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Top TEFL Tools for Today’s ESL Classroom

We get it! As an aspiring great TEFL teacher, you want to transform your learners’ lives with language. The commonality successful TEFL teachers share is their dedication to improving their teaching methods. At iTTi South Africa, we’re equally dedicated to equipping our TESOL teachers with tools that will take them from the TEFL tenderfoot to the experienced English educator. That’s why we’ve compiled the following list of top TEFL tools for today’s ESL classroom for you to utilise in your online or abroad classroom to reach the shy, bored or energetic EFL student.

  • Flashcards

Flashcards should be the first tool added to your teaching kit! Used to aid memory and retention in learning, flashcards can be utilised in every lesson and in any phase of the ESA (Engage, Study, Activate) method. Flashcards are adaptable, therefore making them perfect for visual learners of any age and language level. In the EFL classroom, flashcards can introduce vocabulary, in choral or individual drilling, be stuck around the classroom for reference, set the context (such as a hospital when learning vocabulary used when seeking medical attention), aid in sentence construction, and be used in activities (such as Charades for teaching verbs or Pictionary when learning about nouns, comparatives and superlatives, etc.). And because they’re lightweight, they’re easy to transport around the globe in your backpack, or glue them onto sticks for easy reach when teaching online. If you find yourself short of resources to print flashcards — no stress! A little creativity, stationery or magazines go a long way to producing usable, effective flashcards. 

  •  Realia

Bring the outside world into the abroad or online classroom with realia! Using real-life objects effectively illustrates English vocabulary and written text, allowing students to  make connections with language concepts to their own lives. Realia can engage students, elicit language, stimulate discussion, serve as prompts in communication games (such as for collaborative story building or roleplay), and add an element of fun to seemingly mundane topics. Periodically add to your collection of objects (anything from puppets to silly hats) and keep them close at hand to captivate your class. To learn more about how to use realia in your EFL/ESL lessons, check out this blog post ( 

  • TPR

Total Physical Response (TPR) is essential for the TEFL classroom! Part of the Communicative Approach, TPR encourages learners to respond with actions before words, and you as the teacher will immerse your whole self when teaching anything from English imperatives to storytelling. Using TPR will engage your visual and kinesthetic learners, crack those introverted students’ shells, and can even provide some comic relief from serious study phases. Toss the nerves aside, loosen your hinges, and bring English to life with games, songs, and actions linked to vocabulary to create a lasting impression. 

  •  Lesson Plans

Devising lesson plans makes you a teacher with skill and foresight! While many online companies or schools abroad will supply you with set lesson material, there are also many others that leave the lesson creation and content up to you. By pre-creating some lesson plans, as an EFL teacher you will know how to set enabling and terminal objectives, how to meet them, understand how phases interconnect, anticipate the time required, prepare supplementary activities, and evaluate students and your own performance. If you’re ever thrown into an unanticipated situation of teaching on the spot or filling in for another teacher, you will have ideas and material to draw upon and teach confidently. Create a few and adapt as necessary.

  • Grammar Guidebook 

Even experts need to consult a guide sometimes! Having a grammar guidebook or manual – whether hard copy or digital — gives you a point of reference to clarify English concepts in order for you to teach with conviction, and prepared to answer questions like a pro. Procure an ultimate TEFL manual and brush up on those grammar basics.

  • Technology

Modern teachers use technology to their advantage! For online TEFL teachers, using technology is a daily norm. However, what sets you apart will be having a secure internet connection, using a noise cancelling headset and a reliable laptop. For super savvy techie teachers who want to take their classes to another level, consider installing the video-enhancing software ManyCam. Overseas teaching? Take a tablet laptop to play appropriate English-language learning videos and music for your students, or a phone to record class videos for roleplay and correction activities. Upgrade your digital teaching tools for maximum effective modern-classroom teaching. 

Keen to learn more to be the best EFL teacher in today’s classrooms? At iTTi South Africa, our TESOL programme uses the same teacher training textbooks as acclaimed four-year colleges in the USA and UK.  Receiving this level of education and training is why our graduates are hired by the most prominent, quality English schools around the world. Let us help you unlock your greatness as TESOL teacher by registering ( today.