaluating. Put pictures, or student writing, adverts, poems, other texts around the room. Students stick dots on those they like best. The aim is to discuss why these are the most preferred
  • True/false or traffic-light cards - True false to assess understanding e.g. of listening exercises. Traffic lights - use for evaluation. e.g. students indicate if they how well they have understood something
  • Cuisuinaire rodCuisinaire rods - buy or make your own out of lego/duplo, coloured blocks , or lolly sticks. Length of stick equals different type of word- noun, verb, adj, adv, preposition etc. Useful for visually representing grammatical structures and word order
  • Washing line and pegs- use real ones, or improvise with string  and clips. Useful for displaying work, pictures or outcomes from discussions in an interesting way, allowing everyone to view. Can also be used for word order and grammatical structures (see above)
  • Mobile phones - look at contacts. Describe someone. OR describe a favourite photo
  • Sets of /a range of text realia- leaflets, timetables, calendars, recipes, newspapers
  • Set of readers from the library- make storyboards to plan writing a story
  • Spare reading glasses- for learners who forget theirs!
  • Highlighter pensHighlighters - Learners use them to highlight certain words in the text e.g. irregular verbs
  • Coloured paper - learners make it into, say, an aeroplane with a question on it and throw it to another student, who has to write down the answer and send it back
  • Set of dice - vocabulary-syllables. Roll the dice. Write down 3 words with that number of syllables
  • Gameboard template, dice, counters (could be coins). Instructions on template. Students throw the dice, move and follow the instructions. 30 minutes depending on level of difficulty
  • Stationery - Extra pens, notebooks and paper
  • Stapler, hole-puncher- to get students to organise their own work
  • Set of free newspapers such as Metro, Time Out. Make a questionnaire for scanning activity- have a theme- numbers, headlines, crime, adverts. Get students to write their own questions and give to another pair/group.