TEFL Communicative Resources


For Students and Teachers:- The Hong Kong Bun Festival

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For Students and Teachers:- The Lions of the Big Cat Reserve, Kruger National Park, South Africa

Watch the 5 short videos. They are all of battles that lions have with other speices.  Try to predict which animal will win.

The Lioness V The Cheetah Family

Lions v A Crocodile

Lions V Hippo

Lion v Hyenas

Giraffe V Lions

  • Prepare a report using time connectives to explain the order of events and the outcome of each battle

  • Research and prepare a factsheet on lion and lionesses using the template below.  You can download or print it.

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For Students and Teachers:- Differently Abled Series. 'Talking Hands'.

New Vocabulary

Match the word to the correct dictionary definition:-

disability                         providing skills and education that prepare you for a job

dignity                            a test of one's skills, ability and knowledge

prevalence                      the qualification that you receive when you are successful in an examination

examination                    to recognize or understand that something is valuable, important or as described

certificate                        a particular system of beliefs, values and principles

vocational training            something that you do or give to help produce or achieve something together

academic education         the opinion that you have of the standard of your own importance and value

appreciate                       education that is connected with studying and thinking, not with practical skills

mission                           when two people or groups of people become friendly again after they have argued

contribution                     existing very commonly or happening often

respect                           why you do something or why something exists

purpose                          any work that someone believes it is their duty to do

philosophy                      admiration felt or shown for someone or something that you believe has good qualities

reconciliation                   an illness or condition that makes it hard for someone to do the same things as others

Some words are similar in meaning so if you are struggling to differentiate them check the definitions out at http://dictionary.cambridge.org/dictionary/british/

Some Work On Prefixes

'dis' - makes a word negative. ability is changed to disability – the two words are now antonyms or opposites
Make a vocabulary page in your vocabulary book. Label it 'dis' and add words.

're' - to do something over again. Conciliate means to reach an agreement – reconciliation occurs after an argument when an agreement is made again.
Make a vocabulary page in your vocabulary book. Label it 're' and add words.

Listening Comprehension

True or False Questions

  1. Where is the school located in the Middle East? The school is located in Cairo in Eygpt.
  2. What % of marriages are within the extended family in the Middle East? 25%
  3. How many staff and children attend the school? 2 staff and 120 children?
  4. How many 'trades' are taught in the school? 4
  5. What % of the student's work goes to market? 80%

Write one sentence to answer each question.

  1. What is the main reason for the prevalence of disabilities in the Middle East?
  2. What is the advice for reducing the occurrences of deafness in the community?
  3. Describe the role given to the older students at the school?
  4. Describe the type of education provided for boys and girls between the 7th and 10th grade?
  5. The two sisters that are interviewed also provide evidence of another type of education available in the school. Describe this type of education?

Compare two types of education?

Vocational Education
Academic Education
What type of skills are developed?

How long does it take to do?

Does it require you to attend school/college everyday?

Does it include practical experience or on the job training ?

Does it requires you to do homework or extra study in the evenings and at holiday time?

Are you required to sit an examination or do assessments?

Does it get you a specific job?

Speaking Task

Which type of education would you prefer and why? Discuss the similarities and differences of each type of education with your friends or colleagues?

Short Writing Task

Describe the school's philosophy on learning and development in your own words?

Here are some hints to help you decide what you can write about -

- how did Brother Andrew describe the school's mission?

- what message do the students learn to respect through their education?
- why do the school adopt a 'buddy system' where an older student takes care of a younger one?

- why do you think Brother Andrew says “ disadvantage becomes an advantage in terms of development and learning”?

-what does selling the student's work at market achieve?

Now go back and look at the original quote from the blog again. 

"Blindness separates you from things, deafness separates you from people”

What do you think it may mean now you have seen on the video?

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For Students and Teachers:- Evita - Music from the Film
Here are some great songs from the film Evita starring Madonna as Eva Peron, Antonio Banderas as Che and Jonathan Pryce as Juan Peron.  They have lyrics under the window where the video is playing.

Oh What A Circus.

