Activities for Learning English (part 1)

Today we are looking at useful activities for learning English. Our classes are student-centred and focus on helping students to improve in all areas of English. We encourage students to be as active as possible in lessons as we believe that this is the best way to learn. Select English teacher Jo gives some examples of activities we do in lessons and explains why they are effective.

News articles

The teacher brings a selection of articles to the lesson and each student chooses one that interests them. The lesson focuses on discussing the topics of the articles and extracting useful language.

Why it’s useful

News articles are a very rich source of language. More formal newspapers can provide more academic language whereas tabloids are useful for focus on colloquialisms. Students choose what they read, so the lesson becomes more interesting and relevant to them.

Vocabulary cards

At the end of the lesson, the teacher gives students 4 or 5 small cards and asks them to write one word or phrase on each card from the lesson that they want to remember.

Why it’s useful

The students choose the words and phrases rather than the teacher as it personalises the activity if students choose what is useful for them. We use these cards in later lessons to review the language, either by playing games or constructing sentences, as it’s useful to practise how to use new language.


This can be done in two ways. Either the teacher reads a short text or sentences and the students write it down, or students work in pairs with one person writing and one person reading.

Why it’s useful

Practises a range of skills: listening, speaking and pronunciation, writing and spelling.

At the end of the activity students can compare what they have written to the original. This helps them to focus on which words are difficult to understand or spell. They make a note of these to help them remember them for the future.

Pair work, group work and mingling activities

We often ask students to complete tasks with each other during lessons and often change groups or partners during lessons.

Why it’s useful

This is a good chance to practise speaking English. It also helps to create a more friendly atmosphere in classes as students get to know each other better, so it’s a good way to make friends!

Listening using the script

Students listen and read at the same time.

Why it’s useful

This helps develop listening skills as students can make a connection between how words and sentences are pronounced and spelt. With regular practice, listening becomes easier over time.


Select teacher using activities for learning English

Taking part in class activities is fun as well as useful!

Students choosing speaking topics

Students write questions or statements to discuss with each other.

Why it’s useful

We like to personalise lessons so students are focusing on topics and that are relevant and interesting for them. It is more engaging to choose the topic of the lesson and helps students to feel that it is useful for them.

Writing before speaking

Students make notes before doing a speaking activity.

Why it’s useful

Preparation time allows for focus on the accuracy of their English as well as thinking about what vocabulary to use. Then students can focus on fluency while speaking.


Students are often set homework before and after lessons.

Why it’s useful

Homework set after lessons reviews what has been covered in classes. We sometimes give students homework to prepare for a lesson, as being prepared can help them make the most of the lesson. We also encourage students to use English as much as possible outside the classroom in order to practise what they have studied.

Photos and objects belonging to teachers and students

The teacher brings photos or objects to the class and students think of questions to ask about them or how to describe them. The activity is repeated using the students’ own photos and objects.

Why it’s useful

Personalised lessons are usually more interesting and we find that our students like to get to know each other and their teacher. This activity allows for a wide language focus through use of descriptive language and a variety of question forms.


What do you think of our teaching methods? What are your preferred activities for learning English? Stay tuned for part 2 next week!

Did you know that we run adult courses all year round? Click here to enrol!