How to Keep Your ESL Students Engaged

Every day TEFL teachers all over the world switch on their computers to their first class of the day. It’s no secret that your students will react to the energy you give, so you give it all. Funny voices, stuffed animals, posters, actions – everything! But what happens when your attempts fall short? When your student doesn’t want to engage? When you can visibly see their mind drifting away to another world?

Travel and TEFL husband and wife duo Vanessa and Ray have joined us to discuss their 7 best techniques to keep ESL students engaged.

About Your Hosts

Vanessa and Ray have been traveling the world for the past two years while teaching English and have a wealth of shared experiences and knowledge about engaging students. They’ve even traveled amidst the global pandemic! Crazy right? Even when travel around the world is difficult, it can still be done. Both Vanessa and Ray have continued TEFL online engaging many types of young learners. Their tried and tested techniques will be sure to help you keep your ESL students engaged!

Watch the webinar back!

Want some tips right now? Check out Will’s tips to keep online ESL learners engaged. Keep reading for a sneak peek:

“Sing Songs to Keep Online ESL Learners Engaged

You may not have the voice of Adele (maybe you do?), but don’t be afraid to include songs and chants into your lessons. You can use songs to study adjectives, nouns, animals, or simply liven the atmosphere. Got a beautiful singing voice? Great! The student will be introduced to some sweet melodies! Got the voice of someone who has no rhythm and needs a throat lozenge? Fine! It will encourage the student to participate more if they see their confident teacher letting loose. 

Auditory Learners

Apparently, 30% of your students will be auditory learners, and songs will be especially engaging for this learning group. The auditory learner’s language acquisition will be optimized through listening, whether its dialogue, discussions or songs. Auditory learners will struggle to sit there and read the lesson content monotonously. Singing songs is an excellent way to introduce new vocabulary or practice pronunciation, and it has more replay value than simply repeating a sentence. How often have you found yourself randomly singing or humming a song, even if the song is terrible? Many times, I bet. I’m still singing “un, deux, trois, comment tu t’appelle” and the last time I studied French was in 2012.

Greetings and Farewells for Online ESL learners

Singing songs at the beginning or at the end of the lesson is also an effective way to teach lower-level students how to greet people in English! Not only this, it will establish a habit that the student will do instinctively! Open your lessons with a greeting song followed by some free dialogue, and they will learn to greet you without thinking. You can also end your lesson with a farewell song. By doing so, you are instilling English phrases for your student! It will become very natural for them to greet you and say farewell without reminding them to do so.

Thankfully, there are songs for all levels, and you’ll have an unlimited amount of songs you can turn to. Want to consolidate the alphabet? Sing the ABC song. Want to introduce phonics? Chant “oggy oggy oggy” while your student chants back “oi oi oi”! If you google ‘songs for ESL learners’ you might be overwhelmed with options. There are many options for each category, whether you are looking for songs to improve pronunciation, vocabulary, or general fluency. When it comes to songs, it does not have to be complicated, remember that they are learning English. Keep it simple!” Keep reading…