Another Suitcase Another Hall

I'd be Surprisingly Good for You

High Flying Adored

Good Night and Thank you

Don't Cry for Me Argentina

For Students and Teachers:  Places, People and Events of Buenos Aires, Argentina

A. Read about places associated with some famous people of Buenos Aires .  Can you guess who the famous people are?:
Choose a person that interests you.  Research them on the internet and make a timeline of their life using the timeline resource at

B. Watch and listen to some popular events in Buenos Aires
Watch a part of the Opera Pampa:-

  • Junior Boca – La Bombonera. Attending a Junior Boca's Football Match with Diego Maradona

C. Research some beautiful architecture, buildings and squares in Buenos Aires.
What is this square called? This resource allows you to work around the square (360 degrees).  

What is this square called?

And finally the Teatro Colon.  What type of a building do you think this is?

Now,write a short description about a famous person, event or place in Buenos Aires. Remember when you are writing about these things that they are proper nouns and you need to use capital letters for them.

Here is a quiz you may like to try too.

Historical information can be obtained from these 2 websites. 

  1. What country is Buenos Aires the capital city of?
  2. Name 3 things the country is famous for?
  3. Is it in the southern or northern hemisphere?
  4. What continent is it in?
  5. What river runs through Buenos Aires?
  6. What date did it officially get it's independence from Madrid?
  7. What language do they speak in Buenos Aires?
  8. Name an international soccer star who first played for the Boca Juniors and later went on to play in Spain and Italy?
  9. Who was Eva Duarte?
  10. When did Juan Domingo Perón become President of Argentina?
  11. What was the neighbourhood of La Boca originally built around?
  12. In 1933 what did Benito Quinquela Martín donate to the Consejo Nacional de Educación?
  13. What stands on the site today?
  14. What is the caminito?
  15. What is the name of the famous Opera House in Buenos Aires?
  16. Name two famous squares in Buenos Aires?
  17. What is the name of the famous bridge in la Boca?
  18. What region of the town is the museum of Evita located in?
  19. What else can be found in the Palermo neighbourhood?
  20. Name 2 buildings in the Plaza de Mayo?
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For Students and Teachers:- Maya Angelou, Renaissance Woman

The Rock Cries Out to Us Today 

Read at President Clinton's Inaugaration in 1993

Touched by an Angel

Still I Rise

For Students and Teachers:- Buenos Aires - La Boca and the Argentinian Tango


For Students and Teachers:- 'Life Rolls On' Project 

Links to videos are contained within the PDF document above.

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For Students and Teachers:- James Dean and his Car Curse

Watch the video from YouTube first.

Read about the car curse again, answer the simple questions, do some further research using the web links and finally write a biographical sketch for James Dean.

For Students and Teachers:- The Life and Works of Renoir

Part 1

  • Watch this video showing some of his paintings and decide on your favourite.

Part 2

Adjectives are words that describe nouns. Nouns in general are words that name things – objects, people and places

  • Look at your favourite painting of Renoir for a few minutes.

  • List 10 English words that come to mind to describe the painting in general.Try to note down the most descriptive words you can.
  • Decide on your 2 most original words to describe the painting?

  • Develop a sentence of the painting from these words.
  • Develop a description of your response to the painting from this sentence.

You will now be able to complete this record of your thoughts:

Title of Painting:

Name of artist:

Description of the work:

Your response to the work:

Part 3

Now read these articles about Renoir:

And watch this rare bit of footage of Renoir painting:

Part 4

Try to describe the character of Renoir in your own words?

Here are a few hints – do you think Renoir was a loner or was he gregarious (he liked people)?

Was he a family man?

Which artist colleagues was he close to?

  • What art movement was Renoir part of?
  • Describe his early life in your own words?
  • Where did he begin his career?
  • Where did he travel to?
  • Where did he end his career?

Part 5

  • Research and save some pictures of Renoir's Paintings on your computer.
  • Develop a timeline incorporating your research with painting images onto a timeline.Click this link to find an excellent timeline resource

Part 6

Either discuss or write a short review on Renoir's Paintings and Legacy.

For Students and Teachers: - A New York Medley of 10 Songs

Alicia Keys. New York

Billy Joel. New York State of Mind

Sting. Englishman in New York

Kirsty McCall and the Pogues. Fairy Tale of New York

Frank Sinatra. New York, New York

John Lennon. New York City

Christopher Cross. Arthur's Theme (Best that You can Do)

Simon and Garfunkel The Only Living Boy in New York

Kiss. New York Groove


And the last one – a slight cheat but it is still within the theme of New York

Joni Mitchell. Big Yellow Taxi

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For Students and Teachers: - A Reading Comprehension About Central Park, New York

Find out about the different parts of Central Park:

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For Students:- Mountain Gorilla Activities

Research and prepare a fact sheet on mountain gorillas.

