online English lessons

9 activities to do during online English lessons

online English lessons 

As English becomes a global language, it is becoming more common for young people to study English at school, often from an early age. But this doesn’t mean that learning English at school is always fun or motivating; in fact, many students have to take English courses after they finish school because they can’t speak English very well. They often say this is because they didn’t enjoy their English classes. But don’t worry: taking online English lessons can be a very fun and enjoyable experience. Here are 9 interesting activities to try in your classes with your English teacher.

online English lessons

Using pictures in online English lessons 

  1. Describing Pictures

There are many situations in life where we have to describe things, such as a person’s appearance or clothes, a city, house or events in a story. You will need language for talking about size, shape, physical appearance, actions and objects, to name but a few. Describing pictures is a great way to practise this language and the internet is full of interesting and current photographs that you can access with the click of a button. Try describing a photograph to your online teacher by imagining that they cannot see it. Your teacher will be able to give you the vocabulary you don’t know and you will remember it easily because you can connect it with the image. This activity is not only challenging, but can inspire lots of interesting conversations about who the people in the photos are, what they are doing and how they are feeling.

2. Spot the difference

Spot the difference is another fun activity which involves you and your teacher comparing two pictures. You can see one picture, and your teacher can see a different one, but you cannot see each other’s. At first glance the pictures appear to be the same, but when you look at them more closely you will notice that they have a number of small differences. The aim of this speaking activity is to find all of the differences by asking lots of questions about each other’s picture. This is a really fun way to practise grammar that is normally boring to study, like question forms and prepositions of place (next to, on, under). You won’t even notice you are practising grammar!

3. Compare and Contrast

In the compare and contrast picture activity your teacher will give you two different pictures which share a related topic. For example, for the topic of ‘work’, in one picture you might see a farmer working in a field, and in the other you might see a school teacher in a classroom. You can use these images to talk about the similarities and differences between working in a field and working in a classroom, or talk about which job you would prefer to have. This kind of activity can help you practise using very common language like comparative phrases and expressions for speculating. It’s also a fun launching point for interesting debates about the differences in people’s lives.

English Speaking Lessons via Skype 

4. Debates

Having a debate is a really fun and challenging way to take your speaking skills to the next level. Usually your teacher will start by giving you some material about a topic to inspire you – it could be a newspaper article, a Youtube video or a photograph. After discussing the topic for a while, they will give you a controversial question or issue to discuss related to that topic. You can choose to support one side of the argument, or discuss both sides. For even more of a challenge, play ‘devil’s advocate’ and argue for the side that is in opposition to what you really believe. The great thing about doing a debate during your English lessons online is that you can have a one-to-one discussion with your teacher without other classmates around so you can really maximise your speaking time.

5. Role-plays

Role-plays are a really popular activity that allow you to be anyone you want to be! Let’s say you are learning about restaurants in your Skype English lessons. A fun way to practice phrases and vocabulary for ordering food is to imagine you are a customer in a restaurant and get your teacher to act as a waiter! For even more fun you could play different types of characters, such as a rude customer, a customer who has a food allergy or a customer who complains. This will definitely put your language skills to the test as you step outside of your ‘normal’ way of speaking!

6. Tell a story

An exciting way to practice your speaking with your English teacher is to tell them stories or anecdotes. One way is your teacher can send you a picture of an interesting scene over Skype and you have to make up a story about what what happened before that picture was taken. Another fun activity is to play ‘Am I lying?’ In this game, your teacher gives you a topic such as ‘the most embarrassing day of my life’ and you can either choose to tell a true story or invent one – your teacher can ask you questions and try to guess if you are lying or not. Telling stories can help you to practice using different past tenses and develop your fluency by pushing you to speak for a long time without stopping in a fun and engaging way.

online English lessons with native teachers

Using Authentic Listening Materials for English classes on the Internet 

7. Predicting the news

Taking classes over the internet is the best way to use technology in your English lessons because of the availability of online news podcasts and radio programmes. One fun listening exercise is to predict the daily news headlines. Try to imagine what the biggest news stories are for the day and your teacher will play the news headlines over Skype. You can listen for details such as how many news stories are in the headlines, the countries where the events happened, information about the events, etc. You and your teacher can discuss any unknown vocabulary, and you can try to use this vocabulary to imagine the whole news story. Practice being a news presenter and tell a news story to your teacher for a fun way to improve your listening, speaking and vocabulary!

8. Youtube

One thing that’s different about taking online English lessons instead of in a traditional classroom is that you have access to Youtube videos that you can play instantly. Youtube offers so many different topics and varieties of English accents that you will never get bored. For one activity, your teacher sends you a Youtube video to play without the sound, and as you are watching it you can pretend to be a character and act out the dialogue that the actors are saying. Another thing you can do is use the subtitles and try to copy the pronunciation and intonation of the voice you are listening to. You can also watch a video with your teacher to start a discussion about the topic. The activities are endless!

9. Music and songs

Everybody loves music, right? Tell your teacher what kind of music you like and they can easily play a song for you over Skype. There are so many fun activities with songs that will make you forget you are studying English. For example, you can look at the lyrics of a song for grammar, vocabulary and idiomatic expressions. Songs are great for learning about rhyming words – words that sound the same. In fact, singing along to songs is a great way to improve your pronunciation. You can also discuss the meaning of songs and how songs make you feel. Listening to songs will put you in a good mood for learning!

So now that you know all of the fun ways to learn English online, why don’t you sign up for online English lessons today!

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