Advice for EAL teachers in Primary and Secondary Schools

I've been asked by a few Primary and secondary School teacher's recently about resources and materials for EAL students (English as an Additional Language) who have just started school in the UK and have low English levels.Whilst I am not an EAL specialist, I do think absolute beginner (low literacy) ESOL materials can be relevant to both teenagers and adults. For primary school children there are a lot of other great resources out there as well. Do you teach EAL or ESOL? What websites do you use? Please post in the comments box below 😀Here are my best free websites if your students have low/ zero literacy skills in English or their first language:Teach ABC English English Phonics ESOL Literacy to ESOL ESL Here are my best free vocabulary and grammar…

Using the Covid-19 App and Accessing Covid-19 Information in Different Languages.

I've been back to face-to-face teaching with my ESOL students for nearly 2 weeks now. It has been really fun, although slightly strange with all the social-distancing and Covid-19 rules. One of the challenges my students have faced is accessing updated Covid-19 information in their own languages (particularly if they have low level English). They have also been unsure what to do if they, a family member or someone they live with has Covid-19 symptoms or what the rules are for self-isolating. So I made several enquiries on Twitter and Facebook to other ESOL teachers and refugee organizations and was sent these very useful links in response: information is as up to date as I can find from 6/10/20.I have made some basic posters for my learners here:
The second poster also has information in Bengali, Chinese, Polish, Romanian, Urdu…

Back to Face-to-Face Teaching

It's been a long time in coming, but I have been so excited to go back to face-to-face teaching this week. Sure, there have been a lot of challenges, but it has been fun as well. My students are so happy to see each other in person (rather than on Zoom) and know that we are taking every precaution for their health and safety.So what's changed?Firstly, we have very strict rules for wearing face coverings, hand sanitizing  and keeping a 1 meter difference at all times. Everyone is temperature checked when they arrive (if they are above 37.5 we will send them home) and asked if they have any Covid-19 symptoms (a new continuous cough, high temperature and loss of taste or smell). We must cover our faces when in communal areas such as the hall and toilets, but we are allowed to uncover our faces when sat in the classroom (as all  the chairs are 1 meter apart). I have been provided with a face shield, which I wear in the classroom when I am near students. I have used this a lot when…

How to Learn English on Twitter

I've used Twitter a lot recently- particularly to connect with other ESOL organisations and to share my resources. In my Twitter 'Home' I've started following many useful sites with Tweets aimed at my students, whether its a simple grammar explanation or useful set of vocabulary and idioms. Therefore, I have made a worksheet aimed at Entry 2+ with instructions for how to join and use Twitter. It is possible that some students may already use Twitter in their own languages, so I have included instructions for how to change your language. I've also listed some good organisations for students to follow. If you can recommend any more organisations or people I can suggest to my students, please leave me a message in the comments below.Here's a link to my worksheet 

Introducing ICT to Asylum Seeker and Refugee Women

Introducing ICT to Asylum Seeker and Refugee Women

This year I had the privilege of introducing a small group of asylum seeking and refugee women to ICT skills for the first time. These ladies have had little or no experience with using laptops or computers and were desperate to learn. Some of them had very little English and low literacy (zero beginners) and others could read and write quite well (Entry 1+). None of these ladies knew anything about computers and had not had the opportunity to learn before- they may have spent years living in a refugee camp or been denied access to ICT education. None of these ladies had an e-mail address, but they were desperate to have one and learn how to use it!

First of all, we started the classes by learning basic computer skills and how to type. My students were used to do everything with one finger on their phones, so they tried typing everything with just their index finger (this proved quite time consuming). I was able to introduce them to t…

Level 1 and 2 ESOL and Functional Skills Worksheets

I've uploaded more Level 1 and Level 2 ESOL and Functional Skills worksheets to my blog. Check them out here on:

Here are a few examples:


Presentation Plan


My Journey of Teaching Illiterare and Low Literacy Adult ESOL Pre-Entry Learners

My Journey of Teaching Illiterate and Low Literacy Adult ESOL Pre-Entry Learners:

I have been teaching Pre-Entry (Absolute Beginner) adult learners for the last 3 years and have to say it is one of my favourite ESOL levels [1]. This is because you see students make an incredible amount of progress in a short time, and because you are helping students to make their first steps in understanding English.
This year, in my low Pre-Entry class I was presented with a new challenge of teaching students with zero or very low literacy in their first languages as well as in English. These students had never been to school before or had little or no access to education in their home countries. Some of them could read a little Arabic or Farsi, but really struggled understanding the English alphabet, as it is in a completely different script. I also taught a student from Guinea whose first language had no written form and was only spoken.
This wasn't on my Cert-TESOL course!!
“Where to start?”, “Ho…

TEFL vs ESOL Teaching

TEFL vs ESOL Teaching: I’m often asked what are the main differences between teaching TEFL and ESOL in the UK? After all teaching English as a foreign language (TEFL) sounds pretty similar to teaching English as a second language (ESOL), doesn’t it?I’ve spent several years working for both the TEFL and ESOL sectors in Plymouth, UK. I’ve taught in two private TEFL language schools and also at an ESOL school. Nowadays, I tend to teach ESOL students from September to June and then in private TEFL school in July and August [1]. Generally, I would describe the main difference between TEFL and ESOL in the UK, is that students in private TEFL language schools come to learn English for a short period of time (either for a holiday or course) with the intention of returning to their home country afterwards or going on to study at a university in the UK.The ESOL sector, on the other hand is for students who have moved to the UK permanently. This could be because they are migrant workers, they hav…