For Students and Teachers:- VJ Day - A Reading Comprehension

For Students and Teachers:- A Biography, Reading Comprehension and Writing Activities

Read the biography again.

Have a try at the reading comprehension:-

Try out a writing activity:-

For Teachers:- Notting Hill and Trinidad Carnivals

Resources and Activities for the classroom.

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For Students and Teachers:- Habitats of Great Britain

Check out the audio, video and reading links in this document to find out about the many and varied habitats of the UK.

For Teachers:- Reviving Our Culture - Mapping Our Future

Teacher Sheet with Transcript for Video

Student Sheet

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For Teachers:- The Sheka Forest Story

Teachers Key for Lesson

Student Sheet for Lesson

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For Students:- Olympic Research Resources.

Particular pages of the website that I think are useful are listed below.
A very good general introduction to the Olympics presented as a fact file about the Olympics in slide show format (there are 14 facts in total). The slide show allows each fact to be read individually. The slide show easily stimulates further research. Students could present a fact each and incorporate a heading, picture and sentence about each fact that they research.  Work could then be compiled into an oral presentation or class book.
Learn about some of the athletes that are participating in the Olympics and Para Olympics from team GB.  There are a variety of multi-media resources that can be researched.  A biography and time line could be presented for an athlete either from team GB or perhaps from the student's country of origin (which may involve further Internet and magazine/newspaper research)
Which teams are you supporting? What nationality are you or your students? Learn about the rest of the world's teams and their cultures and traditions.
Excellent resources for various age groups and films and images to use in on line or paper based projects.  To get access to the film footage you will need to register with the website. 
The Olympic Torch Relay blog is written in diary format.  Students could read the blog and plot the torch relay route on a map of the UK.  They could then describe the route using directional language and vocabulary associated with the geographical regions of the United Kingdom.

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For Students:- Olympic Heroes

Go to http://www.olympic.org/athletes and find out about athletes who came from your own country.  What were their achievements?  You can build up a simple presentation about athletes from your own country based on the questions asked in the British Council Lesson Plan (copied below).

·        athlete's name
·        nationality
·        sport
·        previous experience
·        when he competed in the Olympics
·        difficulties he had
·        success

The legend of the hero goes back to the origins of humanity and to the universal basics of human nature.

This superb online exhibition is organised around four types of hero; the ancient, the traditional, the modern and the globalised hero. 

Build up simple character profiles of each type of hero using adjectives or words to describe them. Draw a sketch in the centre of a blank piece of paper of each hero and write words around them to describe their special attributes.

If you feel confident expand your words to simple sentences about each hero using the present tense.  For example; he is….., she has……

The heroes are symbols of four distinct historical periods and the resource sets out to understand what these personalities say about the values of their societies and eras. Try to write a full profile on each.

For Teachers:- 'Calypso' by John Denver - Song Resource

A Tribute to Jacques Cousteau

Comprehension Resource

I would suggest this resource is suitable for an Intermediate to Upper Intermediate level of student. The questions start at a mediocre level and get harder. The latter five or so questions need a deeper understanding to discuss the literary techniques used.

Students may need to read, listen and do some further research independently to be able to answer the next questions

Words for Song

Listen to the song and watch the video above. Fill  in the gaps.

To sail on a dream on a cr----- cl--- ocean,
to ride on the crest of a w--- r----- storm
To work in the service of life and the living,
in search of the answers of questions unknown
To be part of the movement and part of the growing,
part of beginning to understand,

Aye Calypso the places you've been to,
the things that you've shown us,
the stories you tell
Aye Calypso, I sing to your spirit,
the men who have served you so long and so well

Hi dee ay-ee ooo doo-dle oh
oo do do do do do doo-dle ay yee
doo-dle ay ee

Like the d------ who g----- you, you bring us beside you
To light up the darkness and show us the way
For though we are strangers in your silent world
To live on the land we must learn from the sea
To be as t--- as the t--- and as fr-- as the w--- sw---
Joyful and loving in letting it be

Aye Calypso the places you've been to,
the things that you've shown us,
the stories you tell
Aye Calypso, I sing to your spirit,
the men who have served you so long and so well

Hi dee ay-ee ooo doo-dle oh
oo do do do do do doo-dle ay yee
doo-dle ay ee

he dee Ay-ee
Hi dee oh ooo
hi dee ayee
hi dee oh ooo

Reading and Listening Comprehension

Q1. Whose life's work was the song a tribute to?

