English as a Second Language/Teaching the word



I just recently started a tefl certificate program and I am on Chapter 2.

My task is to describe the word Proud and then make sure my (hypothetical) students understand.

I can use realia, the blackboard, gestures, games, etc. to describe the word.

I am not satisfied with the ideas I have so far (I only have to use one):

a. Say to the class:
"I am proud of you for studying English"
"He got perfect grades in school and she was proud of him".

b. Have the class make sentences of their own using the word "proud".

I have not come up with a way to act out the word or use it in a game, etc. in such a way that really clarifies to the students the meaning of Proud.

ANSWER: Hi John!

With all the options available to you, you only came up with a few sentences!  Uh oh!  LOL

In all seriousness, though, it helps to consider the ways in which we, as native speakers, learn new words.  Sure, we learn a lot from example sentences, but what other ways are there to use context to think?

Words have meanings, and unfortunately most people limit those meanings to denotations, or what's written in the dictionary.  But words also have connotations.  They have feelings.  So express those feelings!  What about putting up pictures of people who are proud of themselves or proud of others, to SHOW your students what proud LOOKS like?  This could even help to reinforce the example sentences you provide.

What about designing a simple game where students, for example, pick up "event cards", like "you failed a test" or "you got into a very good university" and then either offering them +/- "proud points", or challenging them by asking "Are you proud?" and a "correct" answer gets a point.

Finally, I noticed you IMMEDIATELY jumped from providing examples to giving them a task.  You're missing a key step: evaluating whether or not the target was comprehended.  Before you get them on the task of coming up with sentences themselves, ask them questions, like "what are you proud of?" or "What is your most proud moment?" or "Who are you proud of?"  Their responses to these questions - and you don't have to ask ALL of them, necessarily - should indicate to what degree they understood the target.

Hope that helps!  And good luck!

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Your answer was perfect because it sort of gave me some ideas but I still had to really work hard to develop the lesson. The only part that I need to do now is make sure my students understood what I have taught them.

I could always pose questions asking them what they are most proud of, or what moment in life they are most proud of, etc.

Since I am still somewhat unfamiliar with how to do this on a group level I am still perplexed.

ANSWER: Hi John!  Sorry to get back to you so late, but I'm not entirely certain how I can help you.  Are you looking for specific ways to present these questions?  If so, you could very simply give it to them as a short writing assignment.  You could also simply present the question to them as a group discussion and elicit their responses to a blackboard.

If you are perplexed about something else please let me know and I'll be happy to help you out.

Take care!

---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------


OK, now I completed the word "proud".

Now I am stumped on "lie", the opposite of truth.

1. I have to teach the class (that does not speak English) the meaning...

2. and then I have to verify that the class has understood what I have taught.

I can use any imaginable tool to teach with, such as games, cards, drawings, black board, etc.

To me, the word "lie" is a difficult one to teach, since I am not allowed to use translation.

I have yet to figure out how to "act out" the word or describe it in any way.
I can give just a description, but that seems somewhat unimaginative and weak.

Thanks again,

Hi John!

Sorry to get back to you so late.

I actually think "lie" is MUCH easier than "proud"!  It's so much more concrete.

I would simply start by giving them some information that they know is either true or false.  You could, for example, write a number of statements that are lies on one side of the board (Ex: My name is Bill.  I am Japanese.  I have three hands.) and a number of statements that are clearly true on the other.  Then, on top of the false information column, write out the sentence that they can use (ex: this is a lie), and do the same for the other side (ex: this is true).  Have them repeat it, then provide them with new sentences, and they should respond with either "This is a lie" or "this is true" (this is where you can test their understanding).  Alternatively, or additionally, you could ask them to write three sentences about themselves that are lies and three that are true.  If they have trouble with this, give them some easy starters: My name is..., I live in..., I'm from..., I'm # years old, etc.

A fun game I like to do with this is called "spot the lie".  I tell students I am going to say three things about myself, two are true, one is a lie.  They have to guess the lie.  Start with an easy example:

A. My name is Brian.
B. I am 104 years old.
C. I speak English.

Have them provide the number of the "lie".  Then give them a couple more tricky ones (but grammatically simple), like:

A. I like dogs.
B. I like chocolate.
C. I like Disney.

Finally, have them do the same.

Hope that helps!

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Brian Connelly


I can answer pretty much any question a student might have about English; about grammar, vocabulary, meanings of words, phrases, expressions or idioms, pronunciation, etc. I can answer questions about how to learn or study English better, how to improve certain aspects of communication (listening, writing, speaking, etc), about why we have certain rules.


I've been teaching English in Japan, mainly as a private (one-to-one) teacher, but also at companies such as Universal Studios or international airports. I have taught professional interpreters and translators and I have also taught students who dropped out of high school and never learned any English. Several years ago I acquired the CELTA and I have been running my own classroom for the past year.

None in particular, but I work with a number of companies who regularly introduce me to new students and occasionally to other companies that are looking for English teachers.


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I currently have approximately 40 individual students with whom I work one on one. I have also worked with local manufacturing companies, colleges, local retailers, as well as Sharp, Universal Studios, Itami International Airport, Kobe International Airport

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