1. Make sure your students know each other’s names.

Try a simple icebreaker to help a group get to know one another. If it’s a group with a low level of English ask students to introduce themselves to the group. If their level of English is higher, split them into pairs, give them a few minutes to ask each other questions and then ask them to introduce their partner to the class.

2. Introduce yourself in writing.

Write a letter to your students on the first day, telling them a little about yourself and inviting them to write back telling you about themselves, their backgrounds, why they are learning English and what they expect from your class.

3. Rearrange the furniture.

Use as tight a horseshoe as possible. This changes the dynamic and focuses students more.

4. Get students to keep a diary.

Student diaries/journals are a useful and educationally sound channel of communication. You can find out more about their needs and build rapport. They are also a natural way for students to practise writing.

5. Correct student errors.

Students like it when teachers correct their errors. Studies have shown that students rate this as one of the most important duties of a teacher.

6. Give constructive feedback.

Instead of only noting down students’ mistakes, you can also note down vocabulary/phrases that they could have used, but didn’t. This makes a follow-up vocabulary lesson much more relevant to your students.

Chris Milnes's Teaching Tips

7. Get students writing creatively.

Encourage your students to enter creative writing competitions. Our Library holds a writing competition every month.

8. Create a book club.

Our Library has ‘graded readers’. You could all read the same book or choose different ones and compare.

9. Create solo activities.

Get students to do some activities individually and monitor closely. Students can’t or don’t want to do all activities in pairs.

10. Ask for more from your students.

Be demanding with students otherwise they’ll think they are too good for the level.


At IH London we have training courses for English and European language teaching and career development.

Whether you’re new to language teaching, want to take your expertise to the next level or would like to develop your language teaching skills in a specific area we can proved the courses and training you need.

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