Q2. From the video what do you think his job was?

Q3. Who was the songwriter of this song?

The next two questions may require some Internet research:

Q4. What nationality was the songwriter?

Q5. What were his causes whilst he was alive?

Q6. What do you think the 'Calypso' was? 

Clues in text:- to sail on a …., the places you've been to, the things that you've shown us, the stories you tell. 

Listen to the song again.

You may also need to do a quick check on your understanding of adjectives and similes. Adjectives are describing words and similes are used as short descriptive phases to suggest a likeness. 

Q7. List the adjectives and missing from the song? 




Q8. Complete the similes?

like the d------ who g----- you 

to be as tr-- as the t--- 

as fr-- as the w--- sw---

The song suggests the ship has 'human qualities'. This literary technique is known as personification:-

Q9. Try to describe the spirit of the boat and the men who sail in her in your own words.

“To work in the service of life and the living

In search of the answers to questions unknown 

To be part of the movement, part of the growing. 

Part of the beginning to understand”

Q10. What do these words suggest an important part of the crew's work is?

For the full PDF file please e-mail using this link.

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For Teachers:- Bright Dresses

British Council link to resource:

Suggested Activities

  • Get your students to build a picture of a male TEFL Teacher in Milan in their minds. Get them to brainstorm/produce a character profile using adjectives in pairs.  Describe him physically? Decide what kind of a person he might be? 
  • Reflect on what his life may be like. Where does he live? What are his daily routines? How does he communicate with his family at home? Does he have friends? Does he have a girlfriend?
  • Introduce the poem.
  • Do the British Council vocabulary exercise collaboratively allowing the students to take the lead where they can.
  • Listen to the poem, students follow on transcript.
  • Get the students to answer the British Council comprehension questions individually. 
  • Students to feedback answers to the group and discuss their opinions
  • Elicit good use of adjectives, descriptions and metaphor from poem 
  • See discussion points on British Council website and encourage students to participate in discussion forum.

Developing Functional Language:-

Discuss how we can express feelings after a love affair has ended with examples.

Could the students offer advice? (with/or without functional language prompts depending on whether they have experience)

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For Teachers:- A British Council TEFL Immigration Resource 

  • to help build up empathy and understanding of  immigration issues 
  • to develop vocabulary, reading and listening comprehension skills, sentence formation and knowledge of articles of grammar (adjectives)  

After I had published the blog about immigrants to New York; I found this resource. It develops an understanding of the issues of migration and associated vocabulary. It is broad in it's perspective and sensitively written. 

There is a vocabulary definition exercise, a video, a matching exercise matching individuals to different reasons for moving, true/false questions, an opportunity to order words in sentences and a gap fill exercise using adjectives.

It is probably a simpler resource so it could be tackled first to build up an understanding of the main issues. Some students may want to just tackle this resource on it's own.

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For Teachers:- Billy Elliot by Mervyn Burgess
A wonderful short story about a boy with a special gift for Ballet Dancing. A brilliant book, film and West End show expressing friendship, relationship, gender and social class issues.

A short story. In my local library it is classified as a 'Quick Read' and so is suitable for Intermediate Levels of TEFL Students. It is an excellent story for students showing how one very unique and ordinary boy followed his dream and succeeded in what he wanted to do. It has been made into a show which has been on the West End and Broadway and has been hugely successful. If you ever get the chance go and see it. The film trailer is on You Tube - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JoiVEyCosEE

I personally remember the miner's strike of 1984. I had first hand experience of it and supported the miners through the Students Union at Manchester University. I remember the cold and wet streets of Manchester too vividly; shaking a collection tin just before Christmas to help the families who had been deserted by the Conservative Government of the time.

You can pick up a copy of the book from Amazon for as little as one penny. You will need to pay postage obviously. Follow this link:

The British Council have excellent resources and lesson ideas for teachers who want to teach it or for students who just want to do some of the tasks online.

Resources include:
  • 4 audio texts
  • Pre reading texts
  • Texts and guided reading tasks
  • Context activities – phrasal verbs, friendship quiz, BBC Report about the 1984 Miners Strike

You can also try and write one of your own.

