Posted in Teaching Techniques

The Little Things

Hello, everyone! Chris here. Teachers all have their own little habits, myself definitely included. Here are a few of the little things I do in my EFL classroom.

1. Asking for adjectives:

I like to use physical objects a lot. Puppets, small objects to pass, etc. I like to ask students “is this big or small?” or “what color is this?”

2. Opportunities for counting:

Erasing the board? Making groups? Clearly count out loud. Students, especially in elementary school, will start counting with you. Numbers are one of those things that need to be constantly reinforced in a “use it or lose it” way.

3. Go big:

Pantomime can be incredibly useful for clarity, especially with verbs and feelings. It doesn’t need to be a gesture-based activity. When I want students to say something or repeat me, I hold my hand behind my ear and lean forward. If I want them to take out a pencil, for example, I take out a pencil at the same time.

Show me > tell me is a big part of my teaching philosophy.

4. Change up the routine:

What are some things you do every or nearly every lesson? Practice the alphabet? Check the calendar? To keep that fresh, I like to change things a little so they have to think about it and not just automatically respond. For example, I like to ask students “what’s the next letter?” or “can you say it backwards?” when we do a quick alphabet review.

What do you think? What are the little things you do to make your lessons great? Thank you for taking the time to read this, and I hope it was useful!



Hello! I am a native English teacher in Kyushu, Japan. I have lived here with my wife since 2012. My education background is in theatre and voice & speech, and I have a K-12 license in theatre education. I enjoy collecting pottery, making models, and photography.

2 thoughts on “The Little Things

  1. HI Chris!

    Repeat Repeat Repeat. That’s my mantra. Whether it’s classroom instruction or target vocab or sentences, I say it over and over and over again. When I hear kids ‘work it out’ by, for example, telling each other what it is in Japanese, I target them and make them repeat it in English.

    Review Review Review. Like you said, use it or lose it. Whatever curriculum I’m given, I build review into every lesson.


    1. Repetition is certainly needed when learning a new language. Adding to that, repeating without changing. If you say “please sit down,” as a command, then don’t change it to “have a seat.” Consistency in repetition is key, in my opinion.
      Thanks for the reply!


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s