Billy Elliot is a perfect show for students
If you have seen the show you could write a review of the show instead of a book review.

Read the transcript of an interview with David Massey, Company Manager at the Victoria Palace Theatre.

to see images and videos of the show

to read the biographies of the cast

For Teachers:- Special Belongings

I found the resource on www.busyteacher.org. The full link is http://busyteacher.org/9283-belongings.html

I think that this is an excellent resource that initially gets you to match pictures of objects to their owners. But more than that, it encourages you to think a little about the stories that lay behind the objects. I think the lesson idea is a meaningful one as objects don't necessarily just have a material value. Often they have a sentimental value or story also. The objects hold special memories and meaning to some of the immigrants who now live in NYC. 

Before you start, define the word 'immigrant' for yourself. Think about the issues facing people from around the world who are forced to leave their homes quickly. 

What do you think about Immigrants Who Come to Your Country? 

This is by no means a straightforward topic so here are some other links to help you with the functional language:

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For Students:- Tours of the British Musuem (online and audio)

Online Tours Using Written Descriptions and Images 

Audio Description Tours Using Images, MP3's and Written Descriptions

This tour features a selection of twenty objects displayed in five of the Museum's galleries - The Egyptian Sculpture (Room 4),The Parthenon Sculptures (Room 18),The Living and Dying (Room 24), The African Galleries (Room 25) and the Enlightenment Gallery (Room 1).

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For Students:- you a budding archaeologist or historian?

Was the object found at the site of the temple of Artemis? Yes/No
Was the object was discovered in 1969? Yes/No
The young boy was a worshipper of Maat. True/False
The object dates back to AD 150 -200 True/False
What was the name of the archaeologist who made this discovery?

They are made of porcelain. True/False
What purpose were they made for? For the Imperial Court or for export
What is the name of the owner of the collection?
Did they come from the Ming Dynasty of 1465-1487? Yes/No

It came to the British Museum in …....
It is a list of the Kings of Egypt from the Temple of ….......................... who reigned from …....to...........
The temple still survives today at ….................. which is the cult centre of the Egyptian God Osiris.

Can you find out more about the Egyptian God Osiris from the Internet?

A Mosaic Mask of Quetzalcoatl called the 'The Feathered Serpent'
15th-16th century AD 
From Mexico

Which two deities or Gods is the mask associated with? Describe each one.
What 2 processes and materials are used to make the mask? List the processes in the order that the object was made?

"I love this bottle, it is very beautiful piece indeed. It is a Pilgrim's Bottle from Syria around the time of AD 1330-50

It is decorated with horsemen, musicians, animated scrolls and arabesques. It has a design of a 11 pointed rosette with an 8 lobed flower and uses red, white, blue, pale-green, yellow, pink, mauve, and greyish black enamel paints for decoration. 
It was probably a gift and is extremely luxurious. The Pilgrim must have been very well thought of. I would love a gift like this".
This is a description of my favourite object. Write a description of your favourite object from the collections.

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For Teachers:- Some tips on describing Objects of Art in the V&A Museum

From V&A Teachers Pack ESOL Tours Skills for Life. Feb 12. PDF

I thought the list of useful vocabulary - nouns, adjectives, materials and techniques on Worksheet 2 were of note and worth sharing.

As well as the format to write a description of an object including it's function, material, size and shape, colour and texture on Worksheet 3

To look at collections for describing objects go to http://collections.vam.ac.uk/

Just click on the images you are interested in and follow your interest through and you will find useful information on each exhibit. For example:- I was particularly taken to explore this image:- http://collections.vam.ac.uk/item/O68475/purple-magnolia-painting-unknown/

I then wrote my own description;

An exhibit from the Guangzhou, China area of China made from 1800 to 1830. A watercolour and ink painting of a purple magnolia on Chinese Paper. In the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries there was a lot of interest in botanical, realistic paintings in Britain especially from foreign lands. A skillful piece of art like this, at the time was very collectable”.

Write a simple description of objects that appeal to you. Meet with your friends and other students and ask each other questions about favourite objects in the museum and try and guess what they are. Maybe this will be in a discussion type of format or maybe you could challenge yourself and make it into a team game. Specify 10 items to describe from the on line resource and ask yes/no or true/false questions without naming the object.

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